Branding Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana

Branding Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana

VENICE BEACH, USA - JUNE 4, 2014: A display on Venice Beach boardwalk showing advertising for Venice Beach Physicians with a big cannabis leaf in the middle. A group of people is walking by.

As more states are voting to legalize recreational marijuana, growers embarking on new businesses are looking into how to brand their products. Some are confused on where to being. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the legalized states and are thinking of opening a dispensary yourself, we have some branding tips to get you started.

 

The Medical Side of Branding

For those that treat medical marijuana as part of their overall wellness, the branding and advertising of such strains are just as important as those who are using recreationally. Medical marijuana patients are looking for labeled, specific information. What symptoms does this strain help treat? What are the side effects? For many, this is as clinical as picking up any other prescription, so why not treat it as such.

Advertising and branding should focus more on the results and medicinal aspects of the strain. By law, medical dispensaries have a strict code regarding language. Staying away from terms like ‘bong’ and ‘pot’ help to destigmatize the drug, as well as make well-deserving patients feel less intimidated.

 

The Recreational Side of Branding

While the image of recreational marijuana is beginning to turn favorable, the imagery of marijuana can sometimes give way to the old stoner stereotype. The question is, in today’s world of advertising, how do you make a marijuana ad as appealing and modern as a liquor ad?

Think about what your consumer base might look like. For some, this will be their first experience with marijuana. Without the overhead of the medical community, language and imagery can be more lax and whimsical, but you should still focus on informing the consumer on how’s and why’s of your particular strains. Turn your knowledge and expertise into a learning experience. Customers new to marijuana, and even those with some experience will appreciate your forward thinking approach, turning new customers into returning customers.

 

Watch The Laws Carefully

The first thing to think about are your local laws. For example, the state of Colorado has banned all edibles resembling animals, or fun shapes. While those types of edibles may be less intimidating for new consumers, your business is not worth the risk. Consult local businesses and trusted local law enforcement for a review of the do’s and don’t of your area. As always, document everything!

 

Are you a legal supplier, medical or recreational? What have you found most helpful when it comes to marketing your product. We’d love to hear from you!

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