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Industry Spotlight: Cannabis

In our first “Industry Spotlight” episode, Big John and Amanda sit down with leaders from the world of Cannabis to learn more about their business with the hopes of building bigger and better experiential campaigns.

Our panel of experts include:

Patrick Rea– Co-Founder and Managing Director of CanopyBoulder, a seed-stage, mentorship-driven business accelerator for the cannabis industry. CanopyBoulder has raised 5 funds and invested in 115 companies since 2014.

Kate Lavin– Editor at Marijuana Business Magazine, publication covering the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. and globally.

John Lynch– Founder of TradeCraft Original, a Cannabis Consulting agency and Head of Business Development at Omura a Cannabis Vaporizer that uses flower cartridges.

Max Lenderman– Former founder and CCO of School, a purpose-centric creative consultancy that had experiential at its core (and part of holding company Project Worldwide).


Cannabis News: A Dive Into The Past, Present, and Future of Marijuana

It’s no secret the cannabis industry has grown exponentially in the past few years, and with that growth, the inner workings of the industry have also had to evolve. From more accessibility and reliability to greater diversity, there are numerous ways that the cannabis industry has shifted its tactics in light of its passage into the public eye.

In recent cannabis news, here’s what’s changed so far and what might continue to change given legalization at the national level.

The Growth of an Industry

To the many who might question why the cannabis industry is generating so much attention at the moment, the answer is simple: It gives people hope in a time of increasing anxiety and suffering.

Health and wellness is a topic that is very much on the mind today and the cannabis industry has risen to meet that need.

While some consumer goods companies may only dangle the potential for a better life in front of their customers, cannabis is an experience, and one that is getting more and more reliable with the ever-improving nature of its industry.

There is a near sure-fire guarantee for a good time when it comes to making use of this product, as long as you are doing it in a safe and sustainable way.

Changing Cannabis Consumption

As demand for cannabis has gone up, so has the quality of the user experience. A huge factor in this quality shift is the diversity of products now being offered. A while back, when you walked into a dispensary, there were perhaps two or three different strains to choose from.

Now you go into a dispensary, and there are more than 25 strains available.

There are also many new methods for ingesting marijuana, such as concentrates, edibles, topicals, and all manner of other options. No matter what you’re interested in, there is something out there for you. There’s even micro-dosing for those who don’t want much.

Additionally, there’s a new wave of medical research on the benefits of marijuana for several different ailments. Every day, cannabis news is changing along with the way people can consume it.

A Taboo Lifted

Another large factor in the growth of the cannabis industry and its increased accessibility is the state-level legalization of the product. Use of marijuana has been fully legalized in many states across the U.S., and it remains fully illegal in only a handful of states. This legalization process has been essential to the exposure of the cannabis industry, allowing many more people to have access to safe methods of using cannabis.

It has also had the effect of lifting the taboo on discussion of cannabis news nationwide. When you mention cannabis and all its different forms now, you don’t whisper or hold back. You can say it proudly, and it can become a dinnertime conversation instead of a hush-hush affair. This gives the customer much more transparency into how the industry works and opportunities for education about how to use these products well.

Cannabis News During The Pandemic

The pandemic has significantly impacted everything in our lives. Many businesses have had to rethink themselves and their methodologies.In the case of the cannabis industry, it was finally given its moment in the sun.

In 2020, the cannabis industry was deemed an essential business, which allowed it not only to survive but to thrive, even under the difficult conditions of COVID-19. Former projections were thrown out the window as sales went through the roof.

Everyone needs an escape, especially when trapped in their own homes, and cannabis proved to be an effective and safe way of filling this need. It even allowed people to confront their present-day realities rather than tune them out as they might in a regular work day of distraction.

Being able to sit with yourself is an invaluable skill, and cannabis has provided a platform for people to do just that from the comfort of their own homes and within the comfort of their own minds.

Roadblocks Removed

The progress that the cannabis industry has made so far is incredible, but in order to keep up that momentum, there are a few key challenges standing in its way that must be hurdled.

Lack of Experiential Events

For other regulated industries, such as beer and wine, there is a strong base of support for the experiential side of things – beer shows, wine tastings, one-on-one engagement – that allows them to reach more customers and find more funding. For the cannabis industry, however, this remains a major stumbling block on the route to success.

