Cannabis marketing in Canada is going to look a lot different than the stereotypical stoner-reggae-cheech-and-chong look many have come to associate it with. The days of psychedelic pot leafs and red-eyed hippies are over.
Companies are turning to a more sophisticated look for their branding. Clean, modern designs are dominating the market. High-end and classy looking packaging and advertising is becoming the norm. More and more the industry is distancing itself from the older ways of promoting cannabis as the demographic of users is widening.
Even Snoop Dog is shedding his traditional stoner image on his website Leafsbysnoop.com. Instead of pictures of him burning down blunts or holding big buds the promotional material oozes class and sophistication. It’s clean and simple with strains being displayed only by their names. This shift from one of the most famous stoners in the world signifies the depth of which cannabis culture is changing.
He’s not the only one who’s trending towards a more professional look. Many Canadian dispensaries are opting to shed the more overt cannabis advertising for subdued branding. This is mostly due to companies wanting to display that they’re taking what they do very seriously. That they’re trusted professionals, not burnout hustlers.
Some of this may also be due to the regulations contained in bill C-45 which prohibits advertisement using cartoon characters, marketing towards youth, or anything that promotes cannabis lifestyle as one of “glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring”. Though in some ways these regulations may be hard to work around, they’re pushing the industry towards a more trustworthy image.
Ken Wong, a marketing professor at Queen’s University, puts it simply: “You won’t see all the buzzy puns and pot jokes that we’re used to”. And this may be a good thing. Cannabis should be taken seriously as a medicine and legitimate industry. More professional-looking branding can only help to create the image it deserves.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.