The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up a piece of To Whom It May chocolate is the packaging. Beautiful and stylish, each artfully curated box contains one perfect chocolate piece that looks almost too good to eat. Eagerly bite into one of them and feel the nuances of flavors that break that stereotype of what an “edible” should taste like.
The man behind To Whom It May chocolates is Tomer Grassiany, a tech industry veteran turned cannabis entrepreneur, who is changing the way we view traditional edible products.
How did you get into the cannabis industry?
I have a history of self-learning and have always taken learning by “experimenting and doing” approach. I have been a longtime believer in cannabis, and have a passion for food and cooking, specifically desserts.
In 2013, I was laid out with an immobilizing injury. As a clean eater and active athlete, I searched for a naturally-derived medicinal aid to address my pain and inability to participate fully in daily life. After months of sampling cannabis-based solutions, I was appalled by the irony that medicinal edibles were filled with processed sugars, preservatives, and other health-adverse ingredients. Also, at the time, nearly every product was designed to appeal to typical “stoners” with non-descript or trippy-colored packaging, and low-brow, pun-based names that lacked sophistication. I felt unrepresented by this profile of products, and also knew many other highly successful, high-frequency cannabis consumers experiencing the same reality. Seeing this untapped market, I decided to take the chocolate block into my own hand with the intention of crafting cannabis chocolates with only the purest ingredients and a sophisticated presentation that could set a new industry standard, a standard The Art of Edibles Cannabis Collective has introduced to the market with To Whom It May Cannabis Chocolates.
What inspired you to create To Whom It May?
It was a combination of things, The TV show Weeds, which helped show cannabis in a new light and in a more socially accepted way. A trip to Paris to the top 10 chocolate shops, where I got to experience chocolate at its best. A personal switch to clean and healthier eating, looking at the ingredients in the food I eat and making sure they are there for a good reason (not the bottom line of a corporation). A back injury which sparked my desire to transition away from sitting in front of a computer all day long, and got me looking for alternative ways to relieve the pain. Finally, it was the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington which signaled a shift in general perception of cannabis.
“To Whom It May’s brand identity and packaging were designed to help break down the stigma around cannabis products and the classic “stoner” lifestyle, inviting you into a sophisticated, ambitious and delicious world of adventure.”
What is your specialty?
Meticulously hand-crafted cannabis chocolates, brought to life as irresistible, nutty truffles, and bold, boozy bonbons in a wide variety of doses.
Our bestseller is Vivienne, cherry cayenne bonbon.
What sets you apart from other edible makers?
Everything is hand-crafted – including our THC-infused organic coconut oil, and the nut butters inside our truffles. Our ingredients are always premium in quality, and organic when possible, and we are the only crafted chocolate makers not to use Soy Lecithin or other emulsifiers in our chocolates.
Our doses currently represent the widest range available in the U.S., beginning at 2½ mg per piece, which is 75% lower than the broadly touted “low-dose” of 10 mg. Topping our range is a 45 mg dose. And in between are 5 mg and 15 mg, which allow you to start low and scale up. We also offer a large box with a mix of medicated and non-medicated chocolates, which are great for when you want to enjoy more chocolates without increasing the medication, or not to exclude people who do not want to medicate, but still enjoy the chocolates.
This tiered dosing approach eliminates the need to eat ½, or, in some cases ¼, of an irresistible edible; it also gives you freedom to individualize a desired dose. You want three pieces of chocolate? And only 15 mg total of THC? You are now more than free to eat three entire 5 mg pieces, instead of a single piece at 15 mg.
Our boxes are designed to attract attention apart from the appeal of the chocolates containing cannabis, so while the cues that the products contain cannabis are clearly there, they are also subtle and playful. We feel this can help challenge the bias in people who perceive edibles as “just drugs.”
How did your family and friends react to you being a cannabis entrepreneur?
All my friends and family are well aware of what I do. My mom took a bit longer to get on board and realize the true nature magical nature of cannabis. The years of propaganda we’ve all been exposed to can take a while to break, but now even my mom is a believer and a fan of the chocolates.
What challenges have you encountered when starting your business?
First was finding a dark chocolate supplier who does not use soy lecithin or other emulsifiers. Our initial chocolate supplier stopped offering chocolate sales in bulk, this had us scrambling as it happened less than 2 weeks prior to an event. We did extensive research and managed to find another dark chocolate supplier with also uses organic cane sugar as sweetener.
Second was infusing coconut oil to a high enough potency level, while minimizing the cannabis flavor. Many hours went into experimentation with different techniques, from decarbing to pressing and distilling and lab testing were done at several stages of the process to ensure maximum efficiency. This helped us created our specialized hand-pressed technique.
Lastly was navigating the line between creativity and regulation. This is an ongoing process, we tried to create a product with responsible packaging and clear sensible and flexible labeling, presented in a sophisticated and playful way. As medical and possibly recreational regulation will be finalized, we will be ready to make any necessary adjustments.
“Everything is possible, while not everyone can do everything, the general concept that everything can be done, and that any big problem can be broken down into smaller problems that are easier to solve.”
Any words of advice to budding edible makers?
Create a product you feel passionate about, start with a non-medicated product, and see if people like it enough to become customers. Only after you are happy with your non-medicated product, add the medicine, and perfect the flavor.
Where do you see the future of To Whom It May?
In the next year, our goal is to bloom the business in Los Angeles, participating in events where cannabis has not been offered before, and continue to break the cannabis stigma by showing a sophisticated side of it.
We plan to expand across the State of California, as well as navigate the always changing regulations.