VISIT MOUNTAIN HIGH SUCKERS & COMEDIAN JOSH BLUE AT GROUNDSWELL

VISIT MOUNTAIN HIGH SUCKERS & COMEDIAN JOSH BLUE AT GROUNDSWELL

By Mountain High Suckers

Come visit Mountain High Suckers and Comedian Josh Blue thisWednesday June 7th from 3pm to 6pm at GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique in Denver!

We’re celebrating our recent release of Josh Blue’s Dream – our  favorite blueberry and watermelon flavored suckers made with Blue Dream strain cannabis extract, Josh Blue’s favorite strain. Josh, who has cerebral palsy, has been using cannabis to help treat his symptoms for years and has recently joined the cannabis community as an advocate for change.

Mountain High Suckers is extremely proud to be working with Josh Blue and GroundSwell in this joint effort, so please swing by on Wednesday afternoon to lend your support and to snag one of these great cannabis infused edibles!

VISIT MOUNTAIN HIGH SUCKERS & COMEDIAN JOSH BLUE AT GROUNDSWELL2018-07-05T12:37:00+00:00

How Do Musicians’ Cannabis Strains Pair With Their Music?We Found Out.

HOW DO MUSICIANS’ CANNABIS STRAINS PAIR WITH THEIR MUSIC? WE FOUND OUT

By Symone Roque

As the cannabis capital of the United States, Denver is no stranger to celebrities visiting to indulge in legal consumption. But as the cannabis industry is becoming more and more mainstream, local musicians as well as musicians from all over the country are coming to Colorado to create their own strains. And with 420 right around the corner, 303 Magazine set out to test strains from Trev Rich, Big Gigantic, GRiZ, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and The Allman Brothers Band’s bassist, Oteil Burbridge. Read on to find out the kind of experience you can expect from these strains and what it was like to listen to their music while testing out their bud.

Big Gigantic

Album: Brighter Future (2016)

Strain: Cookies and Dream (Sativa-Dominant Hybrid)

Where to Find Strain: Native Roots

The Lowdown: Big Gigantic’s latest album is full of upbeat tempos, fast-paced beats and a solid list of features. Their strain, Cookies and Dream, complements the sounds of the new album with a happy and uplifting high. Cookies and Dream will give you a nice head high with its sweet berry and citric smell and taste. This would be a perfect strain to sit and listen to their album, and even better to enjoy at one of their shows. The energetic and uplifting high that Cookies and Dream gives you will make you want to dance and jam especially during songs like “Got the Love,” “No Apologies” and “Bring the Funk Back.”

Verdict: This is an experience no one over the age of 21 and in the state of Colorado should miss out on. Cookies and Dream and Brighter Future went together almost as good as the guys from the band do.

DJ Logic 

DJ Logic’s Logic Diesel strain. Photography courtesy of Brittany Werges.

Album: Zen of Logic (2006)

Strain: Logic Diesel (Sativa)

Where to Find Strain: GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique

The Lowdown: DJ Logic is known for the jazz music that influences his hip-hop, and the album Zen of Logic (2006) broadcasts his funky sound while he includes jazz horns and turntabling. As for his stain, Logic Diesel, you’ll find yourself full of creativity and energy which stems from the Sativa characteristics. This strain goes straight to the head because of its potency and high THC. While I smoked this strain I felt connected to DJ Logic’s beats, and felt like I could feel each funky bassline bumping through my body in songs like “Something Distant” and “Afro Beat.”

Verdict: A lot of zen-filled thoughts must have happened when DJ Logic created both a strain and album that go perfectly together.

Snoop Dogg

Album: Doggystyle (1993)

Strain: Tangerine Man (Sativa)

Where to Find Strain: LivWell Enlightened Health

The Lowdown: Snoop Dogg is arguably the king of cannabis, and both his weed and music reflect his passion for the plant. While listening to the 1993 rap classic, Doggystyle and smoking Tangerine Man I felt like I was in a ’90s video. Listening to “Gin and Juice” while smoking a bowl of this strain made me blissful, uplifted and I almost felt as cool as the Dogg himself. Smoking to this song combines the mellow effects of the cannabis with the turn-up quality that Snoop’s known for. Tangerine Man is one of the most fragrant strains on our list, and it has a beautiful citric aroma that is fresh and happy. This strain is perfect for bumping some mellow rap, hotboxing your car and rolling up to a smoke session with friends or a low-key party.

Verdict: Do you think the man that smokes weed 24/7 would create a strain that didn’t go with his music?

GRiZ

Album: Good Will Prevail (2016)

Strain: GRiZ Kush (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)

Where to Find Strain: Native Roots

The Lowdown: GRiZ’s latest album is full of energetic and masterfully produced songs that blur the lines of what EDM is. “Can’t Hold Me Down” combines a rock flare, EDM synths and GRiZ’s iconic sax solos. On the other hand, GRiZ Kush, is an earthy, purple and floral tasting bud that creates a great body high. The bass on this album seemed to vibrate throughout my entire body while I was listening and smoking. But the easygoing effects of the GRiZ Kush didn’t pair well with the faster beats of the album. Songs like “My Friends and I” and “Good Times Roll” are too fast and upbeat to compete with the heavy and mellow effects of the bud. But “Feelin’ Fine” definitely had the right tempo and mood to pair with GRiZ Kush because it was much slower than the rest of the album and was full of deeper tones and basslines.

Verdict: The strain is great, but we think it would pair better with music that’s more laid back than GRiZ’s dancier tunes.

Trev Rich

Album: To Make a Long Story Short (2016)

Strain: HD OG – Indica-Dominant Hybrid

Where to Find Strain: The Dab by Next Harvest

The Lowdown: Denver-born and raised rapper Trev Rich’s latest album shows a more vulnerable side within hip-hop but also combines his rough voice with beats that Cash Money Records are known for producing. The songs “Lies,” “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Payback” showcase the rapper’s unique lyrics and distinct flow, and his HD OG strain complements his music well. HD OG is an indica-dominant hybrid that creates a mellow and chill experience that is great for listening to an album like Rich’s. Because this is a hybrid, the sleepiness that is known to come from indica-dominant strains is countered by more alert and energized feelings. Even though Rich has some songs that will make you want to party, his bud is more relaxing and better for more contemplative songs.

Verdict: If you enjoy smoking weed and contemplating life and the social norms that affect such life, then try listening to Rich’s latest album and sparking HD OG. We recommend songs like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Unappreciated” to get you in your feelings.

Oteil Burbridge

Photo courtesy of Oteil Burbridge on Facebook.

