Gone are the days of “Reefer Madness.” Today, even my conservative, southern mother has told me, “If pot ever becomes legal in Virginia, I’m going to start smoking it.” While the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has “no currently acceptable medical use,” 31 states have made it available for medicinal use. Yet only nine have legalized its recreational use.
Someday, we may even have access to it here in the good ole’ Commonwealth, if the legislature ever gives the people what they want; a poll conducted by Christopher Newport University in February this year found that 76 percent of all Virginians are for decriminalization.
And you can bet if cannabis is ever legalized federally, the big companies will be seeing green dollar signs. Only last week Coca-Cola announced that they are thinking about developing a “cannabis infused beverage.” That’s why it’s great to see small, sustainable companies, who sell pre-rolled doobies (aka joints, aka marijuana cigarettes) in store and online, flourishing. Their products aren’t legal here yet, but the company has partnered with a Richmond-based sustainable packaging company to get one of their products, Dog Walkers — miniature doobies sold in sets of twelve — on shelves.
It’s an interesting idea: Each Dogwalker contains 0.3 to 0.4 grams of marijuana. They are meant to be enjoyed during a casual walk to the museum, after dinner with a friend, or hell, even while walking your dog. At 0.4 grams, a smoke won’t “mess you up, man,” but will provide a nice little pick me up to enhance the moment. To reduce their potency, Dog Walkers are made with a hybrid strain of cannabis with a THC % between 13-17%. As Dog Walkers claims, “Our ingredients are simple and straightforward, giving you less worry – and more Dog Walks!”
Carolyn Kissick, spokesperson for Dog Walkers, said it was important that the company not pollute the planet. Enter the Richmond connection, Julianna Keeling, owner of the sustainable packaging company Terravive. Keeling is working on her Bachelor’s Degree from Washington & Lee University in applied sciences, and is a whiz when it comes to bioplastics and biopolymers. While on a break from school in San Francisco, she met the future founders of Dog Walkers, and in 2013 she moved back to Richmond to start Terravive. Trusting the quality of her work, Dog Walkers weeded out any competition (zing!) and made her an offer to start producing packaging for Dog Walkers.
Reached by phone, Keeling said she founded her company because of “a dearth in the number of companies who are providing products which promote no plastics in our oceans.” She describes the materials she uses as “plant matter-like cellulose and starches [that] can create products which emulate modern plastic products.”
Kissick shared Keeling’s concern for the environment. “Currently, there are a ton of Cannabis products out there with a ton of plastic and it all goes to waste,” she said. “It weighed on us, so we decided to have as minimal an impact as possible.” She said Dog Walkers are supposed to come in an approachable package and be an approachable product: something you could share with a friend.
In the near future, she said Dog Walkers will head “into Oregon and Washington by the end of this year, then Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York. Hopefully states like Virginia will come to the table sooner rather than later.”
Thanks to Dog Walkers, soon, we might have other options than “putting it in our pipes and smoking it.”
Photos from Carolyn Kissick and Dog Walkers