Bottle up the Stigma

Normalizing Cannabis One Sip at a Time

by: Abby Read

Photos by: California Dreamin'

The folks over at California Dreamin’ think it’s time to get casual with cannabis, so much so that the family-operated cannabis soda company launched a “Parents Appreciation Week” yesterday geared toward challenging the stigma surrounding the plant.

Until November 25, customers who bring a parent into a participating California dispensary and purchase two bottles of California Dreamin’ will get their third bottle for a penny and a code for a free “I Got My [Mom/Dad/Parents] High” shirt. Available at dispensaries and via delivery in California, the sodas each contain 10 milligrams of THC and come in four flavors: Cranberry Apple, Pomegranate, Tangerine, and Grapefruit.

According to VP of Marketing Jonathan Bishop, the company’s goal is to make “having a cannabis soda is as easy as having a cocktail.” As a cannabis novice, I scoffed at the ideas of trying any soda other than Diet Coke and having my mother actually accompany me to a dispensary. After chatting with Bishop, however, my perspective shifted: It soon became apparent that I was one of the people with a stigmatized impression of cannabis that Parents Appreciation Week was targeting as they work to make casual or inexperienced cannabis users feel more comfortable inside dispensaries.

Bishop says that because baby boomers “are the most interested and cautious group of [cannabis] buyers, [the company] wanted to create an event” tailored specifically to older adults. To help products like California Dreamin’ permeate the mainstream market, he believes dispensaries need to shift away from marketing to the “heavy user” and focus more on the “light user” who is not necessarily consuming cannabis every day but who would be interested in more conventional products, like soda, that also contain cannabis.

Those trying California Dreamin’ for the first time, Bishop advises, should drink just half of the soda and gauge how they feel after about 20 minutes. He also assures me their product is different from most edibles, which often have a “dosage [that’s] hard to measure and inconsistent.” Each bottle of California Dreamin’ is individually dosed to assure quality control, and their effects can be felt much more quickly than the standard edible, making overconsumption less likely.

For more information on California Dreamin’, visit

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