Siblings Roberta Wilson and Jeff Koz never planned to get into the cannabis business, but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
Wilson and Koz’s edibles brand, Dr. Norm’s, started as an offshoot of Wilson’s non-medicated cookie company, Audrey’s, named after their mother. With the addition of cannabis to their mom’s cookie recipes and plenty of hustle, the duo made their mark in California’s early medical marijuana market and quickly transitioned to the state’s booming adult-use industry.
True to its familial roots, Dr. Norms is named after Koz and Wilson’s father, who worked for years as a Los Angeles physician. Interested in more than just baking cookies with cannabis, in 2018, Dr. Norms expanded into the hemp-CBD wellness market following the legalization of low-THC hemp products in the U.S. Farm Bill.
“Audrey’s Cookies honored our mom and her amazing healing ways through pharmacology and cookies and Dr. Norm’s honors our dad, who was an old school medical practitioner with generations of families as patients,” Wilson told Cannabis Now. “We literally use our mom’s recipe for our flagship chocolate chip cookie.”
Keeping in line with both of their parents’ past work in healthcare, the siblings behind Dr. Norm’s are carrying the patient-first mindset that made them successful in the medical marijuana market to the adult-use and CBD industries. With a focus on precise dosing, close-knit customer relations, and of course, great-tasting baked goods, Wilson and Koz have shaped their edibles brand in their parents’ image.
“A doctor wouldn’t say, ‘take however many Tylenol you think is right,’” Koz added. “Consumers understood proper dosing with medicine and with alcohol – and Dr. Norm’s wanted to do the same for cannabis.”
With streamlined manufacturing and distribution, access to high-quality cannabis distillates and a growing customer base, the Dr. Norms team has been able to expand their horizons beyond baked goods and into philanthropy.
Just one year transitioning into the hemp-CBD wellness market, Dr. Norm’s partnered with Cannabis Now and anti-poaching nonprofit, The Elephant Cooperation, to start a new charitable endeavor called Project Bake. With the assistance of the Kenya-based Elephant Cooperation, Project Bake will help fund the Vinmark Bakery and Amson Education Centre, located in the Mathare area of Nairobi, Kenya.
“Dr. Norms is one of the top brands in the edibles space,” said Eugenio Garcia, Publisher and Founder of Cannabis Now Magazine. “Their commitment to community and quality made them the perfect partner to not only provide a tasty new product, but to do some good for others at the same time.”
To help support the initiative, Dr. Norm’s and Cannabis Now released a brand new Pecan Shortbread cookie in Project Bake-branded packaging in both THC and hemp-CBD varieties. A portion of every sale goes towards Project Bake.
Vinmark Bakery and the Amson Education Centre currently serve 281 students in Mathare. Through a close symbiotic relationship, the bakery feeds the children and uses profits from community sales to support and supply the school. With additional financial injections from Project Bake, Vinmark will be able to upgrade their facilities and install new baking equipment that will hopefully create more efficiency and ramp up profits. This will lead to more opportunities for new infrastructure and instruction expansion for the children at the primary school.
Wilson and Koz are already laying the groundwork for a visit to Mathare. The plan is to deliver the Project Bake funds by hand, share some of their family cookie recipes, and with luck, pick up a few baking pointers of their own.
“The idea was to earmark funds from the sales of this cookie to help refurbish the [Vinmark Bakery’s] kitchen,” Koz said. “Our hope is to go down there for a visit, bring them a nice check, and share each other’s baking secrets. We want to help them create a sustainable revenue model for their area.”
You can find the Dr. Norm’s and Cannabis Now Project Bake THC cookies at licensed dispensaries across California. You can also order the equally delicious CBD version in all 50 states from the company’s direct-to-consumer website, Dr. Norm’s CBD.