How To Market Marijuana

How To Market Marijuana

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Will it be all grunge potheads in ads or high end luxurious marketing?

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On Tuesday, the family of deceased musician and celebrated marijuana user Bob Marley announced what it claimed will be the first global cannabis brand, Marley Natural.

Marijuana is a growth industry — and increasingly, a legal one. When the smoke cleared after the November 2014 election in the United States, two new states, Alaska and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia had legalised the recreational sale of marijuana. They joined Washington and Colorado, which legalised pot in the 2012 election, as well as two dozen states that have decriminalised possession to accomplish something that hadn’t been done in 81 years — make an illegal drug legal.

Of course, the question remains: How will state residents be able to buy, sell, and use something that is still against federal law? But in the absence of enforcement action by the United States government, perhaps the better question is, what will the inevitable national market in marijuana shake out? Will it consist of grungy underground head shops? Designer weed boutiques? Or will “Big Marijuana” companies — perhaps the existing “big tobacco” powerhouses — muscle their way in and perpetrate “The Bud Light-ification of Bud,” as the New York Times suggested?

Those pursuing answers need look no further than the Mile High City and its surrounding environs, where the first great experiment in selling smoke is already under way. Marijuana for recreational use officially went on sale in Denver and across Colorado in January 2014.

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