Media Archives - Green Market Report

Ricardo PereydaRicardo PereydaApril 23, 2019
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5min11611

Last Saturday, people all over the world came together to celebrate cannabis culture. In Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom thousands of people peacefully marched in the streets for their right to cannabis, and in South Africa they came together under a banner of love and mutual respect, enjoying fellowship with like-minds. In Los Angeles, I was at the BudTrader Ball.

The big dream used to be getting to Amsterdam for the cannabis cup, where shops like the Grasshopper and Bulldog were on the must visit list. Now, the reality of the situation is, if you want to attend a 4/20 event in a “legal” state, you just find the one closest to you and plan a vacation. As anyone who has ever been to Los Angeles and paid attention to their surroundings knows, there are many dispensaries in the area. The peeps at  BudTrader.com make it their job to let you know where these are at, if you are having difficulty spotting green crosses.

I fully understand that what is described in this article is not reality for everyone reading it. Get involved, vote, and hold politicians accountable. Cannabis policy has crossed the point of no return out of prohibition. In today’s green rush, many cannabis companies are expressing themselves and our culture through events such as those held on 4/20. They go solo, partner with like-minded brands, or reach out to the greater community outside of the cannabis space.

Each of these approaches have merit, and in their own way are impactful, based upon the goals of the company, and the people they serve. This is replicated myriad ways throughout the cannabis empire. In the City of Angels, epicenter of the cannabis industry, the professionals let their hair down for an interactive, art filled event.

The 2019 BudTrader Ball at Wisdome in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District “was an opportunity to meet other high-caliber cannabis industry business people, influencers, and investors in an environment that allowed us to celebrate the cannabis plant.” Said Tim McGraw, CEO of Canna-Hub.

It was an experience like no other I’ve had in the cannabis space to date. The art was exceptional, food delicious, music rocking, and cannabis plentiful. The people weren’t so bad either. I felt good to be in a proper space that was also used by the general public, not isolated from every living thing, and being able to partake in the herb without feeling out of place. It felt, normal.

 

 

 

 


***All photo credits belong to Michael Allen Howard of BudTrader.com except for the final photo which was provided by the author Ricardo Pereyda


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtApril 17, 2019
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6min2210

The cannabis consumer is typically characterized as a “stoner” – a lovable, slacker with no ambition wandering around in a high stupor. So, it’s pretty unusual to read the account of a sober millennial working in one of the biggest cannabis companies in the country.  Jackson D. Tilley’s full-time job is the vice president of strategic partnerships and communications for Organa Brands, a vape company that has sold over $100 million in cannabis products.  Somehow, he has found time to write this book Billion Dollar Dimebag: An Insider’s Account of America’s Legalish Cannabis Industry. 

“The book is being published by Post Hill Press, and will be distributed by Simon & Schuster.” It is available now for pre-orders at www.billiondollardimebag.com and it is a true story of being at the right place and the right time for success in the cannabis industry. Tilly started as an intern at O.penVape in Denver Colorado in 2014 just as the adult use cannabis industry began to take off.

O.pen.VAPE is owned by Organa Brands, which just announced the acquisition by Slang Worldwide (SLNG). By logging long hours, massive amounts of travel and lots of hard work, Tilley rose through the ranks to his current position. The book chronicles the changes in the cannabis industry as the stigma quickly fell away, but also highlights the constant challenges that cannabis companies endured along the way.

“Working in public relations for so long, I’ve become fascinated with the ways in which people absorb content and internally assign meaning to it in their own lives,” said Tilley. “You see a lot of people rallying against our industry, repeating the same talking points they were using decades ago. And then, on the other side, you had people who were totally in favor of legalization but still painting the industry and community as a bunch of burnouts.” Tilley said he was motivated to write the book because his experience within the industry wasn’t something that those outside the industry saw. Primarily – really brilliant people taking risks with their careers to advance the cannabis industry.

Sober In Cannabis

Attend any cannabis event in a fully legal state and you will inevitably be offered the product to consume. Corporate events are  known to give the product away for free in gift bags and cannabis is easily accessible. Imagine being sober in this environment. Tilley said that was another reason why he wrote the book, “I’m sober and gay and work in the cannabis industry and that combination is pretty rare,” he said.

However, ask any person working in corporate cannabis and they will tell you how the hours are long, very long. People will often approach a cannabis executive and suggest how awesome it is to work while getting stoned all day. Many will say, if I got stoned all day I’d never get anything done.  It is close to impossible to build a solid company if you spend the day stoned.

“I think sobriety is becoming a more interesting topic to a new generation of people, and I wanted to develop a piece of writing that really illustrates the notion that you don’t need to consume cannabis to fully support its legalization,” said Tilley.

Why Do You Need This Book?

If you think you don’t belong in the cannabis industry, this book could change your mind. Tilley said he’s hopeful that people will read his book and find that working at a cannabis company isn’t like working for a drug dealer. He believes the book is helpful for people both outside and inside the cannabis industry.

Tilley said, “For me – company culture is everything. If you have solid core values for your organization, and you stick to them at every decision point, you can succeed. You can retain talent. You can make sure everyone is working toward a common goal. You might be able to have a successful company without that culture–but what might it cost?”

According to The Hollywood Reporter Simon & Schuster will distribute in hardcover and e-book format, while Tilley has also struck a deal with Audible for the audio rights to the book with Tilley on board to narrate. The book is expected to hit the shelves on September 17.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerApril 16, 2019
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12min17752

Advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. In most U.S. states where cannabis is legal, rules regarding cannabis advertising are complicated and extremely restrictive. For example, in California, businesses can only run ads in areas where “71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.” The advertising landscape online is even far less forgiving. Most online ads platforms, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, explicitly prohibit the advertisement of cannabis products.

In the absence of reasonable advertising regulations for the cannabis industry, many business owners have turned to a new and rapidly growing form of advertisement: Social Media Influencers.

What is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is a person that uses their large social media following (which can range thousands to millions of followers) to promote certain products or services. Outside of the cannabis industry, one of the most successful social media influencers is Kylie Jenner, who companies will often pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for single social media post promoting their product.

Does Influencer Marketing Work?

While some may balk at the idea of paying a person thousands of dollars to promote a product on Instagram, the numbers do not lie – influencer marketing works. Approximately 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Companies that use influencer marketing earn on average $6.50 for every dollar spent.  By 2020, the influencer market is expected to grow to $10 billion.

Why Are Cannabis Companies Turning to Influencers?

As alluded to earlier, advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. Not only are advertising regulations for cannabis complex, but also traditional means of advertisements are expensive. Buying ad space on television, radio, or a billboard can cost companies thousands of dollars with little guarantee of success. In contrast, influencer marketing is loosely regulated (for now) and less expensive.

It is also easier to target specific demographics by relying on influencers that appeal to your core audience. Cannabis business owners may not know who is going to view their highway billboard, but they do know what kind of person is going to visit Snoop Dogg’s Instagram page.

Who Are The Leading Cannabis Influencers?

The question of who the cannabis industry’s leading influencers are is a topic for debate. Unlike other industries where the practice more prevalent, influencer marketing in the cannabis industry is still relatively new. Consequently, it is difficult to say who is the “top cannabis influencer.” However, there are at least a few cannabis influencers that stand out from the pack. Here’s five cannabis influencer that have turned their social media following into big business:

Seth Rogen

Comedian Seth Rogen has built a career off of starring in stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and This Is The End, so it is only natural that he would use his talent and fame to spread the word about cannabis. With 6.6 million followers on Instagram, Rogen might not be the world’s most widely followed celebrity, but he has built up a strong and loyal social media following. Hoping to capitalize off of his reputation as a cannabis connoisseur, Rogen and his fried/business partner Evan Goldberg have teamed up with the world’s largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, to launch a new hemp and cannabis company called Houseplant. Understanding the power of social media, Rogen announced the brand by leaving a cryptic message asking people to follow the Houseplant’s Instagram page.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson at Planet 13 Cannabis Entertainment Complex. (CNW Group/Planet 13 Holdings Inc.)

Not content to be the World Heavy Champion of Boxing, sports legend Mike Tyson has dived headfirst into the cannabis industry. Like Seth Rogen, Tyson has leveraged his fame to turn himself into one of the industry’s leading advocate. Tyson has partnered with the upscale cannabis dispensary Planet 13 to be the exclusive launch partner of his 40-acre cannabis resort, dubbed Tyson Ranch. In addition to Tyson’s 7.6 million Instagram followers, Tyson has a popular cannabis podcast called Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, which has close to 90,000 followers.

“Tyson Ranch, consists of a team with 100+ years of industry experience focusing on quality to make premium cannabis products. We are all about going the extra step to offer truly great cannabis. The Planet 13 Cannabis Entertainment Complex offers customers an ultra-premium cannabis experience that dovetails perfectly with Tyson Ranch’s belief that not all cannabis is created equally,” said Mike Tyson.

Dan Bilzerian

Dan Bilzerian, owner of the cannabis brand Ignite, is perhaps one of the biggest influencers in the cannabis industry. Often a polarizing figure within the industry, Bilzerian’s social media pages are filled with bikini-clad models in various states of undress, exotic locations, and more often than naught firearms. While some may characterize his social media presence as the epitome of toxic masculinity, with more than 26 million followers on Instagram, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have a strong following.

Bilzerian became one of the world’s most successful professional poker players, winning over $50 million in a single year. Despite not adhering to any social norms — and continuing to be unapologetically himself — he developed a reputation within the gambling community for always doing what he said he would do, a mindset that he’s carried with him into numerous investment opportunities, business ventures, and personal pursuits — creating an empire. Now, he’s dedicated to building a brand in the cannabis industry to live the Ignite lifestyle.