Album:  A Decade of Hits 1969-1979 (1991)

Strain: Egyptian Kush (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)

Where to Find Strain: GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique

The Lowdown: The Allman Brothers Band’s bassist Oteil Burbridge created a hybrid that wouldn’t keep you couch-locked but produced the best qualities of indica-dominant strains. The bud was floral and earthy with a modest body high and an uplifting head high. This strain worked well with the upbeat, happy and relaxed music The Allman Brothers Band is known for. Songs that went best with this strain from the album were “Ramblin’ Man,” “Midnight Rider” and “Ain’t Wastin Time No More.” If you enjoy jam bands and laying in grass (and smoking it) these two pair nicely.

Verdict: The happy and upbeat songs of The Allman Brother’s Band combined with the daze-y head high of the strain will almost definitely uplift your mood and keep a smile on your face. The smile will probably linger while you’re still stoned even if you’re not listening to Oteil’s groovy basslines, too.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s Colin OG strain. Photo by Brittany Werges

Album: Willie and Family Live (1978)

Strain: Colin OG (Indica)

Where to Find Strain: LivWell Enlightened Health

The Lowdown: Colin OG, by far had the most distinct and pungent smell and flavor of all the buds we tried out. It was fruity and sweet with hints of berry. The indica effects were prominent, creating a buzzing body high and drowsiness but also created a blissful and happy mood. This strain was perfect for Nelson’s slower songs. “One Day At a Time,” “Crazy” and the “Red Headed Stranger Medley,” created a softer, slower and more personal mood. This mood was great to sit back and smoke to and just soak up the twang of Nelson’s Nashville drawl.

Verdict:  This dude has been smoking weed for more than 60 years, and he wasn’t messing around when he added this to his brand, Willie’s Reserve. This strain pair nicely with the mellower and more relaxed songs for a high that will definitely help unwind and chill.

Willie Nelson’s Sour Diesel strain. Photo by Brittany Werges.

Album: Willie and Family Live (1978)

Strain: Sour Diesel (Sativa)

Where to Find Strain: LivWell Enlightened Health

The Lowdown: Though Colin OG was an almost perfect pair to Nelson’s Willie and Family Live album, his Sour Diesel strain wasn’t too far off. Willie’s Reserve is known for its high THC percentages and potency, and his Sour Diesel offers both. Though Sour Diesel is a sativa, it doesn’t create an anxious experience. The pungency is a sweet and skunky combination that creates a flavor that can be described as earthy and sweet. This went well with his 1978 album because it created a thoughtful and creative experience. Because the album was recorded live, I closed my eyes and felt like I was there while I listened to Nelson’s twangy tunes and soft speaking voice. I imagined how perfect it would be to sit in the grass at one of Nelson’s concerts, joint in hand and swaying to the upbeat country sounds of songs like “The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” and “I Gotta Get Drunk.”

Verdict: Do you really think a guy who chose to smoke weed after his lungs collapsed would manufacture a strain that didn’t go with music? We think that this strain would go best with his more upbeat songs like “I Gotta Get Drunk” and “Uncloudy Day.”

All photography by Danielle Webster and Brittany Werges unless otherwise stated.

How Do Musicians’ Cannabis Strains Pair With Their Music?We Found Out.2018-07-05T13:42:31+00:00

Question 4: What Can Massachusetts Learn From Colorado About Legalized Pot?

Question 4: What Can Massachusetts Learn From Colorado About Legalized Pot?

Inside the Groundswell Cannabis Boutique in Denver, it looks like any other high-end retail store. A display case made of dark wood runs down the middle of the room.

“Clean, simple experience because we have a lot to tell,” said Don Novak, the store’s owner.

Under the display case’s nicely lit glass are ceramic dishes, each with a dried marijuana flower next to a card with the name of the variety—Purple Cotton, Maui Strawberry, Cherry Pie. Built into the walls are display cases showing off the various marijuana products for sale.

“You have your concentrates, and then you have edibles, tinctures, drinks, patches, topicals and the other infused products that we carry,” Novak said.

State regulators were a bit taken aback by the range of products for sale.

“Spaghetti sauces, energy drinks, candy bars, gummy bears, all with these varying degrees of potency,” said Larry Wolk, the head of Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment. Wolk said they realized they needed to do something so it would be clear to people what they were getting, and how much of it.

“So as a state and regulatory agencies, we quickly recognized that and moved in to standardize packaging, standardize THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] potency amounts to a standardized, single serving,” he said.

So now if you’re eating a square of a chocolate bar that’s considered a single serving, you know you’re getting 10 mg of THC. Colorado launched an educational campaign that tells people to take it easy on the edibles—start with a small amount to see what happens. The state also required child-safe packaging and banned gummy candy in the shape of bears or little people or anything that might appeal to kids. Wolk said his job got a little tricky when pot became legal.

“You know, as a physician, a public health guy, a pediatrician, it’s a lifetime of learning about the ills of marijuana, so it took a little bit of adjusting on my part as a regulator to stay objective, to stay evidence based,” he said.

But he said when he objectively looked at what had happened in the state “it was a bit surprising to see that we really haven’t seen an increase in adult use, nor youth use, as a result of legalization.”

Wolk said they think the adults using marijuana now were already using before it was legal. As for youth, in a 2015 state survey, 21 percent of middle and high school students said they’d used pot in the last 30 days, which is actually slightly below the national average.

But some parents are worried, since research shows marijuana is bad for the developing brain. Diane Carlson is a founder of an anti-legalization advocacy group called Smart Colorado.

“Colorado kids are not viewing marijuana today as risky, and if you really look at that study, youth use varies dramatically from different areas within the state,” Carlson said. “And two of the real epicenters of commercialization where there’ve been the most stores, youth use is up significantly.”

In Denver, where there are about 250 dispensaries, the state’s study showed more than 30 percent of middle and high schoolers reported using pot in the last month. And while some might be getting hands on their older brothers’ or parents’ stash, there’s also a black market they can buy from.

“We’re spending more time than ever on marijuana enforcement in Colorado,” said Jim Gerhardt, a police sergeant and the vice president of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association. Gerhardt said in addition to sales to young people and adults who want cheaper, untaxed pot, some of it is getting sent to states where it’s illegal, or even sold out of the country. He said a lot of that pot is coming from people’s homes—which complicates things for law enforcement.

“It used to be if you found a marijuana growing operation in a person’s home, it was illegal. It was on its face illegal,” he said. “You could deal with that very quickly and efficiently. It’s legal now. It is legal to grow marijuana in a person’s home. That’s what fuels it. And in Question 4, you have the exact same ability to grow marijuana in your home that you have in Colorado.”

