Amy Bacon cradles a large square slab of gelled strawberry purée and sets it on a machine called a guitar cutter. The cutter has a base of tines that hold the slab in place. Bacon pulls down a lever, and rows of taut wires slice through the slab, creating a musical hum when they vibrate against the tines, like the strum of a guitar. Then she turns the slab 90 degrees and cuts through it again. The result: cubes that will be coated with sugar crystals and divided into packages of 20.
Each of these sugar-coated cubes is infused with 5 milligrams of THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Bacon, 48, describes this delicacy by its French name, pâte de fruits. But the patients who purchase the fruity cubes from Champlain Valley Dispensary‘s stores in Burlington and South Burlington, or the company’s Southern Vermont Wellness branches in Middlebury and Brattleboro, know them more modestly as “gummies.”
No matter the name, these sour strawberry treats — made with a pectin-based purée, rather than cheaper gelatin found in many similar candies — demonstrate Bacon’s efforts to make medical marijuana not just edible but appetizing. These aren’t your garden-variety pot brownies. If someone’s using a guitar cutter to cube gummies, they’re trafficking in high-quality confections.
Bacon, a culinary-school-trained chef who once worked for revered restaurateur Alice Waters, now parlays those expert cooking skills into edibles and other products for the dispensary. As CVD’s production manager, she concocts cookies, brownies, candies, beverages, tinctures and salves as the delectable delivery systems for the therapeutic properties of THC.
And she can’t taste any of it.
Under strict state regulations, the dispensary cannot divert any of its products — even to those who make them