Sonoma company destigmatizing cannabis one chocolate at a time

Emerald Report

Heather Irwin

Sitting in front of a locked warehouse, Siri has led me a mile down a lonely dirt road that’s got more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese. We’ve already blown past several angry looking No Trespassing signs and a squirrel clearly irritated by the intrusion.

Pulling up to a rusty building surrounded by dangerous-looking farm implements Siri chirps: “You have arrived at your destination!” I’ve already established that it’s doubtful we’re at the cannabis-focused garden party I’m looking for. No sane woman is climbing over a broken tiller in heels and a sundress. Even for marijuana-infused chocolate.

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Seeking out an invite-only gathering hosted by Garden Society CEO Erin Gore takes a bit of perseverance for a first-timer. Held at a private home (Siri finally found it after some backtracking) the cannabis-focused gal-gathering is somewhere between a Tupperware party and a speakeasy–a convivial show and tell with a wink-wink covertness.

Aimed at women who are seeking relief from both everyday stresses and deeper discomfort associated with chronic pain and aging, Gore’s Santa Rosa-based marijuana edibles company uses social gatherings like this to both inform and engage a growing audience of cannabis users.

According to a recent study by Eaze.com, women are one of the fastest growing demographics of cannabis users, including large numbers of parents and seniors. “The data shows women are turning to cannabis to reduce or replace their consumption of alcohol, prescription opiates, and antidepressants,” said the study.

“Women are looking for an alternative to pharmaceuticals,” said Gore, who first used cannabis to manage pain after several hip surgeries. She was reintroduced after years of international travel and jet lag left her feeling exhausted and sick, but found that many of the high-THC products in dispensaries were too strong. Instead, she threw parties for girlfriends where they baked homemade cannabis edibles.

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From sleeplessness and anxiety to arthritis and back pain, Garden Society’s low-dose organic confections are aimed at functional relief rather than epic inebriation. Their Bliss Blossoms are handmade organic chocolates infused with cannabis oil containing 10 mg of THC per piece and are recommended for relaxation. Bright Blooms are organic fruit and herb gelees that contain 5mg of THC per piece that utilize a more uplifting cannabis strain.