On October 17, the two companies will launch 8th Wonder Cannabis, a dispensary and lounge hosted in the 8th Wonder building at 2201 Dallas Street that will also produce its own brand of hemp-based products.
Together, 8th Wonder and Bayou City Hemp introduced in 2021 the first two cannabis-infused non-alcoholic and zero-calorie seltzers in the state, including the THC-infused Delta-8 Wonder Water and the CBD Wonder Water. The brewery has also created additional hemp-based seltzers including Bun B’s Delta-8 seltzer, Trillionaire, which is named after one of the Houston rapper’s songs with T-Pain.
The new in-house dispensary will continue selling the seltzers, plus variety of cannabis-infused products, including non-alcoholic drinks, gummies, edibles, pre-rolls, vapes, flowers, and water-soluble options such as additives, which can be dissolved in a beverage. These consumables will contain varying levels of CBD, a chemical from the cannabis plant that can have a calming effect, or THC, a cannabinoid that elicits psychoactive properties or a “high” feeling similar to that of THC in marijuana.
Aside from the products from its collaboration, 8th Wonder Cannabis will also carry other products from other brands, including local CBD shop Leaf Life Wellness and hemp-based beverage companies Third Coast Blends and Mixer Elixir, and will open a ne lounge area for people to enjoy the paraphernalia in-house.
The bar and hemp company already have plans to open additional dispensary and lounges throughout Texas to improve “access to cannabis statewide.”
“This is an extension of something that we’ve already been doing. And we’re going to just have more options for folks,” says Ryan Soroka, president and co-founder of 8th Wonder.
Sokoro and Bayou City Hemp CEO and co-founder Benn Meggs first met in early 2020, thanks to James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, who Sokoro says introduced the two while 8th Wonder was working on Shepherd’s line of Hammer Down bourbon. From that, 8th Wonder Cannabis was born, Sokoro says.
As the industry evolves, both Meggs and Sokoro say they’re hopeful and confident that the hemp-based industry will continue to grow, particularly in Texas, which is a pioneer in the hemp-based beverage business.
Though recreational use of marijuana in Texas is still illegal and possession could lead to hefty penalties, residents seem to have been warming up to the idea of legalization. A survey conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that of more than 1,000 registered voters in Texas, 72 percent said they support medical cannabis legalization and 55 percent support the recreational use of marijuana.
Laws on hemp, however, differ. The federal Farm Bill, passed in December 2018, legalized hemp so long as the levels of Delta-9 THC are below 0.3 percent, and Texas House Bill 1325, which was enacted in 2019, legalized the sale, production, and distribution of hemp and all hemp derivatives in accordance with the law.
Other Houston restaurants and bars are also expanding their footprint within the hemp industry. Founders and cousins Adyson and Andrew Alvis opened their first dispensary and coffee bar, Grinders Coffee Bar & The CBD Apothecary in West University, in 2019, offering a range of hemp-based THC and CBD products and elixirs and coffees that can be infused. In 2022, they opened Wild in the Heights, a dispensary and a coffee and cocktail bar with similar offerings. And in September 2022, the duo opened a second Wild in Montrose, expanding its offering to cannabis-infused fine dining.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include the correct spelling of Third Coast Blends and to note that Bayou City Hemp is a cannabis manufacturer.