Chocolates as such are considered intoxicating for many, and an American entrepreneur now wants to give it a new high by lacing the bitter-sweet dessert with very much an Indian intoxicant 'Bhang' and trademark it too.
The product, to be produced and sold in the US for now and possibly in our country later, will be called 'Bhang: The Original Cannabis Chocolate' and the New Mexico-based chololateur has sought a trademark for the same. If the trademark is granted, the Bhang word cannot be used for a chocolate or candy product by anyone else.
Synonymous with festivals like Holi and Shivratri and associated with Lord Shiva in the Hindu mythology, 'Bhang' is one of the few legally available preparations of cannabis plant in the country. It is smoked and also consumed as a beverage or doughed up as semi-solid candies.
Adding a new recipe of this ancient Indian intoxicant, chocolateur Scott J Van Rixel plans to start selling at least two types of 'Bhang' chocolates soon in the US and will later consider expanding to India, if regulations permit.
In response to emailed queries on the matter, Rixel told PTI from California that "sky is the limit" when it comes to the market potential for these new chocolates, as there is no "high-end cannabis chocolate" available.
Rixel has already incorporated a company named 'Bhang Chocolate Company Inc' for this new venture and is also selling merchandise items like T-shirts and baseball caps with the name and logo of 'Bhang Chocolate' embossed on them as part of a marketing and brand recognition exercise.
"Yes, we have an extensive line of merchandise that will be available internationally," Rixel said.
Asked whether he will consider producing and selling these chocolates here, Rixel said, "I am not familiar enough with India's cannabis laws, but would love to do so, even if it is the THC-free white label products."
Rixel plans to sell two types of Bhang chocolates - a white label containing hemp seeds and hemp oil and the black label with THC containing Marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana are two forms of cannabis plants and the former has very low THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content, the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis plants.
In India, Bhang is made of dried leaves and flowering shoots of hemp plants, which also produces ganja and charas.