Question 4, of course, is the referendum we’re voting on here in Massachusetts next week.

Inside a nondescript warehouse in an industrial neighborhood of Denver is a giant room, full of thousands of young marijuana plants.

“So this is the nursery, this is kind of where it all starts,” said Duncan Cameron, chief production officer for a company called Good Chemistry.

Most of the state’s recreational pot comes from places like this. It’s warm and humid, and high power fluorescent lights beam down.

“We’re not trying to mimic nature, we’re trying to beat nature,” he said. “These lights are on for 24 hours a day.”

In each plant is a small blue or yellow tag. “So these are RFID tags that the state requires us to purchase,” Cameron explained.

Those tags allow the state to track each and every plant grown by a commercial grower, to make sure they don’t get into the wrong hands.

It’s one of the things supporters point to as a major benefit of legalization.  If people are smoking anyway, they say, isn’t it better that the state can monitor what’s grown, what pesticides are used, how it’s marketed and sold, and tax it to pay for that regulation?

Wolk pointed out the long-term data on the impact of legalization isn’t in yet. So if Massachusetts voters choose next week to legalize, he has some advice for regulators here: Start out by being restrictive.

“Once the horse is out of the barn it’s a little more difficult to pull back,” he said.

It’s essentially the same advice he has for people trying marijuana edibles for the first time. Start small and see what the effect is.

Question 4: What Can Massachusetts Learn From Colorado About Legalized Pot?2018-07-05T13:29:49+00:00

Celebrity-sponsored pot is the latest marketing strategy for the cannabis industry

Celebrity-sponsored pot is the latest marketing strategy for the cannabis industry

Colorado growers working with musicians to develop one-of-a-kind marijuana strains

By JASON BLEVINS

Pot is going the way of sneakers and snowboards.

As cannabis fights for a foothold in the U.S. economy, innovative weed growers are taking cues from a variety of industries — footwear, musical instruments, skis and snowboards, for example — and working with superstar musicians to develop signature marijuana strains, pro-model cannabis that sails off the shelves.

Colorado’s growers — captains of the state’s maturing cannabis scene — are leading the charge in this next stage of marijuana marketing that’s more partnership than endorsement deal.

In the past year, many musicians have unveiled signature strains of marijuana. Snoop Dogg has several. Rappers Freddie Gibbs and Wiz Khalifa, singer-songwriters Willie Nelson and Melissa Etheridge and the family of the late Bob Marley all announced signature weed products last year.

The chic East Colfax grassery GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique got a big bump in business this month when Dead & Company bass player Oteil Burbridge wore a shop T-shirt during the band’s Saturday show at Folsom Field in Boulder.

“People were coming in saying ‘I saw Oteil with that shirt, and that’s why I’m here,’” GroundSwell‘s chief grower, Rodney Coquia, said. Coquia and Grammy-winning Burbridge worked for nine months crafting Oteil’s Egyptian Kush, a first-ever hybrid of Alien OG and OG Kush. “It was definitely a big weekend for us. It was a big weekend for Oteil as well.”

Partnering with entertainers is an understandable step for marijuana companies working inside a disorganized industry from which national brands have not yet emerged, said Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch, who in 2014 co-wrote the case study “Marketing Marijuana in Colorado.”

“I see this as a low-cost vehicle for achieving brand differentiation,” Quelch said. “I think it’s probably going to proliferate but unlikely to be a real good basis for sustained differentiation. Each of these individuals will attract a certain number of aficionados who are drawn to purchase the product as a recognition of the music or the artist, but if they don’t care for the product, they won’t buy it again. Overall I regard this as a relatively unsustainable model, but understandable given the fragmented nature of the local market at the moment.”

Still, Colorado growers labor to synthesize strains with staying power. And tapping musicians with a long-standing relationship with cannabis is akin to enrolling expert consultants in the research and design phase of manufacturing.

Wiz Khalifa performs at Red Rocks Amphitheater as a part of the Snoop Dogg 420 Wellness Retreat in Morrison, Colorado on April 20, 2014. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

Wiz Khalifa performs at Red Rocks Amphitheater as a part of the Snoop Dogg 420 Wellness Retreat in Morrison, Colorado on April 20, 2014. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

Colorado’s own Native Roots — one of the largest dispensary chains in the country — worked with Boulder’s instrumental livetronica duo Big Gigantic to develop Cookies and Dream, a strain the company unveiled at its private Tree House party in Aspen during the X Games this year. Last year, Native Roots released GriZ Kush, a hybrid strain developed with Boulder artist GriZ.

When Big Gigantic took the stage in a transformed diner in downtown Aspen during the X Games circus, hundreds of people puffed complimentary doobies. (There were about seven ways to get high that night, including THC-infused cocktails, lotions and stick-on patches.)

Native Roots, Colorado’s largest dispensary company, with 16 shops across the state, spent months with GriZ and Big Gigantic to craft the one-of-a-kind. Other musicians are lining up asking for their own strains, Native Roots CEO Josh Ginsberg said.

“It’s something they feel makes the most sense for their music and who they are,” Ginsberg said. “It’s something they want to smoke when they are playing or listening.”

Coquia calls the indica hybrid he developed with Burbridge “the ultimate musical strain” with a cherry flavor that Florida-based Burbridge likes.

Burbridge, 51, called GroundSwell “Willie Wonka’s.” He chatted up his strain with dedicated Dead-fan Bill Walton on Sirius radio. Online magazines featured the bass player and Oteil’s Egyptian Kush as he prepared for the historic concerts at Folsom Field, the first live music in the football stadium in 15 years.

“Oteil was just over the top. Like a kid who got exactly what he wanted for Christmas,” said Coquia, who has known Burbridge for more than 20 years. “You could tell the day we released it was a big day in his life.”

Coquia, who plays lead guitar for Bonfire Dub, also spent 18 months crafting a potent sativa hybrid with turntablist DJ Logic. Logic Diesel, released last year, remains one of the most popular strains at GroundSwell, which has sold medical marijuana for five years and began recreational sales a year ago.

Like Native Roots, GroundSwell has several big-name musicians asking for their own strains, which the dispensary promotes with baseball-type trading cards detailing their specific genetics and stony characteristics.

“I want a pack of cards, wrapped with a stick of ganja gum,” said Coquia, only half-joking.

That is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that is driving innovation in Colorado’s cannabis industry. Pro-model weed isn’t going to transform the industry or start replacing timeless strains, Ginsberg said, but “it’s something cool and unique, and it’s fun for us and it’s fun for the artists.”

