Regional: Former Grand Junction police chief makes ‘THC’ brownies
You’ve heard the story before.
A longtime, respected member of the law enforcement community retires and decides to start baking pot brownies for a living.
Then again, maybe you haven’t.
Greg Morrison retired from law enforcement last year after serving almost four decades in the state of Colorado. He was assistant police chief in Breckenridge from 2006 to 2013. Before that he served as Silverthorne’s police chief from 1991 to 1995. Other stops in his professional career include stints as police chief in Vail and Grand Junction, as a detective sergeant in Lakewood and as a deputy sheriff in Boulder County.
A couple of weeks ago Morrison, who now lives in Grand Junction, launched Totally High Country (THC) Brownies. They come in four varieties, including Mary Jane Plain, Cheeba Crème Brülée, Acapulco Gold Almond and Alice B. Toklas Toffee. The logo on his packaging features three green peaks, the company slogan “baked in Colorado” and the letters “THC” and “brownies” highlighted.
“It proudly reflects the company’s origins in Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales,” Morrison said.
It’s not the first time Morrison has operated outside the box.
He’s probably the only student in the history of the University of Colorado Boulder who worked as a sheriff’s deputy while living in a frat house.
“I was living in a frat house while going to school and working full time with the Boulder Sheriff’s Office,” Morrison said. “It was quite a sight to see the patrol car parked in front of a frat house almost every night.”
Morrison got into law enforcement by chance. At 19, a sociology professor handed out a peculiar assignment. He wanted all of his students to get a glimpse of life in someone else’s shoes. Each student had to randomly draw an assignment out of a box. He happened to pull out “police ride-along.”
“It was something I’d never planned on,” said Morrison, now 57. “But I went on three ride-alongs, and I was hooked. I knew this was totally for me.”
He began cadet training at 19. By age 21, while still taking a full course load, he started working for the sheriff’s office. He soon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal science and went on to enjoy a long, successful career in law enforcement.
There’s one more thing to mention. Morrison has a sense of humor.
His edibles are the O’Douls of pot brownies. They contain no marijuana at all. Instead, they are made with traditional brownie ingredients by a gourmet bakery in Grand Junction.
“It’s kind of a joke gift,” Morrison said. “People come back from a trip to Colorado and people always joke and ask with if they brought back any pot brownies with them. They can’t bring marijuana home with them on the plane or across state lines, but they can bring these back.”
He compared it to a marijuana-themed T-shirt you can get at most gift shops in Colorado, and also to candies like “Moose Droppings,” “Bear Nuts” and “Snowman Poop.”
He said they serve as good gag on teetotalers and stoners alike. It’s as funny to mail them to a conservative grandmother from Kansas as it would be to send them to Seth Rogen.
“And it’s not just a good joke, these brownies are really good,” Morrison said. “I thought there might be a niche market in here for these.”
He said he’s received positive feedback from gift stores he’s visited, and has started shipping out his first orders. He’s gone all out in his promotions. He’s been touring in a souped-up Volkswagen camper van he’s nicknamed “Bud.”
He’s received mixed reviews from some of his old friends in law enforcement. He’s had one tell him what he’s doing was horrible while another wanted a box of them to bring to an industry convention in Utah.
Morrison worked in law enforcement throughout the dramatic changes to marijuana law in his home state.
“I never had an issue with it,” he said. “The voters spoke, and it’s our job as police to follow the laws that are made. I think today is probably a lot like it was at the end of Prohibition.”
He served for years on Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, including two stints as president. He compared changes in marijuana laws to changes in concealed weapons laws.
“It was quite divisive in the association,” Morrison said. “But all cops are not going to agree with all laws.”
But he hopes everyone can agree on a good gag as he carves out a niche in a growing industry. If successful, he plans to expand to Washington state. And while none of the brownies are available in Summit County yet, they can be ordered at http://www.bakedinco.com or http://www.totallyhighcountrybrownies.com.
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Corby Anderson was named executive director for Carbondale-based community radio station KDNK in August.