‘The Apple Store Of Weed’: Marijuana Marketing Is Often Far From Mellow

By Patrick May
Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Patrick May from the Mercury News reports, “as the medical marijuana field flourishes in 33 states, and 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana, the PR machinery is in overdrive, filling up our inboxes liked some overstuffed spliff full of skunk.”

Mercury News

For people who represent an industry based on an extremely mellow product, the marketing masses behind the cannabis business seem to be racing on steroids.

Here in the newsroom, every day it’s another dozen pot-focused news releases. The latest hemp derivative will cure your aching back. Another mega-merger is taking place between a cannabidiol outfit and the guys over at Joints R Us. Some new technology out of Colorado called auto-buddering will change the world. It’s pitches on bongs and buds and bubblers and blunts.
And it’s all coming in way too fast.

Sometimes, there’s real news. This week, for example, we reported that the city of Oakland will be lowering the amount of tax it levies on small cannabis outfits after some of them started making noises about taking their budding business elsewhere. The City Council blew more than a few minds when members voted unanimously to drop the gross-receipts tax on cannabis firms making $500,000 or less from 10 percent to 0.12 percent.

Meanwhile, as the medical marijuana field flourishes in 33 states, and 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana, the PR machinery is in overdrive, filling up our inboxes liked some overstuffed spliff full of skunk.

“I’ll make it quick,” writes Connecticut publicist Dwain S. Schenck. “I saw your medical marijuana story for The Mercury News and thought you would like to hear about how e-commerce Youngevity/HempFX is majorly expanding its operations in the cannabis industry following the announcement that its subsidiary, Khrysos Global, will help produce 99% pure cannabidiol oil from hemp that’s free of THC found in cannabis’ marijuana strains.”

Schenck goes on to write how “this year the company announced an exclusive agreement with Icelandic Glacial bottled water that’s anticipated to lead to the development of a ready-to-drink CBD product. Cannabidiol-infused beverages are gaining traction in the emerging cannabis industry, with anticipated revenue potential between $900 million and $4.4 billion by 2024.

In March, the company added plans to launch CBD-infused coffees under Youngevity’s HempFX brand and YGYI just expanded its Josie’s Java House brand to several retail supermarket chains throughout the southeast of the United States.”

And that, in marketing parlance, is a real mouthful.

Here are some recent pitches that have come over the transom:

Meow …
“Are you looking for a source that can speak to Cats and the CBD industry? If so, I have a representative from Receptra Naturals that I can connect you with. Let me know if there’s interest? Thanks.”

Rock on!
“Hope all is well! I’m reaching out today with some BIG news, happening right here in California. Northern Nights Music Festival 2019 marks a new chapter in American music events by being the first three-day festival, camping festival, and California sanctioned event outside of the state fairgrounds to allow recreational cannabis dispensing and consumption. You can check out the full release below. Can we count on you to help us get the word out about this announcement?! You can check out some quotes from the team making it all happen via Billboard here but don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything you need. Thanks.”

Watch out, Portland …
“Ventura Cannabis is acquiring more dispensaries and expanding its business to Portland, Oregon and Cathedral City, California. These two deals are worth a combined $2.5 million. Esteemed Cannabis law firm, Margolin & Lawrence will be representing Ventura Cannabis with their acquisition and asset purchase.”

Yummy …
“I just came across your article April Fools’ Day has been postponed … and wanted to share one more with you! This morning, Muuna cottage cheese announced its newest (fake) flavor: Cannabis cottage cheese. They posted about this new flavor on their website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, a press release went live about the flavor this morning. I’ve included the full press release below for you reference as well as a hi-res image of the flavor attached. I was wondering if you could include Muuna in your roundup? Let me know if this is possible or if you have any additional questions! Looking forward to hearing you.”

Risky business …
“Golden Gate University will be hosting free public seminars April 23 to 25 at its downtown campus in SF. I thought you might be especially interested in the panel sessions on Affordable Housing in CA (with State Senator Scott Wiener) and Legal Marijuana: Perspectives on Public Benefits, Risks, and Policy Approaches. Thanks.”