“This is some really great pot we are creating,” Ginsberg said of the GriZ strain, which ranks among Native Roots’ most popular offerings. “It’s a great weed, and everyone loves it. His name may bring people to the table. They may buy it once for the name but they keep coming back because it’s such a great smoke.”

Celebrity-sponsored pot is the latest marketing strategy for the cannabis industry2018-07-05T13:39:51+00:00

Oteil Burbridge Marijuana Strain Available In Denver

Oteil Burbridge Marijuana Strain Available In Denver

By Andy Kahn

Bassist Oteil Burbridge was a recent participant in JamBase’s ongoing The Art Of The Sit-In interview column in which he discussed many of his collaborations over his enduring career including Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band and his current gig with Dead & Company. Another of Burbridge’s recent collaborations has been formally announced with the introduction of a new specially designed marijuana strain named Oteil’s Egyptian Kush.

Burbridge teamed with Denver-based GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique and geneticist T-Dogg Gardens to create the hybrid “ultimate musical strain.” Here’s how GroundSwell describes the new addition to their premium line of cannabis:

Boasting a sweet cherry flavor, this indica-leaning hybrid kicks off with a stimulating rush of energy and evolves into a body effect that sets you blissfully adrift. Oteil’s Egyptian Kush is ideal for losing yourself in a favorite song and grooving to the bassline alongside thousands of your closest friends.

Read original article here.

Oteil Burbridge Marijuana Strain Available In Denver2018-07-05T12:32:07+00:00

Trip to Colorado Convinces NJ Senator He’s Right On Legalizing Marijuana

TRIP TO COLORADO CONVINCES NJ SENATOR HE’S RIGHT ON LEGALIZING MARIJUANA

By MICHAEL SYMONS

A state senator who wants New Jersey to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use returned this week feeling good after a fact-finding visit to Colorado.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, didn’t try the product. But he’s more convinced than before that New Jersey should legalize pot after experiencing how legalization has positively impacted Colorado’s economy, tax revenues and crime rates.

“Change is always difficult. Do I see it as an uphill fight? Yeah, it’s an uphill fight,” Scutari said. “But it’s changing. It’s not as uphill as when I stood here two years ago and told you that I wanted to legalize marijuana. We’re in a lot better position now. And I’ll tell you what: I feel a lot more comfortable doing it now that I’ve seen a really good industry.”

Sen. Nicholas Scutari discusses his trip to Colorado to learn about marijuana legalization. (Michael Symons/Townsquare Media NJ)

 

 

 

 

 

Scutari gave an oral report on his trip to Statehouse reporters Tuesday, including a slide slow of photographs from the dispensaries he visited and information he gathered. Over four days, he visited Denver, Boulder and Golden and spoke with state and police officials as well as marijuana retailers.

“From the anecdotal information you hear about what going on, that this is open-air drug – it couldn’t be further from the truth. I mean, there’s nothing that’s happened that I can see that’s absolutely detrimental to the community,” Scutari said.

“I didn’t see anybody out smoking it. I didn’t see anybody out ingesting it. It didn’t appear to me that anybody was walking around in a state of inebriation,” he said. “Just nice towns that we’d be proud to have in our communities.”

Chris Christie on Marijuana Legalization: “Never, as Long as I’m Governor.”

Colorado voters legalized marijuana in 2012, and the product has been sold there as a regulated industry since 2014. It exists side-by-side with a medical marijuana program.

Scutari said he was told there have been decreases in suicide among veterans and opiate use. He said he was told there has been a significant drop in use of marijuana by adolescents, though a federal survey out late last year says use by Colorado teens is up slightly and is the highest rate in the nation.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari holds up packaging for edible marijuana products sold in Colorado. (Michael Symons/Townsquare Media NJ)

There were a few lessons learned from Colorado’s experience Scutari said he may use in making revisions to the legalization plan he first offered in 2014:

  • Make sure the packaging on edible marijuana products is clear about the dosage level, so people don’t consume too much.
  • Ensure police departments have experts trained in drug recognition to know whether a driver is intoxicated, since the tests aren’t the same as for drunk driving.
  • Either figure out a way to properly regulate home-grown marijuana, or don’t allow it.

“They know where every seedling and plant starts, grows, ends and is sent to, sold and consumed. They can track it all. But when you’re growing it yourself, it’s harder to track it,” Scutari said. “… I think you want to regulate it that tightly just for a couple of different reasons. You don’t want to leak black market marijuana out to other states. That’s where they seem to be losing it. And you’re also losing money in the regulated industry.”

In New Jersey, an estimated 844,000 people a year used marijuana, according to the most recent federal health survey, covering 2013 and 2014, up from 759,000 in the previous year. The number who had used marijuana in the previous month was 472,000, up from 389,000.

New Jersey isn’t likely to move to legalize marijuana before 2018 at the earliest, given the vocal opposition of Gov. Chris Christie, who reiterated his viewpoint when asked a question Monday at a forum hosted by the Morris County of Chamber of Commerce.

“There is no bigger anti-drug person than me. I will never decriminalize marijuana in this state, I will never legalize marijuana in this state, for every minute that I’m governor,” Christie said. “It’s a gateway drug, it’s a bad thing, and we shouldn’t be doing it. And we shouldn’t be sending messages to our kids and young adults saying it’s OK. It’s not.”

Scutari intends to keep working on the legislation so it’s in place to act upon when the next governor takes office in 2018 – not knowing, of course, whether that governor will support legalization. He said he hopes to have a revised bill ready in 60 days and hold a hearing on it this fall.

“We’re going to move the ball down the field,” Scutari said. “This is a process. We have a lot of legislators that need education on this. I encourage people to go out and take a look and see for themselves. I could not be more pleasantly surprised at what I saw.”

See original article here.

Trip to Colorado Convinces NJ Senator He’s Right On Legalizing Marijuana2018-07-05T13:55:16+00:00

Top 10 Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries in Denver

Denver is the American hub of recreational marijuana, which is proven by just how many dispensaries have popped up in the Mile High City since weed was legalized almost 2 years ago. So how do you know where to go for the legal weed experience? Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and found the Top 10 Dispensaries in Denver. (All in the name of journalism.)L’Eagle

Two things make L’Eagle stand out from the crowd: customer service and going GREEN. All L’Eagle products are organic, pesticide-free and sustainably farmed; in fact, their grow is a zero-waste facility. In addition to all this, their products are very high quality with a wide range of selection. The budtenders are all extremely nice and happy to take their time and answer any and all questions you may have. Also, we just love a good business name pun.

