I’m Over Cannabis Brands That Don’t Like Cannabis Users

I’m Over Cannabis Brands That Don’t Like Cannabis Users
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Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a new cannabis brand launches. The marketing is dialed in, and presented with buzzy words and pithy phrases. The packaging is minimalist and well-designed, with sleek fonts, clean lines, and a tasteful-but-neutral color scheme. Maybe there’s even a celebrity involved. The weed, which should be the focus, exists, but it’s boilerplate, grown en masse and sometimes flavored with botanical terpenes from other plants. It almost seems like an afterthought, and often it is. “Press release weed,” my friend and colleague Jimi Devine likes to call it. For some people, the new wave of sexy-branding-meets-mediocre-product hits. Marketers expect this—many are banking their entire businesses on the fact that cannabis is scary to many people, thanks to the efforts of prohibitionists over the years. They’re hoping that there’s some untold “canna-curious” customer who has just been waiting for the OK from Uncle Sam to light up, and once they do, they’ll be hooked for life. Personally, I think that consumer archetype is one that type of marketing is intended for. But for anyone who’s been smoking weed long and frequently enough, encountering sleek branding in today’s continually legalizing cannabis industry can be a bit of a mindfuck. “Who, exactly, is this for?” I often find myself wondering, especially as a person who finds herself at the intersection of a few seemingly high-priority target groups for cannabis marketers: I’m a woman who, at 36-years-old, is approaching middle age. I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, as well as ADHD. I also stopped drinking heavily over two years ago, swapping in more weed for less booze. According to the panels I’ve moderated and sat in on, the people I’ve interviewed, and the trend reports I’ve read, those are all prime targets for cannabis companies, especially the middle-aged woman…

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