Recent comments from the founders of the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's about legalized marijuana are sparking discussion in Vermont, a state where lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature have introduced recreational marijuana legalization bills.
In a video interview with the Huffington Post, after a viewer suggested a flavor containing marijuana for states where it is legal, Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield signaled support for the idea.
"If it were my decision, I'd be doing it," Cohen said in the Huffington Post conversation, referring to manufacturing ice cream for the edible marijuana market.
"Makes sense to me," Jerry Greenfield told the Huffington Post. "You know, combine your pleasures."
The pair made it clear in that interview that they were not speaking for the company that bears their first names. New England Cable News reached out to an official spokesman for Ben & Jerry's for more on the co-founders' remarks.
"The truth is there's nothing going on from this end, discussion nor development, in regards to a cannabis concoction," Sean Greenwood of Ben & Jerry's said in an email to necn. "We have our hands full with our new Cookie Cores flavors, our new Tonight Dough flavor with Jimmy Fallon, and our upcoming climate activism tour."
On the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, the idea of weed ice cream drew a mixed reaction.
When asked if a marijuana ice cream sounded appetizing, Jimmy Swift of Burlington responded, "No. Not really."
But Kathi Lengel of Duxbury, Vermont, was more open to the idea.
"I think that's just fine," she told necn. "It's not something that I've ever indulged in, but I might be somewhat tempted - But no, I don't think so. But I think it's fine. Good for them."
Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden County, is a farmer and legislator behind the bill in the Vermont Senate to legalize marijuana. When it comes to edible forms of the drug, Zuckerman acknowledged Colorado has had problems, so he'd want tighter constraints here.
He said if a product such as marijuana ice cream were to be manufactured, it would only be sold in state-authorized marijuana stores and lounges.
"I do think that's an expanding area, and one reason we'd want to regulate [marijuana] well," Zuckerman said of edibles. "So that we make sure they're less interesting to kids [and] they're single-serving packages, so adults who consume use the right amount."
Zuckerman said the comments from Greenfield and Cohen illustrate how businesspeople are starting to think more critically about potential new opportunities from legal weed.
However, formal discussions about recreational marijuana legalization in Vermont aren't expected in the statehouse until next year.