The general public has less trust for the cannabis industry than for these other regulated markets, and although that trust is increasing by the year, it still isn’t enough for experiential events for cannabis to be a popular topic.

On the flip side, this represents an opportunity for the cannabis industry. Entrepreneurs in the business who find ways of engaging the public with their product – by using small, curated micro-markets or other experiential events – will most likely find the rewards very worth reaping. Building a base of experiential events for other cannabis suppliers to work off could be the next step the industry needs in order to introduce the benefits of cannabis to the wider public.

The Public’s Perspective on Cannabis

The second hindrance on the road to increased accessibility and nationwide legalization of cannabis is its public image. While many are supporters of the medical and recreational drug, there are also many vehement naysayers who stand against it.

This is another spot where the industry can find a foothold. Educating supporters and naysayers alike on how cannabis works and its benefits would allow the industry to remove negative stereotypes about its product’s usage andgive more people a better, safer experience with marijuana.

The biggest argument against cannabis usage is that it is a gateway drug. But for people who are worried about getting on a pathway to addiction, there are other options specifically designed for this concern. Some of these products include CBD and hemp-based CBD, which is essentially cannabis with less THC and which allows the user to have a much more relaxed and mellow experience.

There are so many ways of using cannabis, and they are only becoming safer as time goes on.

Legalization: The Future of the Cannabis Industry

At the end of the day, the greatest step forward for the cannabis industry is nationwide legalization.Legalization would completely revolutionize the way cannabis is marketed – how it can be advertised experientially, how it can be shipped state-to-state, and how people experience cannabis as a whole.And the biggest steps that need to be taken toward this goal are: Reliability, accessibility, and safety.

Users need to know that they can count on a similar positive experience every time; that they will always have access to the products they like and access to education about them; and that they will always be safe. While much of this has already been accomplished within the industry, there is always room for more precautions, more innovation, more focus on improvement.

Collaboration within the Cannabis Industry

The other essential ingredient to a better and brighter future for the cannabis industry is collaboration.

Underneath every cannabis-producing company, there has to be an authentic force that drives the business and the market forward. While there are quite a few individual organizations leading the charge within the industry, there needs to be a bigger sense of community – a wider focus on building cross-company, multi-state collaborations to tackle the systemic challenges being faced – in order for the cannabis industry to rise higher and achieve full legalization.

Put simply, if the industry is going to go anywhere, there needs to be a push for bringing new people into the fold and encouraging innovative solutions to old problems.

Why Cannabis?

Why does this industry matter at all? This might just be the real question.

Marijuana has an incredible impact on how we live as human beings.

The cannabis business has taken up the reins as an agent of social change. It has connected us with our humanity in a way that many other things have not during this pandemic. There is no way to keep our blinders on anymore, no way to assume that everything will go back to normal eventually. But cannabis offers a route for introspection, a path to move forward that allows us to feel free while remaining realistic.

It gives us hope.

All that’s left to do is to rethink old methodologies, adapt to new technologies, grow the infrastructure to maintain more healthy, positive user experiences, and work toward legalization to impact more lives and help more people.

Big John

About Author /

Big John got his start as co-founder and playing guitar in former Chicago band SweaterGirl and founding B17 Records where SweaterGirl would go on to sell over 70,000 records (when that was still a thing) completely independent. After 4 consecutive summers on the Van's Warped Tour as one of the first ever DIY bands to be invited to tag along Big John was ready for what's next and stumbled into the event industry in 2005. Big John stayed on the road managing Mobile Marketing Tours and bands for Warped Tour clients/artists for the next 7 summers as well as a plethora of experiential tours, campaigns, events, and initiatives that include some of the biggest brands and bands in the world. Having a unique edge and being side by side with the pioneers in the brands to bands movement post the crash of the record business in the early 2000's Big John's knowledge and experience in both fields is extensive. After logging over 3,000,000 miles through countless tours, Big John parked himself in LA and co-founded Beyond Experiential, an experiential agency focused on creating unique and impactful experiences based in the brand marketing, experiential, and music industry. Big John can be reached at bigjohn@eventspeak.com

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