Good Chemistry

If you’re looking for trendy, you’ve found it in Good Chemistry. Its staff is made up of well groomed hipsters who are as nice, knowledgable and helpful as their facial hair is on point. Menus are showcased on HD screens bedecking the exposed-brick walls, offering a streamlined selection of well organized strains, edibles and concentrates. Its Colfax location is as convenient as it is shady, but just ignore the crackhead on the corner — Good Chem’s security makes you feel instantly safe. Make sure to take your time and chat with the budtenders; they’ll never rush you and will always take the extra time to ensure you’re purchasing the best product to suit your needs.

Green Man Cannabis

When a dispensary wins the High Times Cannabis Cup for the same strain two years in a row, you know it’s going to rank. Green Man Cannabis won in both 2014 and 2015 with its strain Ghost Train Haze, which was hailed for its longer-lasting-than-average “good vibes.” Also check out indica strain Louie OG, which took home the 2015 prize for Best Indica.

LoDo Wellness Center

Located in the heart of Denver’s Lower Downtown (hence the name, get it?), LoDo Wellness Center is everything you’d want from a dispensary minus the glitz and glamour. The street entrance takes your downstairs into a wide and spacious basement that houses the dispensary, its wide selection, and a consistently large staff to make sure you’re in and out as fast as you’d like to be with zero wait. I’ve popped in a few times for some Peach Rings before an Av’s game or a replacement for my pen; they’re nice, efficient, fast, and know their extremely wide selection perfectly. Highly recommended.

Natural Remedies

If you call yourself “LoDo’s dispensary” and “a mile higher than the rest”, you better back it up — and that’s just what Natural Remedies does. When it comes to service, no budtenders are as consistently knowledgable as those at Natural Remedies. The quality of their product speaks for itself and has many customers saying it offers the best OGs in Denver. It also carries a larger selection of wax and shatter than most, so this spot is perfect for the dab fan. Check it out downtown.

Emerald Fields

This self-proclaimed cannaboutique lives up to its name. With two locations in Colorado (Cherry Creek Denver and Manitou Springs), Emerald Fields make buying weed feel classy. Its website mirrors its high-class interior design and layout, just take a look. With eighths from $35-$55, it’s easy to mix and match to suit your needs. Also keep an eye out for the deal of the week: right now you can get an eighth of Ambience hybrid for just $12.

LivWell

With 14 locations throughout the state, LivWell has established itself as the high-quality dispensary chain of Colorado. While some may prefer the mom-and-pop single shop variety, purchasing at a place like LivWell that has it down to a science does have its perks. The space is clean and attractive, the service efficient and streamlined, the products all recognizable, quality brands. (Wudup, Leafs by Snoop). Check out the Broadway location if you have a choice; they seriously only hire babes.

GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique

What has been hailed as “the Apple store of dispensaries” makes our list thanks to its organic, streamlined design, friendly customer service and close proximity to Fat Sully’s Pizza and Denver Biscuit Company. (Seriously, this matters.) For a self-proclaimed “boutique”, GroundSwell offers a wide range of flower, edibles and concentrates for reasonable prices. An excellent choice for first-timers and tourists looking for a clean, positive experience.

DANK

Located at 3835 Elm Street in Denver, DANK Dispensary’s philosophy is to “make available safe and friendly access to naturally grown supply of dank nugs and flowers.” What makes DANK stand out is its dedication to describing its strains and various offerings. The effects of DANK’s 707 Headband strain, which is a mix of Sour Diesel, OG Kush and Master Kush, are described as “intense, euphoric relaxation with an earthy, citrus flavor.” Down.

Giving Tree

Family-owned since 2009, The Giving Tree offers the widest selection of edibles in the whole of Denver. Its medical-centric roots also make it the perfect place to pick up tinctures, salves, soaks, etc. It also features a 10% discount on every purchase for cancer patients, those with HIV/AIDS, veterans, students, and badged cannabis industry staff, which you have to admit is classy and kind. The perfect dispensary if you’re into buying local or supporting small businesses.

Top 10 Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries in Denver2018-07-05T13:53:02+00:00

Tender of the Week: GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique

Tender of the Week: GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique

by MERRY JANE Staff

Check out a collective that’s been serving Denver for the past decade.

The GroundSwell team has been a staple in the Bluebird District of Denver, Colorado. The self-proclaimed cannabis boutique opened their doors in 2010 serving medical marijuana patients and in 2015 added recreational customers to their roster.

MERRY JANE stopped by to check out GroundSwell’s product and to meet one of their newest budtenders, Travis Magunson, who recently moved to Denver from Minnesota.


Photos: Audrey Dempsey/MERRY JANE

MERRY JANE: What’s your favorite part about working at GroundSwell?

Travis:I truly feel like their ideals matched mine. From the growing technique to they way we care for patients first is really important to me. I joined the team because our goal is to educate and create awareness about responsible cannabis use and its medicinal benefits. Somedays can be crazy, it’s action packed but it’s a lot of fun bouncing all around and getting to meet patients.

MJ: How do you like to get high?

T: I like to vaporize, I use my PAX pretty regularly. My favorite strains right now are Cherry Pie also the Gorilla Glue we recently started growing. I prefer blunts at night time to knock me out.

MJ: Tell us about the first time you ever smoked.

T: It was at a rave in 1998 with some friends smoking out of a one-hitter. Not sure how well I inhaled or didn’t, but that was my first time.

MJ: What has been your most rewarding patient experience?

T: Just yesterday, this first time patient came in who had Parkinson’s disease. We spent about an hour together, he was very thankful we are able to take the time to go over all of his products and when he left he was smiling. It was really rewarding.

 

Read the original article here.

Tender of the Week: GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique2018-07-05T13:56:20+00:00

How Marijuana Marketers Are Busting Stoner Stereotypes

How Marijuana Marketers Are Busting Stoner Stereotypes

Christine Birkner

As marijuana legalization spreads throughout the country, recreational and medical marijuana marketers are battling legal red tape and stoner stereotypes to attract a new generation of cannabis consumers.

A certain segment of the boomer population spent their formative years in a haze of hippie-filledpot smoke.

Three decades later, skater dudes reveled in their stoner-stereotyped rebellion. Like the sweet, herbal, skunk-like stench that lingers on your T-shirt after a Grateful Dead show, marijuana carries with it connotations that are hard to shake as it enters the mainstream marketplace as a legal recreational product—not to mention a legally sanctioned pharmaceutical offering.

