Green Horizons released a detailed report studying cannabis consumers and the cannabis market in general. The report addresses a diverse selection of topics like social concerns with using cannabis, talking to non-users about why they choose not to use cannabis, and dispensary reports and findings. An interesting part of the report focused on cannabis branding, and how that impacts cannabis users at large.
One of the biggest hurdles of branding cannabis is creating a product that stands out. The report says that “overall, 3 in 10 cannabis users feel all cannabis is ‘pretty much the same.’” Medical users are more likely than recreational users to feel this way, and younger people tend to feel this way more than older people. 34% of those who feel this way are between the ages of 18-34, and 40% of those surveyed are medical users. Medical users might be more likely to feel this way because they have a specific problem they are trying to solve from using cannabis. Younger people may be more inclined to feel this way because of the diverse selection of products they have been accustomed to, versus the older generation who smoked illegally for most of their life up until recently.
The report notes that even in areas where cannabis is fully legal and users have had more opportunity to experience a diverse selection of products and brands, the feeling of all cannabis being “pretty much the same” still stands.
Leafs by Snoop Is Best Known Brand
Leafs by Snoop is the topmost recognizable brand to those surveyed, with only 23% saying they know of it. The products, which are promoted by iconic rapper Snoop Dogg, are distributed through Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC). It also goes by the initials LBS and is currently facing a lawsuit over the leaf design by the Toronto Maple Leafs professional hockey team.
The report listed 16 more brands, and 32% of people surveyed had never heard of any of the listed brands. Cheeba Chews is the second brand people are most aware of at 22%.
This signals a potential issue in cannabis branding and the establishment of brand identity. According to the report, “this highlights the immense growth opportunity for brands to break out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Cannabis users who live in recreational states— and are therefore more likely to visit retail locations—are more likely to report awareness of at least one brand tested. Yet, even in recreational states, no brands approach anything near-universal awareness.”
The report claims that capturing what cannabis users want to feel is a crucial component in leaving a mark with branding. The packaging and brand’s image can be exactly what is trending today, but it is just another pretty name without a cannabis product that works. The report shows that 76% of users want to feel relaxed when they use cannabis, with happy and relieved trailing closely behind. If cannabis brands could tailor to this specific desire with their branding and the product in the package, they would generate lifetime customers and make a splash in the crowded marketplace. This is true for CBD companies as well. In the opinion of many, CBD has become more about fitting into a wellness trend than providing medicine to people. Pretty packaging with the CBD content testing out at close to nothing has been showing up in the marketplace more and more.
As cannabis becomes more mainstream, those working in the industry aim to combat social stigmas that have been weighing cannabis down for decades. One thing the majority of cannabis industry workers do to fight that is to refer to cannabis as cannabis, instead of “street” names, like weed or pot. The report, though, shows that your average users are most likely to call cannabis weed, with 69% of users saying that is what they call it. Marijuana, pot, and bud follow with 39%, 38%, and 37%, respectively. Recreational users are most likely to refer to it as weed, with 76% of recreational users reporting they call it weed.
If users would change how they present cannabis to others, especially those in the recreational setting, it could potentially generate great waves of change.
Part 4 of 8 of the 2018 Cannabis Trends: Welcome to Hollyweed
Another emerging trend in the cannabis industry is the growing level of comfort between Hollywood and cannabis. Although it’s no secret that many Hollywood stars have been known to indulge in cannabis use from time to time, most have been reluctant to publicly open up about their affinity for cannabis. But now that recreational cannabis is legal in California, it seems like every celebrity with even a modicum of fame is rushing to cash in on the legal cannabis industry.
Before recreational cannabis became legal in California, there were already a handful of daring celebrities that launched their own cannabis brands.
As an ardent medical cannabis advocate, Montel Williams was one of the first celebrities to dive feet first into the cannabis industry. In 2016, Williams launched the medical cannabis lifestyle brand Lentiv; which sells hemp-based CBD supplements and cannabis oils.
Melissa Etheridge was also one of the first celebrities out of the gate; in 2014 she released her own brand of cannabis wine called Know Label. Although marketed as a wine, Know Label is technically classified as a tincture as current California law forbids the selling of products that mix alcohol and cannabis.
As legalization spread throughout the country, becoming more of a question of when than if, more celebrities have come out of the woodwork. Willie Nelson has Willie’s Reserve, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop recently teamed up with the cannabis dispensary chain MedMen, and Whoopi Goldberg has Whoopi & Maya.
Not every cannabis loving celebrity wants to start their own brand, however, some just want to consume it. For those famous folk, a whole host of high-end luxury cannabis brands have started to take Hollywood by storm.
To start, the boutique hotel group Standard International has teamed up with the edibles maker Lord Jones to open a retail cannabis shop in the lobby of the Standard Hollywood, located on Sunset Boulevard. Once open, the shop will be stocked with high end cannabis products; both edible and smokeable.
During this year’s Academy Awards, the artisanal cannabis distributor Flow Kana became the first cannabis brand to hand out cannabis gift bags at the awards ceremony. Each bag contained several pre-rolled joints and jars of cannabis.
While stoner comedies have been a staple of Hollywood for decades, the same cannot be said of television; that is, until the last couple of years. The web series High Maintenance, which centers on a cannabis delivery man in New York, was picked up by HBO in 2016 and has been met with rave reviews.
Similarly, the streaming giant Netflix has already produced two cannabis-centered television shows, Disjointed and Cooking on High. Although neither show has been met with particularly favorable reviews, the fact that its subject matter is no longer controversial demonstrates the far reaching mainstream appeal of cannabis.
For all intents and purposes, cannabis has gone mainstream in Hollywood. In the short-term future, look for more celebrities entering into the cannabis industry, either with their own brand or as a partner with an existing company. Most of these brands will either fail commercially or simply fail to distinguish themselves; although the brands that lean into the luxury market will have a better chance of survival. Expect to see more awards shows and elite events embrace cannabis and don’t be surprised when joints become as common as a glass of champagne.
In the long-term, however, expect to see cannabis become boring. With more celebrities coming out about their cannabis use, more television shows about cannabis being produced, and more cultural institutions generally embracing cannabis; smoking a joint will no longer be seen as cool or edgy or anything other than normal.
The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis