BY MARIE LODI
When it comes to cannabis edibles, one thing’s for sure: they taste a heckuva lot better now than they did back in the day, thanks in part to brands like Dr. Norm’s. The Los Angeles-based craft cannabis brand takes pride in its delicious cookies, which comes as no surprise when you remember that baked goods are in its DNA.
Before Dr. Norm’s, brother and sister team Jeff Koz and Roberta Wilson had a traditional cookie company called Audrey’s Cookies, so they already understood the nuances of an amazing chocolate chip cookie. When cannabis became fully legal in California, the company evolved. “When the recreational cannabis bill made it onto the California ballot, I jokingly said to my brother that we should do weed cookies!” Roberta says. “One thing led to another, and in 2017 we went to market with Dr. Norm’s.” However, seamless as she makes it seem, Roberta admits it wasn’t as simple as just putting weed in cookie dough.
Roberta and Jeff (along with their brother Dave, who is an investor) named their new medicinal cookie brand after their physician father, Dr. Norm Koz, using their mom’s “magical recipes” to focus on high quality ingredients and precise dosage. “We’re carrying on the tradition of our parents’ healing ways, but in a manner they couldn’t have imagined,” Jeff says.
A huge player in the edibles space, Dr. Norm’s is known for tasty flavors like 5mg THC Chocolate Chip Therapy and 10mg THC “Balance” Pecan Shortbread Cookie Therapy. Plus, they carry CBD-only edibles like the 15mg CBD “Wellness” CBD Vegan Peanut Butter Choc Cookie Therapy, which makes Dr. Norm’s a great pick if you’re looking to buy CBD edibles online.
Did you have a personal relationship to cannabis before entering the industry?
Jeff: Well, like most people my age—we’re no spring chickens, as they say—I smoked my share of weed in high school and college. After that, I lost interest, and was only smoking on occasion, and often not enjoying the experience. I sometimes felt overly self-conscious, even paranoid. Kind of strange to get into this business, right? Once we started Dr. Norm's, I developed an entirely new perspective on THC and CBD. I learned about proper dosage, and that the effects of the plant were always pleasant if dosed correctly.
We also started hearing all of these amazing stories from patients about our products helping with their arthritis, insomnia, back problems, depression, anxiety, workout recovery—the list goes on. It didn’t take long for me to become a believer! Of course, I had to do a lot of “product research” which taught me about edibles. The do’s and especially the don’ts! While I like the occasional edible, I also enjoy a hit or two off the vape before bed. I really like flower, but vaping is just too easy! I like to reach into the bedside drawer and enjoy. This is my “me time” when I can relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Roberta: I still can’t quite believe that this is the business we are in…but I couldn’t be more proud because I have seen first-hand the beneficial impact this amazing plant has to heal. Jeff and I have literally become an amalgamation of our parents; our friends now ask us to diagnose and prescribe their THC/CBD regimen to alleviate their health issues! I personally am a huge fan of topicals; I use a THC dominant rub daily for muscle aches and back pain. I also use THC for sleep. My husband suffers from claustrophobia, and ever since he instituted a daily CBD regimen, his suffering has all but gone away. It’s been miraculous! We have also been known to be the couple that shows up with a bag of Dr. Norm’s at a dinner party and after eating one cookie (instead of a cocktail or a glass of wine) have a great time laughing, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company.
For the uninitiated, what is Dr. Norm’s all about?
Jeff: Up until now, we have focused on making the best cannabis and CBD cookies out there! We wanted to establish ourselves in one product category and grow organically. We’re seeing more and more corporatization in our industry. Large [companies] launch new brands with a suite of products across multiple categories. We decided on a different strategy: become known for being great at one thing, develop the brand around it, and expand our offerings when the time is right. So we stayed narrow on purpose. At present, we have a variety of cookie [products] in both 100mg bags and 5 and 10mg singles. Over the past year, we started a hemp CBD division. We wanted to be able to get our delicious and effective CBD cookies to folks outside of CA. In addition to cookies, we offer a 1200mg CBD Wellness Tincture and a 600mg CBD Sleep Tincture with CBN, the cannabinoid that promotes sleep most effectively.
Do you plan on expanding to other types of edibles?
Jeff: Now that we’ve established our brand in the cannabis cookie market and have a loyal customer base, we’re expanding our THC product offerings. Currently in development are a line of medicinal vapes, effects-based soft gels and sublinguals, high-dose tinctures, hard candies and more. By the end of August, we will also have a 300mg Hemp CBD gummy product, a 300mg Hemp CBD Pain Cream, and a 300mg Hemp CBD Pet Tincture. We’re leveraging the Dr. Norm’s brand values of trust, safety, consistency and a sense of nostalgia for when things were simpler and more personal. Through this lens we’re creating a unique grouping of products with true medicinal benefits. We’re in a very exciting growth phase this year.
How do you see Dr. Norm’s helping the cannabis industry evolve?
Roberta: We hope to be part of the change in consumer perception of cannabis. Our goal is to completely eliminate any unfair bias or negative connotation related to the plant. By manufacturing products that provide reliable, consistent and “tasty” options, we can be part of the positive change. We are witnessing a revolution in healthcare, and we believe [the revolution] is in its infancy. THC and CBD provide health benefits to every age group, and we are inspired daily to create products that consumers can feel safe and secure about using to make their everyday lives better.
What’s next for Dr. Norm's?
Roberta: Well, we can’t say who, but we are merging with a much larger company that will give us the manufacturing, distribution and marketing capabilities to fuel this growth at a more rapid pace. Also, part of the plan will be to enter the market in a number of other states with the goal of becoming a national brand.
Jeff: Another new thing for us (and something we’ve always wanted to do) is to create a project that enables us to give back. Dr. Norm’s has partnered with the Elephant Cooperation to create Project Bake. The Elephant Cooperation has done some amazing work rebuilding impoverished schools in villages outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Project Bake will be donating a portion of our proceeds to help rebuild a commercial kitchen at one of the schools. Part of the mission is to teach the locals how to bake and sell their own goods (minus the THC!). The goal is to create a sustainable revenue model and help instill a new sense of hope. We are so excited to go down there and get busy!