Jake Heimark is no stranger to cutting edge industry.
The Bay Area native spent two years working in payments on Facebook’s risk management team, a position he characterized as “very fast moving… in a very heavily regulated industry that’s growing very quickly.”
If you ask Heimark, it was an experience that lent itself in a big way to his current gig as the cofounder of Plus, a California edibles company that specializes in cannabis-infused chewing gum.
“Knowing how to grow inside a regulated industry is exactly what you need to do in the cannabis space if you’re going to be any good at it,” Heimark told Civilized.
“Because you can’t play hard and fast with the rules, but you also need to know how to focus on the right things, so it’s very similar to [Facebook], actually.”
Of course, it helps if you’ve got a halfway decent product. Heimark believes he’s hit something of a jackpot with Plus’s specially manufactured cannabis gum.
“I realized there was a hole in the edibles segment for someone who doesn’t want to get what I call ‘super-stoned’,” Heimark said in describing his inspiration for the product.
“I also go to the gym a lot and I don’t want something that’s going to fight with my body… and I have slight asthma and allergies which means I don’t want to smoke. In this frustration of wanting something for myself, I realized this is something other people might want, too.”
The solution? Fast-acting, low-calorie Plus Gum, which tastes like spearmint and just a “hint of cannabis” due to what Heimark calls a “patent-pending manufacturing process that allows us to make the gum not smell and taste like cannabis while also making it psychoactive and fast-acting.” Each piece contains 25 milligrams of THC.
“It’s the healthy person’s edible… [because] it’s not actually an edible. You have to chew it and spit it out… and by having it faster-acting we’re actually preventing over-consuming,” said Heimark, adding that the product’s inherent discreteness is another big benefit.
“No one really wants to drop [cannabis] tincture in the middle of dinner, but if you put a piece of gum in your mouth no one thinks twice… also, gum is in 60 percent of women’s purses in the United States already.”
Plus Gum is currently available in more than 60 dispensaries across California. Plus just released a line of cannabis-infused gummies, which Heimark calls “slightly more traditional, but with a lot of the same characteristics as the gum in that they’re low-calorie, fast-acting and taste really, really good.”
The company has plans to expand into Colorado. Things are moving quickly, just like at his old gig, but Heimark notes one big difference between his time at the social media giant and the cannabis space.
“Often in tech, there’s a huge disconnect between what you’re doing and who you’re selling it to. You just don’t feel that interaction,” said Heimark.
“In [the cannabis world], it’s great to have a product that I’m proud of, that the people associated with the company are proud of, and that people are excited to pay for… at the end of the day, we’re able to make medicine and products for people that really need and want them, and that’s just a great feeling.”
Banner image: Jake Heimark, Plus Gum Founder.