CANNAINVESTOR Magazine August 2016 - Page 77

Recreational Cannabis

Only a few states have ventured into the recreational cannabis movement so far. Since these laws are state regulated many differ from each other, for example Washington allows recreational and medical dispensaries but no strictly medical. Colorado on the other hand has passed multiple laws in the years of legalization that have passed which seems to be overwhelming their law enforcement. While planning a marketing strategy keep an eye on these states to ensure that repeat mistakes can be avoided. So far Colorado has made all candies that look like animals or fun shapes illegal so if this describes your product think about making a change into a recreational “safe” product. Similarly many patents and lawsuits are sitting in the federal government awaiting legalization to be rifled through. So brands like the famous Girl Scout Cookies strain are going to be highly sued when when legalization takes hold. If you are manufacturing a product that is a pun based on a famous candy bar or cookie it’s time to rebrand before recreational cannabis is a reality.

Recreational dispensaries should still focus on an education based sales platform but not with healing effects, instead with how the strain/edible/oil pen will “mess you up” or “get you high”. There is no longer a discrepancy with language and budtenders can use all of their favorite cannabis jargon. Even though language is no longer regulated, education is still key because there are people wandering into recreational dispensaries with no knowledge of cannabis but with a clear interest in “getting high”. These customers need a little base knowledge, leave with the proper product for their needs and they can be transformed into return customers. True success in recreational dispensaries will be those with budtenders that can turn educating into sales.

Patients will want to see test results regarding the cannabinoid content as well as proof of the lack of pesticides and additives. They will also want to see professional branding that doesn’t necessarily scream “Marijuana”. For example, pot leaves and cannabis puns are not only saturated in the industry they’re also a turnoff for many professionals who may be incognito. Similarly the advertising should be very test result specific. Make it clear through marketing programs and advertising tools what the medicinal effects will be with the product. Also be very transparent about the testing and knowledge of the safety of the product.

In the medical dispensary model medical cannabis budtenders are often under strict laws and rules as per their lexicon and how they can refer to the plant. Colloquial words like reefer, bong and stoned are often replaced with cannabis flowers, water pipe and medicated. These verbal cues help to ensure that a medical environment remains which has helped to de-stigmatize the plant. It also helps elderly people and even parents of young children who are sick that wouldn’t otherwise turn to cannabis feel less intimidated about going to a dispensary. These are some ways that medical cannabis is specifically marketed, recreational marketing is somewhat similar but with a different emphasis than healing.