Former cop’s new Colorado fake pot brownie company takes off on marijuana theme

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Dispatches from the Highlands

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May 22, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Greg Morrison was in law enforcement 37 years – as detective, assistant sheriff and police chief. Now he’s got a new profession: owner of Totally High Country Brownies Inc. His products include Mary Jane Plain, Cheeba Creme Brulee, Acapulco Gold Almond, and Alice B. Toklas Toffee. They are selling like hotcakes – well, weed – to friends, customers and even old buddies in law enforcement. But it’s not what you might think.

They are 100 percent THC- and cannabis-free. There’s not a flake of marijuana in the products. “It started out as a joke,” he said from his home in Grand Junction. After serving as police chief in towns including Silverthorne, Vail and Grand Junction, Morrison retired and worked for a Dallas-based electronics company until it was sold in March. He was on the road five days a week, and everywhere he went people kidded him about being from Colorado, which in January became the first state to legally sell recreational marijuana.

“Whenever I said I was from Colorado, the subject came up,” he says. Even at the electronic company’s corporate headquarters he was razzed. “It got so bad I thought of buying some brownies at a King Soopers and sprinkling oregano on them, and taking them to the office. But I didn’t.” Instead the wheels of commerce started spinning in his head. He visited gifts shops and noticed that tourists and even locals were hot on Colorado products with a punch line: moose poop chocolate, snowman candy droppings, T-shirts with marijuana leaves imprinted on the Colorado flag.

“I thought the brownies would be a good niche market,” he said. He started his business in June, and contracted with a commercial kitchen that creates rich premium brownies. He started selling them a couple of weeks ago. He brainstormed brownie names with friends who were of that 1960s hippie age. They needed a cute name to go with the Creme Brulee and were stumped. “My friends began calling their college-age kids. One said, ‘Mom, why are you asking me so much about marijuana?'” The younger generation came up with cheeba, a modern nickname for weed. The generational gap showed up in another way. None of the kids knew what the brownie named Alice B. Toklas Toffee meant. (A companion of writer Gertrude Stein, Toklas was well-known for her cookbook that had a recipe for marijuana fudge.)

The initials in Totally High Country Brownies equals THC, a reference to the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high. His company motto is “Baked in Colorado.” Morrison has had such fun with the double meanings, that he bought a Volkswagen van that he tricked out with a sign emblazoned with a Colorado flag and the words Got THC Brownies. Look closer and there’s another sign that shows a marijuana leaf crossed out. “I wanted people to know there was no marijuana in the brownies, or the bus. I didn’t want to get robbed or broken into.”

By the way, his bus is named “Bud.” Morrison said he has never tried marijuana because he got into law enforcement at age 19. At four brownies for about $8, Morrison’s 21/2 ounce goodies are cheaper than weed. High-quality marijuana in some Colorado shops is going for $237 to $450 an ounce. The cost of a single infused brownie can be $11.

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