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Stigma Cannabis Pioneering The THC-Beverage Scene


It’s almost summertime; lazy, sunny, lake-filled days are almost upon us. The sound of cicadas fill the air, and everyone is reaching for a cold, refreshing beverage to enjoy as they sit back and relax. Let’s all agree; there is nothing better than a lemony, Arnold Palmer to quench our thirst. Oh wait, there is! Beverages like Stigma’s award-winning Lemonade Iced Tea is an elevated version of this classic blend, and if it isn’t at the top your list of summer must haves; it should be.

Since the legalization of adult-use cannabis and hemp derived THC in Minnesota in 2022, the region has been instrumental in pioneering the newest niche – hemp THC beverages. Stigma’s CEO Josh Malowski explains, “Minnesota has become fertile ground for innovation in the federally legal hemp industry, and Stigma is excited to be a big part of that.”

From RSO to D9: A Journey of Healing and Innovation

Maslowski’s journey in founding Stigma was deeply influenced by his mother-in-law’s battle with cancer. Through extensive research, he discovered Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a cannabis extract renowned for its potential in fighting cancer. Inspired by Simpson’s own experience and the anecdotal evidence surrounding RSO’s efficacy, Maslowski and his brother-in-law embarked on crafting their own batch of RSO. Following his mother-in-law’s brain surgery, she started a RSO regiment that greatly contributed to her quality of life. “She lived 24 high quality months instead of the prognosis of 14 months on chemo and radiation. She even kayaked with her grandkids in the final weeks before her passing.”

Spreading the Word, One Sip at a Time

This transformative experience inspired and ignited Maslowski’s advocacy for cannabis and further motivated him. “I wanted to create this brand to destigmatize cannabis and help educate the people that have been misinformed the past 80 years.”

Maslowki explains that the stigmatization of cannabis stemmed from a combination of economic interests, political agendas, and societal biases. Pharmaceutical companies were unable to patent cannabis. A smear campaign was launched against its therapeutic use, targeting prescribing doctors as “quacks”. Industries like cotton and timber lobbied against hemp production for their own agenda in paper and textiles. Politically-driven prohibitionist agendas also perpetuated the portrayal of cannabis as a dangerous drug through propaganda campaigns like “Reefer Madness.”  Cannabis also became associated with marginalized groups, leading to discriminatory practices such as for-profit jailing, while the term “marijuana” was used to evoke racial stereotypes and gain support from xenophobic voters.

“Hence the name, Stigma.” Maslowki notes. “We are removing the stigma surrounding cannabis, and our key ingredient is a flower, and every flower has a stigma.”  

The Future is Bright for Stigma

Stigma has not only become Minnesota’s favorite cannabis brand, their Lemonade Iced Tea is the number one selling product in many liquor stores selling THC drinks today. “We were one of the first brands in this space in 2018. Fast forward, now we are a leading THC brand and have a top selling beverage reaching thousands of people every week.” Maslowski asserts, “Our drinks offer an option for people who want to feel better on a daily basis or don’t want to drink alcohol . Trends suggest that people of the older generation are opening up to THC, and people 30 and under are consuming less alcohol than previous generations. We offer a great alternative for someone who wants to feel good both at the end of the day and the next morning.”

Stigma is set to expand its reach beyond Minnesota with plans to go nationwide this year (in accordance with state by state law). They have also added a THC-derived Club Soda to their list of products that can be mixed to make all kinds of summery cocktails. Maslowski notes that new beverage flavors are on the horizon as well including peach, berry and a line of functional waters. “We are so grateful for our success and ability to educate and inform so many people. We hear from people, multigenerational people, everyone from 21 to 91, who are benefitting from cannabis whether it is to help them with daily aches and pains, illness, anxiety, sleep or to just relax.” 

While much needs to be done to remove the stigma and misinformation plaguing cannabis, companies like Stigma are leading the way towards acceptance and understanding. By offering innovative products, and championing education, Stigma has become not just a beverage brand or a cannabis brand but a catalyst for a positive paradigm shift surrounding cannabis and its many potential benefits. As consumers raise their glasses to a new era of cannabis consumption, Stigma raises its glass, honoring the past while shaping the future of summertime relaxation.

Check out Stigma’s full list of products. 

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