Fighting the Stoner Stereotype with Strategic Cannabis Branding

Fighting The Stoner Stereotype With Strategic Cannabis Branding

Strategic cannabis branding presents the largest opportunity for manufacturers and distributors of cannabis to advertise their products. Here are some proven methods to become lucrative in the marijuana field.

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Recreational marijuana has become legal in a number of U.S. states, and Canada has followed suit with total national cannabis legalization.

Despite the growing acceptance of marijuana use in North America, many people still do not have a profound understanding about the potential benefits of marijuana, not only to personal health, but also to the economy.

One of the biggest hurdles marijuana dispensaries must overcome is the "stoner" stereotype, which can be quelled through strategic cannabis branding.

According to a report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, legal marijuana sales skyrocketed to $9.7 billion in North America immediately after the legalization of marijuana. This statistic represents a 33% rise in cannabis revenue generated since 2016.

It's hard to say whether the demand for marijuana could have been predicted in advance, but it's clear people are opting to use this drug more and more. The upswing in cannabis use is expected to continue rising for years to come.

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Busting the Stoner Stereotype

As marijuana legalization trends throughout North America, recreational and medical marijuana marketers are focused on disproving the stoner stereotype. Removing the prejudice of marijuana use will encourage all demographics to consider purchasing and using cannabis products.

A frequent marijuana user is usually portrayed by the media as someone who can barely function under the influence of the drug. "Stoners" are typically regarded as lethargic, incompetent, and unsuitable candidates for employment. Some people view liberal cannabis use as a hallmark of a younger, rebellious generation.

To make marijuana legal for pharmaceutical use, marketers and lobbyists must first shake the false notion of that every cannabis user is a degenerate with unkempt hair, skunky odor, inappropriate language, and purveyor of obnoxious music. In the same way alcohol manufacturers attempt to promote due diligence and responsible use of their product, marijuana distributors must also prove the safety of cannabis use.

Most marijuana manufacturers are currently embarking on the arduous quest to obtain FDA approval. Another challenge for marijuana marketers are the laws pertaining to marijuana production and distribution which limit competitive pricing on cannabis goods.

To create effective campaigns to negate the stereotypes of marijuana use, marketing agencies are utilizing stronger branding strategies for individual farmers and dispensaries.

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Cannabis Branding

Sophisticated branding can make the general public more aware of the pros of cannabis use. Marijuana can be used to treat any number of medical conditions, including chronic pain, appetite loss from chemotherapy, and cerebral palsy symptoms. Marijuana might even be the answer to the nation's opioid epidemic, as cannabis replacement therapy is being adopted to displace existing opiate addictions in rehabilitation centers.

One major question that arises when a company plans to market cannabis products is how to spearhead promotions without using icons, e.g. the marijuana leaf, which might hold a negative connotation. On the other hand, avoiding the display of these recognizable marijuana symbols might lead to mistargeted marketing, and can even be viewed as irresponsible false advertising. It is necessary to straddle the line while creating new marijuana marketing campaigns.

Here are some ways to properly market marijuana dispensaries and farms without tarnishing the growing reputation of cannabis business:

1. Follow the law

First and foremost, cannabis dispensaries should abide by the regulations governing marijuana retail objectives, especially when applying taxes and enforcing a strong ID policy. Cannabis laws naturally differ across countries, but asking for identification should always be a priority before advocating for sales.

2. Display products discreetly

Cannabis products should be placed behind closed doors. This way, individuals who come into a shop can feel more at ease under the illusion of shopping in a "boutique" versus a transaction that feels more like an illicit drug deal. Again, the main goal is to showcase marijuana in a way that replaces the stereotype of addiction with responsible use.

3. Maintain online presence through a website

Most companies benefit from offering promotions on a "manicured" website, which serves a dual purpose in building a strong positive brand presence. The appearance of your cannabis website should be clean and peaceful, while steering away from traditional tie-dye psychedelic imagery.

4. Find the right website design

As mentioned above, using appropriate design and color plays a significant role in public perception of a cannabis product or company. You can use colors other than green, depending on what your branding represents.

5. Implement sound SEO strategies

Cannabis SEO is just as important as the design of your website because your SEO efforts will determine your company's visibility on Google and Bing search results.

The content provided on your website should be educational in nature and honestly articulate the potential side effects, as well as the benefits of marijuana use.

A reliable marketing agency can elevate your website and help you learn new ways to educate online users. Social media is another easy-to-use tool in relaying the right message around cannabis use.

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Need Assistance with Dispensary SEO Strategies?

The cannabis industry is growing on a global scale, but farms and retailers are still struggling with properly marketing their products.

If you need help in coming up with a successful SEO plan, look for a marijuana marketing agency that offers professional cannabis branding and marketing services. An experienced firm will fully understand how to market the benefits of purchasing cannabis, in addition to developing techniques that reimagine the image of a pot smoker.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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