January 19 2021,


(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

For years, progressive cannabis activists have called for “equity.” They mean that the communities of color who have suffered most from the war on drugs and mass incarceration should profit from the industry’s rise. It’s an admirable idea that has proven very difficult to implement.   

I spoke to Eaze executive Elizabeth Ashford, 4thMVMT CEO Karim Webb and former Massachusetts regulator Shaleen Title about what's not working, and how to fix it.

  • Our conversations took place as industry consolidation makes it more difficult for smaller equity-designated businesses to compete.

Here's what they said.



In this business, marketing is everything.

With hundreds of companies selling relatively undifferentiated products, the race to dominate the industry can be understood largely in terms of who develops the deepest brand loyalty and exploits it most effectively.

  • For operators, this means everything from how they package product and sync their brand with customers' values, to tracking buyer sentiment before, during and after purchases.

This week the Cannabis Marketing Association hosted a series of TED-style talks on the future of branding the plant. Here are a few key insights:

  • Curaleaf CMO Jason White, whose credits include Beats by Dre and Nike, laid out  how the big MSO sees the world.
  • Michael Brooks, a marketing strategist with Blue Dream Social, discussed why cannabis brands need to pay attention to Facebook and Google, despite "animosity" for big tech.
  • Changemaker Creative packaging designer Lilli Keinaenen focused on the brand-value of sustainability, or, as she put it, how “green attracts green.”

There's lots more...



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IN THE NEWS — 1/20/21

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