From Ice Cream to Cannabis Pre-Rolls

Stephen Andrews
03 Apr 2023

I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream. OR wait for it. We all scream for weed! Ben Cohen, one of the founders of the world-famous ice cream brand Ben & Jerry, has announced a new cannabis business called BEN'S BEST BLNZ (B3). The brand kicks off with blended pre-rolls, full-spectrum live resin vapes, and terpenes-rich flowers. It's a non-profit cannabis venture with a significant emphasis on advocacy.

BEN'S BEST BLNZ enters into business with craft cannabis products and a focus on strains with high-terpene and moderate-THC content. "It's the terpenes that make the Music. THC is the volume," says the brand's website.

The main offering is Blended SloSmokes pre-rolls marketed to make it easier with dosing. Other offerings include terpene-centered, entourage-enhanced Full Spectrum Vapes, available as cartridges and pens, and using live resin extracted from freshly frozen whole plants. The manufacture of all produce for BLNZ relies on cannabis cultivated by independent craft growers in Vermont.  

Perhaps more importantly, Ben Cohen takes an entirely novel approach to running a cannabis enterprise here.  A generous eighty percent of profits from the newly-registered B3 will be redirected to Black cannabis entrepreneurs. The remaining profit will be split between the Last Prisoner Project and the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance. 

In addition, B3 introduces a low-interest loan fund for cannabis startups run by minorities, including Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs. The grant and loan agendas will be managed along with Oregon-based NuLeaf Project, a Black-led non-profit organization. 

The company also sided with Eddie Opara from design firm Pentagram to work on a brand and packaging framework for BLNZ, a part of the brand that will further grant space for Black artists to express their creativity. 

What else prompted legend Ben Cohen into the sphere of cannabis? One reason, it appears, is that he believes today's weed is "just way too strong." 

"I mean, when I was in college, the pot we were smoking was about 6% THC. Today's pot averages about 23%," he told the High Times Magazine. 

The other reason is more entrepreneurial. "I'm an entrepreneur and saw an opportunity for a business to fill that void in the market. But I'm lucky enough not to need more money, so I decided to incorporate as a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help right the wrongs of the War on Drugs," he says.  

B3's website sends the same message: "Our Mission is to sell Great Pot and use the power of our business to Right the Wrongs of the War on Drugs." 

It would not be the first time that Cohen has engaged in advocacy, however. Ben & Jerry's ice cream was started in 1978 by Cohen and his business partner Jerry Greenfield, and they have engaged in various campaigns ever since. In recent times, the ice cream brand has expressed undiluted support for racial justice, fair trade, finance reform, and LGBTQ+ rights, among others. 

With or without campaigning, there would be hardly any complaints if BLNZ weed is even just half as good as Ben & Jerry's ice cream is. 

Stephen Andrews