Jones Soda launches new line of cannabis-infused products

Bohb Blair, Chief Brand Officer at Mary Jones, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Jones Soda's new line of THC-infused sodas, syrups, and gummies as well as the outlook for cannabis legalization.

Video Transcript

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- Welcome back, everyone. One of our favorite market checks comes about this time every Friday. We've dubbed it the wine, spirits, and cannabis, named the [? week ?] [? stocks-- ?] or the weekend stocks, rather. [LAUGHS]

And taking a look at where, particularly, cannabis, how that performed over the past five days, you've got some of the big names there. I'll call out Tilray. That closed down by about 1% over the past five days in aggregate. You're also taking a look at Cronos closing lower by 3.1%. Sundial moved lower by 3.8%. And then, additionally, Canopy Growth, that moved lower by 3.8% over the past five days.

However, there was one gainer, and that was Growgeneration Corp., GRWG. It moved higher by about 12 and 1/2% over the past five days. However, past year, it's down by about 82%. So we'll keep a close eye on all of these names and much more.

- All right, so you probably have some kids who love the sugar high from Jones Soda's signature delicious flavors like Blue Bubble Gum, or Strawberry-Lime, or my personal favorite, Orange Cream Soda. Try it in a float-- I'm just sayin'

But there's a whole new high coming mom and dad's way, courtesy of Jones Sodas THC-infused sodas syrups and gummies under the brand name Mary Jones. Were thrilled to be joined by their chief brand officer Bohb Blair, who is in Chicago today.

Bohb, good to see you. So tell us about this new product line. What is it, when will we see it, and where?

BOHB BLAIR: Well, thanks for having us. We're thrilled to be here. What is it? It's going to be the best-tasting cannabis products that anyone's ever had. We've taken the signature flavors from Jones and pulled 'em through into four unbelievable formats of cannabis products that you just outlined-- a 10-milligram session soda, a 100-milligram 10-dose soda, this 1,000-milligram syrup that you just had on the screen, which I have to say is an incredible product. You can use it in so many ways-- mix it into things, top things, have a little bit straight, it's delicious-- and our gummies. And it's just really giving people a lot of choices and a lot of occasions to open up cannabis for them. And we know that these flavors are going to really make it a fun way to eat it.

- When will we see these products, and where?

BOHB BLAIR: Well, we're launching in California. We're gonna be available in dispensaries and delivery in a couple markets starting in April-- so just in a couple of weeks. So if you live in California, we can share product very soon, and we're going to be expanding across the country from there.

- And that's the difficulty in the cannabis space right now. It's all state-to-state. Do you have plans to come all the way across the country to the East Coast, where it is legal now in the Tri-State area, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut?

BOHB BLAIR: We sure do. You know, our plan was always to be a global brand, in fact. The Jones brand is really strong in Canada, as well as throughout the US. And those states you mentioned-- New York, Michigan, you know, actually where I'm from originally, those are some of the strongest markets for Jones. So we're really excited to expand.

We're starting in California because we have great partners there to prototype the products and to test with a big consumer base. And then, we have partnerships in line to really expand across the country very quickly.

- Most of your competitors-- notably Coca-Cola and Pepsi-- want nothing to do with this space because, of course, it is federally illegal. Being a public company, how concerned are you about entering something that's still against the law?

BOHB BLAIR: You know, it's interesting. We had to look at all those factors as we got into this market. And the truth is, there's a lot of things that would prevent those bigger companies from getting into the space, from their operations to the reality of their brand and who their consumers are today.

Jones meets a lot of the criteria that sets us up for success. We have an equity that's really transferable into the cannabis space. We have an adult user base today that can really be excited to go with us into the cannabis. And we have operational expertise in really nimbly navigating bottling, CPG, and distribution, whereas those bigger players are really stuck in their scale operations. So we're more set up in this state-to-state dynamic that you outlined earlier.

- You know, I mentioned off the top that kids are probably the biggest consumer of Jones Soda. I know they are in my house. My first concern was, what is this product going to look like, and what would stop a kid from getting confused if, say, this were in a parent's fridge-- in particular, Bob, with 1,000 milligrams in one bottle? That could cause a major problem if kids were to get a hold of it.

BOHB BLAIR: Well, first of all, I'm glad you're buying Jones for your household. But the truth is that we measured our consumer base before getting into this category, and we are very much a predominantly adult-driven company. That being said, we wanted to make very clear differentiation between these products, which is happening in a number of ways. The first of which being it's only sold at dispensaries and through licensed delivery partners. You're not going to find this in any place where the mainline soda is also sold.

As you see, we also qualified the name of the brand. You know, we've gotten used to brands putting differentiators on either side of their brand name to tell us what it is and what the difference are. For us, "Mary Jones" isn't just a cute nod at one of the most famous colloquialisms in the cannabis culture, but it really is a distinct way to say what this product is in comparison to our mainline products. You'll also see that due to regulatory compliance, there's very strict callouts as to the THC dosage and all those related things on the labels.

- And Bohb, finally, how optimistic are you about federal legalization? Many were hopeful that the Biden administration would give the green light. It's been anything but.

BOHB BLAIR: Most of the people we talked to think that it's gonna happen, but it's gonna be a ways off. There's this window of time where we're gonna have to succeed in the current dynamics before it opens up, and it gives a lot of opportunity for people to carve their way and set up the brands that are gonna win tomorrow.

- Look forward to getting out to California and trying Mary Jones. He's the chief brand officer of Jones Soda, Bohb Blair. Thanks for being with us today, sir. Appreciate it.