Marijuana has been legalized for medical use in 24 states across the U.S., and for both medical and recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, possession of a small amount of marijuana in 11 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) doesn’t carry a prison sentence, making those states likely candidates for complete legalization, according to Fortune.

Even in these markets, the laws and regulations governing marijuana’s production, distribution and use are expansive and burdensome for companies that operate in this space—and for marketers working to promote it. Like alcohol brands, recreational marijuana dispensaries are battling negative perceptions while attempting to do their due diligence to promote responsible use of their products. And like pharmaceutical brands, marijuana dispensaries must battle burdensome regulations and continue a lengthy and arduous quest for FDA approval.

Marketing agencies are sprouting up across the U.S. to help marijuana dispensaries promote more positive perceptions, and owners and employees at marijuana-based brands are working on sophisticated marketing strategies to nip stoner stereotypes in the bud.

Jeb Bush Is in Good Company

In September 2015, Republican presidential candidates addressed questions regarding states’ legalization of marijuana during a debate hosted and televised on CNN. While much of the discussion focused on states’ rights, treatment plans and the penitentiary system, Jeb Bush—of the Bush family dynasty, and formerly the governor of Florida—was prompted to frankly cop to his pot-smoking past: “Forty years ago, I smoked marijuana and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and might not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.”

Jeb Bush on Pot Usage

Bush’s comments elicited chuckles from both the audience and his fellow candidates, and made a few headlines the following day, but they didn’t cause much more of a stir. When a U.S. presidential candidate from the right can poke fun at his own pot use in high school, it’s a sure sign that the game has changed.

“Surveys have shown that half of the people in this country have tried marijuana at one point in their lives, and as the laws change, more people will be comfortable with the idea of openly consuming and discussing their marijuana use,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications at Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that focuses on ending marijuana prohibition. Indeed, Tvert’s assertion is backed up by data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health​, conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which found that 49% of the American population reportedly has tried marijuana, making it the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S.

Acceptance has risen since the haze of the hippie ’60s. In a 1969 Gallup poll, only 12% of Americans favored legalizing marijuana. In April 2015, 53% of Americans said that marijuana should be legal, according to a Pew Research Center study. But even though Americans might have tried it and might be in favor of legalizing it, they don’t necessarily think that their neighbors should be smoking it—at least not for fun. According to an April 2014 study by National Public Radio and Truven Health Analytics, 78% of people support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, but only 43% of people support legalization for recreational purposes.

While savvy marketing could help change public perception—and it likely will, just as other adult vices eventually gain acceptance—marijuana marketers face rolls and rolls of legal red tape, Tvert says. “The rules surrounding the marketing of marijuana are really strict, and they really limit the outlets that these businesses have to reach potential consumers.”

Three Denver-based companies are taking on both the regulatory and consumer perception hurdles of marketing medical and recreational marijuana. Cannabrand, a marketing agency dedicated solely to cannabis industry clients, opened its doors two years ago as legalization picked up steam. GroundSwell Cannabis Boutique, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary, works to change negative pot perceptions by offering professional-level customer service via sleekly designed, welcoming storefronts that could just as readily offer handbags and cosmetics in their modern shelving and display cases in place of pot-infused products. Inhale Mercantile, an online “headshop,” the term for a store that sells marijuana accessories, promotes its luxury cannabis accessories primarily to women—no stoner stereotypes in sight. All three are using savvy marcom strategies, and heavy doses of creativity, in an attempt to spark the U.S.-based marijuana industry’s growth.

A Budding Business

College students the world over often scheme of launching businesses with their peers, and when you attend college in Colorado these days, you’d likely be concocting ingenious ways to enter the nascent industry for which Colorado has become an unofficial home base.

Olivia Mannix and Jennifer DeFalco decided to leverage marijuana’s legalization there to found their own niche marketing agency, which they called Cannabrand. Both 2011 graduates of the University of Colorado-Boulder, with degrees in advertising, PR and communications, Mannix and DeFalco first launched MARCA Strategic in June 2013, a general marketing agency that’s still in operation, and then created Cannabrand as a specialized offshoot on the eve of marijuana’s legalization in Colorado in January 2014. Cannabrand now has 20 clients, including dispensaries, marijuana growing operations, and companies that sell vape pens (pre-filled pens that contain pot and are similar to electronic cigarettes), extracts, edibles and other marijuana accessories. Most of Cannabrand’s clients are based in Colorado and California, but the founders are in talks with brands in Washington, and in Florida and New York, where recreational legalization could be imminent.

cannabrand-pot-hp.jpg

Olivia Mannix and Jennifer DeFalco of Cannabrand. Photgraphy by Jon Rose.

To build their client base, Mannix and DeFalco first networked with industry leaders in Colorado, including those who already were selling marijuana for medical purposes. “We said, ‘Cannabis is about to go legal for recreational use, so what are your plans for transitioning from medical to recreational?’ We talked to different dispensaries about how rebranding would help them appeal to this new market,” DeFalco says.

In the consumer packaged goods space, brands, logos and general panache are important, so the two businesswomen wanted to work with dispensaries to help them create compelling visual brands and brand stories. They also saw he need for full-fledged marketing and advertising campaigns.

In July 2015, Mannix and DeFalco prepared what was to be the first TV ad for a marijuana product for its client Neos, a Denver-based vape pen maker, which sells its products in Colorado and to medical dispensaries in California. The ad, which was scheduled to air prior to Jimmy Kimmel Live on local station ABC-7 in Denver, was pulled at the last minute because of FCC concerns (pot is still illegal nationally). The ad showed images of the Colorado skyline and focused on nature and outdoor experiences, featuring twentysomethings at a concert and camping. A voiceover said: “You lead an adventurous life, always finding new ways to relax. Now enjoy the best effects and control with Neos portable vape pen, and recreate [as in, use recreational marijuana] discreetly this summer. Neos: Recreate Responsibly.” The tagline read, “A bold new way to unwind,” and the ad ended with a 21-and-over/Colorado-only disclaimer—similar to those “drink responsibly” messages for alcohol—and did not show the product.

“Adventurous Life” Commercial

Even though the drug is legal in Colorado, marijuana marketers must abide by stringent advertising rules set by the state of Colorado and other marijuana enforcement agencies. Cannabis brands must prove that at least 70% of the audience for each outlet in which they’d like to advertise is 21 years old or older. Facebook won’t accept marijuana-related ads, and outdoor advertising is not allowed.

Those requirements were met for the Neos spot, yet the commercial still was pulled, DeFalco says. “The commercial was approved by Channel 7 and our client, and was compliant with regulations because 97% of the audience was proven to be over the age of 21. It only needs to be 70%, so we were well within those guidelines,” she says. “They were concerned over the FCC situation, and at the last minute, they backed out.”

