September 30, 2009 – Mary Jane’s Soda, marketed as “a relaxing soft-drink that delivers euphoric relaxation and focus to a stress-filled life,” implicitly mimics the effects of marijuana. The drink’s y560ck10website says that the effects of the drink are sometimes compared to that of alcohol, but without the “drowsiness, beer goggles, tough-guy syndrome, and hangovers.”

“We created Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda as an alternative to alcohol, for people who want a healthy, natural, and legal way to relax and unwind,” said CEO and creator Matt Moody.

You may remember the “pot sucker” controversy from a few years ago. The suckers were marketed as “hemp-flavored lollipops.” The notorious candy, sold at Spencer’s, a gift shop found in many malls, spawned a debate about the ethical considerations of marketing illicit substances to young children. “Every lick is like taking a hit,” claimed the producers of the candy. Subtlety was clearly not a priority.

The company sold hundreds of thousands of the suckers before being yanked from the shelves, so the market was there. The proponents of Mary Jane’s Soda must have taken notice.

William Wood, a 23-year-old journalism major from Atlanta, said “That is clever marketing. They obviously couldn’t market it explicitly as an alternative to marijuana. They are probably trying to get the college-age market.”

The multi-billion dollar energy drink industry markets heavily towards college students. “I could see that [Mary Jane’s Soda] being used to accompany energy drinks if someone drinks too many Red Bulls to get through the school day, and they want to counteract the caffeine,” said Wood. This is something I can relate to. I could see myself using the drink for this purpose but several studies are being done on the negative effects of energy drinks and perhaps I should see how those pan out before acquiring another habit.

The company’s website recommends drinking its product after a long day or before a first date to calm the nerves. It claims to be helpful for job interviews and public speaking. Road rage, something every Georgia State student can relate to, is another reason the website lists.

“I wouldn’t drink it,” says Courtney Hill, a freshman from Alpharetta. Wood said, “I probably wouldn’t drink it because I only drink water.”

I cannot comment on the taste, as the product is not currently available on the east coast. “If it’s herbal and all natural, it probably does not taste great,” said Wood. He makes a good point. Mostly anything herbal is not very tasty, at least in my experience. The website does not really address the taste except to say that past attempts to put Kava in a drink have failed at masking the naturally bad taste and that Mary Jane’s Soda is the first to do so successfully.

The website says not to drink Mary Jane’s Soda if you are on any prescription drugs. “That sounds dangerous,” says Hill. I personally cannot help but wonder how many Americans are not taking any prescription drugs. Kava, the main ingredient, has been used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes in the South Pacific for thousands of years. Other medicinal uses for the root are to relieve muscle tension, to treat depression, and as a mild anesthetic. Its relaxing properties also have been used for insomnia.

The drink is being marketed as an ‘anti-energy drink.’ “People could buy it. College kids buying soda and marijuana-yep, people will buy it,” said Wood. Hill, a non-drinker, doesn’t share this sentiment. Hill said “I think it’s stupid.”

“If it’s in stores and readily available, then I could see it selling. I have a hard time seeing people getting on the internet to have soda shipped to them,” said Wood. I wouldn’t order it either. The time it would take alone would deter me from making an online purchase. If I see it in stores, then I’ll try it. However, Mary Jane’s Soda is not currently available to Georgia State students unless they order online. The online price is $56 for a pack of 24, so this relaxation comes at a price that I would venture to say most college students would probably not pay. By: Kirkland Carter. Source.

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