Port Washington entrepreneur Eric Lefcowitz with some of his Space...

Port Washington entrepreneur Eric Lefcowitz with some of his Space Food Sticks products in Port Washington on Friday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A Long Island entrepreneur is adding THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, to Space Food Sticks, a 1970s-era energy bar that he revived.

The psychoactive version of the snack initially will be sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries in California, said Eric Lefcowitz, whose Port Washington-based Retrofuture Products LLC is partnering on the project with Los Angeles-based The Art of Edibles.

After receiving regulatory approval from California authorities earlier this week, Lefcowitz said the product will launch on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

"One giant leap for man's mind," said Lefcowitz.

He said one bar of the THC-infused Space Food Sticks will cost about the same as a six-pack of domestic, mass-market beer, roughly $6 or $7. That compares with $19.95 for 15 bars without THC  that the company offers online, not including shipping.

"I've been the king of space food," said Lefcowitz, who has been selling non-THC Space Food Sticks, freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream and Splashdown CBD Energy Drink through his funkyfoodshop.com website. "Space, as a marketing concept, is my niche. What is exciting is that Space Sticks is a perfect name for a weed product."

The original version of Space Food Sticks was developed by food scientist Howard Bauman and others at the Pillsbury Company  in cooperation with NASA. Space Food Sticks were sold in supermarkets and, in 1973, a version was incorporated onto the menu for astronauts aboard Skylab, a three-person NASA space station whose last mission was in 1974.

As the public's enthusiasm for space flight waned, Pillsbury first dropped "Space" from the product's name, marketing it as Food Sticks, and then retired the product altogether.

Lefcowitz worked with food scientists to clone chocolate and peanut butter versions of the product and relaunched the brand in October 2006.

Lefcowitz said he hopes to expand distribution of the THC product, which he describes as a hybrid between a protein bar and a candy bar, to other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana.

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana remains stalled in New York State, but has been ratified in 11 states and Washington, D.C.

"I'm laying claim to the fact that this is the first legacy American brand making the transformation from a supermarket product to a cannabis-dispensary product," Lefcowitz said.

With the launch of the THC-infused product, Lefcowitz said he would phase out distribution of the classic Space Food Sticks online and through other outlets, including the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.

The CBD drink and the ice cream products, however, will continue to be marketed, he said. 

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