BW: FEBRUARY FEATURE
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The Stoners Are a Throwback of a Love Story
WORDS / TAIKA BRAND
PHOTOS / KARI HERER
PHOTOS / KARI HERER
Karleena and Morgan’s love story began when they were 12 years old in Scituate, Massachusetts. Morgan, “effortlessly cool,” even in seventh grade, displayed his affection for Karleena, the dramatic theater kid who cut her own bangs, by performing tricks for her on his skateboard.
Though the preteens crushed on each other, their lives didn’t truly intersect until they met up for dinner in New York City in their 30s. This time, the stars were aligned. Karleena had just been stood up for a date when Morgan texted to ask if she would meet him at The Meatball Shop for dinner. They were both at personal and professional crossroads and ready for the creation of something new. As Karleena expressed her desire to build a life with someone, Morgan responded, “You are so beautiful. I can take care of you, if you let me.”
“Well then, we should probably make out or something,” Karleena wittily replied.
Within the year the couple left their 250 square foot apartment and got married. And since Morgan’s last name was Stoner, they were now both officially Stoners. One move to Maine later, it wasn’t hard to figure out how they might leverage that last name Morgan used to lean into during his skateboarding days in suburban Massachusetts.
“Stoner & Co. started with $5,000 and 30 plants,” Morgan says. “This is a stamina game. We know that things will go wrong. We enjoy taking risks and we’re not afraid to admit we don’t know something.” But the trajectory of this love story has only been upward: In just a few years, the business has grown to include just under 50,000 square feet of real estate and 3,500 plants, including the signature Stoner & Co. medical shop in Biddeford, where there is an abundance of chemistry to dabble in.
Much of their throwback aesthetic — and their success — leverages their embrace of geek culture. Karleena and Morgan are both gamers and Star Wars fans who love working and winning, together. “We’re psyched when we beat an end boss,” Karleena proudly declares.
“We are very competitive.” Morgan admits. “But I ground Karleena, and she lifts me up. I love her quirkiness and how she excels at everything. Our achievements bring us closer.”
These two are as passionate about their products as they are for each other. Karleena, a trained singer, was an infrequent cannabis consumer until two years ago. Now she prefers to microdose on Cookies ‘N Cream bites, edibles that inflate her mood and add a skip to her step, “especially if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.” Morgan’s favorite strain is one of his own creation, Princess Magic Girl.
“I like smoking flower because I can regulate my intake,” he says. “I take a hit and feel a little zip.”
For February, though, you’re going to want to give a try to the Love Potion strain. “It will give you an intense body high,” says Karleena, “that’s ideal for opening inter-dimensional portals to intergalactic levels with your reproductive organs.”
Morgan, entranced as he watches his wife’s tongue twisting performance, smiles with pride and delight.
Dressed in NYC black, the two have done every job at Stoner & Co. at one time or another as they’ve built one of Maine’s most recognizable brands — a look that Karleena oversees, along with company culture and strategic planning. That leaves Morgan to oversee breeding, growing, and selling.
Their 46 employees are appreciated and beloved. To liken them to the couple’s children might be a bit much, but “all of our employees are talented, capable, and smart. Most, like us, don’t have fancy college degrees,” says Karleena. “Our staff comes from service industries and we hire them for their positive attitudes and personalities. We love to watch them grow with us.”
No surprise, then, that the motto on their web site is, “We’re rooted in family and community above all else.” Everyone at Stoner & Co. participates, too, in 40 hours a year of mandatory paid community service of their choosing.
This kind of culture and attention to detail means Stoner & Co is not just a shop to buy weed. It’s a destination. To visit Stoner & Co is to experience a fanciful past, so it’s no surprise that Karleena and Morgan have backgrounds in production and entertainment. When you walk into their storefront, they want you to feel like you stepped back in time to when the industrial revolution reshaped the United States, when apothecaries meticulously mixed herbs to soothe any ailment,and took all the time you needed to answer your questions and provide guidance.
It’s no wonder that repeat customers return time after time, sometimes dressed up as their favorite Stoner-bred cannabis strains like Duchess of York, Dr. Von Glue, Miss Cherie Atoms, or Madame Choo Choo.
