It was just after noon on a Thursday and the In-n-Out was packed as Carlos Cardenas of Dr. Green Thumb Farms, who handles promotions amongst many other things for Cali Sweets, pulled out two jars of Koko Nuggz and casually placed them on the table. Within a couple minutes we were approached by the manager on duty. “Ummm, excuse me,” he said. “I’m gonna have to ask you guys what’s going on here?” After the laughter subsided, I set him at ease. “That’s not what it looks like,” I explained. “Smell it, it’s chocolate.”
Simple misunderstandings like that happen every time Cardenas pulls this new product out in public. Koko Nuggz are pieces of Guittard gourmet chocolate, though they’re made and packaged to replicate a jar of massive buds, they have absolutely no THC, CDB, or any cannabinoids whatsoever. But convincing merchant vendors is something they’ve been battling with since before launching at the end of April.
“Instagram killed our account four times, they think it’s weed,” Cardenas said. “PayPal shut us down, I mean every single credit card authorization, everything. It took us an arm and a leg to basically get an account set up.”
Unlike most companies Cali Sweets had to mail or hand deliver their product to anyone they were looking to do business with like PayPal, Red stripe, and Apple. So many extra steps solely to prove they were legitimately selling 100 percent pure premium drug-free chocolate. Once given the chance to explain their product, the majority of places with the exception of PayPal allowed the merchant account to take place or be reinstated allowing Koko Nuggz founder Flo Storch’s vision to continue.
When she came up with the idea, she was originally looking for an “after session snack” one that would complement your high, not add to it. However, they opened the website at 11 p.m. and by 7 a.m. the following morning the company already had its first $250 in sales, it was without a doubt Koko Nuggz appealed to more than just the cannabis community. And just like that, the target market expanded to just about everyone worldwide, but there is a catch, the purchasers must be 18 years or older.
“Whaaat?” Is the reaction most people have the first time they see the jar of Koko Nuggz, what they don’t know is the “wow” and the “no way” comments should really be about how the product is made. Just like bud, a lot of love and care go into each jar. Cardenas and usually two others personally hand pack, seal and label each jar. “At the end of the day, that’s our name on the jar.” Everyone wants to know, “Are you gonna infuse THC into the nuggz?” Storch, B-Real, Kenji Fujishima and Cardenas quickly realized doing that limits their exposure. So they aren’t available at the local dispensaries, in fact, other than their website, you can only find the product in select smoke shops in Orange County and Los Angeles.
According to Cardenas so many people have expressed how overeager they are to “fuck with someone,” with this candy. Including a friend of his who tried his jokes on the police, let’s just say they didn’t find it funny. Koko Nuggz doesn’t encourage those things, their gourmet chocolate is a novelty for friends, family, co-workers, and etc. that is more than just for looks, the chocolate is delicious.
The nuggz are made with crisp rice to make them look more realistic and natural extracts to stay free from chemicals and at times add flavor. OG and Kush Berry are the only two flavors available right now, but the orange is almost ready. The plan is to add banana, strawberry banana, and a coffee or caramel flavor, but it doesn’t stop there. Like most candy Koko Nuggz will change colors with the holidays like orange and black for Halloween, pastel colors for Easter, pink and white for Valentines and red and green for Christmas. Cardenas also mentioned adding Koko Joints as well as Koko Blunts to the product line in the near future. “We’re gonna do everything that’s dealing with cannabis,” Cardenas said. “Anything that we can make that (Koko Nuggz), look like something real.”