Cannabis patients who like Bhang chocolate bars
should grab them at Arizona dispensaries while they still can.
The popular THC-infused candy bars are in short supply, and it will likely be months before they're back in the state.
Winner of national awards
and the 2015 Best of Phoenix for edibles
, the Kit Kat-sized bars come in numerous flavors
and usually score high ratings
with medical-marijuana patients and cannabis aficionados.
They can be found in most metro Phoenix dispensaries.
But not for long.
Harvest of Arizona
is the state-authorized dispensary that makes and sells the bars
, and distributes them to other Arizona dispensaries. The company has opted out of its license with Bhang, the California company that owns the recipe and provides the high-quality chocolate for the line of products.
The supply has already run out in several dispensaries. Once they're all gone, that's it for now.
Jamie Pearson, Bhang director of operations, said the company hopes to find a new licensee to distribute the products by the end of the year.
"That's our goal," Pearson said. "It takes a unique partner to get it right."
Steve White, Harvest CEO
Harvest of Arizona
Because of the federal prohibition on cannabis, Bhang doesn't ship the medicated candy across state lines with cannabis already inside. The company makes chocolate under the supervision of owner Scott Van Rixel, then offers a quality-control service that guides licensees in how to make the products and ensure they are similar in consistency and quality wherever they're sold.
"You have to partner with somebody who will make it clean, safe, and test for pesticides," Pearson said.
Harvest has chosen to dedicate its supplies of hash oil, the sticky, concentrated resin extracted from cannabis, for its own line of Dream Steam vape-pen cartridges, Harvest CEO Steve White said.
White said his dispensaries will definitely carry the products when they return under a new licensee.
The loss of the lucrative Arizona contract isn't the only problem Bhang is facing.
Bhang still hasn't paid a $1.9 million court judgment to its former financial backer, Mentor Capitol, that was handed down by a California judge in December. The delay has resulted in another $154,000 in interest charges, according to Mentor's most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
But Bhang has found wide success among patients and customers, and will likely survive.
"Those have always been my favorite edible," wrote a YouTube user two weeks ago in response to a video review
of Bhang bars. "One of the few that can really get me properly medicated given my tolerance and the milk and dark chocolate flavors taste entirely weed-free.?"
Pearson said that Bhang still has partners in nine other states that sell the chocolates legally, and has license deals pending in Uruguay and Puerto Rico.
The company also makes a line of gum, sprays, and vape cartridges that, like the chocolate bars, are infused with THC in states where medical- or adult-use-cannabis is legal.
Also this week, Dixie Elixirs
brands announced they're leaving Arizona, too. Marijuana Business Daily reported
that the company hopes to return to the state at some point.
(CORRECTION — This article previously named someone as Scott Van Rixel's wife. That info was not correct and has been removed from this article's text.