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Is branded Marijuana the new savior of a poor economy?

Posted by Dale Berkebile on Tue, Oct 26, 2010

branded legalized marijuana - image

For all you non-Californian's out there, you may not know that California is trying to pass a bill to legalize marijuana. So it is interesting to hear both sides of the story and you might be surprised who is supporting this bill and who is against the legalization.

If you are not familiar with this bill, check out The New Leaf website.

Proposition 19 - The New Leaf from ISHOTHIM on Vimeo.

This site has some great info graphics and really shows the goals of California to use the legalization of marijuana. You have many cops and moms that are for the legalization since the burden on CA is huge for small marijuana arrests. They think this would cut out the problems with Mexican smugglers and small local gangs since marijuana is a large profit center for these organizations.

Pot smokers on the other hand tend to be leery of a government run marijuana machine, especially since the new laws would put some strong rules in place that would limit the expert growers and growing techniques.

Listen to the story by NPR on Legalized Pot's Unlikely Supporters: Moms and Cops.

On top of all this new discussion it takes us back to conversations we have had over the years on this topic. Honestly, I personally think that the legalization of marijuana would be a good thing for the US. It would take the crime problems with weed off the table. It would also allow the states and government to tax this product to help raise money for schools, libraries, roads etc. Pot is not really a problem drug like cocaine, meth and some other harder drugs. No one has ever overdosed on pot and I would bet it is much safer than alcohol in the grand scheme of things.

Then we move onto the business side of legalization. This would open new employment opportunities and although I personally think the recession or down economy is partly in our heads due to the media, this would be a great spur of growth for those that do feel the effects of the recession.

I have heard it said that current pot growers are against the legalization since it will lower the price of their product because it will be easy to get anywhere. To me this is the lazy business man mentality. As with any product or service you are either selling a commodity or you sell a value add proposition and become an industry leader. Figure out what sets you apart, grow the best strain possible giving you something unique and then market it aggressively.

Then we move into branding these new products. Newsweek just ran a story on what branding of marijuana will look like - How ad agencies would brand and package legalized marijuana products.

This is an interesting article with some ideas from two top agencies. Some of the work is ok, but these agencies may be a little out of touch or trying to play it safe. These campaigns however may bring in new prospects, you know the people who wanted to smoke, but didn't want to get busted doing something illegal. My question is where is the branding for the counterculture? Will marijuana still be tied with the counterculture? Or will the counterculture move on, since pot will now be mainstream?

I for one love the thought of landing the first marijuana seller. You know developing creative product names, logos, packaging, collateral, websites, social media campaigns. This is a client that would allow maximum creativity and be highly open to trying new ideas. As of today there are only 7 days left to see how the vote goes for California. Will other states jump on board?

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Tags: Brand Development, Branding, Breaking all the Rules

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