Conferences and trade shows are excellent ways for professionals to learn, engage, and find new opportunities. But everyone knows the real business happens after hours. Speed-networking lunches, happy hours, and after-parties offer people the chance to connect in a low-key environment. Within warm, inviting atmospheres, many a deal has been sealed at an evening affair. And with so few methods of marketing in cannabis, event sponsorship can offer big dividends—if done correctly. “In cannabis, where brands don’t have the deepest access to… Read more.
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In recent years, the cannabis industry has undergone a transformation, evolving from an underground, unregulated market to a legal and burgeoning sector. Within this transformation, a trend has emerged that seems to parallel the growth of another well-established industry: craft beer. Just as craft beer disrupted the traditional beer market and captivated consumers with unique “niche” offerings, the craft cannabis market is set to mirror this trajectory, offering high-quality products and a very personalized experience. Roots of the Craft Movement… Read more.
If you’ve purchased cannabis in the US anytime over the past several months, years or even decades, you’ve likely noticed that while specials come and go, the rough price of an eighth of an ounce of weed has hovered reliably around the $40 mark. In some states, the average price is closer to $50, and top-shelf (or rapacious retailers) might demand $60, but everything still seems pegged towards expecting to withdraw a few Andrew Jacksons whenever it’s time to pick up a bag. It’s been this… Read more.
The allure of free samples is hard to resist. Who doesn’t love single-serve cups of chips and salsa at no charge? Hands down, the big dog of the free-sample world is Costco, which has reaped the scientifically proven benefits of free samples for years. Though the company primarily is known for its wildly successful membership program and bargain-basement pricing driven by massive economies of scale, its sample game is what keeps many customers returning … and buying. So settle in… Read more.
Only three states in the United States have no program in place for legal medical or recreational cannabis, leaving the rest of the country with a patchwork of markets. Some states have legalized adult use, while others allow only medical use. Some have operated programs for more than ten years, and others launched programs only recently. As new states come online to fanfare and excitement, mature markets face major pitfalls and failures as they struggle to keep up with the… Read more.
The rise of honest-to-goodness brands has ushered in incredible improvements for numerous stakeholders throughout the cannabis industry. Brand differentiation helped producers set themselves apart, consumers gained more confidence in the integrity of their purchases, and dispensaries got an influx of diverse, visually arresting products to put on their once-barren shelves. Today, some of the coolest stores in North America place brands at the heart of the shopping experience. Using traditional retail methods like shelf-space buys, shops-in-shops, and endcaps, dispensary owners are leveraging brands’ increasingly high-quality creative… Read more.
During a cannabis expo in late July, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said he is interested in launching a cannabis brand. Ventura, a former professional wrestler, actor, military veteran, and longtime cannabis advocate, said he wants “to be the first major politician in America who puts his likeness, face and everything behind cannabis.” Ventura testified in front of lawmakers as they considered the bill to legalize cannabis, which ultimately passed. Provisions of the law took effect August 1, but retail sales… Read more.
Celebrated cult accessories designer Brett Heyman creates the beau monde of bongs with her luxury cannabis lifestyle brand, Flower by Edie Parker. The former director of public relations at Gucci fuses flower with fashion to create a range of covetable cannabis accouterments that look equally at home in an art gallery as they do on your coffee table. Heyman launched Flower in 2019 as a natural expansion for her successful Edie Parker handbag and homewares brand. The two are synergistically united in… Read more.
In the increasingly competitive retail cannabis market, constructing the right tech stack for your dispensary is mission-critical. Your dispensary’s technical infrastructure, along with data management and use, can create a significant competitive advantage when carefully selected and strategically integrated. On the other hand, a haphazardly assembled tech stack without proper attention paid to integrating multiple systems can severely hamper dispensary operations, stemming the flow of revenue and needlessly limiting opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “the best”… Read more.
The past fifteen years have seen a major shakeup in brick-and-mortar retail. Changes in consumer spending, the emergence of ecommerce, and a shift toward the experience economy ushered in what was famously (and perhaps overly dramatically) dubbed the “retail apocalypse.” The mall, once an American institution on a par with church in its role as a community nexus, has endured a sharp decline, with Business Insider reporting just 700 malls remain in the United States—down from 2,500 in the 1980s. With… Read more.
New York cannabis regulators on Wednesday voted to approve a “cannabis showcase” program that would allow growers to sell products to the public at events, NBC 5 reports. The Cannabis Showcase will allow growers to partner with adult-use cannabis retailers and processors to organize events for showcasing New York products. The showcases must include a minimum of three licensed cultivators, partnering with a licensed adult-use dispensary to sell licensed and tested cannabis products to customers. The events are only allowed in municipalities that allow for retail cannabis sales and… Read more.
