postcard that was mailed to voters

Voting YES for Medical Marijuana Zoning

A Canna Communication Case Study

Early last summer we were contacted by a cannabis entrepreneur that was facing opposition to a medical marijuana grow business in Egelston Township, Michigan. He realized he needed professional communication assistance with this issue and we jumped right in.

Background:
The elected officials in Egelston Township opted-in for medical marijuana businesses in late 2017. Soon after opting in, the entrepreneur/grower who had already purchased property in the township started construction on buildings for greenhouses and a provisioning center. In the spring of 2018, a resident of the municipality who is also a developer that owns a subdivision adjacent to the two greenhouses under construction began circulating a petition to upend medical marijuana zoning in the community. The petitions were validated by the township clerk, and the proposal would appear on the mid-term ballot. If the vote didn’t go the grower’s way, he would lose the opportunity to have any cannabis business in the township.

We were asked to create a campaign to persuade voters to keep medical marijuana zoning in the township.

We provided the client with a full political campaign proposal and he chose to rely on web, social media, direct mail, and yard signs. Our messaging focused on providing accurate information and guiding conversations while helping people understand two issues: zoning and medical marijuana.

Strategy:
After a discovery meeting with the client, his horticulturist, attorney and a business colleague we wrote a set of key messages that went to the heart of the zoning issue.

The messages focused on:

  • The township has done its due diligence in creating medical marijuana zoning and the work should be respected.
  • The township work was done with multiple opportunities for public input and within the open meetings act.
  • Ensuring people knew this was a medical marijuana business issue. Adding to the complexity was that Michigan voters were going to vote on recreational marijuana, too. This was a separate issue, but also on the ballot. This was a point of confusion for people.
  • Voting yes for medical marijuana zoning.

We created a theme for the campaign and began work on developing a website and a Facebook page. We presented Egelston Grows Green as the theme because it spoke to the idea of growth in the township, not only cannabis itself but jobs and tax revenue. We wanted to include the township name in the theme to create a sense of place, identity and pride.

The key messages were used to create website content, to launch the Facebook page and to provide content throughout the summer. As it came closer to election time, we promoted the vote and ended each post with a Vote YES for medical marijuana zoning message.

photo of the egelston grows green facebook page
Facebook cover photograph

Significant challenges and opportunities for execution:
One of the most significant challenges we faced was the convoluted language that was in the petition and on the ballot. We knew that the best thing we could do was to make it simple for voters to understand and accurate to the ballot. We chose: vote yes for medical marijuana zoning.

In May of 2018, Facebook put restrictions on two essential parts of our campaign: political advertising and marijuana pages. The platform required anyone wanting to conduct political advertising to supply a physical mailing address and a copy of a photo ID like a driver’s license. We did this but were thwarted by another new policy that made marijuana pages unsearchable. Cannabis pages and groups that had been easy to find for years had disappeared from the search tool, and Facebook was denying requests to boost to create ads for all marijuana businesses regardless of what they did, i.e., law firms and accountants were being denied promotional space. This made launching the site and promoting content a challenge, especially for a new page. We relied on a network of advocates to share our daily posts and a popular community-centric Facebook page, Wolf Lake World News. We posted our information on that site and engaged in multiple conversations there, too.

We created the website egelstongrowsgreen.com for key messages and details about the growing operation, that people had an interest in. They wanted to know how this business could potentially affect them: everything from the smell, to security, to job creation, to compliance, water use and plant waste. We posted two informational videos to the page as well. All the time we are reinforcing the message about voting yes for medical marijuana.

yard sign about voting yes for medical marijuanaOne month before the election we helped the client with a succinct, clear message for yard signs and designed a postcard for voters. These collateral materials reinforced the singular importance of voting yes for medical marijuana zoning. The postcards were mailed to the 7500 voters in the township. The client also held a yard sign pick-up event with principals on-site to answer questions. 

postcard that was mailed to voters to encourage them to vote yes for medical marijuana
front of the postcard

In the days before the election, one of the business partners secured a video interview with a hyperlocal indie news channel, and we were able to share that interview and clear up some of the misconceptions that the opposition was promoting.

Outcome:
Great news! The voters of Egelston Township approved the zoning ordinance 1921 to 1751 votes.

a green cannabis plant

Let’s Think About Marijuana as Medicine

About once a week or so we’ll have a conversation with a person who has tried cannabis and says something like this: I tried it once and I got so high, it was awful. Or I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. We understand this, but we implore you to consider some ideas and marijuana as medicine.