Karleena’s vision of romance is on display everywhere, from the chandeliers that glitter above the neatly displayed antique apothecary jars Morgan inherited from his pharmacist grandfather to the apothecary chest constructed in the mid 1800s. The drawers of this family heirloom still hold the delicate scents of medicines mixed by mortar and pestle.
“We want to evoke a time period when cannabis did not have a stigma, and was considered a trusted remedy,” says Karleena.“ The vibe is vintage hotel lobby and customers are invited to relax on the velvet tufted chaise lounge and leather chairs while Fred Rich and His Orchestra croon in the background.”
Your meeting with an herbal specialist comes next and takes place in a private room with glossy black walls and elegant marble countertops. Here you can check out the product in the Maine-made apothecary cabinets lined with glass jars filled with flower buds, classy tins of edibles and pre-rolls, confections, tinctures, shatter, and salves. This is your chance to geek out on the many strains of flower, ask questions, or talk discreetly about sensitive issues. No question is off limits. If you want to know how to make brownies with the flower, your herbal specialist will tell you what you need to add in order to get high. And if you don’t know how to pack and smoke a bowl, they are happy to show you.
For now, you need a medical card to enter Stoner & Co., but their impressive new recreational use cultivation facility across the street will include a storefront open to anyone over 21 as soon as Biddeford opts in for recreational sales.
There’s magic in the chemistry between Karlenna and Morgan because these two have a higher potency together than apart. Now that there are two Stoner toddlers at home, the couple makes time for family piano lessons and long walks through Maine’s woods. And while “Stoner” may not have been the easiest last name for Morgan to grow up with, Maine has been the best place the couple can imagine to embrace it.
“We want to mindfully redefine what it means to be a Stoner,” says Karleena. Find a significant other, take a visit to their shop, and see if they haven’t succeeded.
The Stoners are far from the only couples in cannabis. The flower has brought a number of partners together to share in the culture and community.
Mike Wilson and Emily Nodine of Maine Craft Cannabis both have engineering backgrounds that help them grow flavorful flower in “organic living soil” for vendors all across Maine. Check them out at www.mainecraftcannabis.com.
Joe and Noelle Albert of Meowy Jane are a husband-and-wife team who have been growing quality cannabis for their patients since 2013. Noelle, “a clinically insane cat lady, fell victim to Joe’s nerd charm,” and is now lead cultivator. To find out the latest on the opening of their retail store in the Old Port, go to www.meowyjane.org.
Shauna and Trevor Tomlinson grow the divine at Divine Buds Maine in Scarborough, and are building a retail store in Wilton in 2022. They strive to create “great, clean weed” like Super Lemon Haze, a sativa dominant cross of Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze for adult use retail stores across Maine. “We are craft, we are full on run by family, and we frickin’ love Maine and Mainers!” Find them on insta at @divinebudsmaine.
Ganja Candy Factory, established in 2017, is owned and operated by the partnership of Jeremy Remian and Angie Warren. You can purchase their Ganja Bars, Gummies, and Sour Danks at their retail store, Maine Releaf, at 412 Hill Street in Biddeford.
High school sweethearts, Michael Andriotis’ and Kerry Rogers’ medical grow company, Kief Diamond Industries, is located in Scarborough, ME. “Being part of the cannabis industry has been life changing,” Michael passionately explains, as his former occupation of chef barely provided for his family of five. You can buy Kief Diamond flower at Central Maine Flower in Lewiston, or if you have a med card, send a message to @kief_diamond on Instagram for an appointment.
Each day “is a new donut” for KGB, former donut baker, now glass blower, who works with his partner, Sarah Marblesbee. You can find KGB’s popular glass donut pipes online, at stores in over 20 states, and at 13 retail shops here in Maine. To see examples of these whimsical pipes, visit www.KGBGlass.com.
Lastly, don’t miss out on the hilarious and loving antics of Sue and Lee, Maine’s wildy popular @420oldfatlesbians on Instagram. These dykes dress up (or down to nothing) and share their thoughts on (mostly) cannabis related culture and products while flying high.
Where can you find us in the wild?
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