Uncle Ike arranged for me to visit Botanica Seattle so I showed up and asked if I could shoot a video. Taking pot shop journalism to the next level! My new low end GoPro camera had arrived the day before – and where better to test it than in a factory that produces marijuana chocolate and cookies?
“Sure,” said Lena. So off we went to tour their new 12,000 square foot warehouse being set up behind the current space. My video would become obsolete quickly. Botanica Seattle – the maker of Spot brand cannabis edibles – grew out of their first space in a matter of months!
The euphoria and rapid growth and creativity … the audacity. It reminds me of the Seattle dotcom boom/bubble of the late 90s. Except this time the start-ups are actually making money right off the bat – and producing actual products and not just digital trash. Just wait until the Federales ease up on pot and companies like Botanica Seattle start going public.
“You should be able to come see the full-meal-deal in the new space in two months,” according to Lena. “Build-outs and relocations are always a big process, but the convenience of being next door is pretty tremendous. The new space will be fully operational by mid-July, which will be a game changer for our production and fulfillment crew.”
Botanica is in the “Green Mile” district of Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. Lena told me “the original city zoning blocks made it pretty clear that South of the stadiums was going to be where the majority of Seattle producer/processors would set up camp. We’ve got a number of big operations within a stones throw of our front door. Funny thing is, we are all so busy we haven’t yet had the neighborhood picnic. It’s an interesting time to be both comrades in a new industry and competitors in a new market.”
I spent less than an hour at Botanica Seattle shooting some video and then a couple more hours editing. The audio is terrible – you can hear our parakeets in the voiceover, and the canned music is generic public domain junk. I forgot to bring a tripod, and the Uncle Ike’s title at the end was made by filming Adobe Photoshop off of a computer screen. Note to self: famous pot shop writers need to get a new Mac and the latest version of Adobe Premiere.
If I’m invited back to the new Botanica space when they’re up and running look for me to make the greatest chocolate factory movie since … well, you know. And with that, I promise to never again refer to that 1971 movie, which is based on a children’s book of the same name from 1964, when writing about the production of cannabis edibles.
They were decarboxylating buds when I was there. The resulting browned butter smell was incredible. It was chocolate production day too. Heaven.
I have fond memories of smelling fresh baked bread wafting out of an industrial bakery. The Franz bakery, on Sixth Avenue South. Not too far from Botanica Seattle. That scene in Bright Lights Big City (1984) where the yuppie, after a night of partying, gets a whiff of fresh bread from a passing truck? Same thing. But after smelling pounds of marijuana being heated and whipped in chocolate that boring old bread smell seems … so 80s.
Botanica uses cannabis oils and tinctures for some of their products. They have “a modest in-house ethanol extraction process. We source the bulk of our oil from outside our company – especially for specialized products like the CBD chocolates.”
They were having a marketing meeting when I was there. Platters of what looked like cut up green licorice were on a table. One can imagine that marketing people working on computer widgets or apps or the latest brand of detergent are not having quite as much fun as these folks.
So what’s in store for the future, besides massive growth? It’s pretty obvious that new products are on the way. “Product development is a core driver for our company,” Lena told me. “We have several new lines to be released over the next few months. We’ll be moving in to some new spaces – a few brands outside of the edible category altogether. Our benchmark for brand quality is high. Botanica Seattle’s founder, Tim Moxey, is a true innovator when it comes to brand creation. From initial recipe to production and packaging design, we’ve got a great team working every angle of product and brand development.”
It is against the law for cannabis processors to give samples, other than to retail stores (Uncle Ike gets free samples from processors – all the shops do). So I bought a couple of 25 mg Spot brownies. One indica and one sativa. Ate them both after a meal, then went on an adventure. The results? Let’s just say that Seattle is a great town. Real great. And I never even left the house!