Think about cold medicines. Over the years you’ve learned what works best for you, with trial and error and by testing liquids, sprays, pills and capsules. You know what makes you feel right and relieves your symptoms. If you take prescription medicine, you might have had a similar experience trying to find something that works perfectly. It’s not an uncommon experience to try a few things before you achieve the best results.

Think about marijuana more traditionally.

Here are a few things to consider when trying marijuana as medicine for the first time or trying it again after a period of time.

Read up on dosage.
This is especially important with edibles. In Michigan, marijuana medicine products are created and packaged in different dosages. For instance, a package of gummies might have a total THC measure of 100mg and each medical marijuana ediblespiece is 10 mg, which is easy to understand. A trail bar might have 80 mg, which you need to cut into right size pieces. With something crumbly, this can be a challenge. Err on the side of caution and try a smaller portion as opposed to larger. If you’ve never consumed edibles, test a piece that is 5 mg or even less. Do not eat any more until 90 minutes have passed since your first bite.photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to work

Wait and see.
photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to workWith any kind of medicine you take, cannabis or traditional it’s important to give the compounds time to take effect. With inhaled marijuana, you’ll feel the effect within a few minutes and it’ll increase as time goes on, then arc and fade away. With edible cannabis, it can take up to an hour for you to feel the effect and if you’ve ingested too much, you’ll know it and feel it longer than if you’d consumed a concentrate or flower.

Study the strains.
When purchasing marijuana as medicine, study the strain and the properties it claims to have. One of the most popular resources for this information is Leafly where you can explore strains that are most likely to help with your condition, be it depression, pain, stomach pain or anxiety. This piece in Medical NewsToday, written by a pharmacist is helpful, too.
Indica strains are more calming and have a heavier or relaxing feel. They’re commonly used for pain.image of cannabis flowers and three joints for when marijuana is medicine
Sativa strains are more uplifting and good for people dealing people dealing with low moods or needing an energy boost.
Hybrids have some properties of both and are worth exploring.

While it isn’t always easy to discuss marijuana as medicine with your health care provider, it is advisable to do so. Other strain advice can be found by talking with your cannabis caregiver, other patients and with people at the provisioning center. Remember, strain advice isn’t medical advice.

Start small.
Whether you’re consuming with a vape pen, smoking flower or eating a brownie, it’s incredibly important to start small and don’t use alcohol when you’re testing. With a vape pen, one puff will do and don’t pull too hard! Wait a few minutes to see how you feel, then wait for a few more. If you’re sitting, walk around and see how you feel. Repeat if needed, considering your symptoms and how you are feeling.

Know your body.
With any remedy, plant-based or not, be aware that the desired results are not instant. It takes time for the body to absorb and process medicine, the effect could be immediate, or it might take days and several doses. The body’s endocannabinoid system is where cannabis finds receptors that help improve specific conditions and balances the body. The endocannabinoid system is located throughout the body and regulates many vital organs and some areas like the neurological centers are susceptible to cannabis and react more quickly.

Keep experimenting.
Remember the cold pills we talked about at the start and how the same thing doesn’t work for everyone? Finding the dose, delivery system and strain of cannabis that works for you takes research. You’ll want to talk with other patients/consumers and possibly with a cannabis physician, nurse or educator.

CBD and THC are partners.
There’s a lot of talk about CBD (cannabidiol) and there are many CBD products with barely detectable amounts of THC, the plant works best on illnesses or issues where there are complimentary balances of both chemicals. It doesn’t take a lot of THC to be effective, but some will act with the CBD to bring better results. Keep in mind, too, the more you ingest small amounts of THC, the more your body and mind will become accustomed to it and the heady feeling of being high will become less noticeable.

A Michigan Medical Marijuana card

How to Secure Your Michigan Medical Marijuana Card

So you have a health condition that’s bothering you and you’ve read about medical marijuana as a solution. It seems like something you want to try, but getting started isn’t obvious. With 11 new conditions in Michigan that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card, there’s no better time to give it a try.

If you want a Michigan Medical Marijuana card, here are eight things you need to do or keep in mind.

