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A Little Slice of Watermelon

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Mary Jean Dunsdon has done it all. She is a well-known marijuana activist, a stand-up comedian, owner of a licorice shop, host of her internet cannabis cooking show and, to top it all off, she used to be famous for selling watermelon slices ‘in the buff’ on a nude beach in Vancouver. That last job earned her the longstanding nickname ‘Watermelon’ by most people who know her.

Today, along with her licorice shop, the Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour, she runs a private marijuana bakery for those of us with an MMJ card to flash. “I’m a marijuana baker and been doing it since 1993. We are not open to the public, only private sales and mail order. We also sell to dispensaries that aren’t in Vancouver.” Edibles in Vancouver marijuana shops were banned in 2015.

“My mother always baked, and I grew up in my mother’s kitchen.  Baking was just something I understood fundamentally.” Mary Jean said. She remembers how she came home from New York one year where she had been doing stand-up comedy and started working Wreck Beach selling watermelon. She was “somewhat broke” at the time and staying with a friend. “My friend had a big bag of shake in his basement, so I baked it into cookies. I went to Wreck Beach and sold every cookie I baked. That makes a big impression on a young person.”

Mary Jean went on to add that the cookies went over so well that she baked up another batch the next night and the day after sold out again, and this continued for a while. As much as the locals and beach tourists loved having Mary Jean around, the authorities did not, and she was pinched a few days before 9/11 in 2001. “I was subsequently arrested quite a few times after that for allegedly trafficking ginger snap cookies [with a little extra snap].”

After her highly publicized arrests, Mary Jean was becoming a counter-culture household name in Canada, and her cookie sales more than tripled. Since then, she has run her private bakery for much more than ginger snaps. She recently was interviewed by CBC News about her business, marijuana edibles and their future in Canada.

Aside from Mary Jean’s history with Mary Jane, her candy store is as unique and diverse as its owner. “We have over 95 types of imported licorice; we’re more like an adult oriented candy store.  It’s funny because everyone comes and asks how I get the weed in the licorice, but it’s just a candy store.”

As for her thoughts on legalization, she says “It can’t come soon enough. I’m overjoyed that we are about to right this wrong.”

If you find yourself in Vancouver, make sure to go see Mary Jean Dunsdon (Watermelon) or look her up online if you want to be a lucky customer for her fantastic baked goods.

Photo courtesy of Mary Jean Dunsdon.

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