As the initiative for the widespread legalization of marijuana gains more and more traction, many US-based businesses are starting to embrace the medical use of marijuana as well as acknowledging the unofficial pothead holiday “420.” Just last Saturday, the rideshare service Lyft announced that it would be offering a $4.20 credit to all single ride users in Colorado and other select cities in the Us and Canada. After almost 50 years and multiple legislative wins to legalize marijuana, many businesses and large corporations are using the legendary weed day to promote their various products and services to consumers. Lyft announcing their 420 initiative is a very strategic move by the company due to the fact that Colorado is one of the few US states where recreational marijuana use is legal. Popular US-based burger chain Carls Jr. is marketing a CBD infused burger option at one of their Colorado restaurant chains. These are really big steps for businesses like Lyft and Carls Jr. because it creates a conversation around marijuana legalization and how decriminalization efforts should proceed.
There have been other companies in past years who have also used 4/20 in their marketing campaigns including Totino’s Pizza in 2018. The frozen pizza company rolled out an ad that featured a microwave oven with the phrase “To be blunt, pizza rolls are better when baked.” This refers to the term “baked” that many marijuana users use to describe them being intoxicated. For years, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors have alluded to cannabis use. This 4/20, the company is giving away free orders
of a type of ice cream called “Half Baked.” Efforts like these are seeming to aid in the recent efforts towards total marijuana legalization across all 50 US states.
420: Then And Now
For the last 48 years, April 20th of every year has been an unofficial holiday for many marijuana users who use the day to celebrate their love for the plant. The term 420 was coined by 5 California teens (“the Waldos”) back in 1971 who, after meeting up every day at 4:20pm to search for a rumored abandoned marijuana plant, starting using the term to discuss smoking pot without their parents or teachers knowing. What was once a day just for stoners to unapologetically overindulge in the beloved plant, mainstream US businesses now see as the perfect opportunity to cash in off of the new multibillion-dollar cannabis industry. “I think brands that associate themselves with cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they’re just considered to be cooler by association,” Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University told Pennlive.com. “As pot becomes more legal, more discussed, more interesting to people, more widely used, then 420 becomes more mainstream as well.”
How 420 Will Impact Marketing In The Future
With more large companies starting to embrace the use of marijuana images and slang in their marketing efforts, you can expect to see an increase in marijuana-related marketing material across the world. Now that companies are beginning to relay a relatable message to consumers, many people are able to establish brand loyalty to products they may have never purchased before. In essence, corporations that use marijuana in their marketing material present an image that seems to be more in touch with what’s going on in today’s society.
We’ve seen examples like this before and what follows is usually a surge in revenue and overall sales. Depending on the results of these latest 4/20 related marketing initiatives, we can expect to see marketing as a whole move towards more of a realized method.
Cannabis Has Taken Over
The progressive normalization of marijuana use has skyrocketed since 2012 after Colorado and Washington became the first US states to legalize its recreational use. California, Oregon, and Michigan eventually followed suit. Medical marijuana is now legal in two-thirds of the US, with more middle-of-the-road states like Utah and Oklahoma recently jumping on board.
Last year, U.S. retail sales of cannabis-infused products spiked to a whopping $10.5, which is a 3X increase from 2017, according to data from cannabis investment and market research firm Arcview Group. According to BusinessNewsDaily.com, cannabis pending is projected to increase to $23 billion by 2022. Investment activity skyrocketed last year, increasing to $13.8 billion in total value from an already impressive $3.6 billion the year before. These impressive numbers don’t even include retail sales of the popular hemp-derived CBD products that have recently exploded. CBD oil is used in coffee, candies, and several other foods, drinks, and dietary supplements, along with creams, soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Experts have said that CBD helps with pain, anxiety, and inflammation, though limited scientific research supports those claims.
With both the recreational and medical uses of marijuana, having created a new multibillion-dollar industry, widespread legalization efforts are becoming more based in reality than ever before. With so many US states already adopting laws to protect those who use marijuana safely, companies are beginning to take the cannabis industry very seriously as large portions of their target audiences include avid marijuana users. By catering to this new consumer base, large US companies will be able to tap into a whole new audience and increase profits in the process.
How YOU can cash in on the multibillion-dollar Cannabis industry
The two types of cannabis businesses that are the most familiar are the cultivators and the sellers. Cultivators grow marijuana and dispensaries sell it. But there are far more ancillary cannabis businesses that can be just as lucrative. Extractors, manufacturers, and ancillary-services providers are all businesses that are just as profitable as growing and selling. There are product testing laboratories, manufacturers that add value by creating products like concentrates and edibles, industry-specific data platforms, and several other professionals from attorneys to marketers. Read on for quick tips on how you can cash in on what is soon to be one of the most profitable businesses in the world.
When deciding on what kind of cannabis business you are going to start, think about what you are already good at and passionate about and consider ways to start a cannabis-specific business providing that service. For example, if you are good with numbers, consider being an accountant for larger cannabis businesses. If you are good at marketing, consider a career promoting these businesses to the masses. You will also need to consider whether you want to be a plant-touching or ancillary business:
Plant-touching businesses grow and cultivate, distribute, process or selling marijuana products. One thing to keep in mind is that plant-touching businesses face the most strict industry regulations and many have to work through complicated licensing processes before even getting started. Plant touching businesses include:
Breeders: Focus on developing high-quality cannabis seeds. It is important that a breeder’s seed produces the correct strain of cannabis so breeders are constantly experimenting with different plant traits.
Cultivators: Purchase seeds from the breeders and actually grow the cannabis. Due to strict product growth regulations, this part of the business is one of the hardest to break into. Regulations require that cannabis is grown indoors under a strict set of guidelines, which means cultivators have to lease or buy a large enough space and customize it according to the many rules that must be followed. In some states, cultivators must, both, operate the entire operation, including growing and selling.
Dispensaries: Are where consumers purchase cannabis products. To open a dispensary, you’ll have to complete a thorough state licensing process. To be successful in opening a dispensary, you’ll need to create a solid foundation that includes access to money, a solid infrastructure and a large network in the industry.
Extractors: Turn raw marijuana “flower” and turn it into concentrated products like highly potent oils. These substances emphasize the cannabinoids, or compounds unique to cannabis, like THC and CBD. Users consume the concentrate using a vaporizer or by cooking cannabis-infused foods and edibles. To be an extractor, you’ll need to invest in the right machinery and develop an intimate knowledge of the different extraction processes.
Manufacturers: Take cannabis flowers and concentrates and turn them into various products like edibles, foods, lotions, soaps, medicinal products and more.
All of the other companies that are crucial to support the growth, processing, and sale of cannabis products are called ‘ancillary businesses’. These businesses include a wide range of companies in the B2B space like ag-tech companies, payment processors, point-of-sale systems, attorneys, digital marketers, accountants and more. These are, not surprisingly, the same types of companies that typically support any other types of businesses. These types of businesses will allow you to use your existing background and experience to thrive in this rapidly expanding industry. These businesses also deal with strict regulations, but they aren’t as strict as things like the licensing application processes.
Not An Entrepreneur? There Are Tons of Jobs In The Cannabis Industry
If owning and running a business is not your forte, there are plenty of jobs within the cannabis industry to get in to. You can go high or low with it, as there are jobs like working the register at a dispensary for $12 an hour, or six-figure cannabis industry-focused law and accounting careers. The growing demand for labor the industry is expected to continue rising through 2020. A report from industry analyst New Frontier Data projects the cannabis industry will create 250,000 jobs by 2020.
Check out job sites like 420Careers.com and WeedHire.com for open positions in the cannabis business.
On that note, Happy 420!