  1.     Review the list of conditions. You’ll need a diagnosis that meets the criteria that Michigan has approved. While some are very specific, pain is more general and it’s the most common ailment on the application form according to the State of Michigan.allowable conditions in Michigan for a medical marijuana card
  2.     Download and print the paperwork from LARA, the state licensing board.
  3.     Make an appointment with your physician. One of two things will happen next. You’ll go to your doctor and s/he will sign the paperwork and you’ll write the check for the filing fee ($60) and you’ll wait about three weeks and your card will come in the mail if you’re approved. A more common scenario is you’re reluctant to tell your physician you want to try medical marijuana or if you do ask, s/he refuses to sign the paperwork. There are other options, including physicians that are cannabis advocates who work in clinics that do this work for the good of the cannabis community. You’ll meet with her/him for a short examination and they’ll confirm your diagnosis and sign the paperwork for you. If you have access to any extras—xray results, physician notes, physical therapy notes bring those along. You need to show that you have the condition you claim to have. Some clinics will send it in for you, too, but we recommend you do this yourself so you know when it was mailed. Finding a clinic is as easy as web searching for Michigan Medical Marijuana card +your location.
  4.     You’ll be asked on the form about a caregiver. This is an individual who grows cannabis for patients. If you don’t have one, don’t check the box. Check the box that says I will possess the plants. That doesn’t mean you have to start growing, but you could if you wanted to. With your card that says NO CAREGIVER on the back, you’ll need A Michigan Medical Marijuana cardto visit a provisioning center for your meds. You can find one close to you on Leafly or Weedmaps. We have a blog post about how to visit a provisioning center.
  5.     Your card is good mostly in Michigan. There are a few states that allow reciprocity, but not many. The recreational states are, of course, open to anyone. But if you’re in Florida, you can’t use your Michigan card there. In Michigan though, medical cards from other states are allowed in some, but not all provisioning centers. Call ahead to make sure.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as a holder of a new medical marijuana card.

 

  1.     If you’re traveling, keep in mind it’s a felony to bring cannabis across state lines. So, you have to leave your medication behind. The safest solution is to enjoy some of America’s recreational legal states map of colorado where they have both recreational and medical marijuana(Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) until the whole country ends prohibition You can also head to Canada for a nice vacation, the whole country will be recreational legal starting on October 17, 2018. This also applies to people flying. While the TSA isn’t looking for cannabis, it is still illegal to bring it across state lines.
  2.     If you’re traveling around Michigan, keep your cannabis is the trunk of your car. Better yet, put it in a locked box in your trunk. Never leave it out in plain sight on the seat next to you. 
  3.     You can’t consume (smoke) your medication in a public place, in your car or in a hotel/motel. That’s limiting for sure. Edibles are super handy for travel or find friends who don’t mind if you consume.
marijuana as medicine on s scale at a provisioning center

Look Like a Pro at the Marijuana Provisioning Center

You did it! You took the bold step and got your Michigan Medical Marijuana card. Congratulations. Now, what do you do? Most physicians don’t talk about that; some places will guide you, but for the most part, you are on your own to figure it out. We’re here to help.

Here are some tips to help build your confidence at the medical marijuana provisioning center.

  1. First off, you don’t have to go to a provisioning center, you can choose to work with an individual caregiver. Finding a photograph of marijuana flowers grown by a caregiver in Michigancaregiver isn’t as easy as walking into a provisioning center though. In all likelihood, you’ll need to know someone who grows cannabis and is accepting patients. If you don’t know someone, you’ll need to ask around. In Michigan, caregivers are limited to 5 patients so it can be challenging to find someone who is accepting patients. You’ll want to see their plants, as about their growing processes and talk with them about the strains you can buy from them. You’ll want a caregiver who grows and processes what you need. If you go the provisioning center route, below are some tips so you can look like you’ve been doing it for years.
  2. Be prepared. You’ll need your card, photo ID and cash. Expect security at the door of most places, sometimes it’s a camera system, others have a guard and others have a thick plexiglass window like the cable TV office. It can be intimidating, but your security is as important as the product they’re protecting. In most cases, you’ll be buzzed in and at that point, you get your ID and card back. The waiting areas range from comfy-cozy to spartan. Most have a TV and a few magazines, at the least. Many marijuana provisioning centers have ATMs, too.
  3. Do your research before you go. Both Leafly or WeedMaps are great resources for researching strains and getting information. Ask your friends about strains and products that they love. It’s good to have an idea of what you want, or think you want when you go into a provisioning center. You don’t want to be sold something that doesn’t help your condition. Read a few of the reviews and see if anything people are saying resonates with you.
  4. Not all stores are alike and you need to find a place you’re comfortable. Some carry a wide variety of products, others are very industrial, some just carry flower (the term for dried marijuana) offer chalkboard in a marijuana provisioning centerfew choices in edibles or tinctures or CBD products. You need to find a place that fits your needs, personality and buying style. Most marijuana provisioning centers post menus on Leafly or Weedmaps and from that, you can determine what you want to try. 
  5. Talk with the budtender at your counter. They should be able to talk with you about the health condition you are treating, the strains they have available and your preference for consumption. Feel free to ask questions and if they don’t know, ask if someone else knows. If they seem uneducated or a bad fit for you, feel free to leave. You aren’t obliged to buy anything.
  6. Expect your purchasing experience to be semi-private. After you clear security or the check-in area, you SHOULD be at a one on one space with your budtender, it’s likely there will be two or three counters in one open room and you should have one counter and one budtender to yourself. The counters all have the same products, so don’t be worried that you’re not getting something that someone else is. If you see something behind the counter that catches your eye, ask to see it. All of the products are going to be out of reach.
  7. You can ask to smell the cannabis flower which is usually in sealed glass containers. Ask the budtender if it’s ok, they’ll open the jar and let you smell it. Just don’t touch, it’s medicine and shouldn’t be contaminated with hand germs!three jars full of cannabis flower at a marijuana provisioning center
  8. You can buy just a tiny bit of flower if you want to try it out. Ask for a gram, that’s enough for a few joints (depending on how you roll) and it will give you an idea of what you’re getting and the effect. Cannabis is priced starting in grams and up to an ounce and the Budtender can tell you the prices, or it’ll be posted. Look for and ask about specials and other items that are available.
  9. Put your purchases in the trunk of your car after you leave the provisioning center. If you have a small lockbox, bring it for transporting. It’s a good practice.
  10. When you’re done, review your experience and tell others how it worked for you. It’s one way to give back to the cannabis community and to help the marijuana provisioning center improve their customer service and educate others.
pretty cannabis packaging on some chocolate