New York regulators are now officially accepting applications for marijuana businesses interested in organizing cannabis farmers markets in the state. Just two days after the Cannabis Control Board voted to authorize what they’re calling Cannabis Growers Showcases (CGS), regulators opened the applications and posted guidance and templates for municipal approval for the events. “A CGS can take place in various locations, including standalone, temporary retail locations; licensed retail dispensary locations; licensed conditional cultivator or processor locations; or other approved event locations,” the… Read more.
Even though markets are expanding, the crowded retail landscape in many regions can make acquiring new customers difficult and expensive. Implementing a robust loyalty program may help merchants boost basket sizes, increase the frequency of customer visits, and offer targeted marketing opportunities that yield better outcomes. Loyalty programs are popular with both consumers and businesses. Data indicate the average program member spends 35 percent more per purchase and buys a significantly more diverse product range than non-members. However, data also show almost 40 percent… Read more.
Missouri officials have released new rules for cannabis packaging in the state, limiting colors on packages to one primary package color and up to two logos or symbols that can be of different colors, the Springfield News-Leader reports. The logos or symbols cannot be larger than the clearly printed word, “Marijuana,” which must appear on the packaging in black or white text. All cannabis product packaging must also feature a warning label that says: “Cognitive and physical impairment may result from the use of… Read more.
Now that recreational pot has been legalized in 23 states, the cannabis industry is borrowing a marketing trick from the booze industry: “hangover holidays.” Or, in this case, “hashish holidays.” Most people are aware that marijuana buffs celebrate each April 20, or “420.” And the day before Thanksgiving ― aka “Weed Wednesday” ― is reportedly a big sales opportunity for dispensaries. But Monday, July 10, marks another, lesser-known “holidank” for cannabis consumers: “710,” when enthusiasts are encouraged to get high via cannabis wax, vaping, resins or dabs. The name of… Read more.
As new states open their doors to the cannabis industry, companies that win licenses are faced with some important choices regarding where and how they will conduct business—namely, whether they want to operate in the medical markets, adult-use markets, or both. While traditional medical markets often are a first step for companies hoping to stake a claim in restricted-license states, they can be an expensive gamble without a large and growing patient population. Adult-use markets, particularly on the West Coast,… Read more.
Despite its many challenges, cannabis is supposed to be one of the most exciting industries in the modern age. And make no mistake, safe access to cannabis is exciting. But you wouldn’t know it by the lackluster marketing efforts coming out of the space. Perhaps you’ve heard the complaints: tight budgets, regulatory restrictions, crazy tax laws, and understaffed teams. As painful as these realities are, they shift focus away from the heart of the matter. The real issue in cannabis marketing:… Read more.
While cannabis stores in much of the country need to serve a broad customer base within a defined radius, retailers in mature, saturated markets like Los Angeles and Toronto are standing out by tailoring their spaces to the needs of specific consumer groups. Green Qween is one such store. Operated by and for the LGBTQ+ community, the dispensary is proving people will travel for an experience that aligns with their values. Located in downtown Los Angeles near the uber-hip Ace Hotel, the… Read more.
On the Revel hosted a New York cannabis community event on June 22 bringing together licensed operators. New York cannabis producers were able to display their businesses as potential buyers shopped around for dispensary products. Roughly 800 people attended the event held in Hudson, New York. Despite the trouble in the New York market, the mood was celebratory and optimistic. https://www.youtube.com/embed/9XxoXMNQjxQ Read more.
Cannabis companies cannot buy advertising or otherwise sponsor streamers on the popular online streaming platform Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, after the company updated its branding policies earlier this month. Notably, Twitch’s new branded content policy does allow for the promotion of alcohol products but they must be “marked as mature content” on the platform. Twitch does allow users to consume cannabis on-stream so long as the person streaming is of-age and located in a place where cannabis has been legalized… Read more.
Packaging has been a critical component of commerce for millennia. From the earliest days of trade and barter, people have used a variety of materials to package and transport goods and effectively differentiate them from competitors. It’s thought the practice originated in the second millennium BC, when the Egyptians used reed baskets and papyrus to package products for trade, stamping the containers with images and hieroglyphics to indicate their contents and origin. Many cultures would advance the practical aspect of packaging in… Read more.
High prices and a lack of noticeable effects have stopped nearly 20 percent of consumers from continuing their cannabidiol (CBD) regimen. However, savvy brands are still finding ways to attract new customers in an environment plagued by regulatory uncertainty that makes it difficult to plan for the future with confidence. Brightfield Group’s recent market research report, Striving to Thrive in U.S. CBD, dives into two forecast possibilities for the industry: one with increased federal guidance and regulation, and one without. While… Read more.
