Tag Archives: Brand

Legal Cannabis + Airbnb – Public Consumption Rule = WIN-WIN


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We’re at over five months after Question 4 passed in Massachusetts and so far we are operating on a legal grey area.  Massachusetts citizens can consume legally, yet there are no recreational dispensaries open at the moment.  It’ll be quite a while before the first shop opens up, but that isn’t stopping audiences from getting the products they need.

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Even with the dispensaries opening, there’s a bigger problem revolving around WHERE customers can consume their products.  Smoking cannabis in public is still illegal and there are no licensed businesses that provide safe havens for places to smoke.  Edibles are easier to consume discreetly, but there are customers that prefer smoking their herbs.  And to add insult to injury, those potential customers are hesitant to purchase cannabis because they wouldn’t be able to find anyplace to consume.  This situation can be summed up by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s phrase:

Water, water, everywhere,

            And all the boards did shrink;

            Water, water, everywhere,

            Nor any drop to drink.”

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            In this case, it would be ‘pot, pot, everywhere, nor a single location to smoke’.  Cannabis can easily be found around Massachusetts (especially around Boston), BUT there are no legal public places for customers to smoke.  No public place for consumption means customers will flock from Boston and head to a more 4/20-friendlier city (like Denver or Portland).

How do we go about solving this issue?  What’s the temporary solution we have now that we could use for the next few years?  Is there a hidden answer within Coleridge’s riddle that we’re not looking at?

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Well folks, I managed to figure out a solution to this riddle that made a light-bulb go off inside my mind.  The answer for public 4/20 places is…Airbnb.

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Airbnb is the answer that’s been around before cannabis became legal in Colorado and Washington State.  Founded on August 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb is an online hospitality service that enables people to lease or rent short-term lodging.  Such lodgings that can be found within Airbnb include apartment rentals, vacation rentals, hostel beds, home-stays, and even hotel rooms.  It provides similar hospitality services within hotels, but Airbnb connects people on a personal level.

Image result for Airbnb 4/20-friendly

Image result for Airbnb 4/20-friendly

Rather than just provide a place to sleep in for the night, Airbnb hosts can answer any questions/concerns about the place guests are staying at.  But the real kicker with Airbnb?  Some choices feature rooms where the hosts are 4/20-FRIENDLY.  That’s right people, there ARE 4/20-friendly options available on Airbnb!  4/20-friendly options can already be found within Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and especially in California.

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Not only is Airbnb bringing in more foot traffic because of the 4/20-friendly states, but the costs are less expensive than hotel rooms.  Cheaper options to stay at means customers will have more spending money to use for exploring the cannabis culture.  For example, John and Jane will have more money to spend on a half-ounce of Grandaddy Purple in Colorado because they saved money on an Airbnb option rather than hotel room that is $150/night.  Dropping more coins on the cannabis products rather than the hospitality services means customers will travel BACK to that destination again (and will probably bring family/friends to the mix!).

Image result for Boston Airbnb

Image result for Boston Airbnb

Going back to Beantown, there are plenty of Airbnb rentals within the Boston area.  Dispensaries are hitting the streets next year and customers will be flocking to Massachusetts (better yet, GRASSACHUSETTS!) for the greens.  Airbnb will hold the key for solving the ‘pot, pot, everywhere, not a single location to smoke’ dilemma.

Image result for 4/20-friendly Hotels

Image result for 4/20-friendly Hotels

But wait, it gets even better!  With companies like Airbnb thriving in the 4/20-friendly states, the competition in tourism will be MASSIVE among the hospitality services.  Customers will steer away from traditional hotels and flock to the modern options that allow them to smoke cannabis publicly without the fear of being arrested.  In turn, hotel companies will provide 4/20-friendly options to keep business afloat.  Airbnb serves as the primary domino that will knock down the barriers cannabis prohibition created with public consumption.

