The company can’t fully supply the growing demand.
The product is called Magical Butter. It’s a machine — sturdy, steel, a pot the size of a large coffee percolator that contains a high-tech apparatus that mixes and heats the ingredients of a recipe.
The recipes typically contain cannabis, which, when prepared with a substance such as dairy butter or olive oil, produces an infused product that can be used to create a limitless number of foodstuffs.
Think brownies, cookies, soup; cannabis chipotle pecans, marijuana muffins, chicken pot pie.
“We sold a three-month supply in 13 days,” said founder, inventor and head cheerleader Garyn Angel.
Based in Florida, where he previously worked as a high-end financial adviser, Angel was in Seattle recently to oversee the opening of a retail store and an event space near I-5 and I-90, at 2225 1st Ave. S in Seattle.
“It was the perfect storm,” Angel said. “We had a few stories in the news, and then the legalization. We released our cannabis oil video, and we had 140,000 views in two weeks.”
Other than machines available from a few dealers, the main focus of distribution is currently online.
And at the retail store.
“I kind of fell in love with Seattle,” Angel said. “I knew we needed an East Coast and West Coast presence. We’ll open in Denver by the end of the year, and in Tampa in 60 days.”
Angel began selling the machine in early November 2012. By the first week of January, he sold out his first shipment of the machine — which is manufactured in China.
Chartered as a public benefit corporation, or PBC, Magical Butter, Angel said, contributes 25 percent of its profit to families in need.
“We have a halo effect,” he said. “Our basis is to help people.”
The company charity, Cheers to Goodness, has applied for 501(c)(3) status, Angel said. The charity gives money to families in need.
The idea for the machine derived from a meeting with a friend who was facing Crohn’s disease, and who was attempting to medicate by smoking cannabis.
Asthma complicated the dosage, which led to the use of “edibles” — marijuana-infused food — which proved cumbersome to produce.
“The results were unpredictable,” Angel said. “The problem was, there’s no science to it.”
Science informs the machine, with the ability to “aggressively agitate” the ingredients, and heat those ingredients precisely and cook them slowly with instructions received from a built-in microprocessor.
“I hired some people to help on the chemistry and the program sequence,” Angel said. “This is the furthest thing from how I thought my life would unravel. This isn’t what I went to college for, but I’ve never been so passionate about anything.”
He’s not alone.
On Facebook, more than 95,000 fans follow the company.
“I am a tremendous proponent,” said Dawn Darington, who operates a medical cannabis dispensary in North Seattle.
“I have a store and I’m a patient and I’m an advocate for patients,” she said last week. “If I was a bajillionaire, I’d buy all of my patients one of (the machines). It tells you exactly what to put in, you press a button, you go on with your life and it’s consistent every time. You press a button and it cleans itself. It’s just amazing.”
Typically, she said, the machine uses butter, olive oil or coconut oil as a primary ingredient, and “that gives you a base of 10 million things.”
She starts a list: “Basic brownies, pretzel mix, savory almonds, cinnamon-sugar almonds, medicated pecans, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, granola, and you can cook chicken. You can do anything you do with butter. Virtually any food can be made.”
Add lotions, balms, creams, salves.
Darington said she operates a “low volume” store, and has sold “maybe a dozen” of the machines.
David DesRoaches (a self-confessed pseudonym) works at the Magical Butter event space and studio in Seattle, and has had “one of the first models for about a year or so.”
“It’s not like some crazy smoothie machine. It’s a 1-2-3 process,” he said.
For his personal use, he prepares his cannabis using Everclear, a high-proof alcohol, or a cooking oil. He either smokes the result as a vapor, or he uses the oils in cooking.
“I’m trying to make barbecue sauces,” he said. “I can use the oil for frying. I’m experimenting. I’m trying to do salad dressing. Sometimes I’ll squirt it onto my scrambled eggs. It’s like vanilla extract you’d use in a recipe. With the vapor, I prefer that to smoking the flower. I feel like it’s a cleaner high. I can take a few tokes and it’s like smoking a lot when I don’t have time to smoke a lot.”
Angel said he has invested his life savings — more than $4 million — into the product. He is expanding his company, and may seek investors. Today, however, “I can’t say I’m looking for money. You start small, you dream big and you scale quickly.”
Along with the MB2, which is currently out of stock, the company sells filter bags and a heat-resistant silicon glove. Five hundred units of the MB3 unit, with a capacity of one to five cups, will be introduced in April, while an MB Pro model, capable of cooking from one to five gallons, will be out in the fourth quarter.
The base model MB2 carries a retail price of less than $180.
The market target, Angel said, is “anybody over 35, and primarily senior citizens.”
He sees the market for recreational and medicinal marijuana migrating away from smoking as a means of delivery.
“I think the industry will evolve toward edible cannabis,” he said.
His own moment of realization came in a hotel room in China one evening when he called his wife. He hadn’t slept and he’d been dealing with his industrial partners.
“I was bawling,” he said. “She asked me what was wrong. I told her, ‘We did it. We did it.’ I knew right then. I was going to build a company. It changed my life. The important thing – it feels right.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535