 

Big Mike

Michael Straumietis, also known as Big Mike, is the CEO of the cannabis fertilizer company Advanced Nutrients. Straumietis has built a career off of developing cannabis-specific nutrients and has leveraged that fame into an Instagram following of almost 3 million. Unlike Dan Bilzerian, Straumietis positions himself more as a cannabis thought leader than a globe-trotting playboy.

In 1996, BigMike took $25,000 he’d made from a small illegal grow in Temecula, California, snuck into Canada with a fake passport and built a growing organization 200 people strong. He then used his growing and business expertise to start his company, Advanced Nutrients. Today, Advanced Nutrients is the maker of the #1 selling cannabis-specific nutrient line in the world, with over $110 million a year in sales from 93 countries. Advanced Nutrients also lends seed money to individuals in developing countries who dream of starting a small business, but lack the means to do so. BigMike‘s charity Holiday Heroes feeds over 30 thousand people in need, each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Charlo Greene

Charlo Greene is a former journalist turned cannabis entrepreneur that gained overnight fame after she announced live on television that she was quitting her job to pursue a career in cannabis. Greene is a somewhat controversial figure in the cannabis industry after running afoul of regulators in Alaska for launching eponymously named Alaska Cannabis Club. With approximately 214,000 followers on Instagram, Greene is what is called a “Micro-Influencer,” which is someone that has a small but dedicated social media following. Nevertheless, Greene has carved out a niche for herself in both the cannabis industry and the wider entrepreneurial community.

 

The world of cannabis influencers may still be new, but it is rapidly developing. Even if cannabis advertising regulations relax over the coming years, don’t expect cannabis influencers to go away. Influencer marketing is an incredibly powerful form of advertising, regardless of the industry.

 


StaffStaffApril 15, 2019
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4min2200

The Fresh Toast reported that it has had 11 days of unprecedented traffic with Saturday setting another huge single-day record.   The company’s publisher JJ McKay said that he is expecting a 10-15% increase this month.   “We have rocketed on Alexa, Amazon’s digital tracking service, and surpassed High Times globally as well as maintaining our lead in the US.”

The company stressed that its traffic was organic and not purchased. Some cannabis websites have recently seen their page views plunge as paying for traffic became unsustainable.

PostMedia out of Canada said that The Fresh Toast was their number one cannabis content partner. McKay said that it was the largest mainstream voice in cannabis. “Weedmaps, Leafly and High Times all focus on the stoner/connoisseur – roughly 19% of the market and we have the other 81%,” he said.

Last month the cannabis media company launched an updated, fresh site. McKay said that the company had moved into the dominant consumer and medical marijuana media position in Canada and have laid the framework in the United States. “Once the new site “settled in, it started roaring with traffic,” McKay said, adding that the new platform allowed the company to enhance advertising income and, in April the company would begin posting sponsored content.  “With the updated site, we will be able to take advantage of Apple’s (AAPL) new focus.  Currently, we are a lead cannabis channel on Apple News,” McKay said.

The Fresh Toast stated that from its data sources it strongly appeals to 71% of the market and moderately appeals to another 10%.   “19% of the heavy cannabis users may read us for fun, but maybe not for knowledge,” said McKay. “The flip can be said for the more weed-centric sites like Weedmaps, Leafly, Herb, etc. with them appealing to 19-26% of the market.”

In addition to providing general cannabis news, The Fresh Toast has a partnership with physicians and medical professions and positions the website to be the “medical information source for mainstream physicians and doctor’s offices in the US and Canada” recommended by physicians in clinics and offices around the country.  The Fresh Toast also has a continuum of care for medical marijuana use overseen by a doctor, giving readers a journey from learning about cannabis and their illness, reading patient stories, and ending with how to use the product and where to purchase.

Capital Raise

With equity funding, we will be profitable within a year and highly profitable within two years.  Investors/champions include a former Dan Nordstrom, Carolyn Kelly (former president of the Seattle Times), Glenn Johnson (former EVP/ President Alaska Air Group), Denny Post, and a host of other blue-chip names.  Some investors have chosen to remain private.


StaffStaffApril 1, 2019
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3min3230

High Times Magazine hosted a party in Los Angeles, CA this past Friday evening celebrating the 20 Women of Weed Honorees. The party was held at the Boulevard 3 on Sunset Boulevard and looked to be heavily attended. This year marked the second year for this celebration of women who have made significant contributions to the industry.

Stormy Simon

The evening kicked off with a great speech from Stormy Simon, a previous honoree, followed by a powerful story by Honey Pot Founder Corey Thomas. Thomas told the audience about the challenges and successes of being a long-time cannabis entrepreneur. She also announced that the new rebranding of Honey Pot was finished and the new products would be launched shortly.