Be Amazing Inside and Out: Why Cannabis Packaging Matters

There’s nothing more appealing to a consumer than good packaging and fair pricing. Either by accident or intention, cannabis packaging in Michigan tends to fall short of that standard. We’ve seen bad knockoffs of popular candy brands, in both name and design and kid-friendly graphics. If the cannabis industry wants to be taken seriously, we need to present ourselves in a mature manner and product packaging and branding should reflect that.

When Michigan’s licensing entity LARA sent out guidelines recently about cannabis packaging, we were pleased to see that they are serious about making packaging unappealing to children.

Their cannabis packaging rules state:

No edible marihuana product can be in a shape, color, package, or labeled in a manner that it would appeal to minors aged 17 years or younger.

just say no to bad cannabis packaging like this lollipop
An orange lollipop with 35mg of THC.
an orange lollipop without childproof cannabis packaging
Easy to open by a kid or an adult.

No edible marihuana product can be associated with or have cartoons, caricatures, toys, colors, designs, shapes, labels, or package that would appeal to minors.

No edible marihuana product can be easily confused with commercially sold candy. The use of the word candy or candies on the packaging or labeling is prohibited.

An edible marihuana product must be in child-resistant packages or containers.

In Michigan cannabis is still medicine and is sold to adults (or to an adult for a card-holding minor). It needs packaging that acknowledges this but also remains appealing. Think about the over-the-counter drugs you might buy or herbal supplements. Those products have packaging that is professional, serious and not appealing to kids.

some child proof cannabis packagingCannabis edibles are an upscale product, they’re not inexpensive to purchase and the packaging should reflect the quality of the product contained inside. That’s not to say it has to be expensive or over-packaged, but it does need to be thoughtful in its presentation. People make decisions in a provisioning center based on several factors including price, a word of mouth recommendation, advice from the budtender behind the counter and the appearance of a package.

Studies show that the time slot in which a shelved product can capture the attention of a consumer is very short, one to two seconds. This is why it’s so important for cannabis packaging to be well-designed. You just don’t have that long to get someone’s attention.

good cannabis packaging from Northern LightsToday, brands across every sector are facing an increasingly competitive landscape and an increasingly sophisticated consumer. People tend to disregard mass brand communications in favor of more personalized messaging mediums. Packaging has the power to connect with the consumer to communicate a brand’s message on a physical and individual level.

How many times have you purchased a bottle of wine solely on your attraction to the label? Cannabis products should be thought of similarly. 

Smart packaging design is effective because, more than any other medium, it stays true to the product. It’s the main interface between a brand and consumer. Packaging conveys a host of messages that appeal to different consumers—both young and older, through elements of design such as naming, color, typography, graphics, structure and texture. We think Willie’s Reserve does this right.

cannabis packaging gone wrong, it's too attractive to kidsAn experienced designer can look at the product and create packaging that is sophisticated, appealing and true to the product inside. There’s really no reason that cartoons, colors and childish fonts need to be used in cannabis products. 

