Roberta Wilson and Jeff Koz, the brother-sister team behind Dr. Norm’s edibles, didn’t anticipate a future selling weed cookies for a living, but in retrospect, it makes perfect sense. Their father, the original Dr. Norm, was an “old school doctor” who cared deeply about his patients, and their mother was a pharmacist with a passion for baking cookies. “If you came over to our house when we were growing up, you’d immediately smell the fresh baked cookies—my sister Roberta used to say our mom spread her joy through cookies,” says Koz. “By adding plant medicine to cookies baked with love, we’re honoring both their legacies as health care professionals.”
Left to right: Jeff Koz, Dr. Norm’s CEO and co-founder; Roberta Wilson, co-founder; Dr. Norm Koz Medical School Portrait
Born and raised in Los Angeles, both siblings initially pursued careers in entertainment; Koz was a composer and producer, and Wilson worked in television. But after their mother died, Wilson was determined for her mother’s cookies to live on. She started selling cookies to her immediate community and their popularity grew. Koz came on board to help on the marketing side and eventually, their mom’s creations ended up on the shelves of Whole Foods.
When California’s Prop 64 got on the ballot, Wilson joked that they should start making weed cookies. “She was just joking,” says Koz, “but I told her I was in.”
Wilson still needed some persuading, so Koz got to work learning the ropes of the burgeoning industry. “I didn’t know anything about cannabis at the time—I maybe smoked a couple times a year,” Koz says. “But I found the industry at that time so collaborative.” The cannabis community brought him into the fold, and he soon had a line on some quality cannabis oil that would be perfect in the family recipe. Koz convinced Wilson that the time was ripe to get in on the ground floor, and this time she agreed. “We had a meeting about the health benefits of cannabis, and she said: Okay I’m in.”
As outsiders to the industry, the brother-sister duo brought a culinary perspective that was at the time somewhat rare in the realm of cannabis edibles. “The stuff all tasted like weed,” he says. “We said to ourselves we should try to do it differently—our goal was to be known as edibles that taste good.” The goal was accomplished with a neutral cannabis distillate that didn’t announce its presence in every bite, freeing them to focus on the major hurdle faced by cannabis bakers everywhere: the inconsistent THC distribution that fueled a widespread fear that consuming edibles means getting automatically obliterated. “People used to think they’re going to take an edible and end up messed up on a couch for two days,” Koz says ruefully. “That’s how we came up with our motto: Know your dose.”
Having perfected the recipe, they started distributing their cookies to California dispensaries. “Roberta and I would fill our cars to the ceiling with thousands of cookies in Ziplock bags before heading out on deliveries,” Koz says. He remembers their fans from the early days with particular fondness. “There was an 80-year-old man living in a retirement community who used them to get sleep,” says Koz. “We would sell to him directly at a discount, and he distributed them to people in his retirement community until practically the whole community was getting high on Dr. Norm’s.”
Dr. Norm’s has come a long way since sales first got off the ground in 2017. They offer packs of 10 to 20 mg cookies in flavors ranging from classic chocolate chip to a gluten-free snickerdoodle, though they have one line of 100mg cookies designed for the high tolerance consumer. Their brownies and rice crispy bars, which were originally made to oblige a special request but have now become among their most popular products, come in at a total of 100 mg but are designed to easily be divided into ten portions to avoid the weed brownie mishaps so rampant at the hippie potlucks of yesteryear. True to their word, Dr. Norm’s baked goods are indeed delicious, and they offer a potent, even, and long-lasting high. And with their new full-spectrum nano product line, the onset time can be as little as fifteen minutes.
Learning the ins and outs of a whole new industry hasn’t always been easy, but Koz and Wilson have never felt their mission was one they had to take on alone. “Roberta believed in the mysticism of it all a little quicker than I did,” says Koz, “but we have both felt our parents giving us some guidance from above. They’re out there helping us navigate those choppy waters.” As they spread cannabis love through cookies, the siblings are sure they’ve earned their parents’ posthumous approval. “Here we are, our own versions of a doctor, pharmacist, and baker all rolled into one,” he says. “If you amalgamate that, it’s the perfect little universe.”