Rylie Maedler caused the huge ballroom to come to a hush as she told of her experience using medical marijuana and how it has helped her live a normal life despite having a rare type of debilitating bone tumor disease AGCG and a seizure disorder. A truly inspiring speech from an impressive 13-year old. One that reminded how cannabis can change lives.

Great, music, good food and a beautiful venue made the women in the room feel appreciated and truly special.

This year’s honorees included:

Alison Gordon, CEO of 48North (NRTH)

Amanda Ostrowitz, Founder, CannaRegs

Amanda Reiman, Vice President, Flow Kana

Amy McClintick, Cura

Ann Skalski, Chief Brand Officer, Double Barrel

Cassandra Farrington, Co-founder MJBiz Daily

Cevon Lee Iny, Co-Founder, House of Eden

Corey Thomas, Founder, Honey Pot

Cynthia Salarizadeh, Co-Founder, Chief Strategic Officer, Green Market Media

Debra Borchardt, Co-Founder, CEO of Green Market Report

Beth Stavola, Chief Strategy Officer, iAnthus Capital; CEO, CBD For Life

Emily Paxhia, Co-Founder, Poseidon Asset Management

Ester Vigil, VP Sales

Grace Lahlouh, Ganja Gold

Jackee Stang, VP Programming, High Times Magazine

Jamie Pearson, COO Bhang Corporation

Karson Humiston, Founder and CEO Vangst

Kathleen Thibault, Chief Culture, People Officer

Koala Puffs, Entertainer

Maya Elisabeth, Owner Om Edibles, Whoopi & Maya

Nidhi Lucky Handa, Co-creator LEUNE

Rachel Gillette, Attorney

Raechel White, Director of Brand Marketing Cresco Labs

Rylie Maedler, CEO Rylie’s Sunshine

Green Market Report’s Chief Strategic Officer Cynthia Salarizadeh and Editor-in-Chief Debra Borchardt


StaffStaffMarch 13, 2019
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14min13260

1.) Mattio Communications

Launched in 2005 by Rosie Mattio, Mattio Communications (AKA: Rosie Mattio Public Relations or RMPR), is a full -service communications firm specializing in the cannabis industry, with clients spanning every sector of the trade, including, but not limited to, cultivation, manufacturing, finance, technology and ancillary services. Over the past four years, RMPR has represented some of the most recognized and well-respected brands in the cannabis industry, including: Canndescent, Headset, Papa & Barkley, Flowhub, LeafLink, Caliva, Navy Capital, Seed & Smith, Van der Pop and many more.

Since launching their cannabis-specific unit in 2014, Mattio has secured well over 1,000 media placements in print, digital and broadcast outlets for its clients. An industry favorite, Mattio Communications is recognized as the leading PR firm for cannabis brands and is directly responsible for cultivating the image for some of the most dominate names throughout the industry.

2.) ICR

Established in 1998, ICR partners with companies to execute strategic communications and advisory programs that achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and enhance long-term enterprise value. The firm’s highly-differentiated service model, which pairs capital markets veterans with senior communications professionals, brings deep sector knowledge and relationships to more than 650 clients in approximately 20 industries. ICR’s healthcare practice operates under the Westwicke brand (www.westwicke.com). Today, ICR is one of the largest and most experienced independent communications and advisory firms in North America, maintaining offices in New York, Norwalk, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego and Beijing. ICR also advises on capital markets transactions through ICR Capital, LLC. Learn more atwww.icrinc.com.

Some of the impressive multi-state operators, manufacturers and distribution companies that ICR stakes claim to are recognized as the largest companies in the industry. These names include Tilray, Aphria, TILT Holdings, CV Sciences, Flowr, Greenlane, Growpacker, and Hydrofarm.

3.) GVM Communications

GVM Communications, Inc. is a woman minority-owned public relations, branding and business development firm. Launched in 2012, led by Founder and CEO, Gia Morón, the company’s client base ranges from small to mid-sized businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, authors and celebrity influencers across multi-disciplined industries. GVM Communications expanded into the cannabis space in 2015, and has since worked with clients such as Women Grow, Viridian Capital Advisors, Simply Pure, Tikun Olam, Ilera Healthcare and more. Overseeing the PR efforts for one of the longest running parades in the country the “New York City Cannabis Parade.” Gia and expert team – who have over 60 years of combined experience – have partnered with industry conferences to identify top talent to diversify speaker representation. The firm has been credited by its clients for its first-rate approach for crisis managment and was coined the “client whisper”. In addition, Gia and her team have work with higher education universities to bring cannabis business education events, worked closely with advocacy groups to leading groundbreaking industry events at state buildings to faith based organizations. GVM Communications represents many of the leading voices in the cannabis industry today. Currently the team is working on expanding its communications platform into publishing and multimedia. The team just signed with a small group focused on CBD products and sports fitness.