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To recap, let’s do the math real quick:  A legal cannabis market in Boston (1) plus legal public consumption through Airbnb (1) minus the rule where public consumption outside is illegal (0) equals a WIN-WIN situation for the cannabis/tourism industry (1+1-0=2).  Coleridge’s riddle of where to use can be solved through Airbnb.  We are quite a way until we provide 4/20-friendly hotels in Boston, but 4/20-friendly Airbnb has already been happening before cannabis was made legal.

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Massachusetts is still operating under a grey area when it comes to legal cannabis.  To pull ourselves out of the quirky situation, we need to discuss the problem from every angle to figure out the right solution for the industry to thrive.  People are enthusiastic about cannabis making airwaves in Boston, but we have to solve the problem from every angle in order to make this work.  There’s always going to be new and unique problems arising in this industry and that’s why we have to keep searching for more interesting ideas to go about solving it.  It’s companies like Airbnb that serve as the golden key towards unlocking the treasure chest full of gold.  In this case, it’s green gold.

MakeSandcastlesNotWar visits the New England Cannabis Convention!


It’s been days since 4/20, yet the cannabis celebration continues around Boston.  This year was Boston’s first 4/20 celebration after passing Question 4, the measure to legalize recreational cannabis use in Massachusetts.  Hundreds of cannabis consumers flocked to the Boston Commons (a.k.a. the most popular spot in Boston to consume cannabis) on April 20th to light up on this special day.  Passing Question 4 sent shockwaves for the state of Massachusetts, opening up a unique industry that was already booming in the West Coast.

With Question 4 passing last year, what kind of businesses will we see around Massachusetts?  What kind of cannabis culture will we see here in Boston?  Could Boston’s cannabis culture be different than the culture seen in Colorado or California?

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To get a sense of how the cannabis culture fits into the city of Boston, I took a trip to the New England Cannabis Convention.  This event was located at the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street in Boston; now in its 3rd year, it is the biggest convention dedicated to companies/organizations doing business for the cannabis industry.  A wide variety of businesses met with consumers to discuss what kind of work they conduct on a daily basis.  From growing supplies to consulting, every type of product or service was featured in one building.

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After scoping out the convention for the past few days, I found some inspirational companies looking to make it big here in Boston.  Some businesses had a unique take on the cannabis culture while others stood out for their interesting product that would make the cannabis experience much better.  Here were some notable moments I had to share about my experience at the New England Cannabis Convention:

Vendors

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Charlotte’s Web:  For the first vendor, I went to check out Charlotte’s Web.  Charlotte’s Web is the name for a high-CBD strain that was created by The Stanley Brothers.  The Stanley Brothers’ created the strain specifically for a young epileptic patient named Charlotte.  Charlotte is a young girl who uses CBD medicine to treat her ongoing seizures due to epilepsy.  Since using the CBD oil, Charlotte has experienced much less seizures than she did before.  This brand of CBD can be used as oil or capsules, depending on what works best for you.

CannaKorp:  My next stop was to CannaKorp, known for being the world’s first pod-based cannabis vaporizing system.  CannaKorp is manufactured in Stoneham and currently a patent-pending vaporizer that allows people to indulge with cannabis through efficient vapor.  You can choose from a variety of indica, sativa, hybrid, and CBD strains to vape with.  Each pod contains pre-ground cannabis flower that is sealed to lock in the flavor, freshness, and aroma for an amazing experience.

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AngryBuds:  When I passed by Angry Buds, I immediately thought of the game Angry Birds that was released more than 7 years ago.  Ironically enough, the company is releasing the game Angry Buds that is similar to Angry Birds (except that it’s with buds rather than birds!).  Other than the interesting Angry Birds reference, Angry Buds sells a wide range of products for a greater smoking experience.  Such products include grinders, vaporizers, papers, bud stuffers, containers, and other accessories.  The Angry Buds game won’t be released anytime soon and hopefully we will hear more of the game’s release sometime this year.

Kushley:  Kushley features organic products that eliminate the cannabis odor from the room.  Just a few sprays of the product and you can keep your room smoke-free.  Cannabis may be recreationally legal here in Boston, but not everyone is looking to join the Boston Pot Party!  Whether it is a conservative friend that doesn’t like the smell or keeping the odor away from kids, Kushley is available for any kind of situation.