When it comes to marijuana, men and women approach consumption differently. Men are more likely to go on binges while women tend to avoid substance-use behaviors, for example. A 2020 Canadian study also found that men pursue opportunities for intimate interactions with women when using cannabis, while women reported being more selective about sexual partners. It’s this kind of new information that marijuana companies can use to market their products to men and women, drill down deeper into their wants… Read more.
In the old days, reputation was everything in the world of cannabis. Without the benefit of government regulation, internet searches, or scientific research, trust played an outsized role in the process. These days, fortunately, such leaps of faith no longer are required thanks to the advent of state-legal markets. Today, many brands understandably have staked their claim to a piece of the market through roots based on heritage and culture. From formerly underground empires gone legit to those whose claims… Read more.
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I can vouch for that. I’ve read some truly terrible books encased in gorgeous jackets. Sadly, I’m not alone in letting my eyes overrule my intellect. Research has shown that after the title, a book’s cover is the most significant driver of sales. That’s why publishers and independent authors spend thousands of dollars creating the perfect wrapper to tease the content inside. A prime example: Excepting Harlequin, how many heterosexual romance novels… Read more.
There’s a long, strong and colorful relationship between the LGBTQIA+ community and the legal cannabis movement. It goes back to the 1970s when Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, proposed one of the first cannabis legalization bills weeks before he was assassinated. Fun fact: It was Milk who urged artist Gilbert Baker to design the rainbow flag, the official symbol of the gay community and a source of global pride Milk’s ally… Read more.
Regulators in the Massachusetts marijuana industry made a decision this past Monday to abandon previous plans for a limited pilot program involving cannabis cafes and social consumption sites in twelve municipalities. One official said this move would help get the voter-approved market sector online "a little quicker." The Cannabis Control Commission changed course from earlier restrictions that would have limited the launch to a dozen cities and towns nine months after a new state law defined a procedure for cities and towns to… Read more.
Targeting the right people along the supply chain, as opposed to focusing on the end user, is an essential part of gaining market share in a highly-competitive retail environment. When it comes to cannabis producers and manufacturers, if you’re not thinking about selling to budtenders, then your sales strategy is missing a critical component. Industry data and market research company Brightfield Group recently conducted its second annual survey of hundreds of retail workers in Canada to determine “What Drives Budtenders.” The findings… Read more.
Pop-ups offer many ways for dispensaries, cultivators and manufacturers to amp up revenue and familiarize customers with their products. Although state and local regulations may prevent visitors from seeing, touching, and sampling products, brand representatives can overcome these hurdles with educational conversations, interactive games, and merchandise like stickers and shirts. “Right away, a pop-up should show how a brand differentiates itself from its competitors,” said Andreas “Dre” Neumann, chief creative director at Jushi Holdings Inc., a vertically integrated, multistate operator with a footprint in… Read more.
The beginning of the legal cannabis industry was defined by excess, and in response, the market catered to the most obvious group that had never shied away from consumption: the Cheeches, Chongs, Snoop Doggs, and Seth Rogans of the world. In the decade since Colorado became the first U.S. state to legalize cannabis for adult use, we’ve moved away from free dispensary dabs and 500-milligram edibles to more refined products intended to fit seamlessly into the lives of everyday, mainstream Americans.… Read more.
A push toward familiarity and comfort is in, while cannabis shops that resemble the Apple Store appear to be on the way out. Taking a page from contemporary retailers, groceries and restaurants, cannabis companies are overhauling their store interiors to simplify and accelerate transactions using tablet ordering stations, digital signage and menus, and designated queues for online orders. Some dispensary rebrands – including dozens of stores converging under the umbrella of Miami-based multistate operator Ayr Wellness – are intended to… Read more.
While robots and artificially intelligent digital bots start to land exotic jobs in manufacturing, agriculture, and other types of industrial production, smart cannabis companies are investing more money into mundane machines used to create pre-rolls, stamp out labels, or trim flower. In order to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace, automation is one of the most effective ways for companies to cut costs and boost bottom lines. “What we’re seeing across the United States is the price of cannabis has fallen and,… Read more.
The National Basketball Association has confirmed reports that it will permanently end its ban on cannabis, but refuted claims that players would be allowed to promote marijuana brands. The National Basketball Association (NBA) last week clarified its new cannabis policy for players, confirming earlier reports that the league will no longer test players for THC. But the NBA also refuted leaks about its new collective bargaining with the players union that reported that the league’s athletes would be permitted to… Read more.
A recent federal ruling indicates cannabis accessory manufacturers seeking trademark protection will need to show their products’ value to tobacco users. In a precedent-setting decision first reported by Law360, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld the rejection of a 2017 application submitted by the National Concessions Group, owned by Canadian company Slang Worldwide Inc. The application sought to trademark the brand name “Bakked” for marketing a dab tool or, as the application stated, an… Read more.
