Keri-Jon Wilson likes to think of Tara Canaday, the executive chef at Portland’s Pot and Pan, as “the stoner whisperer.”
Whether she’s whipping up cannabis-infused goodies like gingerbread-flavored bonbons or a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos French macaron, she knows the classically trained Canaday will deliver.
“People are always looking for the next thing they’ve got to try,” said Wilson, co-owner and general manager of Pot and Pan, a medical cannabis manufacturer that is among several Maine marijuana businesses gearing up for entry into the adult-use market.
As the state’s legal market for cannabis edibles starts to mature, it is expected to undergo significant expansion and diversification. Myriad colors, shapes and flavors are poised to explode onto the market, which industry experts hope will attract a new consumer base.
But the products look and taste like traditional sweets, which can make them highly appealing to children. Annual emergency room visits involving kids who had ingested THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, increased fivefold in Massachusetts in the two years after the state opened its market for recreational edibles and other adult-use cannabis products.
State officials in Maine also are concerned about the potential for adults to be hospitalized after eating too many THC-infused products. They have imposed strict dosage requirements for edibles, though such limits can’t prevent consumers from eating multiple servings.