Lifted:  Located in Santa Monica, Lifted looks to help businesses create mobile apps for the iOS, Android, or the web.  With cannabis prohibition slowly becoming a thing of the past, building a strong brand with a passionate following is crucial for cannabis companies.  Having a strong brand is critical for surviving the business world and Lifted looks to build up a long-lasting brand that consumers will remember.  This was a unique company that worked on cannabis brands rather than the actual product itself.

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Maine Green Scene:  Even though Massachusetts legalized recreational use last year, Maine has already been paving the way for the cannabis industry. Maine Green Scene is a business showcasing a directory of the cannabis culture in Maine.  From dispensaries to medical doctors, Maine Green Scene provides all the information you need to snag the best cannabis products.  Legal dispensaries won’t be opening their doors until early 2018, but you can still find a handful of medical products within the state.

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ProVerde Laboratories:  ProVerde Laboratories is one of a few medical cannabis testing labs here in Massachusetts.  It’s the company where science, technology, and cannabis all meld together under one business.  Testing for cannabis includes tests for THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, terpene profiles, and other data about the product.  This was a great company to check out because testing labs are so important in revealing what’s inside your cannabis flower or edible that you are consuming.

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Skunk Magazine/Linzy Heartwork:  While wandering through the last lap of the exhibit hall, I noticed the name ‘Shona Banda’ on the cover of the book Live Free or Die.  It took me a minute to realize that Shona was featured on Viceland’s show Weediquette last year.  Shona was interviewed for the episode titled ‘Stoned Parents’ where Shona discussed how her kid was taken away because he mentioned the term ‘cannabis’ while in school.  I was excited to talk with Shona Banda about her experience with cannabis and how she is paving for the fight against prohibition here in America.  It’s figures like Shona Banda that help push the fight for recreational cannabis use all across the country.

Miscellaneous

Other than the vendors, I walked through an art gallery that featured some infamous art work surrounding the cannabis culture.  Some featured pictures of the cannabis/hemp plant itself while other works revolved around the history of cannabis prohibition.  Here were some notable pictures I found within the art gallery:

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You heard it from the man himself, George Washington!

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‘The New Billion-Dollar Crop’: A headline that would’ve revolutionized the hemp industry had it been released in the 1930s.

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The man, the myth, the Harvard Professor himself – Dr. Lester Grinspoon!

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America’s most famous stoner duo…Cheech and Chong!

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A Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 – the stamp needed to grow cannabis/hemp, yet none were given out.

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Samuel R. Caldwell – America’s first victim of cannabis prohibition who was incarcerated in 1937.

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Famous ‘Reefer Madness’ posters that initiated the PR nightmare that destroyed cannabis’s reputation for decades!

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Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon – two different political figures with the same goal to eradicate cannabis in the country.

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That was my infamous journey around the New England Cannabis Convention.  I had an amazing time meeting with people from different companies/organizations and learning about what they have to offer for the cannabis industry.  Recreational dispensaries haven’t opened up yet, but business will be BOOMING in Boston by summer 2018.  It has been a long road up until Question 4 passed, but all of our hard work will pay off once the cannabis culture is in full bloom.

When Branding Goes to Pot


Afternoon everyone!  Today is a beautiful sunny day here in MA with temperatures reaching upper 70s around the Boston area.  It’s been 3 days since I attended the Mass PRSSA Chapter Meetup in Salem and I couldn’t stop thinking how much fun I had.  Another round of cheers to Salem State University’s incredible PRSSA crew for having me at the event!

 

Their theme for the event was ‘Battle of the BRands’, showcasing important brands in the business world.  A brand is any design, name, words, style, or symbol used individually or in combination that will help distinguish one product from another for the customers.  For example, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts utilize unique symbols for brands to distinguish themselves from each other (for the record, Starbucks ain’t got nothing on Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts kid!).  Speaker Nicole Keiser talked about brands and how important they are in the business world.

