Cory Johnson and Brad Frey faced a tough decision two years ago.
They had developed high-quality chocolate edibles that medical marijuana patients loved, but were unsure if they should produce them for the newer recreational market.
“We entered them in Dope Cup, and told ourselves that if we won, we would have to develop our business plan about how to push into 502,” said Johnson. “If we lose, we’d move back overseas and do other things.”
Johnson, a chef, was originally from the Northwest and had been cooking at restaurants in Dubai and Spain. Frey, an architect, had also been living in Dubai. Both shared a love of edibles.
Their Odd Duck products ended up winning the “Best CBD Edible” category in 2016, which provided motivation to produce them on a larger scale. This would include finding partners to help with distribution as well as provide extracted cannabis oil.
After shopping the idea around to about a dozen Spokane-area producers/processors, they partnered with a small Eastern Washington grower. This initial arrangement worked well to get up and running, but a year later, Odd Duck needed more room to grow.
“Our initial partnership was good, but didn’t have a great distribution for edibles,” Johnson said. “We needed more to go to the next level.”
Johnson and Frey had positive conversations with Sam Kannall, owner of Bodhi High, a Spokane Valley-based company that creates a variety of extracted products and also distributes the Honey Tree brand of concentrates.
“Our goal has always been to help facilitate and incubate other brands and build more companies,” Kannall said. “We want to find partners with passion and expertise eager to think at a national level.”
Bodhi High owned a commercial kitchen already approved for cannabis use by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture. But it didn’t have any edible brands in the space.
“We had everything ready, but didn’t want to get into doing R&D on edibles ourselves,” Kannall said.
Luckily, Johnson and Frey wanted to do nothing more than create edibles, without worrying about growing, processing or sales. So now Odd Duck makes the edibles and Bodhi High gets them into stores.
Odd Duck has four flavors of chocolates: orange, dark, coffee and mint. They also released a new product in September called Odd Duck Delights.
The chocolate products start with fine Belgium cocoa. Natural flavorings come from cold-pressed essential oils. Great efforts are taken to mask any marijuana taste.
The Odd Duck brand focuses on quality and pricing, and fits a gap they saw in the edible marketplace.
“Some edibles taste horrible, with strong weed flavor, but they are cheap,” Frey said. “Others are great but really expensive. What we want to offer is something quality but at a discounted price.”
Odd Duck has already run into some challenges: a few days after they released Delights, the WSLCB began re-classifying many edibles, especially chewy ones.
“We are optimistic that the Delights will be approved, but ultimately our vision is bigger than Washington,” Kannall said. “If this state doesn’t want them, other states will.”
Early reports are positive – non-infused Odd Duck samples attracted enthusiasm at Bodhi High’s booth at Tacoma’s Lemonhaze Convention.
Odd Duck products can be found at more than 30 shops statewide. Non-infused samples can be tried at various vendor days.
“Adding Odd Duck under our umbrella allows us to diversify a little more,” Kannall said. “We’re now better positioned to meet the needs of adult consumers in Washington.”
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