Packaging is part of a cannabis brand and being consistent is important.

Branding is one of the most important aspects of your cannabis business—whether you’re large, small, retail or business to business. Your brand is not just a logo, website, corporate identity or marketing collateral. It is your company’s personality. It’s your confidence, passion, action, voice, and set of values that make your company unique. Your brand needs to resonate with audiences in an emotive way. 

Quality cannabis packaging is a necessity.

Packaging design for the cannabis industry needs to be more than simply slapping a pot leaf or joint on a box. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to catch the consumer’s eye as the cannabis marketplace continues to evolve and competition grows.

If you need ideas or assistance with packaging design, Canna Communication can help. We understand the new Michigan rules and we know the art of packaging design.

a photo of women who might work in a cannabis business

Cannabis Businesses: The Future is Female

Last week I attended the MJBizConNEXT conference in New Orleans for cannabis entrepreneurs and professionals. This was my first marijuana
conference and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The structure was the same as other conferences I’ve been to, keynote speakers and specialized sessions, and of course networking. But what made this one different was, I was surrounded by other professionals who are in my industry—cannabis. It gave me much needed context and perspective on what’s going on in North America, other than my microcosm of West Michigan.

One overwhelming topic from the conference was the importance of women in cannabis businesses.

Irie Selkirk

Irie Selkirk, with Emblem Cannabis in Ontario, gave a great presentation about engaging not only female consumers, but female leaders. She thinks it’s crucial that we establish an industry with strong female leaders, and I couldn’t agree more.

According to a 2015 survey from Marijuana Business Daily, women held 36 percent of leadership positions in the cannabis industry. MJBiz conducted an updated survey on the topic in August 2017, and the number of women in leadership roles had dropped to 27 percent of executive roles. Women need to continue to not only represent in this industry, but to lead this industry. And if we don’t want to see continued drops in women leadership we have ensure that women have power and voice in this industry.

Ms. Selkirk reflected on her first cannabis conference and how she and other women there felt left out. They felt more comfortable sitting outside the building to network, than the expo floor. This brought up a great discussion about how women feel outnumbered on the expo floor, and how men (the vast majority of the vendors are men, with a few booth babes) interact with them. Several of the women in the session felt intimidated by the overwhelming presence of men on the expo floor and didn’t interact as much as they normally would. Ms. Selkirk encouraged women to speak up and take control of what you want to accomplish in cannabis. If you can’t find what you want, create it. Can’t find other women in cannabis to network with? Create your own network. Want a more balanced expo floor? Get some booth space. Make your voice heard and lobby for change.

Kevin O’Leary on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” (Bob D’Amico)

The keynote speaker was Kevin O’Leary from the hit TV show Shark Tank. Mr. O’Leary, or Mr. Wonderful, as he’s fond of calling himself, said he prefers to invest in women-led businesses because he gets better returns. O’Leary found that about 95 percent of the women-led companies meet their financial targets, compared with just 65 percent for businesses with male leaders.

He has a couple of theories about why female-led businesses outperform male-led ones:

  • Women are better at time management
  • Women set more achievable goals

He also talked about how when goals are achieved, company morale goes up, which can help create a great culture, which obviously leads to less employee turnover.

In short, his largest returns have been from women-led businesses.

Women—we make up over 50 percent of the US population, yet according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, we made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.

The cannabis industry represents the future—a chance to enter a growing industry with relatively low barriers. It is an opportunity to help make medicine available to people who desperately need an alternative to opioids and other over-prescribed drugs. And we have a chance to shape the future of this industry into a more equitable and inclusive environment, where women can make their mark, and open doors of opportunity for future generations.

After all, the future is female.

reading glasses and some content for a new marijuana business that might need a cannabis investor

How to Win Over a Cannabis Investor: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know

You’ve got your cannabis startup going: the license is in process, your business plan completed, marketing plan written, site plan done, security and operations are all there. Things are looking good, except for the money part. You need a cannabis investor or two to help make it happen.

Before You’re Ready to go to The Dance, Make Sure You Know The Steps.

We talked with Eric Seifert about the relationship between investors and cannabis entrepreneurs and what startups need to know when seeking an investment partner.

eric siefert connects cannabis entrepreneur with cannabis investorsEric has been working with investors and startups outside of cannabis for a decade at the Michigan SBDC and since leaving the SBDC has been helping bridge the funding gap in the cannabis space. His company, Left Coast Capital works with investors looking for solid businesses, in cannabis and other businesses as well. Here are ten things Eric says cannabis entrepreneurs need to know before opening themselves up to an investor.

