DRACUT — TV talk show host and military veteran Montel Williams hit town Wednesday to promote his new business: marijuana.
Williams visited Tree House Craft Cannabis on Wednesday night to promote her new line of cannabis vape cartridges, Inspire by Montel. The products, released this week, are a collaboration with Taunton-based Freshly Baked, and will be sold at dispensaries across Massachusetts.
“I’ve been doing this for 21 years. Long before it was legal, long before there was a law in Massachusetts allowing the sale of cannabis, I was here to testify and plead,” Williams said. “(I) was defending the right of patients to have access to this medicine.”
Williams rose to fame as host of the Emmy Award-winning “Montel Williams Show”, which aired on CBS from 1991 to 2008. Prior to his show, however, he served in the United States Navy and was the first Black Marine selected to the Naval Academy. Prep School to then graduate from the United States Naval Academy and be commissioned as a Naval Officer.
Since the cancellation of Williams’ show, he has continued his television career and now hosts “Military Makeover with Montel” on Lifetime. He started a podcast, “Let’s Be Blunt with Montel”, in 2020.
Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. After receiving his diagnosis, he began using marijuana as a pain management tool and has since become an advocate for marijuana legalization across the country. He previously released a line of CBD oils through his company Lenitiv Scientific, but Inspire by Montel is his first line of vape cartridges.
“Cannabis works differently for everyone,” he said. “It helped me take charge of my symptoms instead of them taking charge of me.”
Freshly Baked co-founders Philip Smith and Jenny Roseman, both disabled veterans who started their business in 2018, said they first thought of working with Williams three years ago when they were watching “Military Makeover”.
Two years later, they appeared on an episode of Williams’ podcast, which was released in November 2021. After their recorded conversation, they continued talking and the business partnership was born.
“I feel so lucky because Montel is a veteran, and we’re a disabled veteran-owned business, so it’s very magical,” Roseman said. “It’s a big problem for us.”
Within months, the line of vapes was formulated and produced. The first batch of wholesale sold in presale, and more are in production.
The line includes three 1-gram vape cartridges. ‘Energy’ contains 95% THC, the cannabinoid that gets you high, and 5% CBD, which has a calming effect. “Chill” is split 50-50 between THC and CBD, and “Calm” is 90% CBD, 10% THC.
Williams said he rejects the traditional categorization of marijuana into “indica” and “sativa” and prefers to focus on terpenes, chemicals within different strains that affect the taste and effects experienced by the user. He said that while many other cannabis products contain terpenes from other sources, such as fruits and vegetables, his does not.
“Would you like to smoke a grape?” Would you vape a cabbage? he joked. “Why would we put cannabinoids from fruits and vegetables in a cartridge?”
Tree House Craft Cannabis co-CEOs Wes Ritchie and Ture Turnbull said products made by Williams and Freshly Baked are exactly what they want to see in their small, independent shop, which opened in November.
“We’ve made valuable choices about who we work with and help the community since we opened,” Turnbull said. “These partnerships are part of us.
Ritchie agreed, adding that they were intentionally trying to build community with their business.
“Listening to him speak, I was reminded that a huge percentage of our clients come and try to process something. They feel anxious or have trouble sleeping,” he said. “The fact that we have someone who has dedicated their career to this and can explain what is in their products shows that there is a lot of attention to this.”