Cannabis.net got to sit down and discuss smoking herbs, but not the ones we usually talk about on this site. Herbal smokes blends are a unique blend of non-cannabis based plants that you can roll up and smoke. Have you triend smoking dried oranges or lemons? Meo Marley is the industry leader in herbal smoke blends and was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss why someone would smoke dried oranges and lemons, and what are the benefits? So, let’s roll some dried blueburries and lemons and get to it!
You sell smokable flowers, but not hemp, cannabis, or marijuana, right? What other flowers can you smoke?
In essence yes, our main line of products are what we call Herbal Smoking Blends and are entirely free of active compounds like CBD, THC and Nicotine, but we aren’t limited to flowers! Our company’s mission is to contribute heavily in eliminating the usage of tobacco without sacrificing the enjoyment of smoking.
Each recipe of smokables that we create and manufacture are made from Organic dried herbs, flowers and aromatics that we carefully source from certified suppliers. We even ran a limited edition last summer that used dried orange, lemon and lime zests in small quantities for an incredibly fragrant blend.
For the uninitiated, we like to illustrate our products as being the equivalent of what Tonic is to Gin, but for cannabis. While some aficionados might enjoy tasting every subtle flavors of the gin by drinking it straight (or the quick release effect of shooting it down!), most consumers prefer diluting it down and sipping it to reduce the harshness and control the physical effects of the active compound. We apply the same core principles of having our blends be complementary to the various terpenes that can be smoked without overwhelming them, allowing different types of consumers to appreciate each of our blends for different reasons.
How did you first get interested in selling smokable flowers that were not cannabis based?
We first got introduced to herbal smoking blends through a friend of ours with whom we shared a spliff at a party in 2019. At that point in time, we used to buy three to four packs of cigarettes per month to mix with our weed but we never actually smoked a cigarette in our lives! Needless to say, with all the anti-tobacco education we’ve received since our youth, we felt it was ridiculous to keep ingesting such a toxic substance for no real reason other than to have a filler to roll our weed.
We switched to using herbal blends as rolling filler from tobacco, cold turkey, after 10 years of diligently using it as rolling filler (I blame my French friends from university for introducing me to this nasty technique!). We realized how much better it was in terms of taste, mouthfeel and of course our budget, allowing us to save over 50$ every month from that point on.
When COVID hit, our favorite smoke shop where we bought our supply closed down and no online alternative seemed viable for us to source smoking blends. They were either way overpriced or the businesses looked sketchy by not providing good payment methods, product information, or a legitimate production method, so we decided to blend our own and give some samples to our stoner friends for their birthdays and it was a MASSIVE hit.
From that point we received messages constantly from friends of friends asking us to sell them some blends, and that gave us the idea to build a business that leveraged our background in the Food & Beverage industry to create awesome tasting recipes and that would include our values of focusing on sustainability at every single step of the business processes.
Who is Marley, the company mascot?
It’s actually Meo Marley, and he’s our (the two founders) ridiculously adorable French Bulldog !
We decided to have our direct-to-consumer brand oriented around him as a pragmatic approach to three challenges as a startup with limited budget and reputation.
First, we both hate being in the spotlight, so creating an “entrepreneur-life” brand oriented around us was out of the question because that would require us to actually step in front of the camera for our social media platforms, and most probably act out to “fake it before we make it” and that was completely out of the question for our values.
Secondly, and most importantly, Meo is an absolute goofball who is always open to be on camera for ridiculous scenarios which makes him the perfect vehicle for the friendly sociable stoner persona we wanted our brand to give off and characterize our different blends.
Finally, we just LOVE Meo but really didn’t want to turn into the annoying parents constantly posting just pictures of their dogs on social media, so creating a brand around his persona made it easy for us to shamelessly document and publish every silly situation he’s in without flooding our personal accounts and making us look crazy.
Are there any restrictions on selling or shipping your flowers and products?
We wouldn’t call them restrictions, but rather guidelines to respect depending on the market in which we sell our products. As of now, we have distribution channels in Canada, the US and Mexico, and each country has different minimum age requirements, packaging requirements as well as health & safety requirements for the production processes.
The product itself is in a weird grey-area category in Canada and the U.S. as all our recipes can be smoked but can also be infused in hot water and mixed with a bit of lemon and honey for a delicious natural sipping beverage. It’s a mix in between the beverage industry (like tea) and the “herbal cigarettes” category for which there is very limited information available.
The big element being restrictive for these products is very much so regarding the promotion and marketing than the actual products themselves from regulatory bodies. We’ll touch on these issues in a bit more detail in the next section, but basically pretty much every single brand other than ourselves currently have major liability issues relative to the way they communicate the “benefits” of their products.
As for ourselves, we understood even before launching the project that anything that can be smoked is a risky industry to be in with what we now know about health & wellness. Considering that, we took the means to consult and retain the services of specialists to validate every move we made, including a herborist, lawyer, and a chemical engineer with a rich background in the pharmaceutical and cannabis industries. We even put in place extensive quality control processes totaling several hundred pages that are usually only required of massive businesses along with specialized (and expensive!) insurance policies to guarantee our wholesalers, dropshippers and retailers that we took all the necessary steps to limit their risk as much as humanly possible in carrying our products.
What are some of the benefits of smoking your herbal blends?
We can divide the benefits of our products under three categories : physical, financial and gustatory.
In terms of physical benefits, it is our commitment for our business to never become “snake oil salesmen” and tell consumers that our products can help them for their body or mind in any way whatsoever because that is simply not true. While every herb we use like Damiana, Molene or Raspberry Leaves has a rich history in natural healing throughout various cultures in the world, from tinctures to oils to even smoking, there is absolutely no objective, peer-reviewed scientific data that suggest smoking our herbs (or anything really) can be good for your body. We’ve scoured paid scientific publishings, university databases and publicly available information and the consensus is easy to understand and very well resumed by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Warning : “Herbal cigarettes are dangerous to your health. They produce tar and carbon monoxide.”. By taking a quick look at pretty much every other brand of smoking herbal blends on the market, you’ll quickly realize they don’t comply with this one simple rule and most of them double-down by saying smoking their products can help your lungs, reduce heart disease risk and other completely improbable (and unproven) advantages.
In terms of financial benefits, it is undoubtedly where our products shine. If people used to smoke with tobacco, they can expect to save anywhere from 20$ to 30$ by switching to 1oz of Meo Marley’s Herbal Smoking Blends. For heavy smokers like some of our current customers, that can mean monthly savings of anywhere from 60$ to 90$. If people didn’t use to smoke with tobacco and just want to start “diluting” their cannabis products, economies go even higher (get it?!). For example, some of our early adopters smoking 6-8 joints a day now smoke just as many spliffs with Meo Marley’s and their monthly orders went from 3 oz a month to half what it was, saving them almost 200$ on a monthly basis without smoking any less than they used to.
Finally, our products’ flavor and aroma can help balance out some overwhelming aspects of cannabis for new smokers to veteran smokers alike. With 3 levels of intensity, smokers can pair each of our blends with the type of product they’re smoking. Your bud is too dry and is just gonna burn super quickly when lit because it’s now almost to a powder texture? Add some Meo Marley’s OG Blend and mix it up to get a slow controlled burn and have no added taste! It’s cold outside and you wanna smoke inside your house / apartment but don’t want the place to smell like skunk? Add some Meo Marley’s Zen Blend and you’ll get a peppery aroma akin to incense instead! Your weed has overwhelming flavors and burns your throat when you inhale? Add some Meo Marley’s Potpourri Blend to soothe the burning sensation and get a nice subtle aftertaste of sour red berries (or red SweetTarts!)!
If you don’t know where to start, we recommend trying out our Starter Pack with all our full sized herbal blends and our hemp-based sustainable supplies, we’ll throw in free express shipping so you can try it out quickly!
What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self about this business, or something you wish you knew a few years ago that you now know?
There’s a lot of sweet talkers that will guarantee you results in this industry, but quite few hard workers that are reliable and absolutely no magic solution outside of hard work and determination that will catapult your brand from zero to hero. From predatory marketing agencies, to “influencers” and enthusiastic resellers, a lot of people hype their services and ask for big bucks but very few actually have a good work ethic and fully earn the amount they’re asking for. For a startup with limited financial resources, a series of bad marketing investments can drain the cash flow and dramatically slow the growth of the business, and I’m not ashamed to say if I had done better due diligence in our first few months Meo Marley’s would already be quite a bit ahead of where we are at the moment.
Are there any future products you are working on with the legal flowers you are using now? Edibles, oils?
Not one, but many! There are two directions our business is currently branching out to :
First, we want to expand our smokables department by partnering with sustainability oriented growers that share our values in the hemp and CBD industry and combine our respective expertise to create unique consumer centric products. We can’t ruin the surprise because it’s still in talks, but we’ve been referred to an incredible entrepreneur in Colorado with whom we’re very excited to be working with in the coming months.
As a second growth vector, we are currently collaborating with a variety of local artisans in Canada to design, develop and manufacture a wide array of eco-friendly smoking accessories and supplies. We already carry 100% unbleached hemp & soy ink rolling papers and pre-cut filter cards and custom packaging on our website and we’ll be adding innovative new takes on well known product categories at every quarter for the next year or two.
What piece of advice would you give someone just starting out now in the hemp or cannabis space?
Read. A LOT. The legal hemp/cannabis industry is relatively new but already extremely rich in the quantity and variety of content available and there is a lot of conflicting information with no actual industry standard. The legal context changes from country to country, state to state and even down to the municipal level in certain cases. What that means is some products can be advertised in X way on a certain market but not in another, can be sold in X format in one market but needs additional information for another, and that can require significant costs for a manufacturing company like ours.
And we’re not even addressing the advertising challenges in both traditional and digital media marketplaces that vary wildly in guidelines and prices from one platform to another. The industry is supported by huge multi-million dollar cannabis companies that can afford to throw money out the window and cranks up the prices to unsustainable levels for startups that aren’t backed by venture capital or willing to risk massive sums of money with no guarantee or results to get their business off the ground.
What is the best way for people to contact you, social media, email?
We’re very active on our Instagram page (@meomarleys) for everything related to partnerships, collaborations, giveaways, promotions or just stoner small talk.
Otherwise for businesses to contact us for wholesale or dropshipping or for media inquiries, they can talk directly to one of our friendly sales executive by emailing us at [email protected]. We offer a wide variety of services for businesses of all types and sizes, from helping them develop their own brand of smokables under their own banner (White Label) using our easy to fill label templates, create unique recipes for their brand or even our logistics services for businesses with limited space where we take care of warehousing and shipping orders for them!
How can people order, and do you have any specials or coupon codes they can try out?
We currently have a 25% off promo until April 1st AND offer every single customer a 15% discount off their first order by using the code #goodboi (case-sensitive) at checkout on our website (meomarleys.com).
We offer a single fee at the low-cost of 7.99$ for express shipping anywhere to Canada and the U.S. AND offer free shipping for any order over 50$.
For any custom labeling order, custom recipes or custom packaging request, we have very interesting wholesale pricing in our catalog that we can send by contacting [email protected]
Thanks Meo Marley, can’t wait to try some of your blended herbs!