by Doug McClure
HARDWICK – On Saturday, October 3, a new cannabis business, Mountain Mystic, launched with a soft opening dubbed the “Queen of the Forest Harvest Ball.”
The business is located in the building that formerly housed Caledonia Spirits on Log Yard Drive.
According to co-owner Elijah Mayhew, the event drew approximately sixty people out on a cool rainy night for music and dancing. The event was in partnership with Satta Sound of Montpelier. Mayhew said he has known Satta Sound’s owner Matthew DeLorey “for years” and this collaboration felt like a natural fit to begin the process of opening the business.
Mayhew said he and his brother Isaiah are focused on “boutique cannabis products” that are high in CBD (not in THC), he said, including smokeable flower, body products, and extracts. The plan is to have the retail space open by November 1. His family is “fourth-generation cultivators and herbalists,” said Mayhew. “I want us to be known for the highest quality smokeable flower, extracts, and body products. Our focus is on crafting superior-quality cannabis products.”
Mayhew grew up in the Plainfield/Montpelier area and said he has always had an affinity for the Northeast Kingdom (NEK). “It always struck a tone for me, I guess you could say it’s a spiritual connection,” he said. He described Hardwick as a “frontier” to “to showcase the NEK.”
“I’d like to see the NEK become the Humboldt [County] of Vermont,” he said, referencing the county in California widely known for historical and current legal cultivation of cannabis. He said the state’s proposed recreational marijuana legislation contrasts with California and other states’, though, by providing for “a high number of small-scale cultivators” and allowing these farmers cannabis permits in multiple categories. That would allow the farmers to better control the end product’s quality and distribution, he said. “We’re trying to do [legal marijuana] differently in Vermont with S. 54. I’d say, comparing to other states, we’re on a good track.”
Mayhew is not in a rush to move into the recreational cannabis market should the legislature manage to pass something. He said the current cannabis market focused on medicinal and health uses is “paying the bills” and already involved “trying to jump through a lot of hoops” with licenses and permits to be 100% legal. Mayhew hopes that the products Mountain Mystic produces will establish a brand known for quality, and “if the time comes,” that might translate to recreational cannabis. “Our focus is on crafting new standards,” he said. “Super quality cannabis products. It’s kind of interesting that Caledonia Spirits got their start here. It’s a good phase-over from craft spirits to craft cannabis.”
The space where the Saturday event was held will become Mountain Mystic’s initial “grow space” where plants are raised; a second one of equal size is planned for in the coming months. Mayhew has a larger goal than just operating a business, he said, and that includes not just being a valuable contributor to the Hardwick community but also “being an asset to the industry in general,” effectively, an ambassador for cannabis.
“I’m proud to play a part in breaking the stigma that’s been built up around this plant. Some people view it as a savior [for medical issues]. There’s no need for it to be villainized.”
With that in mind, he said he might be open to related businesses products appearing on the store’s shelves at some point.
He said the town has been “really cooperative and very friendly, really good allies, including the town [select] board,” including the Hardwick Police Department, whose officers, he said, had shown up a few times due to a malfunctioning alarm system “in minutes.”