Snowmass entrepreneur’s Magic Buzz is his link to a greater crusade
December 30, 2014
Scott Calliham doesn't peddle marijuana from his 1971 Volkswagen van. But you couldn't be blamed for wondering if he did.
The Magic Buzz monicker is emblazoned on his van, which doesn't shy away from the stereotypes of a puff mobile: the trippy colors, the groovy font and The Who-inspired monicker.
While he doesn't sell marijuana from his van — "I get asked that all the time," he chuckled — the Snowmass Village entrepreneur uses it to market his Magic Buzz product and educate the masses about the plant.
Magic Buzz is a pot-infused, 2-ounce energy shot that comes in three flavors. Each shot contains 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The shots take the guesswork out of how much THC is being consumed, and Calliham said it's a manageable dosage for people with active lifestyles. The bottles range from $7 to $10 each.
He began manufacturing the product in Carbondale after he secured a state license in October. In November, the small Magic Buzz bottles hit the shelves in 15 pot shops statewide, including several in Aspen. Calliham is a wholesaler and doesn't sell the product to individuals.
The marijuana product is an offshoot of what once used to be an organic energy shot sans cannabis. But Calliham pulled those from the shelves last year in the anticipation of recreational marijuana outlets opening in Colorado this year.
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"I didn't want the confusion of people not knowing which one was which," he said.
But he said that beyond the curious looks given to the van — about a decade ago it served as an espresso and coffee kiosk in the Snowmass Mall — there's a prime opportunity to attract higher-minded attention toward an evolving trade and culture. He concedes it is a challenge, with not all of America buying into marijuana as a legal substance. Just Thursday, Oklahoma and Nebraska sued Colorado, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to abolish marijuana laws.
A father of three children, Calliham said he recognizes that there's still a stigma that comes with marijuana, despite it being legalized in Colorado and other states. But Calliham said he likes being part of the marijuana movement, and the van is one way to "express our civil liberties," he said.
He said he plans to have the van on the site of Colorado marijuana festivals, like the 4/20 rally in Denver, in the coming year.
"I want to use the bus as a mobile, educational kiosk for the industry," he said. "There's a lot of mystery and curiosity and apprehension about the marijuana industry, and people don't understand enough about it."
Calliham is the co-owner of the Base Camp Bar & Grill and Slice Pizza in Snowmass. He also sat on the town's marketing and tourism board that discouraged the Snowmass government to allow marijuana shops. But he said that he felt Snowmass needed to see how other ski-resort communities addressed legalization. Aspen will have five recreational shops in January with the opening of Native Roots.
"Yes, I want to sell a marijuana-based product also, but more importantly, to stimulate thought and deliberation on the subject," he said. "Current perceptions of the marijuana plant run the gamut from its incredible medicinal benefits to the wrong-headed idea that it should remain a Schedule 1 controlled substance with possession punishable by prison time. It would not surprise me if the public perception of me and my company have almost that range as well."
Calliham said he's looking forward to the ride in this Wild West-ish industry, perception be damned.
"Am I going to be viewed as a crusader for civil liberties, capitalism, freedom, social justice and other really big words that take thought and hard work to achieve?" he asked. "Or just demeaned as a petty weed dealer trying to make a buck? Or maybe something in between? I guess we'll all be figuring that one out together."
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