Since marijuana became legal for medical use in 23 states, decriminalized in 14 states and made legal for recreational use in four states (with eight more to come), several ganjapreneurs have started companies focused on branding marijuana. While this is still a challenging process in the country due to the current federal laws surrounding cannabis, advocates are pushing toward systems to be put in place that allow for the sale, marketing and manufacturing of this substance in ways that do not leave owners at risk for federal persecution and fines.
The New York Times is one such advocate, who’s been speaking out in support of the legal sale of cannabusiness, stating that there are far more social costs entailed in upholding the current prohibition of the plant, and that the laws surrounding it are vast; contributing to punishments that don’t fit crimes associated with marijuana possession. The reputable news source goes so far as to say that prohibition is responsible for turning otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.
A recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that 75% of Americans believe marijuana will soon become legal to use and sell across the country, whether they’re for or against it. This notion is also supported by President Obama, as he told The New Yorker in an interview recently that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
Now that this trend is starting to grow across the country, several entrepreneurs have been finding new and creative ways to market and sell this product in states where the plant is legal. This is a process that involves a lot of planning, and more and more companies have started shifting from simply selling their products to dispensaries, in favor of taking it to the mainstream on a corporate level via branding.
Branding marijuana is really no different from branding cigarettes, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and even ice cream. While this is a great way to get one’s cannabusiness into the public eye where it can be seen, recognized and sampled, there’s another value in branding for marijuana, and it isn’t simply for the benefit of those going into the business, as the primary benefits are designated for the end-user; consumers who are looking for something consistent.
If someone goes to the store to purchase their favorite bottle of wine, ice cream or muscle relaxer, what is this person going to expect when they open their favorite branded product? They should expect to have the exact same results as they experienced the last time, with no exceptions.
If someone were to purchase their favorite pack of cigarettes or bottle of vodka, and there is something inconsistent about the taste, smell, effects and texture, they are going to notice right away. Furthermore, if there is something off with the potency of the product, this will be noticed. The main idea and purpose for branding marijuana shouldn’t be for the next cannabis loving celebrity to get richer, or for people to feel cooler because they’re smoking something with Bob Marley’s name on it. The main idea behind branding marijuana is to ensure its consistency time and time again.
At its current state, medical and legal marijuana is mostly sold out of mason jars on shelves much like alcohol was during the speakeasy days of alcohol prohibition. There was no way to tell if the moonshine you were purchasing was going to affect you the same way each and every time. One may have had a martini that made them feel happy, giddy or mellow one time, and then when they tried the exact same moonshine martini the next time, they felt something entirely different. This is the exact same issue that’s been happening with marijuana since its prohibition. Since it’s been illegal, those who’ve been selling it haven’t had any regulations designed to keep it safe and consistent, rather, it’s been dealt with much like moonshine. Each grower has their own recipe that they use, with their own mix of chemicals (or lack-there-of), to give them the result they most desire. In no way does this ensure a consistent, quality product.
If someone is purchasing marijuana to use for medical use, it’s especially dangerous for the patient to opt for just any marijuana they can find. Not all marijuana is created the same. There are variances to the potency, the CBN, CBD and THC levels, and the way it is going to make the patient feel. Not to mention when purchasing marijuana today, it’s nearly impossible to tell if there were chemicals or pesticides used in the process. Only some states and some growers are opting for lab testing to verify the marijuana is clean, but even so, large regulated markets like Colorado are dealing with systemic pesticide issues.
Smoking cannabis that’s been laced with chemicals is far more dangerous than eating a piece of fruit that’s been genetically modified or laced with toxic chemicals. At least with the fruit, it goes through the stomach lining to be digested which filters out most of the toxins and chemicals before they have a chance to hit the system. Marijuana, on the other hand, goes straight through the blood-brain barrier and hits the system without any filtration of the chemicals present.
What one person may be doing to improve their health and make them feel better could inadvertently be doing exactly the opposite. This is why branding marijuana is of such importance, although many who are branding the plant may, in fact, have other goals at heart.
Celebrities from all sides of the Hollywood spectrum have decided to start their own marijuana brands. Everyone from Bob Marley and Willie Nelson, to Kevin Smith and Snoop Dogg has decided to jump on the ganjapreneur bandwagon in a fight over the blue ocean that is branded marijuana.
Ganjapreneurs will be wondering if consumers of celebrity marijuana care more about the quality of the substance they’re ingesting, or the appeal of smoking marijuana with a celebrity name on it. It will be interesting to watch once these brands fully hit the marketplace and are in competition over the next five years. Do Bob Marley, Melissa Etheridge and Tommy Chong have what it takes to help build one of the number one brands on the market? Will consumers put their trust in celebrity novelty brands, or will they opt for something they like because they know it’s the best?
Many people today may see a celebrity branded product as a bit of a joke, even if it is a big seller. Others may jump at the chance to purchase their favorite celebrity brand. This is only one of the battles some cannabis companies are expected to face as they move forward with their branding strategies.
As of the current state of affairs, marijuana is still considered a schedule 1 drug on the federal level, which makes it difficult for such companies to file registered trademarks. It may be a bit risky, and tricky to navigate the waters of the cannabusiness as first entrants into the market until the federal laws catch up evolution-wise with the state laws. Until then, companies should develop winning marketing strategies to begin differentiating themselves in the market.
One of the best ways to differentiate oneself in the market amongst celebrities is to offer something everyone wants, but not everyone can easily find. Something that is not only consistent and of high quality, but is also regulated in a way that meets the standards of consumers. Organic, pesticide-free marijuana is something connoisseurs desire, but isn’t always so easy to find. That’s why we’ve created Aquarius Cannabis. We wanted to offer marijuana lovers the opportunity to have a quality, consistent brand of their favorite strain they know is going to treat them well each and every time.
We work closely with our growers to ensure that plants grown in our Aquarius PODS or Greenhouses experience the same pH, the same sun, the same nutrients, and the same light cycles and water each and every harvest. When you purchase a jar of Blue Dream from Aquarius Cannabis, you can rest assured that we’ve put a lot of love and care into ensuring it is grown in optimal conditions to produce the highest quality flowers. Furthermore, you can rest assured that this product will be available the next time you need it, and it will affect you the same each and every time. Gone are the days of guessing how you will feel after you partake of your chosen strain. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.
Are you ready to step into the Age of Aquarius? We’d love to connect with you to hear what you love most about your favorite strains. We’d also love to connect with growers and retailers who’ve decided they too would like to step into the Age of Aquarius.