This idea about brands got me thinking:  what’s the type of brand that would be most used within the cannabis industry?  Would this brand identity be shared amongst other businesses?  How do various companies utilize this brand to distinguish themselves from their competition?

So what’s the most common brand that is used among the cannabis industry?  The pot leaf, of course!  This well-known leaf, consisting of 7 pointed leaves, is the universal symbol of cannabis.  People that see this image in a business know first-hand that the company is selling cannabis or is providing services within the cannabis industry.  We’ve seen this symbol firsthand as kids and now we’ve seen this brand image flourish as a statement within the business world.

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The pot leaf symbol is seen in all aspects of the cannabis industry – dispensaries, flyers, edibles, tinctures, oils, MMJ doctors, advertisements, and many other instances.  It’s the pot leaf that alerts audiences that this business will provide cannabis-related products/services.  Whether it is bongs or the flower itself, you will run into this mutual symbol every time.

In some cases, the pot leaf may not even be displayed.  Some companies utilize light green colors (colors that look like the pot leaf) on the design ideas to keep that psychedelic vibe.  This is an interesting case where the brand’s color catches the customer’s attention rather than the leaf itself.  Either way, companies must utilize the cannabis leaf in one way or another so your audiences is aware of what your business does.

As a PR pro, I definitely see the importance of using the cannabis leaf when running a business.  Businesses use brand to communicate with their audiences about what products or services they offer.  Whether it is a restaurant or clothing store, all businesses must have a great brand to showcase their type of work.  Your business will only plummet if you don’t provide a true identity.

That concludes my discussion about the pot leaf brand.  If anyone is looking into starting a cannabis-related business, I definitely recommend utilizing the pot leaf for your brand.  Whether it is displaying the leaf itself or its natural colors, branding is SO important in creating your identity.

Viceland’s Weed Week on April 17th-20th!


Alrighty then…today marks our LAST day of March (holy shitballs that was fast!).  Even though its currently snowing a bit here in Massachusetts, Spring is already here with its rainy days.  We’re transitioning from the snowy, cold days to days full of rain.  With those April showers on the way comes May flowers.

Speaking of flowers, what’s that special day in April where we celebrate my most favorite flower of all time? 4/20, of course!  Earth Day is commemorative to our earth, but April 20th is where the REAL party happens.  April 20th is less than a month away and brands like Viceland are already rolling out plans for the celebration.

TV network Viceland announced their special ‘Weed Week’ event happening on April 17th-April 20th.  4/20-friendly series will be airing throughout the ‘Weed Week’ event.  Series like Fuck, That’s Delicious and Dead Set on Life will some of many 4/20-friendly shows to check out.  But the best part about ‘Weed Week’?  BRAND-NEW episodes from two of my favorite Viceland series will be airing on April 19th!

My favorite TV shows, Bong Appétit and Weediquette, will kick off their new seasons just a day before April 20th.  It is SO exciting to hear that my favorite series on Viceland will return with new seasons during the event.  I knew that both series would be renewed for a new season, but I didn’t think that it would hit so soon.  Here’s a brief summary of the two shows and what we’ll expect to see in the next season:

Weediquette –  Weediquette is a documentary series hosted by Krishna Andavolu.  Andavolu takes viewers into the economics, culture, and science of the cannabis industry.  From kids using CBD medicine to NFL players combatting CTE with cannabis, each topic takes us into our complicated relationship with cannabis here in the United States.  As we delve further into the cannabis culture, it seems more clear that cannabis is becoming widely accepted into our social norms.

Next season will deal with topics surrounding immigration, driving while stoned, law enforcement, entrepreneurship, and other ideas.  While recreational cannabis has been made legal in more states (CA, MA, NV, and ME), the fight for cannabis legalization is still happening around the country.  Season 3 of Weediquette showcase more further complications that are hindering the legalization process.

Bong Appétit –  For the lighter and more culinary side of cannabis, Bong Appétit will be returning as well.  The show where the fabulicious Laganja Estranja smoked that dank weed is coming back on April 19th (more on that post here).  Bong Appétit stars Abdullah Saeed, Vanessa Lavorato, and Ry Prichard as they showcase cannabis-infused entrées.  From sausages to ice cream, different kinds of food from various cultures use weed as one of the main ingredients.