1)   If you know how to grow marijuana, but don’t know much about business, find a partner who does. “Investors look for business sense and experience.” Having a passion for cannabis goes a long way, but so does the idea that you will succeed in business. “If you need to, bring in someone to help your business, to supplement what you really don’t know or what you recognize as a weakness. Show how you can mitigate that.”  You need a solid business plan and it’s smart to give an investor several scenarios for outcomes—one that’s modest, another that shows what you believe to be reasonable growth and another that blows the roof off of all expectations of how the business will grow if things go well.

2)   One of the hardest parts for cannabis entrepreneurs is that they don’t have the kind of documentation that other businesses might have as proof of prior success. “Even a caregiver can show what they’ve done already and how they’ve tracked income and expenses. When you’re scaling up a business, you need to point to your past success, even if it is just a year or two.”

3)   Find great legal and accounting representation. “Compliance is going to be a major issue, if you successfully launch, but then are audited and shut down, that will make for a dissatisfied investor. You need to have your attorney draw up investment documents that protect you.”

4)   You’ll want to work with an accredited investor, someone who can produce a signed affidavit that they have at least $1 million in net worth, an annual income of at least $200,000. It documents that they are an SEC accredited investor.

What a Cannabis Investor Wants From You

5)   Every potential cannabis investor is looking for one thing: making more money than they might in the market. “In your business plan and pitch deck, you need to be able to show profits that are greater than the stock market.” Investors want to get their money back in about 3-4 years and they’ll want a portion of the profits beyond the investment. “They want a big return because they’re taking on so much risk.”

6)   Most cannabis investors want something beyond a return on their investment, and you should expect they would negotiate a percentage ownership of your company for the long or short term. “Investors tend to like hard assets, so the first lien on your building might be an option. If there’s a failure, the investor has something to sell to recoup their losses.”

Show the Investor Your Passion for Cannabis

7)   The entrepreneur, rather than the cannabis industry is where an investor will focus his or her attention. “Investors look for people who are in business for something bigger than making money.” They want to see a passion for the medicinal value of the plant, either personally or for a family member, so make sure you have a relatable story.

cannabis investors want to know how you'll handle money, this is an image of a lot of money8)   You must be able to talk about how you’re going to handle cash and mitigate the risk involved with it. “Investors want to know that their investment won’t be lost at gunpoint. Know what you’re doing to handle cash and security.”

9)    Create a great pitch deck and practice your presentation. “No more than 20 minutes from start to finish, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A.” Investors don’t need to hear every detail about your business—don’t drown people in details until they ask for them.” Investors who want more will ask for it. Stick to the regional view when you’re pitching—don’t worry about national picture yet. “Until cannabis is legal across the U.S. there’s not much point in spending time talking about it. You need to get the investor’s attention, high-level summary information.”

10)  Don’t underestimate your knowledge and skill in the cannabis marketplace. “You need to show passion and expertise for the industry.  It’s an 8 or 9 on the scale of importance.”

 

photo of tiny gummies made micodosing which can be used for sleep

Microdosing Marijuana Medicine for Better Results

Like any medication, marijuana is a personal thing and how much you need and use is a choice, but getting to that place might take a less is more approach. Some people feel the effect of a very small amount quickly and powerfully, while others need to imbibe greater amounts for longer periods of time for the desired effect. Some people like the feeling of being high and locked to the couch, while others prefer to keep it light and remain in total control of their senses. For those who like control and stability, microdosing marijuana medicine is an effective way to relieve pain, anxiety or other symptoms without feeling too high.

Here’s the thing with cannabis and its many strains—what is effective for one person, isn’t necessarily what works for another and a little can go a long way.

Microdosing is a fairly new trend in cannabis consumption and it’s a solid method for determining what works for you and how cannabis makes you feel. It’s a little like learning your tolerance for other substances or a medicine. You might already know how a single glass of wine, a craft beer or a whiskey drink makes you feel and you also probably know that tipping point when you’ve had too much. Cannabis is similar, in that different strains with unique potencies affect people in different ways. This tipping point is called a biphasic effect, biphasic just means having two phases. In the case of cannabis or alcohol— the phases are just enough and too much.

The biphasic effects of marijuana are similar to alcohol and just as impactful. Low doses of THC can make you feel happy and relaxed, but too much can impais your thinking and produces intense anxiety, paranoia or induces a full-blown panic attack.

Learning what your tolerance is the first step for microdosing marijuana. It takes some experimentation—which can be fun—if you think small first.

photo of tiny gummies made for microdosing marijuana
The tiny gummies (shown here with regular gummies) contain a low dose of THC. They are perfect for microdosing.

