Food+Travel

Legendary San Francisco edibles seller "Truffle Man" goes legal

October 3, 2017
Via @truffle.man on Instagram
Via @truffle.man on Instagram
Via @truffle.man on Instagram
SOURCE: Via @truffle.man on Instagram

After more than a decade of serving San Francisco park goers with delectable weed-infused chocolates, the Dolores Park “Truffle Man”’s handcrafted treats are now available in some of the city’s finest dispensaries.

The DIY chocolatier known for illegally providing park regulars with marijuana-laced truffles will no longer be seen with his trademark copper pots and goofy hat. Instead, he will leave Dolores to concentrate on a new, lawfully ran business, reports Eater SF.

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The Truffle Man, who prefers to be identified as simply “Trevor,” built a cult following throughout the years with his unmistakable look coupled with edibles that struck a perfect balance between flavor and effect. Soon enough, customers blew up his low profile by creating a Yelp page, garnering several positive reviews for the underground confectioner.

Such exposure forced the Truffle Man to go legit, however, as his delectable treats are now made in an industrial warehouse space in Oakland, and are available for purchase at the popular San Francisco dispensary SPARC. Dolores Park regulars’ three favorite flavors -- salted caramel, Jamaican rum, and Turkish coffee -- now come in professional gold-embossed packaging emblazoned with a Truffle Man logo.

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The Dolores Park Truffle Man’s newfound success from humble beginnings is not a new story to the Bay Area. The award-winning edible brand Auntie Dolores was also born in Dolores Park, while the massively renowned Kiva Confections made their start in a home kitchen in San Leandro.

But with forthcoming regulations on California’s new legal cannabis industry, the Truffle Man’s story may be the last of its kind. While standards for quality and safety will improve the industry, new regulations increase barriers to entering the industry by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Under state law, you can’t sell legal pot edibles without both a state and local license, and black market sellers — including medical pot collectives — cannot simply transition to licensed sales without money for a lease in an appropriately zoned building, a local manufacturer’s license, and a state license. Those licenses can require city inspections, extra permits, and public hearings entailing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to the city, lawyers and lobbyists.

"It's both good and bad. It's unfortunate you need millions and millions [of dollars] to get started, but it's a good thing to get product safety standards and people operating above board," said Kiva Confections co-founder Kristi Knoblich Palmer in an interview with GreenState published in September.

California’s new legal pot market also allows for vertical integration, giving businesses the ability to hold licenses in several industry categories, including growing pot, making edibles from it and retailing those edibles. Groups such as the California Growers Association fear companies who own their supply chain could hurt smaller competitors.

Even the Truffle Man himself knows what he’s up against.

“The companies I’m going up against have millions invested, and can easily afford to lose it,” he said to the SF Eater. “They have a war chest.”