Grower Stories #32: Mike Erdman
Rocky Mountain High: Colorado Candy Company Elevates Customers With Cannabis-Infused Treats
We caught up with Denver, Colorado-based cannabis-infused lollipop maker Mountain High Sucker about their THC and CBD treats, their favorite cannabis celebrity and their past and present in the cannabis industry.
Tia (AskGrowers) : How did Mountain High Suckers get started? What's your origin story?
Mike Erdman : John became a caregiver grower in early 2008 because of his experience growing cannabis in Hawaii in the ‘80s. His friend Chad began being a caregiver grower in the fall of 2008 after seeing John’s setup. As Chad was making deliveries to dispensaries, he started seeing patients trade edibles for flowers and it gave him the idea to start the business.
Tia : What made you want to get involved in the cannabis industry? Did you have any prior cannabis industry experience?
Mike : Our experience has been complete, we were here in the very beginning of this industry in Colorado before licensing for MIPs and dispensaries. For instance, our first license from the city titled us as a meat and cheese manufacturer because they didn’t have a designation for cannabis-infused edibles yet.
Tia : What cannabis products do you use personally? Do you feel these products impact your work/life balance?
Mike : Both of us are regular flower consumers primarily, mixing in edibles and water hash periodically. We find that it keeps us very productive, creative and happy in both our personal and professional lives.
Tia : What sets Mountain High Suckers apart from other brands?
Mike : We were the first company in Colorado to sell a CBD/THC infused edible to another licensed company and we were also the first company to provide a readout on every product that specifies all cannabinoids in the package. Another aspect of our products comes from the nature of our extraction, we produce a whole plant ethanol extraction that yields a more holistic product than is found elsewhere in the industry.
Tia : Edibles are a huge contributing factor to the popularity of cannabis microdosing — how do you think microdosing will affect the industry long-term?
Mike : We agree and believe that it will carve out a rather large niche within the cannabis market for itself that will likely rival more standard ‘microdoses’ as the market matures.
Tia : You guys have been making suckers and lozenges since 2009. Has your process changed much since then?
Mike : Well in 2009, Chad and his wife were the sole producers and packagers for Mountain High Suckers. Today, we have 9 employees as well as a licensed operation in Puerto Rico and we’re in the process transitioning from hand pouring to machine as well as setting up production in other markets such as Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Tia : What do you think is the most common mistake that new companies make when it comes to their branding?
Mike : The most common mistake we see comes with the use of the same or similar branding as existing entities. For example; strain names such as Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue. We’ve even had to issue a cease and desist ourselves to another company for this kind of issue.
Tia : There is a stigma that cannabis affects your life in a negative way, that “potheads” never achieve or amount to anything. What is your personal response to that?
Mike : We believe that you can apply that ‘stigma’ to pain pills, alcohol, video games, etc. As always, it’s up to the individual rather than a specific substance at large when it comes to achievement. Rather, we believe that speaking of that ‘stigma’ is cliché and analogous to the old drug war commercials and propaganda of the last century.
Tia : Where do you hope to see Mountain High Suckers in the next five to ten years?
Mike : As we progress in our licensing in other states and countries, we believe we could reasonably be in half of the states in the country and have the capability to supply the global market as it exists at that point.
Tia : Are there any brands you appreciate and follow?
Mike : Tommy Chong and his brand would be the one we appreciate and follow the most. He’s an individual that can be credited with influencing our culture to legitimize cannabis across our society.
Tia : If you could smoke with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why? :)
Mike : Thomas Jefferson because there would be a lot of topics that he would likely have an interesting opinion about. We could talk about the differences between the Country he helped found compared to the country we have today as well as cannabis/hemp today compared to what it was in his time.
Tia : What's next for Mountain High Suckers? Can you tell us about your next big release?
Mike : Yes, we’re launching a gummy line called Sunshine Gummies in Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and New Mexico! Keep an eye out on our social media for more information.
You can follow Mountain High Suckers at: