Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson, Co-owners of Cann Social Tonics, Have the Best-Selling THC Beverage in the Country
For many of us, there comes a time in our lives when social drinking becomes more burdensome than fun. Sure, the beers, glasses of wine, and cocktails make for a fun time out with friends on weekends. But that usually results in a bad night’s sleep, hangover, tiredness, and decreased cognitive performance the next day.
But what if you could drink a mildly intoxicating, social beverage that didn’t result in a hangover?
That was the idea that Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson had when they became friends working for a management consulting company in San Francisco in 2013. The big idea: THC-infused tonics for a light buzz without the hangover.
That brilliant idea blossomed into Cann Social Tonics, which was recently the best-selling THC beverage in the United States, surpassing 10 million cans sold by the end of 2022. Not only are beverages one of the hottest-selling forms of cannabis, but they’re also the fastest-growing segment by a long shot. With more states legalizing the use of marijuana each year, Cann is positioned to keep growing fast for the foreseeable future.
For Bullock and Anderson, who both identify as queer, social drinking was something they knew played an important role in the LGTBQ+ community. “It comes from our experiences in the early days when we were struggling with identity,” Bullock said in an interview with MedMen. “Then you fully come out and find that the community that you’ve come out to is also alcohol-charged… it’s a really different world.”
It wasn’t until a couple of years after they met that Bullock and Anderson decided they had had enough of the social drinking aspect of their lives. Not only did they feel alcohol was holding back their potential, but it wasn’t making them feel their best selves mentally or physically. That’s when their focus turned to an alternative social lubricant to alcohol.
Being from Colorado, Bullock knew about legalized weed and its potential in the market. Anderson, on the other hand, came from Massachusetts, where a college trip on an edible brownie was his sole experience with the substance. Both, however, knew that options for lighter, low-THC infused products were scarce, and that’s when a plan started to take shape: microdosing cannabis.
With the experience the two had gained at the consultancy, they started to search for ingredients to create a THC-infused beverage that would appeal to all demographics, including non-marijuana users.
Consisting of only 4 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC, Bullock and Anderson eventually landed on their first three flavors: grapefruit rosemary, blood orange cardamom, and lemon lavender.
An excellent product combined with clever and appealing marketing quickly made Cann a household name in the rising cannabis beverage industry. Causing a stir and making headlines in major publications, Cann Social Tonics went mainstream when the New York Times did a feature on cannabis drinks. The only problem with the publicity was that cannabis drinks were put on the spot about their safety to the public.
Bullock and Anderson quickly defended their product by posting an article on Medium and answering questions on one news program. “There are so many different types of cannabis beverages,” Anderson told Yahoo! Finance. “Canned is the lowest dosage on the market with 2 milligrams of THC. It’s a product that has a similar intensity to light beer or a glass of wine.”
The problem, Anderson added, is that there are also 100-milligram THC beverages that would be too dangerous for an uninitiated consumer. But because the THC beverage category is so new, all the different drink levels get lumped into the same category. Some people even consider CBD, which doesn’t have an intoxicating effect, belongs in the same category as THC.
To Bullock’s and Anderson’s point, it would be like putting 100-proof alcohol in the same category as a light beer. To the experienced THC user, the difference is clear. But to the person that’s never tried THC products or been to a dispensary, it’s not so obvious. The potential first-time user might be scared off by the possibility of getting “too high,” which is not a sociable state.
Despite the confusion surrounding THC levels in cannabis beverages, Cann is catching fire. The overall cannabis market last year grew by 30%, while cannabis beverages grew by 50%. But for Cann, they grew by 150% in that same 12-month period.
Why is Cann thriving compared to its competition? “I think it’s because we’re attacking the mainstream consumer,” Anderson told Yahoo! Finance. “80% of adults want to drink less alcohol. We’re the only product on the market that’s safe enough for someone trading alcohol for a cannabis beverage to consume without fear of being too intoxicated. So it’s a real category expander.”
The challenging part for Cann is that state laws make it exponentially more difficult to operate. The company has to build a manufacturing facility in each state they sell to.
That means they can’t just move across state lines when Cann decides to expand from California to Nevada. Even the packaging has to look different because of local regulations.
Despite that, no rules or regulations can dissuade people from investing in Cann Social Tonics. Bullock and Anderson now have over 35 celebrity endorsements that span different ages, genders, and sexualities. From Gwyneth Paltrow to Adam Devine, Rosario Dawson, Kate Hudson, Baron Davis, and Rebel Wilson, there’s no shortage of actors, musicians, athletes, and more that want to ride the THC and CBD-infused beverage train.
It’s pretty easy to see why there’s an army of believers and investors in this duo’s product—because Cann finally offers a way to be healthy while still wanting to have a little fun.
TROORA MAGAZINE | MAY 2023
WRITTEN BY KEVIN JAMES JEFFERY
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CANN VIA MADMEN | EMJAY | MEDIUM