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Altai Poised to Dominate the Legal California Edibles Industry


Two thousand and five hundred years ago, a young Pazyryk princess traveled to her winter camp on the Ukok Plateau. It would be the final journey for this woman, who was about 25 years old, frail, emaciated and ravaged by breast cancer. Following a fall from her horse, her people would carry her to a bed where she would lay for the rest of her life. This female shaman was buried in a royal fashion, along with three horses and a large container of cannabis flowers, which Siberian scientists believe was used to treat the pain caused by her disease. Discovered in 1993, the mummy of the princess was remarkably preserved by the permafrost in the Altai Mountains where she was found.       

Inspired by this timeless tale of the power of cannabis to relieve pain and ease suffering, California edibles makers Rob Weakley, a veteran of the Pebble Beach hospitality and restaurant world, along with Monterey lawyer Gavin Kogan and chef Mark Ainsworth, christened their new company Altai. Their logo, a circular design of an elk, is a replica of a tattoo discovered on the Ukok princess’ shoulder, a work of great skill and artistry for such an ancient people.

The group hopes to continue the grand tradition of using cannabis as a tool for healing and self-discovery by producing edibles fit for a princess.            

When I visited the Altai production facility last September, it was evident that the venture had been financed by considerable capital. Indus Holding Company, the parent of Altai brands, recently negotiated a lucrative deal to license the intellectual property of Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs and Edibles, bringing the popular brand to California. Along with this exciting venture, Altai launched their own line of gourmet, low-dose edibles, betting on the emergence of a moneyed demographic of graying Baby Boomers ready to re-enter the cannabis market.

With consistent dosing, high-end ingredients, polished packaging, delectable recipes and professional know-how, this dream team is preparing to conquer the California edibles industry, which will hopefully go fully legal in 2016.

Chocolates and candies are packaged in a cellophane wrapper pumped full of nitrogen gas to increase shelf life and preserve freshness.     

As cannabis transforms into a mainstream commodity, the days of bootstrapping a small edibles business run completely independently by an individual or family seem increasingly quaint.

Of the many challenges facing…

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