The powerful list of current leading clients include Women Grow, Ilera Healthcare, National Holistic, Simply Pure/Cannabis Global Initiative and Viola Brands. Clients that GVM has worked with in the past include CWCBE, Yale School of Business on Business of Legal Cannabis 2018, Viridian Capital Advisors, and the Emmanuel Baptist Church, The Business of Cannabis Summit 2019.

4.) KCSA Strategic Communications

KCSA is a fully integrated, partner-owned, communications agency specializing in public relations, shareholder communications and social media, with expertise in cannabis, financial and professional services, technology, healthcare, digital media and energy. Since 1969, the firm has demonstrated strategic thinking and program execution that drives results for its clients in the ever-changing communications and digital landscape. The company was recently included in the “2018 CBE Ancillary Business 155” list by Cannabis Business Executive, an integrated business to business media company serving the cannabis and hemp industries. KCSA’s cannabis practice has been representing companies in the cannabis industry for more than five years. Clients span the entire supply chain from companies that grow the plant, process it and dispense it, to companies that provide consulting services, financial services and even ancillary products such as lighting, nutrients and packaging

In 2017, KCSA launched The Green Rush, a podcast about cannabis, the capital markets and culture. On a weekly basis hosts Lewis Goldberg and Anne Donohoe from KCSA Strategic Communications, speak with the CEOs, Regulators, Legislators and Cultural Icons pushing the cannabis industry forward.
To date we have interviewed some of the most powerful people in the business including:
• Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
• Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth
• Ziggy Marley, Grammy award winner
• Ricki Lake, actress, activist and documentarian
• George Allen, President of Acreage Holdings
• Tim Seymour, CNBC
• Marvin Washington, former NFL player and cannabis investor

In 2018 KCSA acquired the leading cannabis and hemp PR firm Salar Media Group. KCSA is responsible for one of the largest PR campaign efforts surrounding the 2019 Super Bowl with Acreage Holdings. Some of their clients include KushCo Holdings, Acreage Holdings, Terra Tech, iAnthus, Aurora Cannabis and MJ Freeway. In the past the have represented such brands as The Emerald Cup, Vangst and Curaleaf.

5.) Nison Co

NisonCo has a proven track record of successful political advocacy and policy change supporting the legalization of marijuana and other causes. With over 3,300 active media contacts at over 2,900 outlets, NisonCo is one of the best cannabis industry PR firms, with an unmatched network of relationships with mainstream media, industry specific media, product reviewers, and thought leaders from around the country.

Evan Nison, founder & chief executive officer of Nison Co. He is the youngest member of the board of NORML, and sits on the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In 2016 he helped launch Whoopi & Maya, a women-centric medical cannabis company with actress Whoopi Goldberg and edible maker Maya Elisabeth and currently acts as its chief financial officer.

Nison Co. agency has grown to well over 30 clients in cannabis, some of which include Bluebird Botanicals, Ardent, MoneyTrac, Brightfield Group, Headcount, Terra Tech, Nexien BioPharma and Civilized Media.

6.) Grasslands Agency

Grasslands is a full-service boutique agency working with clients in highly regulated industries. A nimble 10-person firm with offices in Denver and Los Angeles, Grasslands specializes in best-in-class Public Relations, Content Marketing, Social Media, Thought Leadership work, Newsletter Campaigns, Book Development and Event Execution for businesses and brands. Founder and CEO Ricardo Baca, a 20-year newspaper veteran, has built a seasoned team with more than six decades of top-level journalism experience at outlets including Men’s Health, The Denver Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Beast and Wonkette—and PR experience with clients including IKEA North America, K12 Inc., REI, Dupage Medical Group, Fisher-Price and Emeril Lagasse (bam!). Grasslands has a deep bench of experience supporting clients through product launches, acquisitions and IPOs, crisis management and capital funding initiatives. Grasslands works with businesses in cannabis, hemp, traditional healthcare, technology and other highly regulated industries and is proud to count Willie’s Reserve, Cliintel Capital Management Group, Coda Signature, General Cannabis and others among its roster of clients. Find out more: mygrasslands.com

7.) The Rosen Group

After a stint in Washington, DC handling policy communications, Lori Rosen founded Rosen Group in New York City. For over three decades the agency has had success handling thought leadership campaigns for industry associations in alternative energy; embracing the tech boom with digital and tech launches and more recently establishing a budding cannabis practice, beginning in 2013 when Colorado became a legal market. Headquartered in New York City, with a 16-person team of media savvy professionals, Rosen Group has had offices in Denver, Los Angeles and Washington, DC over the years. Today, Rosen Group represents a number of cannabis clients including Nug in Oakland, CA; Azuca in New York, and HEALTH (Hawaiʻi Educational Association for Therapeutic Healthcare), for a campaign to allow out-of-state patients legal access to medical cannabis dispensaries while visiting the island.