Adds Mannix: “They told us we weren’t allowed to show the pen, itself, but it was a great commercial and it was more of a lifestyle piece. There wasn’t anyone consuming, or any pictures of cannabis or the product. It was celebrating Colorado, with celestial skies and great imagery.”

The lifestyle branding approach helps Cannabrand’s clients break down stigmas about marijuana, DeFalco says. “A lot of our advertising shows people hiking or being outdoors and going about their lives, and they just happen to consume. That’s one way we’re trying to break down those stereotypes, to show that anyone can consume cannabis—professionals, outdoorsy people, whoever—to veer away from those images of lazy, unproductive potheads.”

Even though the TV spot didn’t air as planned, Neos generated a lot of PR as a result of the ad being pulled, and the company put the advertising investment to good use, posting the spot on YouTube and social channels, and sending it out in a customer e-mail blast, generating 300 million total impressions in a week, according to Mannix. “It actually was a success because we had a PR angle,” she says. “We alerted some journalists that we were going to have one of the first recreational cannabis commercials, and they were excited about it. Once it was pulled, the backlash was more: ‘Look at how simple this artwork is. Why did this not air?’ ”

Because of cannabis advertising restrictions, Cannabrand steers most of its clients toward industry-related publications that will accept marijuana-related ads, such as The CannabistCulture magazine, THC magazine, Marijuana Business and Dope magazine. Some publications, such as the Denver Business Journal and Westword, a Denver lifestyle magazine, publish ads for local dispensaries and marijuana products, as well.

PR, rather than advertising, is proving to be marijuana businesses’ best bet right now, Mannix says. “PR is the way to go. You can speak with journalists about your brand and get your message across that way, and target specific publications that fit your audience.”

To market their own agency, Mannix and DeFalco also rely on ways to prompt word of mouth, using their networking skills and industry knowledge, doing speaking engagements at conferences such as the International Cannabis Association’s C​annabis World Congress and Business Exposition, and attending legislative events in Colorado. They were present at the passing of the Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative, which allows for adult cannabis consumption in a public or private space in Denver, including designated smoking areas in bars, and they work with activists and lobbyists on a local and state level, such as the Cannabis Patients Alliance, a group that helps provide patients with information about marijuana and connect them with doctors.

“There are a lot of restrictions on compliance, and regulations are always changing,” DeFalco says. “We’re constantly reading up on new laws, and we also work with compliance companies that help us with packaging and labels. Having those relationships from the get-go are great. We really understand the industry, and we’re seen as the leading cannabis branding agency because of where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing.”

Adds Mannix: “We’re not just an agency that’s providing marketing services. We’re also on the ground floor level, and we really care about this industry and helping to drive change.”

A Pot Prescription

Change—a lot of it—will be necessary before medical marijuana is marketed like other prescription drugs. Medical marijuana brands face one major hitch: the lack of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid, a chemical in marijuana, are used as an appetite stimulant and for treating nausea in cancer patients, and there’s interest in the drug industry to use marijuana to treat several symptoms from medical conditions, such as glaucoma, AIDS wasting syndrome, neuropathic pain, cancer, muscular dystrophy and seizures, but the FDA hasn’t yet recognized or approved the marijuana plant, itself, as medicine for any condition, says Michael Roth, healthcare practice leader at New York-based marketing agency Bliss Integrated Communication​, whose clients include Eli Lilly and Pfizer.

Photography by Jon Rose

“Getting medical marijuana FDA-approved is going to take many years and a lot of money,” he says. “Even if they get approval, they’ll be limited to what they can say about what’s approved for what [condition].” Although drug companies cannot yet get involved in the marketing due to the lack of FDA approval, some smaller drug companies are researching marijuana as a treatment for several conditions, he adds.

If FDA approval happens, medical marijuana would be marketed to consumers like most any other drug, Roth says—which likely means a lot of vague marketing messaging and ample disclaimers. “Their clinical trials will determine what they can or cannot say about the efficacy and safety of the drug. The FDA … would determine how much they could say [in advertising]. They also would need to talk about the side effects, if there are any.”

Approval will come, but not in the near future, Roth adds, so in the meantime, medical marijuana use—and related marketing—will continue to be conducted on a smaller scale. “Scientists will continue to pursue it no matter what, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the government didn’t start getting involved in some studies. The marijuana plant will need to be studied from a delivery standpoint and a safety and efficacy standpoint, and it will need years of trial, which haven’t been done yet. Right now, people are going to dispensaries and, as long as it’s legal, they’re using it.”

Medical marijuana currently is being touted in the U.S. for specific conditions through word of mouth, but because it’s not yet federally regulated, ads or marketing claims promising treatment for certain conditions can’t be created. According to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML): “Wellness providers are already starting to nip around the edges. They’re using code words and trying to stay just beyond the scope of the FTC. It’s pretty Wild-West-like when it comes to the advertising.”

Noah Sodano, co-director of operations at GroundSwell, a Denver-based dispensary that has sold medical marijuana for the past four years and started offering recreational marijuana in April 2015, says that the marketing of medical marijuana currently resembles the marketing of homeopathic cures that you might find in a Whole Foods aisle. “There are a lot of claims out there where people say, ‘This is a cure for this,’ or, ‘If you want to get sleep, this will help,’ or there’s talk about pain relief, but the more likely that the federal government gets involved in that, any medical claims are going to get curbed way back,” he says. “We’re seeing a lot of products on the medical side that are marketed like you would see a vitamin section in a grocery store, talking about what conditions these things address. In terms of how they’re likened to pharmaceuticals, it really depends on where the market goes.”

Rather than creating ads that promise cures for certain conditions, GroundSwell’s medical side emphasizes professional-level customer service and patient relations, offering one-on-one patient consultations to help its customers create their own treatment regimen based on doctors’ recommendations. GroundSwell’s staff cannot write prescriptions and instead just offer advice, says Caitlyn Ewing, the company’s other co-director of operations. “Our patient relations specialists take time to elicit information and help ensure that every person who walks into the door walks out with the best solution they’re looking for.”

A New Target Who Tokes

When you talk about customer service with regard to cannabis, that likely conjures images of seedy street corners or Ziploc bags put to unintended purposes. The stereotypes surrounding marijuana are deeply rooted, so consumer perception could be marijuana marketers’ biggest challenge. Although the twentysomething male stoner culture still exists, of course, cannabis marketers are working to shift perception of their customers from those slacker types to a mix of white-collar executives, suburban moms and grandparents. “Yes, there’s always going to be that culture there that’s a fundamental part of why we’re here now, but the reality is, for everybody else who’s over 21 and potential customers, we have to find different ways of talking about it, particularly the experiences,” Sodano says.

