Honeybee Edibles bringing pot-infused candy to St. Louis

The chocolatier is the culinary director of a medical marijuana company. He speaks to the Abby Eats podcast team about what he likes best about the new business

ST. LOUIS – A touch of chocolate and the sweet smell of candy greet Dave Owens every day when he comes to work.

He spent years in the food industry, starting out in restaurants and then at Bissinger’s in St. Louis, where he held the enviable title of Chief Chocolatier and Vice President of Taste.

But he’s in a different kind of chocolate kitchen these days. While devouring goodies used to be part of his job, he can no longer try the finished product on his current appearance.

“It’s really weird to be a chef and not be able to try my products,” Owens told Abby Llorico on a recent episode of the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast.

Owens is Head of Culinary at Proper Cannabis Company – a Missouri medical marijuana brand – and their new line of candy, Honeybee Edibles. But he doesn’t have a medical marijuana card.

Without a card, Owens said he was part of the development process by creating taste ideas and then perfecting the non-medicinal recipe that doesn’t contain the active ingredient in marijuana, THC.

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“We ran a number of non-medicated batches of specimens to dial in and we tried these, but now we’re making them. We are now getting feedback either from our patients who bought them or from our in-house team who have medical cards and are allowed to buy them, ”said Owens.

It’s part of a growing Missouri industry. Nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters approved medical marijuana in November 2018. Patients with certain medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV, or chronic pain can get their medical marijuana card and legally purchase or consume marijuana or THC-infused products. More than 90,000 residents have their card in the state. Revenue includes 4% sales tax that has already generated more than $ 22 million in revenue for veterans health and care services. And it’s heavily regulated too.

“There’s a lot behind it,” said Owens. “I was just commenting to my colleague here that it was much easier just to make candy bars and ship them to Costco or Whole Foods than to do what we do here. Lots of regulations. Lots of regulations. “

Medical marijuana companies in Missouri have to list all of their orders on the state portal, which has resulted in a lot more paperwork than Owens expected.

“The regulations are a little daunting,” he said. “I didn’t really know it was going to be that much.”

The chocolatier said the jump from traditional candy to a cannabis company was a risk he wanted to take, but said it also gave him the ability to care for the medical patients in Missouri.

“It really is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to do what I love while also helping those in need of the benefits of cannabis,” Owens said in a quote on the Honeybee Edibles website.

The cannabis company serves artisanal candies as an alternative to smoking for those looking to reap the benefits of medical marijuana. The pralines and gummy bears are available in flavors such as espresso-caramel-toffee and blood orange with candied hazelnut.

“It’s an elevated experience,” said Owens.

While adding THC, Owens said it really shouldn’t affect the taste of the candy.

“We use a concentrate called distillate that has been refined to such an extent that the taste is no longer there. And we add such a small amount. We add 100 milligrams to a chocolate bar. That’s half the volume of aspirin per bar, so not much, ”said Owens. “The other components, whether chocolate or the fruit in the chewing gum drops, all these other ingredients somehow overshadow anything that would be there to give a taste.”

But you don’t want to just devour them.

“You should keep something else just in case. If you have nothing but your only chocolate bar to eat, you could get into trouble very quickly, ”Owens said. “Start low and go slowly.”

The day we spoke to him, Owens was overseeing the candy bar packaging and preparing to ship the first Honeybee Edible orders to stores in South St. Louis County and Washington, Missouri. Owens was excited about the possibilities.

“We have a world-class team here right now and I’m really excited to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s fun to be part of a startup… it was great. It’s really fun to be at the start of this roller coaster. “

You can hear more about Abby Eats St. Louis’ interview with Dave Owens about Honeybee Edibles in the latest episode entitled “The Liveliest Chocolates in St. Louis”.

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