8.) Maverick PR

Maverick Public Relations’ mission is to provide big agency expertise with outstanding client service by a seasoned and knowledgeable communications expert. Maverick PR was established by Shawna Seldon McGregor in 2018 after two decades at communications agencies in New York City and Denver. McGregor’s cannabis and hemp experience are unparalleled, working from the inception of adult-use in Colorado to bring cannabis messaging to the national stage and working closely with national and trade reporters as well as infiltrating specific emerging markets to educate and convey critical narratives. She has represented the biggest brands in the industry, including Wana Brands, L’Eagle Services, ebbu, Good Chemistry, L’eela CBD Body Care, Fortis Law Partners, Elevate Hemp and Verra Wellness, among others.

Maverick PR has deep experience representing a multitude of sectors including the regulated cannabis industry, biotech, agribusiness, sustainable technologies, renewable energy, associations and media companies. Offerings include public relations, media training, investor relations, content development, thought leadership development, speaking engagements and response strategy/crisis management.

9.) Ingrid Marketing

Ingrid is a full service, award winning, PR firm deeply embedded in the cannabis industry. Founded in 2015, Ingrid creates brand recognition, and strategically guides and supports the people building the cannabis industry’s future. Clients include PLUS Products, PHILTER Labs, Kadin Academy and Cannabiz Connection.

Ingrid clients are covered by top-tier, mainstream-media outlets including ABC-TV, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, New York Times, Time Magazine, USAToday and The Wall Street Journal, and in target-right news outlets like Leafly, High Times, DOPE, Civilized, MSNBC.com, and TechCrunch.

10.) Cannabrand

Cannabrand is an award-winning, full-service marketing agency and the first to specialize in the cannabis industry. The team has played an integral role in helping cannabis businesses across the United States develop their brand identities, increase their marketshare, and appeal to emerging markets. They work with companies ranging from B2C dispensaries and mobile applications, to B2B cultivation facility operations and wholesale markets.

The agency has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Bloomberg Business, The Atlantic, Fortune, and Elle Magazine and has been praised by the American Marketing Association. PRWeek named co-founder Olivia Mannix the top 50 Public Relations Innovators of 2015. The agency brings their expertise in cannabis products, cconsumer insights, and the unique cannabis marketing laws and regulations to its clients on a national scale. Cannabrand has helped over 100 cannabis businesses intimately connect with their desired markets, and has been established as a leading voice in the normalization of cannabis. Some of the names that Cannabrand has worked with in the past include Women Grow, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, Caliva, Vangst Talent, Verde, and Gold Flora.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 31, 2019
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9min6630

The Super Bowl would probably prefer to not have anything to do with cannabis, but the cannabis industry and football are destined to work together. Whether it’s the rejected Super Bowl ad from Acreage Holdings Inc. (ACRG.U) or dispensaries running super bowl promotions the two keep crossing paths. Plus, there is the issue of cannabis being used to treat former players who suffer from head injuries.

The NFL even found itself mentioned in the Pennsylvania Auditor General report saying, “ In 2018, the NFL rejected an unprecedented therapeutic-use exemption request from running back Mike James, a free agent who sought medical marijuana treatment to break a dependence on opioids. If players’ access to medical marijuana is going to be compromised, legalizing marijuana altogether would make it unnecessary to threaten Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers players with suspension, fines, and banishment from the league over its use.”

The report went on to note that its cherished Philadelphia Eagles could be hurt by if players sought to live in states where cannabis is legal in order to treat themselves.  “As marijuana is legalized in other states, it could incentivize athletes — who literally injure themselves for our entertainment — to seek to be traded to states where they can legally access pain management and do not have to wait for exemptions to stay off opioids.

Brady Cobb is a medical cannabis pioneer and the CEO of SOL Global– which is currently in the middle of a five-year study at the University of Miami on how CBD can help treat concussions. He said, “The NFL is holding onto this long-held association between cannabis and Reefer Madness. It’s been only recently, with newly enacted legislation, that the public and companies are recognizing the difference between the non-psychoactive medical properties of CBD and the mind-altering effects of THC. With the farm bill’s passage, I think it’s only a matter of time that the NFL catches up to the NHL and other sports leagues that realize the real potential of the healing benefits of CBD.

He noted that the players and the players’ association all support looking into and researching the effects of using cannabis and CBD in treatment. When asked about CBS rejecting the proposed ad which only showed patients discussing how medical marijuana helped them he said, “CBS’s position is clearly completely at odds with the public’s position. A recent Gallup poll shows that the public supports cannabis upwards of 66% to 67%. So six out of ten people watching the super bowl – if not more, considering the demographic – could ultimately be a consumer of the products.”

The issue of cannabis advertising during football only looks to be getting more attention versus dwindling away. “With the increasing efforts to legalize cannabis products for both medical and recreational use, advertising standards and practices are coming rapidly into focus,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing. “While CBS snubbed an ad for medical marijuana during the Superbowl — they did consider it. The mere fact that the network considered an ad for cannabis shows that we’ve turned a corner, and we’re going to see advertising and branding for these products come rapidly into the mainstream.” Gabor is the author of the new book, releasing nationwide March 2019 titled, Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times.