Adds Ewing: “We see moms coming into the dispensary for the first time, or little old ladies who live around the corner. We get the full spectrum.”

When GroundSwell first opened its medical space four years ago, the front of the building, which now houses GroundSwell’s recreational space, was an art gallery. “It got people in the building. Every month they had a new show,” Sodano says. “The front of the building didn’t look scary. It was a nice gallery space, so it was a way of saying: ‘Come into this building. Welcome.’ People would say, ‘Wow, this is a dispensary?’ ”

GroundSwell’s recreational and medical spaces are designed to maintain that comfort level, and feature blond wood countertops and soft lighting. “We want to make sure that the experience we offer is the most non-threatening, welcoming atmosphere possible,” Ewing says. “It’s a premium boutique experience, versus Jamaican flags and [giant] joints.”

GroundSwell’s recreational space is designed to be welcoming. Photography by Jon Rose.

Even the word “dispensary” might be doing the business a disservice because companies like GroundSwell aim to create sophisticated retail experiences, Sodano says. “In the last four years, the change in the type of marketing you see from dispensaries has really moved away from that ‘headshop’ approach. The majority of players in the industry realize that they have to take their marketing to the next level.”

Cannabrand’s DeFalco agrees: “It the past, you’d go to a dispensary and it would feel seedy or underground. It’s starting to feel more comfortable and mainstream. They’re looking more like MAC stores. There are clean lines and custom fixtures. It’s inviting for newcomers because it doesn’t feel like you’re going to an illegal place or that you’re doing anything wrong.”

The shifting demographics of cannabis consumers are reflected in the growth of businesses such as Denver-based Inhale Mercantile, a luxury online headshop geared toward women, which sells vaporizers, pipes and bongs, cannabis-based skincare lines and accessories. “I am the stereotypical stoner now,” says Inhale Mercantile’s owner, Kim Gordon, a 48-year-old business professional who’s the mother of two teenage children. “There’s a new stereotype developing. Eighty-five percent of purchases are made by women and 93% of over-the-counter pharmaceutical sales are to women. That’s why everyone’s saying women are the key to the future of this because we’re the ones with the purchasing power, doing the buying of the pharmaceuticals that marijuana can replace. It becomes a health and lifestyle choice. I’m selling $500 [marijuana leaf] necklaces that aren’t flashy and in your face, and people are loving it.”

Gordon markets Inhale Mercantile’s products through word of mouth, and uses Instagram and Pinterest to drive traffic to her website. “Everyone talks about negative stereotypes, but ours is different because we’re a niche: We offer luxury women’s items,” she says. “Our brand is clean and simple, and that’s how we target everyone.”

Inhale Mercantile is not alone, according to Mannix and DeFalco. Cannabrand’s clients generally are broadening their target demographics, reaching out to more women and baby boomers. “In the past, cannabis brands were targeted toward men between the ages of 25 and 35,” Mannix says. “It was a male-dominated industry and all of the marketing was geared toward men. To target women, there are more health-oriented messages now, or there will be ads that say that cannabis is not as caloric as drinking and you won’t have a hangover. And with topicals, they say the cream is good for wrinkles, stuff like that.”

Statistic: In your opinion, should marijuana use be made legal? | Statista
Find more statistics at StatistaThe tide could be turning on the perception issue as the next generation comes of age, research shows: Support for marijuana’s legalization rose 11% between 2010 and 2013, with 68% of millennials supporting it, versus 52% of Gen Xers and 50% of baby boomers, according to a Pew study from February 2014. Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe that alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana, and 57% say that they wouldn’t be bothered if a store selling legal marijuana opened up in their neighborhood, according to Pew.

DeFalco, for one, is optimistic: “We’re anticipating federal legalization in five years. A lot of people are saying 10 years, but we think it’s going to be a lot quicker. We’re already seeing public perception of cannabis shift really quickly, just from social media alone. People are sharing their opinions and people are voting, and that’s going to effect change.”

The pace of change in the marketing of marijuana has been rapid, Sodano says. “The growing up that’s happened in this industry—in terms of marketing—over the last two or three years is more like what you’d see happen in other industries in five or 10 years, in terms of how quickly it’s become professional. There’s so much red tape wrapped up in what we do that it ends up dictating a lot of our decisions … but I’m happy to see that there are no longer as many tie-dyed peace signs or half-naked women [depicted in marijuana-related messaging]. I’m glad the whole industry has risen. We’re in an industry that has a benefit of working together rather than being competitors because if the whole thing goes down, we’re going down together.”

Consume Cannabis Responsibly

Photo courtesy of Marijuana Policy Project.

In June 2014, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a column​ about overdosing on edible marijuana in a Denver hotel room, chronicling her experience of hallucinating and becoming paranoid after consuming too much of a pot-infused candy bar. The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) used Dowd’s column to create ad campaign to warn so-called “pot tourists” about the negative effects of over-indulging. In September 2014, MPP unveiled a billboard in Denver with an illustration of a woman who looks like Dowd slumped over on a bed, and the tagline, “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation.” The ad directed viewers to MPP’s website, ConsumeResponsibly.org, which has tips for responsible cannabis consumption.

“Maureen Dowd’s column did more to educate people about edible marijuana than anything out there so far,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications at MPP. “We wanted to take advantage of that and make people think about the fact that [edibles] have different effects on people than inhaling marijuana, and they need to be careful when they consume them. We’re never really taught that you don’t drink 10 shots of liquor in a row; it’s just cultural knowledge. With edibles, it’s: ‘I saw people eat pot brownies in a movie one time. They eat it and laugh.’ People don’t know that when you eat it, it takes 45 minutes to feel the effects, and if you eat too much, it can be uncomfortable. We’re trying to foster that public dialogue.”

The billboard was covered in 43 national media outlets, including CNN, CBS, Fox News, the Associated Press, BloombergTimeThe Washington Post, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. When Dowd was asked about the billboard in an interview with The Daily Beast, she said that she loved it and that she was going to make the photo her Christmas card. MPP obliged, sending Dowd a card with the message: “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your holiday. With edibles, start low and go slow.” MPP also sent the card to its own mailing list and posted it on its social media channels. ​

This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Marketing News. ​

How Marijuana Marketers Are Busting Stoner Stereotypes2018-07-05T13:34:33+00:00