CEO and Co-Founder
When medical marijuana sales began in Arizona back in December 2012, you would typically see flower, pre-rolls and an assortment of pre-packaged gummies lining dispensary shelves. Despite the diversity of patients and their medical needs, those who couldn’t — or wouldn’t — smoke were turning to preservative-laden, shelf-stable sugary treats.
This prompted us to approach the state of Arizona to find an alternative that could bridge the gap, while still abiding by regulations.
We were able to bridge this gap by pioneering the nation’s first-of-its-kind cannabis kitchen inside our flagship dispensary in Guadalupe, Arizona, in 2018. Envisioned as part of the dispensary’s renovation and expansion plans, the 1,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, known as the Mint Café, was designed to give patients access to freshly prepared, cannabis-infused meals created by professionally trained chefs.
Our café’s culinary team used their knowledge of food and nutrition to help patients in their search for fresh, healthy snacks and infused meals. Ranging from 10 milligrams of THC and up, entrees — including artisan burgers, pastas, pizza, wings and other delicious cannabis-infused meals — are all ordered to-go, for home consumption. A wide selection of baked goods and pastries straight from the oven — including muffins, fritters, donuts, bars, scones and breads — make up the breakfast and snack menu. We also serve vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
A huge influx of patients, from those battling cancer and epilepsy to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, have sought out access to our freshly prepared, cannabis-infused foods. This drove us to broaden our offerings, creating seasonal items and eventually expanding to offer heat-and-serve holiday dinners, wedding cakes and other catered meals.
During the pandemic, when most businesses shut down, we doubled down on our efforts by introducing online ordering, a new drive-thru and even a new line of signature hot sauces.
While the café’s sales have been on an upward trajectory since its inception, Arizona’s Proposition 207, which made recreational marijuana legal as of January 22, 2021, created a substantial uptick in sales. In fact, our cannabis kitchen sales have grown 300% during the past year.
The interest in the Mint’s freshly prepared, cannabis-infused foods continues to grow and mirrors industry-wide developments, including the soaring popularity of cannabis parties, restaurants and even hotels. According to Allied Market Research, in 2018, the cannabis food and beverage market nationwide was valued at $427 million. By 2026, it will reach more than $2.6 billion.
As our industry continues to evolve at an exponential rate, it’s important that we all rise to the challenge. It all started by identifying a significant, unmet need of patients who were regularly visiting the dispensary. Today, it’s time to redefine the infused foods category, while prioritizing accessibility, increasing choices and revolutionizing the customer experience.