Start with a super low dose, 5 mg of THC or even lower if you are able to find a product of that potency. Edibles are one way to experiment because they can be cut up into right-size pieces, but keep in mind it’s about an hour before they take effect and the stated potencies can be inaccurate, especially if you are cutting something down to size from a larger item. If you have access to a well-stocked dispensary, low-dose cannabis can be found in tinctures, elixirs and sublingual sprays. If you smoke or vape, start with one hit and wait 10 minutes before you take another, so you can judge the effect. It could be one is enough, and you might have never stopped at one before! With microdosing marijuana you want to ingest just enough so that you feel like you’re on the verge of getting high—and aren’t quite there yet. You’ll be getting the benefits of the THC and CBD properties of cannabis—but you won’t be stoned.

a chew with 25 mg of THC would need to be divided into 1/8s for microdosing marijuana
This one inch chew contains 25 mg of THC, to microdose you’d need to cut it into 8 pieces.

Once you discover that sweet spot, you’ll want to determine how long the dose lasts and when to have a bit more to keep the symptoms away. By tracking a few things, you’ll be on your way to feeling better and maybe using less cannabis.

It’s important, also, to not drink alcohol when you’re experimenting with microdosing. You should carefully control your environment, so you can fully judge what works for you. It’s important to remember to ingest edibles on a full stomach, too.

Many people, those with chronic pain and inflammation, insomnia, mood regulation and nausea might find benefit from microdosing marijuana throughout the day. With the perfect dose of the right product, it can help improve how you move, how you feel and even how you work.

photo of newspaper articles about canna communication

Public Relations Can Help Grow Your Marijuana Business

Public relations is a powerful force for launching and growing a cannabis business. There are restrictions on advertising for marijuana in many states. Twitter, Facebook and Google are often unfriendly to marijuana businesses even in medical states, so PR is the most effective method for getting the word out about your business.

Public Relations is About Influencing and Engaging People and Building Relationships.

Part of our work as cannabis professionals is educating and informing people about the variety of products available and the health benefits of marijuana. People are hungry to learn about marijuana and the plant has a history rooted in misconception and myth. It’s our responsibility to help make sense of the information that’s out there and provide well-sourced educational content to interested audiences.

Public+Relations

Let’s talk about the public. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no general public. Audiences can be divided and dissected in a variety of ways.

Gender, geography, income, age, role and generation are common demographics markers. Anyone you come into contact with through your business is the public.

The relations part is about education, messaging and influencing. It’s about listening to what people are saying, reacting, reinforcing or reviewing messages and providing continuous accurate information that helps move your cause, effort or business forward.

Cannabis businesses and advocates will need to constantly educate and inform their audiences, whether it is about the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine or debunking the Nixon-era lies. For the near future, we will be educating people about the plant and the legitimacy of our work.

The Public Relations RACE

There’s a formula that’s the basic construct for PR activities. The acronym is RACE and it’ll help you be strategic in your public relations efforts.

  • R is for Research Why research? Because even though you know a lot, you need to validate your assumptions and learn what’s out a young woman reading at the lakethere.This is where you explore your potential audiences, your competition, the landscape of legislation and how people are reacting to what you are doing. You can read articles on a topic you want to know more about, you can ask questions of people who are potential customers; you can do a Survey Monkey or a poll on Twitter or Facebook.
  • A is for Action planning, this is where you (or a professional like Canna Communication) creates a communication plan. It will have concrete goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
  • C is for Communication, this is the fun part where you can dream up all the cool things that you’re going to do to get the word out and inform people about your product or service. It might be a launch party, a press event or outreach, creating a video, or a printed piece. It could include blog content, a Facebook Live broadcast, a webinar, a social campaign or an open house. Each of these tactics takes time and money, so you need to evaluate which provides the most bang for your buck.
  • E is for Evaluation. After all the work is done you need to take a hard look at what worked and what didn’t; see if you can determine why something was a success or a failure. By doing an evaluation, you’ll know what to do next time and have a record of why you succeeded or failed.

Working with the Media in your Marijuana Business

Public relations work is deeply connected to the news media. Media relations begins with getting to know the reporters in your own community. You can review articles on TV station, newspaper and radio websites and see who’s been covering cannabis and if they have any bias. If they’ve taken a negative stand in the past, perhaps can you help turn that around with better information and establish a relationship with the reporter.

Why the News Media Matters

Even with thousands of social media followers, to some degree, you are a newspaper and a breakfast traypreaching to the choir. The media can be very effective in increasing your exposure to a larger audience and to people who know nothing about your business. A news story will expose you to more people than you could ever acquire on your own, hundreds of thousands vs. just thousands.

