David Bronner’s family business is a cannabis business. It always was, even through the worst of cannabis prohibition.
The Bronners are famous the world over for soap, made special with a particular magic ingredient. You know them because of David Bronner’s grandfather, one Emanuel Bronner. Emanuel Bronner was a bit of an eccentric. He believed soaps containing hemp oil — rich in omega-3 fatty acids that aid lathering without drying out the skin — were powerful and awesome enough to qualify as “magic soap.”
Thus the world came to have Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and between their indisputable quality and their famously verbose label extolling the worldview of their creator, these soaps are the bath item every crunchy household cannot live, bathe or mop the floors without.
But in the following decades, as the soap’s magic ingredient became a banned substance, David Bronner became an activist as well as an extraordinarily successful businessman. And now that legalization is on the rise, starting on May 7, Bronner, the company CEO, will add a recreational cannabis enterprise to his list of endeavors — and a responsible recreational cannabis enterprise at that.
A Brand-New Bronner’s Chapter
An obvious advocate of marijuana legalization who backed up his advocacy with $5 million of material support for legalization pushes since 2001, David Bronner also put his body on the line for the cause.
In 2012, he staged a protest in front of the White House with hemp plants. At the time, hemp plants were the only commodity legal to possess, process, sell and import into the United States but illegal to cultivate — yet sales of Dr. Bronner’s Soaps grew from $4 million in 1998 to $111 million in 2017, according to the company website.
Sourcing hemp from outside of the United States was a particular silliness that ended in December, when President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. And with the hemp war mostly won, what better project to take up but selling recreational cannabis under the same broad label?
The company announced Monday that Bronner is lending his name to sell sungrown cannabis sold under the brand name Brother David’s. The bud itself will be sourced and distributed by Flow Kana, the Mendocino County-based, eco-friendly cannabis brand and is set to hit the shelves at “select dispensaries” in the Bay Area on that May 7 start date.
Sales will begin in Southern California later that month, as Ganjapreneur reported.
Of course, dispensary shelves are already stuffed full of premium branded cannabis products. What makes Brother David’s different, special or even… magic? Well, mostly because it’s not commercial-grade mids grown in a pollution-producing indoor factory farm.
Now that commercial cannabis is legal, “we need to advance consumer and environmental interests by implementing regenerative organic agriculture in the cannabis industry,” Bronner said. “Brother David’s provides an alternative to the chemical and fossil-fuel intensive industrial ag model being adopted by many corporations in the cannabis industry. As society moves closer and closer toward the federal legalization of cannabis, we need to chart a new course before it’s too late.”
To that end, the launch of David Bronner’s weed coincides with the premiere of a new cannabis-certification brand, called Sun and Earth. Anything with the Sun and Earth label is supposed to be grown with the environment in mind, under the sun and in “carefully tended living soils.”
Thus Brother David’s cannabis is supposed to be the very, very good stuff, sourced from farmers in Flow Kana’s network, and grown according to these strict and very happy standards. Having such cannabis sold under the Brother David label — that is, sharing the broad ethos of Dr. Bronner’s — will then help keep responsible farmers in business, while promoting sustainable cannabis production practices. Nice!
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