Launching a new product line is hard work. It’s also expensive, especially for startups that may not have the up-front investment for all the equipment, raw materials, labor, packaging, and warehouse space required to create, store, and ship goods that may or may not resonate with the targeted consumers. Knowing this, some companies turn to white-label manufacturers to achieve their goals. White-label companies make products under contract for other businesses that then apply their own branding and sales channels to deliver the… Read more.
The cannabis industry has come a long way since Colorado voters decided to legalize recreational use in 2008. In the early days, the novelty of legal weed was enough to push brands forward to consumers, but anyone who has ever visited trade shows like Hall of Flowers or their local dispensary can tell you there are now hundreds of brands in each state working to stand out in saturated markets. Quality, convenience of use, and price will always factor into a purchase, but branding and marketing are… Read more.
Twitter relaxed its rules on the types of ads U.S. cannabis companies can run on the platform, less than three months after accepting them as paying customers for the first time. Companies can now feature their packaged cannabis products in their ads. Previously they could advertise their businesses and link out to websites but couldn’t depict the actual products they sold. The company has also increased the number of states where advertisers can target consumers for medical and recreational cannabis.… Read more.
Add Martha Stewart and it's cannabis celebrity overload When Snoop Dogg's BIC EZ Reach lighter and Martha Stewart's favorite scented candle go missing, who's your prime suspect? Spoiler: It's Willie Nelson! BIC launched its first official campaign for 4/20, although we all know this brand leans heavily into the market and embraces the many uses for its popular lighter. When Snoop's unable to find his fave lighter, he video calls Willie, to find the beloved octogenarian denying knowledge of its… Read more.
The elephant in the marketing room isn't specific to cannabis, but arises from changes in media and communications as a whole over recent years. More people have tools and access, with social media pulling the creativity out of so many folks who wouldn't have discovered or shared their talents had these platforms not existed. This has naturally raised the competitive bar for creativity and continues to push it higher by the day. Teenagers can throw down a video that feels… Read more.
The cannabis industry is in distress. Marijuana companies across North America are laying off employees, retailers are closing their doors and cultivation facilities are turning off the grow lights. It is not all doom and gloom, though. Cannabis producers can take steps to adopt a craft-at-scale model built to handle the downturn. Improve efficiency and quality The decrease in cannabis wholesale prices can be mitigated by limiting operational expenses. Automation is one way to reduce labor costs. As general labor is… Read more.
Cannabis marketing has reached a complicated point in history. The era of adult-use legalization is over a decade old, with more states coming online every year. But while the feds continue to drag their feet on reform, the cannabis industry keeps chugging along, hoping for change. In the meantime, emerging markets are experiencing exciting growth, with more mature markets facing insurmountable challenges. It’s a dichotomy not lost on anyone, and even robust businesses opt to tread lightly—especially in terms of… Read more.
More Americans now favor legal cannabis than legal tobacco, surveys show, signaling a sharp societal shift from an era when cigarette-smoking was legal pretty much everywhere and pot-smoking was legal absolutely nowhere. Fifty-seven percent of American adults would support “a policy prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in a research brief last month. A slightly larger majority, 59 percent, believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use, according to… Read more.
There's a new type of farmers market in San Francisco, but instead of buying fruits and vegetables, customers get to buy a famous California crop that is best enjoyed smoked. This market is dedicated entirely to cannabis. The new monthly event takes place at one of two downtown San Francisco dispensaries: Moe Greens on Market Street and Barbary Coast on Mission Street. The showcases allow customers to learn about dozens of different cannabis strains directly from the farmers who grow them.… Read more.
New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a proposal that would bring a 10,000-square-foot cannabis dispensary and lounge to Atlantic City's historic Claridge Hotel and former gambling casino where Marilyn Monroe once judged the Miss America Pageant. The Claridge Hotel, which opened in 1930 during the Great Depression as the last of the great hotels built near Atlantic City's Boardwalk, is making space for the High Rollers Dispensary on what used to be its casino floor. The Claridge is now a stand-alone hotel with no gambling. Because the Claridge does not technically… Read more.
A few weeks ago, Elon Musk posted a three-character message that contained only the numbers 420, with no explanation. Many people interpreted it as yet another sign of Musk’s loud-and-proud canna-fandom. But weed industry executives saw it as a harbinger of a policy shift, speculating that Twitter would soon break ranks with other social channels and become a canna-friendly home in the digital realm. The guesses turned out to be correct, with the official announcement coming this week: Twitter has “taken measures… Read more.