Later this year, Miami natives Stefan Guarch and Edgar Cohen intend to open the second location of their edible-themed eatery, Mama Munchies Hemp Café. The duo opened its first retail location earlier this year at 1221 E. Las Olas Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale, making the pair among the first companies in Florida to operate with a hemp food establishment permit, which the state began issuing in 2020 under the provisions set forth by the 2018 federal Farm Bill that legalized the commercial use of hemp and derivative products.
The business is unique in that it offers customers a variety of hemp-infused baked goods containing a variety of low-dose edibles containing Delta-8 THC, one of more than 100 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant.
And, yes, it's legal.
Like many new businesses, Mama Munchies was born in the midst of the pandemic, when Guarch and Cohen started experimenting with brownies and cookies containing Delta-8 THC. At the time, Guarch's grandmother was suffering from anxiety and depression, and the edibles were helping to alleviate her symptoms.
"We wanted to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for her," Guarch tells New Times. "Older people aren't going to vape and smoke, and the tinctures felt too medicinal. Edibles are the consumption method people prefer."
Sensing a niche business opportunity, the two began selling their hemp-infused cookies to Miami-based smoke shops. As demand grew, Guarch and Cohen opened their first retail store in March 2021, followed by the launch of a weekly home-delivery service, available to Broward and Miami residents, that brings fresh-baked items directly to a customer's home or office. The plan is to open additional locations across the state, starting with Miami, with Delray Beach, Tampa, Orlando, and Key West also on the map.
Moving forward, the duo says its goal is to end the stigma surrounding cannabinoids by offering more people access to their take on a "social consumption lounge" — a curated experience that offers a safe and enjoyable way enjoy hemp-based edibles.
Today, Miami residents can get a taste of Mama Munchies by ordering direct from the company website, or by visiting the Las Olas store. The cafe sells a variety of dessert-themed Delta-8 THC edibles, each available in a range of 5-, 10- and 25-milligram doses (Guarch recommends first-time users start with 5-milligram dosed edibles).
Cookies, brownies, and Rice Krispies Treats are priced from $12 to $15, depending on the quantity of THC. Customers must be at least 21 years old to purchase anything containing THC.
According to Guarch, Delta-8 can make you feel high, but it's a buzz that's considerably less noticeable than one achieves from smoking marijuana; he describes it as uplifting and mildly euphoric, minus the concentration loss, anxiety, and drowsiness associated with Delta-9 THC. The average onset time is 15 to 30 minutes, with effects lasting up to six hours.
“You'll get a body and head high,” says Guarch. "Smoking marijuana is like doing shots, and our edibles are like drinking a glass of wine."
Guarch and Cohen hope Florida will be one of the first states to allow cafés like Mama Munchies to work off multiple permits, allowing for social experiences that allow patrons a single space to enjoy hemp-infused foods alongside cocktails.
"Florida has provided a great opportunity for hemp-based business and is one of the only states in the country right now allowing you to infuse hemp into food," Guarch notes. "Moving forward, I think Florida — especially Miami — has the opportunity to become one of the next big cannabis capitals of the world. And part of that is offering people these culinary-based experiences."
Mama Munchies Café. 1221 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 305-894-9452; eatmamamunchies.com.