Cannabinoids May Soothe Eczema, Psoriasis, Other Skin Diseases Mexican Lawmakers legalize the use of Medical Marijuana Cannabis Fearmongering From Trump Administration Is All Too Familiar Israel: Cannabis is not a crime United Nations Warn US & Canada On Legal Marijuana Marijuana In Israel Gets A Push From The Right Ireland cannabis bill passed by Dáil without vote Britons strongly support the legalization of marijuana Washington Marijuana Outsells Liquor CDC: More people are using marijuana, but fewer are abusing it Medical marijuana, for babies and their desperate parents Just say yes: Some California law enforcement leaders support legalizing recreational marijuana Runner’s High: athletes use marijuana to improve their training Scientists Map Marijuana Genomes To Protect Pot From Monsanto Here’s what Alaska’s marijuana bars may look like These Monthly Weed Subscriptions Are The Future Of Cannabis Nebraska and Oklahoma’s new tactic to overturn marijuana legalization Investors Should Be Encouraged by 3 New Marijuana Statistics From the “Greenest” State How to Use Medical Marijuana Safely and Responsibly The DEA Just Approved a Way to Smoke Marijuana Legally This could be the No. 1 problem facing legal marijuana businesses in America A powerful medicine derived from marijuana is changing our perception of pot Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Working to Get Medical Marijuana for Our Veterans Pennsylvania to OK medical marijuana Canadian Pharmacists Association Eye Medical Marijuana DEA Will Decide Whether To Reschedule Marijuana U.S. Senators Accused of Holding Biased Marijuana Hearing World Wide Weed Marijuana Helps Arthritis Using Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia Israel sees rich future for medical marijuana Support for marijuana legalization hits all-time high Pennsylvania Is Very Close to Becoming the 24th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana More veterans using marijuana for PTSD Legalize It All – How to win the war on drugs U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Referee State Disputes Over Marijuana First pot shop on the Strip opens in Las Vegas The Art of Marketing Marijuana CALIFORNIA: Momentum to legalize marijuana this year Vancouver’s marijuana shops look toward Toronto Marijuana legalization in UK ‘would raise £1bn a year in taxes’ The First Church of Cannabis Legal U.S. Weed drops Marijuana Prices in Mexico Washington State May Allow Out-of-State Marijuana Investors Canadian marijuana firms say illegal rivals costing them customers Majority of Canadians say pot should be legal US Weed Industry Poised for Major Expansion Renowned chef stopped at Canadian border with over 20 pounds of marijuana edibles Weed Eats Electricity Hawaiian Weed Sales Tricky One Year Anniversary Of Marijuana Legalization In Washington, D.C. Australia legalizes Medical Marijuana Marijuana: Pennsylvania again moves to legalize medicine Girl Scout Sold Cookies Outside Marijuana Dispensary 20 states have marijuana legalization measures in 2016 election Study: Smoking marijuana doesn’t make you anxious or depressed Australia commits to legal growing of marijuana for medicine Should the Authorities Be Able to Access Your Phone? Pot shops can revitalize areas, expert says Marijuana cookie sends Oregon boy to hospital Canada’s police chiefs want feds to remind people marijuana isn’t legal yet Oregon House spends hours reading aloud marijuana bill before vote Elizabeth Warren thinks legalizing marijuana could help end America’s opioid addiction crisis Hawaii seeks to allow growing marijuana outdoors Surgeon general calls for marijuana acceptance Trailer Full of Garbage Bags – 1600 Pounds of Marijuana Pulled Over, Says CHP Oregon marijuana dispensary page shutdown by Facebook Legalizing pot in Canada will run afoul of global treaties LivWell, one of America’s largest weed businesses, just growed big Washington: GOP Chairwoman Claims Increase in Black Market Since Legalization Canadian Cannabis: The Dark Grey Market California Medical Association backs recreational marijuana legalization bill Jerry Brown picks California medical marijuana czar Big Weed = Bad News for Oregon Growers Wiz Khalifa to Release Marijuana Line In Colorado Best Marijuana Dispensaries in Colorado Oregon wants weaker pot edibles for recreational users Medical Marijuana Patients Harmed By Oregon’s New Rules

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In the summer of 2014, The New York Times published its first-ever marijuana ad. The occasion was the enactment of New York’s Compassionate Care Act, which legalized pot for some medical uses. The ad, a congratulatory note from a Seattle start-up, depicted a well-dressed, newspaper-toting man standing on his stoop while a young woman jogged past. Both wore determined expressions; the man, according to the text, consumed marijuana “to relieve his MS symptoms,” and the woman used it “while fighting cancer.” The ad made sense for its time and place. Earlier that year, Colorado and Washington State had begun allowing the sale of recreational pot, and critics were warning that as more states followed suit, profit-motivated corporations could start marketing a lot of pot to a lot of people. Savvy marijuana businesses, worried about confirming this suspicion, stuck to depictions of their most sympathetic users.

Pot’s image problem has since begun to fade, especially in states like Washington and Colorado. Two more states, Oregon and Alaska, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and several others may soon have the opportunity to join them. But the people who sell the drug are facing a predicament. In a legal market, cannabis—the plant from which pot is derived—comes to resemble many other farmed products: One grower’s plant looks and tastes a lot like his neighbor’s. (Some pot connoisseurs with sensitive palates can differentiate among strains of cannabis—and even among brands—but they’re as rare as the coffee drinker who can guess his beans’ origins.) John Kagia, the director of industry analytics at New Frontier, which studies the marijuana business, is convinced that pot is becoming commoditized. In Colorado, the supply of marijuana flower is going up, and its cost down, partly because of technological advancements and larger, more efficient operations—just the kind of forces that have turned other products into commodities.

Pot businesses are, above all, businesses, and they’re responding as businesses do: with marketing aimed at convincing longtime pot users that their brand is better than the others—and, just as important, at increasing demand by encouraging curious nonusers to try their product first. In other words, marijuana companies would like to sell a lot of pot to a lot of people. “Now that marijuana has been legalized, we have the opportunity to market it to a mainstream audience,” Olivia Mannix, a co-founder of a marketing agency called Cannabrand, told me. But making good on that opportunity has required changing the way people think about the drug. In this regard, the early associations between pot and medicine—and hence harmlessness, even wellness—were helpful. Since then, the tactics have gotten more sophisticated.

Early on, Mannix and her business partner, Jennifer DeFalco, decided to avoid certain slang associated with old-school stoner culture—ganja, weed, pot, even getting high. Instead, in conversations with journalists and in ads for their clients, they use the pleasant-sounding cannabis. One dispensary chain they advised swapped out the off-putting metal safety bars on its windows for frosted glass. When Mannix and DeFalco design ads or logos for clients, they use a lot of white space and replace bright-green color schemes with cool grays and blues. “A lot of clients come to us saying they want to look like Apple,” Mannix told me.
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