This piece originally appeared on Refinery29.com.
In the past few months, a product called GOODWITCH has been making waves in New York City, gaining popularity among high-end professionals, many of whom work in fashion. GOODWITCH’s schtick? It’s weed lip balm. Oh, and it’s all-organic, too. “I consider it to be a health-and-lifestyle product,” says GOODWITCH’s founder and manufacturer, whom we will call Megan to preserve her anonymity. “I am a natural cosmetics junkie. I really like using [high-end stuff],” she continues, sitting on her kitchen counter. “And, I wanted to make something [for people] that I would want to use.”
An estimated $1.65 billion worth of weed is distributed throughout the five boroughs every year. With recreational pot now legal in some parts of the country, marijuana has transformed into its own niche commodity, and numerous consumer products have hit the market that don’t necessarily have to be smoked to get you stoned. THC (the active ingredient in the drug that gets you high) can be found in weed-laced goodies such as cookies, chocolates, peanut butter, honey, pastries, and lotions.
Megan started making GOODWITCH products early last year but just recently began to mass-market the products for underground distribution in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Yes, the lip balm soothes chapped lips, but it has also gained popularity as an incognito pot product that sheds the “stoner” association while still giving the user all the benefits of being high. “I want to take the feeling that it’s an illicit drug out of it,” Megan explains.
The manufacturing process is fairly simple. Megan sources her weed locally or from California-based farms and extracts the THC with a food-grade solvent, landing her with a pure base for her products. This process, done with a steady application of low heat (which can take a week from start to finish), also extracts other essential properties of the marijuana, including Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical in cannabis oil which can aid in physical ailments, such as headaches and chronic pain. The raw cannabinoid extraction is then mixed with a personalized recipe of other natural oils (Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil, for example) and herbs such as lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, and peppermint, some of which are grown in the backyard of her Bed Stuy apartment.
Her two products, lip balm and spray, the latter of which comes in a lipstick-like cylinder and works like a travel-sized perfume, use specific strains and individual recipes to produce an intended effect. Marijuana is categorically separated into two main strains: sativa and indica. Megan uses sativa strains in the lip balm, which can improve concentration, mental energy, and motivation (“I conceived that very specifically for daytime use”). She typically uses indica strains, which are generally calming and best suited for evening use, for the spray (although sativa sprays are also available). “You can mix some of the spray with a cocktail and it tastes really nice,” she says, adding that both are shareable (and subtle) in social situations and cost about the same as an eighth of regular bud. The versatility of application and effect has become one of the main draws of GOODWITCH.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY TOM SANDS.
A regular customer of hers, who previously worked at Vera Wang and Vogue and requested to remain anonymous, says that he was skeptical at first but has become a loyal fan of the lip balm. “I have pretty bad anxiety and lead a high stress life, so it’s awesome to have the weed there for you,” he says. “For traveling, it’s amazing, because it looks like makeup. So, if I’m going to Paris or something, I can take it on the plane. I’ve never had a problem,” he continues. “It’s definitely a party pleaser, too.”
GOODWITCH recently got picked up by Secret Fleet, a prominent underground weed delivery service in Brooklyn and Manhattan with ties to affluent professionals who work in media and fashion (in order to become a customer, you usually need to be recommended by a current client). The co-founder of the delivery company, whom we will call Abe, originally met Megan in a theater collective a few years ago, and was reintroduced last year by his ex-girlfriend, a prominent fashion designer who has shown her collections during Fashion Week. “[Megan and I] always got along, and it was really fortuitous,” he says. “I had a company that was really growing, and she had products that brought a new edge to our company — [they] diversified our product line.” Although a fairly traditional array of bud is offered by Secret Fleet, GOODWITCH gave the company an edge for a new demographic. “She has picked up on that organic, raw movement... [and that appeals] to a wide range of consumers,” Abe explains. “Her products bring a little bit of sophistication to what we are doing.” And, the numbers don’t lie: GOODWITCH has sold nearly 400 units through Secret Fleet since being picked up roughly six months ago.
Abe also explained that GOODWITCH is the perfect introduction into marijuana culture, appealing to the tidal wave of newcomers as something more modest and casual. “You aren’t drinking everclear and hitting the bong; you put on [lip balm] and have a cocktail,” he says. The easy-going nature of GOODWITCH has spilled over into Brooklyn’s LGBT community, too, making an appearance in more intimate situations. “I heard kids say [the lip balm is] great for kissing,” Abe says.
Megan also likes to concentrate on the medicinal qualities of GOODWITCH, and sees herself as an apothecary for the modern consumer. “I really enjoy tailoring and doing special orders [for certain clients],” she says. One of her customers was severely beaten while traveling in Central America and as a result has chronic, debilitating migraines. He tried everything. “The spray is the only thing that really helped him,” Megan explains. “For him, it’s medicine, which is what I like about it.”
Overall, Megan sees GOODWITCH as the perfect product line for the average joe with an imaginative side. “I think one of the reasons why it’s really popular with people who work in offices is that you can control the effect, especially for someone who has a creative job or who wants to break up the day,” she says. “It’s like a cup of coffee. That’s how I think of it. It’s not just a ‘get stoned’ type of thing.” Here is where we see the relationship between how GOODWITCH is consumed and why Megan started producing it in the first place: “I think about this as a creative project,” she says, smiling. “I like how there’s a little bit of magic to it.”