Not only has the menu changed, but the weed pantry itself has upgraded as well!  No official word on what types of food will be seen next season, but it surely will be mind-blowing to see what they create next.  Who knows what unique terpene flavors will be showcased in the new season (maybe the Ghost Train Haze will be making a comeback!).  You’ll want to get your munchies snacks ready cause Bong Appétit will be opening its doors in just a few weeks!

I’m SO excited for the new seasons of Weediquette and Bong Appétit in April!  These are the only few shows I look forward to on cable television these days.  To see that they’re both airing just a day before 4/20 makes the event even better.

This is a great publicity stunt by Viceland.  Viceland provides shows that take viewers into a look at controversial social cultures that audiences rarely know about.  When it comes to the cannabis culture, Viceland doesn’t get taboo about one of America’s most favorite plant.  It’s widespread approval grows even further with the 4/20-friendly programs.

Here’s to Viceland for hosting this special 4/20 event on April!  Be sure to check out ‘Weed Week’ on Monday April 17th.

Packing Perfect Joints with Pouch Papers!


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As a cannabis connoisseur, I have one amateur statement I have to confess: I can’t roll a joint.  Out of all of the devices I have used in the past (pipes, bongs, dugouts), I still haven’t mastered the art of joint rolling.  I have seen many how-to pages around the internet and I am still figuring out the right techniques.  People showcase videos of them doing it as well and it is NOT as easy as it looks!

One frustrating part of joint rolling is that the flowers keep falling off the side when I tighten the bottom.  When the flowers keep falling, I spend at least 3-4 minutes picking the remains up to pack them in again.  The technique itself isn’t complicated to me, but it’s that one issue that is preventing me from rolling an amazing joint.  I have gotten better at rolling with a pen and I am trying to shy away from the trick.

It was then that I asked myself: are there joints specifically made for beginners?  Could there be joint paper where it’s easier to pack the flowers inside without having them fall off?  If there is such thing, where would I even find this kind of unique product?

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These burning questions led me to discover an amazing product: Pouch Papers.  Originally manufactured in Northern China, Pouch Papers are a unique joint-rolling product.  Each pack provides 20 sheets inside and they cost less than $5.

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The unique selling point of Pouch Papers is the sealed pouch featured inside.  When rolling your joint/spliff, simply pack your herbs inside the pouch and roll up the joint.  Lick the sticky gum side and your joint is good to go.  Now you’ll be able to show off your new joint rolling skills to your friends!

You can find this at most smoke shops around Massachusetts (I’d recommend searching for them in Boston since there’s a lot of smoke shops that would carry them).  I found my pack of Pouch Papers at Sugar Daddy’s Smoke Shop near Fenway Park, but you can certainly get them at other shops.  When searching for Pouch Papers, look for the yellow-orange kangaroo (that reads ‘POUCH’ on the body) that is located within the center of the pack.  There are definitely other rolling paper brands that carry the pouch feature, but Pouch Papers is the most popular brand I found.

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I was so glad to find the Pouch Papers!  My joint rolling skills are far from advanced and I wondered if there was a product that would make the process easier.  Once I have some free time, I will practice rolling with the papers to further increase my skill.

If anyone out there is having difficulty rolling joints, I HIGHLY (no pun intended!) recommend purchasing Pouch Papers.  Rolling with Pouch Papers is easier and you will increase your rolling technique as time goes on.  Practicing with these papers is a great way to get better and you will consume some amazing cannabis as well!

They say ‘practice makes perfect’ and this certainly holds true for joint-rolling.  Pouch Paper’s unique pouch function serves as the unique selling point that distinguishes itself from other brands.  It is great that other rolling paper brands are releasing flavored papers, but they should think differently about what joint users are searching for in their products.  Beginner rollers would want to purchase Pouch Papers since they are easier to roll.

With that, I recommend all first-time rollers to use Pouch Papers to practice rolling the perfect joint.