In the case of marijuana entrepreneurs Katina Morales and Michael Garcia, the result is an entirely new type of infused edible: Betty Khronic energy bars are healthier alternatives to the sugary junk foods that are staples of most cannabis kitchens.
Betty Khronic was born in Morales’ home kitchen in downtown Los Angeles, while she was training for the 2015 Boston Marathon. As an athlete, Morales was searching for an all-natural way to relieve aching muscles.
Meanwhile, Garcia had launched a raw, vegan energy bar company while attending the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. When the two young entrepreneurs met at a cannabis business conference, the synergy of mutual interests propelled the company forward.
Betty Khronic has grown rapidly since its January launch, the co-founders say, but success in any business is a marathon, not a sprint.
“The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a young entrepreneur in the cannabis industry is finding a mentor,” says Garcia, who served 12 years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college. “It’s difficult to find leaders in this industry who will take you under their wing and help guide you through the many obstacles you face running a cannabis startup.”
Morales says she has faced more challenges in the cannabis industry than any other field she’s worked. As a Latina participating in an industry largely dominated by white men, “I have found it difficult to be taken seriously as a business owner based on both my ethnicity and gender,” she says.
But despite an uphill battle, Garcia and Morales remain committed to eliminating the negative stigma and inaccurate stereotypes associated with cannabis use.
“We’re excited that California finally passed regulations such as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, and we’re hopeful that the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA) will pass this November,” Morales says. “These new policies will add more credibility to our industry and it gives us a handbook on how to legally do business within our state. We have already taken steps to implement our food operations to be coherent with the new law, such as lab-testing all of our products and purchasing our ingredients from certified food suppliers.”
Betty Khronic energy bars contain no artificial ingredients, preservatives or added sugar. They are vegan, gluten-free, caffeine-free, GMO-free and made with only organic, raw ingredients such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cacao, dates, and charged with cold-pressed, cannabis-infused coconut oil.
“The key to success for Betty Khronic is that we created a product that is not only healthy, but also tastes delicious,” Morales says. “And what makes our product unique is that it is 100% plant-based. The entire product is made in-house from locally-sourced, organic ingredients and our sativa-infused cannabis coconut oil is hand-extracted using a non-toxic process.”