Gabor noted that the cannabis industry has been working hard to overcome stereotypes and change perceptions of the culture of marijuana usage. “Advertising to large audiences like those watching the Super Bowl — and getting in on the PR value of Super Bowl advertising — is one tactic in kickstarting a perceptual change,” she said.

Even though CBS has refused the ad, the stadium doesn’t seem to have as big of a problem. A CBD-infused coffee and will be allowed during the game at the stadium in Atlanta. “While this is not technically a Super Bowl commercial, this is a sponsorship activation, which is designed to engage audiences in a more experiential fashion. While it’s unclear to me what CBS’ advertising policy says, and whether this would constitute a violation of that, I’m sure that CBS is concerned about this from the perspective of wanting to manage their OWN brand as a media company,” added Gabor.

While the experts debate the ability to run a medical marijuana ad, dispensaries have no problem capitalizing on the event for sales. Some companies are suggesting added their CBD tinctures to recipes like salsa and others suggest drinking cannabis-infused beverages instead of alcohol. “Cannabis sales leaped 40% last year on the Saturday before the big game and this year could rise even higher thanks to California’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana,” said cannabis software company Green Bits.

In Washington, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company will deliver a free cheese or pepperoni pizza with the purchase and delivery of any half-ounce of pot Feb 1st, 2nd, and 3rd over the big Game Day weekend.

“We were enjoying a joint and a slice of Mogul Mountain pizza while brainstorming marketing opportunities for our dispensary when it hit us. Let’s announce our new weed delivery with free pizza, and what better way to kick it off than over Super Bowl weekend. Our shop works really hard to engage the local business community and since their pizza was so inspirational, partnering with Mogul Mountain Pizza was a no brainer,” said Devin Houston, Director of Marketing, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company.

 

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 4, 2018
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5min9510

Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of the long-running High Times magazine, announced the exercise of warrants and the conversion of outstanding notes into its Class A common stock, resulting in a reduction of approximately $28.6 million of its outstanding debt obligations.

High Times had been saddled with $25.6 million worth of 12% convertible notes as a result of the acquisition back in February 2017 from Trans High Corporation (THC). THC has agreed to immediately convert the debt into shares of Common stock at $11 per share. That is the same price that the public crowdfunding investors are paying.

Adam Levin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hightimes Holding, said, “This transaction enables us to simplify our balance sheet and further our business development efforts. We are pleased to have the support of some of our largest shareholders as we take this next step in the maturation of our company. The  confidence and support of our shareholders will help us to execute on our vision of becoming a dominant player in the cannabis industry.”

In addition, Hightimes said that its senior secured lender has agreed that once the Hightimes initial public offering occurs and the listing of its common stock on an approved securities exchange happens, the lender will exercise its warrants and use the exercise price to reduce approximately $3.0 million of Hightimes Holding’s senior secured debt.  

Eleanora Kennedy, one of Hightimes Holding’s largest investors, said, “We believe in the power of the brand, and are supportive of its growth under Adam’s leadership. We are especially excited to see the huge signals of confidence coming from the creators, and financiers, that helped develop this brand into what it is today. Our expansion seeks to bridge many of the gaps left open by the legalization movement, and the continued prohibition in some states and this sign of approval doubles down on our belief that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The crowdfunding Regulation a+ offering from Hightimes Holding has raised more than $13,200,000 from over 15,000 stockholders. With a minimum investment of $99, small investors were able to participate in the offering prior to the company going public. With many cannabis companies receiving lofty valuations, the High Times offering has become an accessible investment. Only the biggest investors have been able to get in early for most of the recently public company offerings. Generally, companies prefer a much smaller group of investors putting in much more money each. 

The company said the offering will remain open until January 31, 2019, but the organization may elect to list prior to that. The closing of the offering has been extended numerous times with each deadline expiring without the shares going public.

High Times has been on an acquisition binge since it began the crowdfunding campaign. It recently acquired DOPE Magazine in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal was a combination of stock and cash. The media company also acquired CULTURE and Green Rush Daily.  Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year.

History

THC Group was founded in 1974 and publishes the monthly magazine and produces events like the Cannabis Cup. High Times Holdings was created in December of 2016 to acquire Trans-High Corporation and its subsidiaries called the THC Group in a deal valued at $70 million. The High Times Group entered into an agreement with Green Rush Daily in August 2017 and the company also owns the domain 420.com.

 


McKenna MillerMcKenna MillerNovember 20, 2018
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6min4280

Over the past few years, there has been quite a shift in how the press is “talking pot”. From Vogue covering “Cannabis Cocktails” to top business outlets covering what marijuana stocks you should invest in, the pot conversation is hitting the mainstream media very quickly.