Get schooled …
“Hey Patrick, Cannabis companies are growing fast, but often make mistakes where it matters most — accounting. Due to not having the correct information, companies are facing lawsuits and feeling the string when the IRS comes after them. I wanted you to know I’m now working with Dope CFO, an cannabis accounting and tax firm that provides the only national training program for CPAs, EAs, MBAs, bookkeepers, and CFOs who want to serve in the cannabis industry, with almost 200 students in 40 states. Their webinar series provides all the information necessary to avoid compliance issues. Can I introduce you to Dope CFO to discuss their training program? Let me know and I’m happy to help. Thanks, Beth”

Bankers hours …
“Hi Patrick, Green Check Verified has solved the biggest pain point in the entirety of the legal cannabis space: Banking Compliance. The sole purpose of GCV’s mission is to bridge the gap between cannabis businesses (retail stores) and local financial institutions, providing both sides with proper expertise and technology to demonstrate compliance and foster long-lasting, mutually beneficial financial partnerships. Now, you have the opportunity to meet the creators of this groundbreaking platform. GCV’s Founder/CEO Kevin Hart will be a featured speaker at the CohnReznick Cannabis Conference in Los Angeles on January 10. We’re offering you the opportunity to meet with Kevin on Tuesday, January 8, and Wednesday, January 9. Kevin will explain–and demo–GCV’s one-of-a-kind, cloud-based technology platform, which is easy to use, with no download required. There has simply been nothing remotely like it that has emerged. Thanks, Hannah E. Szalay”

That caffeine buzz …
“I wanted to let you know about a new line of CBD products from Jane West, the high-profile cannabis activist and entrepreneur shaping mainstream marijuana culture. Interest in CBD is surging, with good reason. This non-intoxicating, naturally occurring constituent of the cannabis plant has been associated with a wide variety of health and wellness effects, ranging from anti-inflammatory to anti-anxiety properties. Generally derived from hemp, CBD offers many of the benefits of cannabis without the high or legal restrictions of marijuana and THC. But increasing demand for CBD has created a marketplace with a dizzying array of options and little guidance for consumers. That’s why Jane West is releasing a thoughtfully curated line of universally available CBD products that are exceptionally high quality, responsibly produced, and designed to be easily incorporated into anyone’s daily routine. Initial offerings in the Jane West CBD Collection include: Jane West CBD Coffee, small-batch certified organic coffee beans infused with full-spectrum CBD from Colorado-grown organic hemp. ($48 for a 12-ounce bag of whole-bean coffee containing 240 milligrams of CBD.)”

Wake up and smell the what?
“There’s a lot of hype around marijuana edibles and topicals, but just because consumers are smoking less flower doesn’t mean demand has slowed. In fact, worldwide cultivation demand for dried cannabis flower is forecast to more than triple from 2.1 million pounds in 2017 to 6.9 million pounds in 2022. While flower sales continue to decline, there’s still a need for abundant dried flower product to use for cannabis concentrates and edibles — which are incredibly popular across worldwide markets. In order to keep up with demand and maintain low wholesale prices, cultivation is going to skyrocket. Happy to share more info, which comes from a brand new report by Arcview Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, ‘Flower: The Foundation of the Cannabis Industry.'”

Reaching across the aisle …
“Believe it or not, Liberals and Conservatives in the US consume cannabis very differently. New research out from the Brightfield Group shows that Republicans primarily care about cannabis taste and Democrats’ chief concern is price. Most Republicans were introduced to CBD by a doctor, while Democrats learned of it through family and friends. And Democrats are more likely to consumer flower and a variety of products, while less than 1/2 of Republicans consume flower and purchase less of a variety.”

So where’s the Genius Bar?
“MedMen, the Apple Store of Weed, is coming to San Jose. We are excited to announce that disruptive global cannabis company MedMen is expanding its footprint in Northern California with a new retail location in San Jose, CA, through the acquisition of Viktorya’s Medical Supplies LLC. This agreement will permit MedMen to retail, distribute, cultivate and manufacture cannabis onsite in San Jose, California. MedMen’s expansion in Northern California, the largest and most advanced cannabis market in the world, is in line with the brand’s strategy to focus on going deeper and building stronger relationships in the markets where they already have a presence and brand equity. The dispensary is a two-story building located in San Jose, and will serve as the initial hub for the brand’s Northern California platform.”

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