Media relations is much more than sending a press release or making a pitch—it’s positioning yourself as an expert in the cannabis business and being available to the media as a trusted source and resource.

Public Relations is a No Spin Zone

PR sometimes gets a bad rap and the word spin gets used a lot. In our communication practice, there is no spin, there are no alternative facts.

To be a good media source, you have to be 100 percent honest, 100 percent of the time.

You can’t claim that cannabis cures anything, but you can provide the media with sources (people) that support your views and product. One person’s story isn’t a factual claim; it’s anecdotal evidence that can be powerful and compelling. And in cannabis, it’s these thousands of real stories that are building the credibility of our industry.

photo of public relations professional Roberta KingWant to learn more about public relations for your cannabis business and how to expand your reach? Let’s talk!
Contact Roberta F. King, APR at Canna Communication.
Her email is roberta@cannacommunication.com

Photo credits:
Reading on the dock: photo by Bethany Laird on Unsplash
Breakfast tray: Photo by Eddie Garcia on Unsplash

CBD comes in oil form and this blog is about cbd

A Little About CBD and What it Might do For You

You might have read about CBD, or heard people talk about it. When discussions about medical marijuana come up, CBD often does too. CBD is becoming more well-known especially for pain relief, seizures and anti-anxiety applications. But, since there’s a bit of confusion about what’s what, here’s the quick low down. Please note, this isn’t medical advice, consult your physician for specifics.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol (pronounced canna-bid-eye al) a naturally occurring cannabis compound that has promising medical benefits. The most popular feature of CBD for many patients is that it doesn’t make them high or feel stoned. In fact, it actually balances out psychoactivity of THC in cannabis, so if you ingest too much cannabis, you can take away the edge with CBD.

Where does CBD come from?

hemp plants, from which cbd is derivedCBD comes from two sources, both in a cannabis sativa plant. The male cannabis sativa is also known as hemp. Hemp isn’t psychoactive. You can’t smoke or ingest hemp and get high. While both marijuana and hemp contain CBD, the CBD purchased from public shops and online is from hemp. If you’re feeling wronged—hold on! There isn’t much difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD from marijuana—so if you don’t have a medical marijuana card, your hemp-made CBD should serve you well. It’s worth noting that CBD isn’t available in all states, due to the close connection to marijuana.

CBD also comes from the female marijuana plant. That’s what you’d buy from your caregiver or dispensary and it is considered medicine. The combination of THC and CBD in a marijuana flower helps people with a variety of symptoms and medical issues. While many cultivators grow for strong THC, there are some strains that are known for being higher in CBD. They include: ACDC, Cannatonic and Ringo’s Gift. Or just ask your caregiver or budtender for a high CBD/low THC flower or product.

CBD comes in tinctures, balms, creams and other forms.

How does CBD work?

The human body is home to the endocannabinoid system. This rather unknown, but important part of each of us plays a big role in regulating our physiology—and the endocannabinoid system affects our mood, metabolism, blood pressure, bone density, intestinal health, energy, stress, hunger and more. When the receptors aren’t working, they need help (this truly isn’t a medical term) and a dose of a cannabinoid or CBD can help.

Why have I never heard of the endocannabinoid system before?

hemp plants for making cbdUnlike other parts of the human body that have been researched since the time of early medicine, the link between THC and the endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1964 by Israeli pharmacologist-researcher Raphael Mechoulam.

Without going too deeply into the physiological mechanics—the endocannabinoid system is a neurological receptor and transmitter system that balances many bodily functions. It is found throughout the human body and regulates a number of functions—which helps explain why cannabis can help with a wide variety of illnesses. Think about how most medicines help with only one or two maladies—cannabis helps with dozens.

What might CBD help?

While there are no miracle drugs and CBD has its detractors, people are finding it helps with quite a few things: anxiety, acne, hard to treat epilepsy, stress reduction, energy balance, multiple sclerosis, PTSD in adults and children, sleep, appetite, immune function, opioid withdrawal, quitting smoking and possibly the spread of some kinds of cancer cells.

When doing research for yourself, look at the PubMed database through the National Institutes of Health, there are a number of research documents you can review for yourself. Just put CBD in the search box.

Keep in mind that CBD is not yet approved by the FDA, so it is up to consumers and their physicians to determine dosages.

Photo credits:

Hemp Field in Brittany by Barbetorte https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7558724

Leaf detail by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

CDB oil by Christin Hume on Unsplash