As marijuana emerges from the black market into legal legitimacy, the conversation in the mainstream press isn’t just an exploration of pot culture anymore. Right now, the legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries netting nearly $10 billion in 2017 and is expected to hit twice that this year. As more and more public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing the drug, media is increasing their coverage to satisfy people’s need to understand the ever-green industry.

So as a PR person representing a cannabis client, how do you navigate the slowly legalizing industry?

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Understanding how to participate in the cannabis conversation comes down to knowing how to communicate to the capital markets, consumers, and regulators. PR and marketing agencies are counseling their clients on how to properly reach to a whole new consumer. For a brand that makes CBD gummies or tinctures, instead of branding themselves as just weed edibles they are positioning themselves as supplements to fight chronic pain or the new wheat grass shot to take after you workout. For companies on the ancillary side, discussing how to be successful as a business while not touching the plant is the kind of topics that are reaching aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs.

KNOW WHAT TOPICS READERS LOVE RIGHT NOW

The top topics being covered in the news range from CBD as a beauty lifestyle product, marijuana legalization legislation, and how you can profit on this industry. The cannabis consumer today isn’t just your typical stoner looking for the next strains to “knock your socks off”, they are patients, lifestyle health gurus and a wealthier, older demographic looking to invest and understand. Some of the top searches for Cannabis range from Millennials investing into pot stocks and will CBD help with anxiety. Make sure your pitch is unique to what has been covered but know what publications enjoy covering.

SHOW WHY YOUR MARIJUANA PRODUCT IS THE BEST

If you head to any legal state right now, it is a brand graveyard of weed products. From THC sodas to chocolate, everyone is looking to make a quick buck. So you put weed in beer? Why should I cover it?

As marijuana flirts with mainstream, a lot of writers are looking to give readers the truth of this trendy new product or innovative company. Be an expert on your cannabis product and brand by having your pitch include testimonies and the science behind the product, but don’t over-saturate your pitch with too much information.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE PITCHING

This is just basic PR knowledge, but knowing what that writer usually covers before blindly adding them to your pitch list is crucial in pitching cannabis. A handful of people still don’t support marijuana legalization and someone covering their support for Jeff Sessions will immediately put your pitch into spam. Unless they are vocal about it, mommy blogs and parent publications navigate their support for pot very differently. Take a few minutes to research the writer! Meltwater is a great tool to easily track that writer’s recent coverage.

KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENT WANTS

For any company working in cannabis space having an agency that understands the unique challenges that this industry brings is a good first step. However, whether you are a consumer product or a publicly traded company, it is always crucial that the PR agency understands what the marketing and sales teams goals are.

For agencies, if your client is on the B2B side, you’re going to want to strive for brand awareness among an audience reading trade publications rather than a Refinery29 gift guide.

Not all press is good press in the cannabis industry. Having a message that ties to ending the stigma of marijuana is always a good start. Nonetheless, every brand has a story to tell but what part of that story makes it stand out? There has to be more than “I grow the best cannabis” or “we are the most innovative”. Finding that and running with it will guarantee long-term success.


Video StaffVideo StaffOctober 5, 2018

3min7110

New York Comic Con features only the hottest pop culture characters. With cannabis becoming legalized in over 30 states, one would think that there would be more cannabis references in comic books. However, it remains a taboo to have cannabis in a comic book.

Some people may think that comic books are only for kids and thus, cannabis shouldn’t be featured. But there are numerous adult level comics that feature scantily clad women and most of the attendees at NYCC are adults, so it really isn’t just for children.

Weed Magic is published by Bliss on Tap publishing. The company President Brian Phillipson said he had been kicking around the idea for years and always assumed someone else would do it, but they never did. “Stoners like reading comic books, but they had no heros and no books for them,” he said. So he decided to break the taboo and publish his own.

The story is as follow: It’s 4/20 and two lovable stoners – Moe and his best friend Bunny – find themselves (and the whole city) completely dry.
When local vagabond My$tic gifts the boys a strange and exotic strain of cannabis (along with a cryptic warning), Moe and Bunny soon discover that this “magic” weed provides potent yet fleeting super-human powers of body and mind.
The love child of “Pineapple Express” and “The Greatest American Hero,” Weed Magic will delight the sober and stoned alike.  Red Eyes.  Full Bong.  Can’t Lose.

History

There have been stoner comics in the past. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers came out at the end of the 1960’s. It was created by Gilbert Sheldon and the characters were based on hippies from Sa Francisco. It spawned famous catchphrases like, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”—Freewheelin’ Franklin.

Director Kevin Smith issued a short-lived comic called Bluntman and Chronic published by Oni Press in Oregon. According to Wikipedia, “In the first issue, after encountering several comic book references, Jay and Silent Bob win the lottery and decide to become superheroes. After Bob handles most of the gadget work, the two don the names Bluntman and Chronic.” The comic was featured in the film Chasing Amy.

 

 

 



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