The legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan has been a long time coming for Keef Brands, a Colorado-based cannabis beverage company.
Proposal 1, to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, has only been in the books for a short while, but Keef founder and CEO Erik Knutson said his company has been eyeing Michigan as a prospective market since December 2017, and the company was given clearance to operate medically in the state in August 2018, just a few months before the midterm elections.
Keef has a full line of 10-100 milligram THC-infused sodas and sparkling waters, as well as some stronger formulations called Keef Life (100 mg) and Keef Shots (300 mg) available as of this month.
More notably, Keef partnered with CERIA Brewing Company in Colorado to produce Grainwave, a nonalcoholic Belgian-style white ale infused with 5 milligrams of THC.
CERIA does have plans to expand into Michigan, but because of various moratoria on recreational use enacted by local governments, the rollout has been slow, so Keef is uncertain when Michigan will see its first THC-infused beer on store shelves.
Keef’s regular lineup of products, including drinks and vape pens, still are available in Michigan under the medical designation. While the establishment of recreational cannabis businesses remains locked in a stalemate, Keef’s sodas and sparkling waters surf the line between medical and recreational use, Knutson said.
“They work in both markets,” Knutson said. “They are allowed under medical rule. The beer definitely is further on the scale.”
Knutson said patients with chronic illnesses tend to enjoy drinks more because they’re easier to consume than edibles.
As for the recreational benefits of cannabis drinks, Knutson said liquid delivery often results in a faster onset and decreased duration as opposed to consuming edibles.
After Proposal 1 passed statewide in November,