Utopia Sparkling Water is another innovative Tarukino creation. The same company that brought you other Sorse-based products like Happy Apple, Pearl2O Water, Velvet Swing and Vertus, Respect My Region linked up with Daniel Wathne of Tarukino to get the ins and outs of Utopia Sparkling Water.

*This interview was shortened and edited for clarity*

RMR: Tell me more about yourself and your background with cannabis?

DW: My name is Daniel Wathne, I’ve lived in Washington for most of my life. My first experiment with cannabis was in my early teens. I still remember the first time I smoked, my friend had snuck a pipe and some weed from his dad. We fumbled with the lighter but managed to get some smoke out of the thing.

I dabbled a bit more through the years, but I never found a strong connection with cannabis until after High School. Flash forward one year and a serious motorcycle accident I was involved in gave me the desire to get a medical card as an alternative to opioids. In a few months, I built a strong relationship with a medical store, and by 2012 I was working there as a budtender. I was exposed to thousands of medical customers through those years, which helped me get a broad understanding of how people receive benefits from cannabis.

I left retail to get involved in growing and processing edibles and concentrates. When Washington’s medical system was rolled into the recreational system. After I started working at a recreational store, I met a gentleman named Howard Lee who was involved in the tech industry. He received a proposition to be a part of a cannabis, edibles, and topicals startup and was looking for a team. In January of 2017, I started working for Tarukino, that very cannabis startup. I worked in production until the launch of our first two products, Happy Apple and Velvet Swing.

RMR: What is your official position at Tarukino and what are some of your job requirements?

DW: I’m currently the Senior Sales and Accounts Manager. I build and maintain relationships with stores across Western and Northern Washington. I also have the pleasure of being part of event coordination and education as we spread the love for our products.

The work is not always rainbows — lots of emails, phone calls, meetings, driving, long days, and late nights, but at the end of the day, I work for a company trying to create something different for the industry. That makes the work worth it.

RMR: Why should people try Utopia Sparkling Water?

DW: Because it’s a delicious sugar-free and healthy way to consume edibles. Its kind of like a LaCroix except it gets you high. Utopia has basic ingredients like carbonated water and natural flavoring. Most people feel results around the 15-minute mark, and the effects wear off in a more predictable manner. We offer 10-milligram, 50-milligram, and 100-milligram potency options.

RMR: How many flavors are there and which one is your favorite?

DW: So far, we have Grapefruit, Lime, Cherry, and Original. My personal favorite has to be Grapefruit, although the competition is stiff.

RMR: Have you used Utopia Sparkling Water as an ingredient in something like a smoothie or alongside anything else?

DW: I am not a big consumer of alcohol, so I will use Utopia as a replacement for tonic water and vodka in mocktails.

RMR: Who are the people you see typically consuming Utopia?

DW: From what I have seen Utopia is consumed mostly by people who are looking for an alternative to sugary edibles, or folks who consume a lot of sparkling water products in their daily life. Basically, people that want to get their high from something light and refreshing.

RMR: Was Utopia Sparkling Water created for a specific customer base?

DW: Not at all! We wanted to offer a healthy alternative for any edible consumers out there, or any newbies wanting to try it for the first time. If you are a new cannabis user I think Utopia is a very approachable way to consume cannabis.

RMR: When it comes to the Tarukino products and brands, do you have a favorite one?

DW: For me personally it has to be the Happy Apple. I had the pleasure of helping to develop that product so I feel connected to it. I love all the products in our portfolio, however, Happy Apple has really opened up the doors for us to make all the others.

RMR: What are some creative ways you’ve heard people using Utopia?

DW: My favorite recipe so far has been the waffles that use the sparkling water to make the batter airy. I substituted a LaCroix for a 100ml cherry Utopia.

RMR: What is your favorite part of your job?

DW: Having the opportunity to meet all the people who keep this industry spinning on a daily basis has got to be number one for me. Seeing how hard people work to legitimize an industry that has been looked down on for so long puts a smile on my face, I hope the wave of legalization continues to grow!

RMR: What is the most challenging part of your job?

DW: For me, the most challenging part of my job is trying to find the best joint when I visit my stores. Way too many options.

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