Chatting With Medible Delights

Medible Delights in Lewiston, Maine is a family affair from the ground up. Founded by Nathalie Boucher; managed by Cameron, her son, and finally Mariah - Cameron's partner - who is an accomplished pastry chef in her own right.

We sat down recently to catch up with this dynamic family to discuss cannabis, food, health, healing & family. (Not necessarily in that order)

Your journey to dispensary ownership was not typical. Given the history of misinformation / disinformation about cannabis during the War on Drugs ™, it's easy to imagine a world where you never would have considered cannabis for health & wellness. Can you describe how your personal journey of cannabis discovery has influenced your outlook on cannabis in general? Without violating any HIPAA standards, can you tell us how you came to be a medical cannabis user & what that has meant for you?

Our journey blossomed with the idea of caregiving in mind. The true start to the journey came from becoming patients ourself around 2014-2015. Stepping into the few dispensaries there were at the time, we still felt we were missing personal connection and more importantly the products we were looking for. Nathalie working full time and owning her own business, somehow managed to find time to kickstart what is Medible Delights today. Cameron was in college at this time but found himself spending most of his time assisting Nathalie in the kitchen and and helping developing a vision and mission for the company. What’s great about Maine, especially then, is we really were able to start grass root. It started from one topical we were asked to try and make for a caregiver friend of ours, and grew quickly into tinctures, and a variety of 50+ products on the medical market. Within two months of going to dispensaries, we’re baking, growing, and acquiring all of our licensing to become caregivers ourselves.

You started off as a cannabis caregiver; can you speak to how this unique aspect of Maine Medical Cannabis laws has benefitted / affected you?

We are still caregivers in the state of Maine and proudly. Since our beginning, there has been many adjustments to the industry. Some we saw coming, some we planned for, and some caught a lot of people of guard. Its been very important to ask questions to the state and stay up to date with the market. That being said, we have always been licensed and been able to function our business the way we have intended which is a blessing. When comparing just licensing fees in other states, I’m not sure we would have been able to flourish or even start if Maine hadn’t supported locals setting up our market here in Maine. We are happy to still be working with many local people and even family businesses like our own. its one of the things that gives Maine its charm.

Your baked goods are like nothing anyone else is making. (Pastries, baklava, cream puffs, etc.) What is your inspiration? What is your process new product development?

Our inspiration comes from any places now but our origins definitely stem from our families French heritage. Nathalies mother, Pierette was and still is a fantastic baker who taught Nathalie growing up. Many recipes have continued to be past down and new recipes formed. Inspiration to get into edibles came from seeing the selection at shops. Gummies are great but we thought there could be a more elevated approach. That’s doesn't mean really expensive edibles, but something that people connect to on a level deeper than just medicating. Things like our needhams and whoopie pies do very well in part because they are local Maine treats that people get without cannabis in them.

You are a family-affair, how has being a family helped build your business? How has it hindered?

Family has kept our company going. Sure there are differences in opinion some times but it really has fueled some of our best ideas and branding. Being a small staff even non-family members become family while working here. Building a close culture of family is really the core of our business. Even patients who visit our storefront become familiar with budtenders and it’s a 1 on 1 type of shopping experience.

It's clear we are at a tipping point in this country insofar as public acceptance of cannabis. Has there been a similar shift in your views of cannabis?

Our shift happened a long time ago when we became patients. For Nathalie is was probably more surprising, having spent most of her life not partaking; she was pleasantly surprised at how it helped her so much so we took the step into the industry. Cannabis was demonized for years and it seems its people like ourselves that have seen and heard both sides are creating new patients all the time. For many it seems to require easing them into it with a topical and others they want the knowledge first. But for us as a mother son duo, we have found a lot of success with communicating across generations. Many of our regular patients being 50+ and a large amount being 18-30 which makes for many different cannabis beliefs and most importantly preferences.

From an outsider looking in, one can see there are clear hurdles to getting into the cannabis business. (Building, utilities, etc.) What are some of the hurdles you faced as you started that you didn't expect? Are they getting better or worse?

I am hesitant to say they are getting better, at least not for a new store or brand starting out. Licensing is always a hurdle but a manageable one that has gotten easier over the years. Id say our biggest hurdle and one that many face now in Maine is finding a property. Its not just about getting a property, you need to know the zones and that’s what becomes hard. With limited spaces available for certain licensing areas, many have been bought up or rented out or there may be a zone but no properties to utilize there. For us we had at least 4 locations fall through before finding our ideal location and we count it a blessing now. Other hurdles have seemed high, but time has shown it all works out and we’ve found some of these things we can’t stress about anymore.

Obviously product development is a role of the dice. Have you had products you thought were smash hits that didn't take off? Likewise, have you created anything that surprised even you with it reception in the marketplace?

I’m not sure we ever got ourselves excited about a product that didn’t take off or that we didn’t suspect. What’s nice to do now is we will try small batches of non-dosed product ideas and hand them to our patients in store to try and field their feedback to see if we want to make it a product. With the list of products we make, there has definitely been positive surprises such as our baklava, whoopie pies, drinks, turnovers, and drinks which are more specialty products we make that quickly became requested frequently. One thing you can always count on in this industry right now is patients will tell you if they loved something or not.

You are no longer in the cultivation game, yes? When you started, were you growing your own plants and how has that changed over time?

We don’t cultivate much aside from outdoor for personal use right now. When we started this wasn’t really an option and we didn’t work with many of the fantastic growers we do now. Back then we had to mark our plants with patients names etc. and we were even processing our own canna butter, coconut oil, and olive oils to infused most of our products and sourcing FECO (Fully Extracted Cannabis Oil) as well. As our edible line grew we made the decision to partner with some growers and processors to source our FECO, distillate, rosin, and CBD. This has allowed us to focus more on our craft and support other Maine producers.

From an edibles creation/production standpoint, are there certain strains and/or terpene profiles that work better? Are there some that are not so good? What about the type of concentrate (live resin, distillate, etc.) - is there something that just works better for you than anything else you've tried? Or is it more the case that one type works best for product type and another for a different product line?

We have nailed down working with different types of concentrates , especially CBD, distillate, and FECO as we have worked with it for so long now. FECO seems to be a crowd favorite for its medical value as well as being easy to work with for us when it comes to dosing and playing with flavors. Distillate is the because its easy to dose with and the flavor is often hidden very well in almost all products. Rosin and resin are fun to work with as the demand continues to grow as well for strain specific edibles. Rosin's also fun to work with, since it pairs well with a wide variety of edibles due to flavor and terpene profiles. To answer the first part of your question, depending on the extract, the yields can vary from strain to strain and terpenes as well. This also can be said about the batch and outdoor vs indoor concentrates, so there is definitely variability. This is another reason it is very nice to work with multiple growers to source what we are looking for.

So if this life is a long & winding road; What's next? Is there something that is exciting you looking forward?

We prepare. We continue to set our goals and surpass them by working to build our community and maintaining relationships with amazing stores and delivery services. I don’t want to go into to many details about our long term goals as the government is also working to shape this industry but we do look forward to bringing our edibles to the Maine adult use market this year while maintaining our boutique storefront and medical line of products. We hope that this helps accessibility to our products for all.