Ben & Jerry’s may soon have a special new flavor — a marijuana-infused ice cream.
As soon as it’s legal, of course.
The ice cream company’s co-founder, Ben Cohen, said in a recent appearance on HuffPost Live that a cannabis-infused ice cream flavor might be a good idea.
“Makes sense to me,” Cohen told host Alyona Minkovski. “Combine your pleasures.”
Jerry Greenfield, the other co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, said the marijuana-infused ice cream wouldn’t be that hard, as he and Ben have “previous experience with substances,” but noted that it ultimately wouldn’t be up to him.
“Ben and I have had previous experiences with substances, and I think legalizing marijuana is a wonderful thing,” he said. “It’s not my decision. If it were my decision, I’d be doing it, but fortunately we have wiser heads at the company that figure those things out.”
It might be a good business decision. As the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has proven, there is a big market for marijuana products, including edibles.
Bloomberg noted the following.
“One market where retail stores have dominated medical dispensaries is the sale of marijuana-infused edible products, which include gummy bears, tapenade—and, yes, brownies. Sales of foods made with marijuana helped retail sales of edibles surpass those at medical dispensaries by April. By the end of 2014 the edible retail market had swollen to twice the size of the longer-established medical side of the business. It was, in fact, a busy Christmas shopping season for edible-pot vendors: December saw almost 360,000 marijuana-infused items sold across the state, making it the single busiest month of the year. Colorado says the trend “suggests that retail marijuana products are a viable product for retail consumers.”
Ben & Jerry’s already has quite a bit of expertise in that realm, noted Jennifer DeFalco, creative director and co-founder of Denver-based Cannabrand, a marketing firm that specializes in marijuana products.
“It wouldn’t be out of line with their brand,” DeFalco said. “They already have flavors like Half Baked and Satisfy My Bowl.”
But there could be other difficulties that might prevent Ben & Jerry’s to create marijuana-infused ice cream. The founders sold their interest in the company to Dutch corporate giant Unilever in a deal valued at $326 million, and some believe the company wouldn’t want the extra work involved with a marijuana product.
“Unless Ben & Jerry’s introduced a medicinal ice-cream product (not terribly likely), its U.S. market would be restricted to states where recreational pot use is legal,” AdWeek noted. “And so far, that’s only Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. That’s why there are plenty of local pot brands in these states, but no major national players yet.”
If Ben & Jerry’s does eventually make a marijuana-infused ice cream flavor, they wouldn’t be the first to do it. The California-based Cannabis Creamery already makes a variety of the pot ice cream for shoppers with medicinal marijuana prescriptions.