B&W November: This Just In



+A Taste of Europe

Missing the European breakfast experience and suffering from chronic pain? There’s a new product, just for you: Potella! The chocolate spread (it’s vegan and nut-free, so no hazelnuts, unfortunately) is newly released from Treetop Crops, a caregiver based in Jay, Maine. 

Produced with no preservatives and free of trans fat, the standard jar with a little more than four ounces of product has 500mg of THC, leaving you with about 20mg per teaspoon. Which is just about right for spreading on a single piece of toast or English Muffin. 

Or, perhaps, a scone. 

+Buy into the Booze Game

Interested in owning part of local Maine distillery? Good news: Maine Craft Distilling is looking for investors to help boost their seltzer business. With a new-fangled fundraising platform called Republic, MCD is offering what are known as CrowdSAFE shares of their company, which don’t actually give you part ownership of the company, in terms of having a say in what happens there, but do potentially convert to actual ownership stakes should the company sell to someone else. 

Somewhat like other crowdraising platforms, investment levels do come with perks — $150 gets you a one-time 15% discount; for $5k you get a tote bag, T-shirt, some discounts, and a call with the CEO to discuss the future of the company. 

Interested? You’ve got till November 13, 2021, to get in. Already, they were approaching $100k in funding at press time. Not bad for a company that did $2.6 million in 2020 revenue. 

+Adult-use cannabis shop Rose Mary Jane opens with social justice focus

So many new adult-use cannabis shops have opened in Portland, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Not many, though, have done their ribbon-cutting alongside both the Portland chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and social justice organizations like Maine Inside Out and Last Prisoner Project. 

When Rose Mary Jane opened on St. John Street this past Thursday, however, that’s just who showed up to demand a halt to the continuing War on Drugs and amnesty for anyone who remains in prison for cannabis-related crimes. 

Bruce King, co-executive director of Maine Inside Out, which works particularly with incarcerated youth on educating the public on the failure and cruelty of incarceration, though art and theater, noted that his organization has been hesitant to partner with cannabis companies, but “really the tipping point for us was understanding that there was a social mission attached to” Rose Mary Jane. “They’re trying to create equity across the board.”

One of the ways they’re doing that is by actively looking for the formerly incarcerated to hire, especially those who served time because of the War on Drugs. It’s a mission that’s close to the heart of Evelyn LaChapelle, social impact director for Rose Mary Jane. In 2013, she was arrested for having money in her bank account that federal agents tied to a boyfriend’s marijuana distribution organization and found herself serving 87 months in prison, despite no prior record, a four-year-old daughter, and a white collar job derived from her degree from Loyola Marymount in business administration. 

Now she and Rose Mary Jane founder Erik Murray both work with the non-profit Last Prisoner Project (she as community engagement manager, he as a board director) with a mission to not only effect the release of the 40,000 people nationwide currently incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes, but also expunge their records and find ways to get them restitution. 

As LaChapelle and Murray are from Oakland, California, where Rose Mary Jane is headquartered, they’ve sought to partner with local organizations like Maine Inside Out and Recovery Connections of Maine, which serves those struggling with substance use disorder, to advance their mission as they sell their weed. As a start, Rose Mary Jane is donating 10% of sales from their first 350 customers to Recovery Connections. 

“It’s super important that we find social justice initiatives wherever we’re operating that are already doing the work and support them,” said LaChapelle. “We’re not here to reinvent the wheel, but to support the folks who are already doing the work.”

King said it should be a moral imperative for all organizations making money in the cannabis trade while there are still people incarcerated for cannabis crimes. 

“We have fought incredibly hard to be where we are today,” he said, “with marijuana legalized, but the War on Drugs is not over … There are people who are still suffering behind bars. So to find an organization out here that’s doing the work, not just in stores, but also with their own initiatives, was incredibly powerful.

“We fought side by side to see this legalized and we put a call out to the entire marijuana industry to say, ‘This war isn’t over yet; please step up.”

While Rose Mary Jane has been in operation for nearly three years trying to use the cannabis business to move social justice issues forward, LaChapelle noted this is actually the group’s first storefront in the country, as efforts in California have been stalled by seemingly endless red tape. 

“Maine was much more friendly in terms of getting our location open,” she said. 

+Allagash: Brewer of the Year


In the brewing world, there’s no more prestigious a competition (if you’re into that kind of thing) than the Great American Beer Festival, an industry event where breweries can submit brews for consideration in many categories — from Experimental IPA to American Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout to Coffee Beer. At this year’s event, Portland brewery Allagash Brewing was named Brewery of the Year in the 15k to 100k barrels-per-year category, and took home silver medals in the Belgian-style Witbier (121 entries) and Belgian-style Abbey Ale (98 competitors) categories. 

While there’s no way to know how many of our local brew-stops entered, it’s certainly true that Allagash doesn’t have a lot of company here in New England. No breweries were awarded in VT, CT, or RI, Allagash was the only Mainer, and just three breweries — True North, Shovel Town, and Greater Good Imperial — in Massachusetts took home hardware. 

BTW, 2021’s best American Pilsner — sorry, Pilsener — was brewed by Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, in Wilmington, Delaware. Try their King’s Gold next time you’re in the area.


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