Tag Archives: Public Relations

Nevada’s 21st Century Cannabis Rush


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Ten days ago, Nevada opened up their recreational cannabis dispensaries.  More than 40 dispensaries are open for business, with a few operating within the Las Vegas Strip.  Sin city just got a lot more sinful now that cannabis is legal to purchase.  Gambling, alcohol, and even prostitution were some sinful pleasures that made Las Vegas so amazing.

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So what has actually happened 10 days after legal sales received the green light?  Was cannabis a big hit that Nevada thought it would?  What’s the progress on the legal cannabis market so far?

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Well folks…it’s even BETTER than I anticipated.  Not only did the recreational market become successful, but Nevada is now dealing with a supply shortage.  You can’t make this up, people…Nevada is LITERALLY running out of supply!

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Image result for nevada recreational weed 2017

Image result for nevada recreational weed 2017

Within less than two weeks of opening, most dispensaries are already running out of cannabis.  Lines formed out of the door since Sunday morning, filled with anticipated customers waiting to get their hands on legal cannabis.  Even Essence Dispensary, which is a few feet away from the Las Vegas Strip, had customers lining up for HOURS after legal sales begin.    Businesses can’t keep up with the supply because cannabis is selling like hot cakes!  Even with the limited amount of communications strategies utilized for the cannabis industry, the demand for legal cannabis skyrocketed instantly.

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But wait, it gets even more ridiculous.  Nevada governor Brian Sandoval helped endorse the call for a “state of emergency”, allowing for more licensed distributors.  The large demand for cannabis has become so outrageous that even the Nevada governor is fast-tracking the approval process just to keep business flowing!

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Before we start freaking out about cannabis shortages in Nevada, let’s remember one thing…what’s happening is AMAZING right now.  Think about this for a second: Las Vegas, a booming city where a majority of their economy relies on their 40 million tourists each year, has people flocking for the cannabis.  Cannabis is bringing in more audiences, more income, and generating more positive buzz around the state of Nevada.

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Image result for Supply and Demand

Quantity goes along with the supply of the commodity (how much is actually spread out) while quality works with what the consumers are demanding (what audiences want with their commodity).  Customers have already been more than pleased with the demands, so businesses just have to work harder on generating more of the supply.  The hard part is over (raising awareness of cannabis dispensaries so that customers take action) and now we simply must produce more of the popular cannabis commodities.

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Nevada dealt with a bad PR nightmare with their High Times Cup disaster (read more on that nightmare here) and now they are shining with this glorious PR miracle!  Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is NOT a mirage – Nevada is really striking rich with cannabis.  I can safely say that Nevada truly hit the jackpot with this industry.

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This was fantastic news to hear!  I knew that the cannabis industry would hit big in Nevada and I’m shocked to hear about the supply shortage.  The state of Nevada will have to keep up with their supplies soon before customers migrate to other legal states (like Colorado or Oregon!).

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It’s been less than two weeks and the demand for legal cannabis skyrocketed in Nevada.  California is set to conduct legal sales in less than 6 months, so the competition is going to be FIERCE within the western region.  Nevada is already competing with Colorado, Oregon, and even Washington state in terms of the cannabis industry.  Throw California into the mix and it’s an all-out business war (we ARE talking about the ‘Wild Wild West’ part of America btw!).

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Who knows what will go down in the western region now that a majority of states provide recreational dispensaries.  One thing’s for certain – whatever occurs in the western region will echo over to the eastern region as well.  Massachusetts will open their shops in July 2018 and they’ll have to compete with Maine in the meantime.

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Now is the time for the cannabis industry to truly shine all across the country.

Personal Thoughts on the Cannabis Industry


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Ever since Question 4 passed in Massachusetts, I have been so excited about the cannabis industry.  It’s been such pleasure to learn, research, and even write about cannabis every week.  The ‘4/20’ category has been so popular on MakeSandcastlesNotWar now that it’s becoming more of a regulated business.  What I’m most enthusiastic about is the marketing, advertising, and PR plans that are in stores for the future!

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Eight months have passed since the election and cannabis enthusiasts have already been mapping out their business strategies.  Growers, budtenders, trimmers, managers, and other employees are riding the giant wave that’s hitting Massachusetts.  While most people are praising the 4/20-friendly businesses, there are still people that are saying ‘NO!’ to pot.

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Image result for cannabis industry

This country has been divided on many issues lately and recreational cannabis use is one of them.  Surprisingly enough, some people still believe cannabis is a “drug” and that legalizing it would peddle in more drugs that would increase the opioid epidemic (which has been REALLY bad in MA, but we’ll get to that in another post).  Cannabis’s reputation is still damaged, so people still aren’t receiving the right information about the product.

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Even though I’m feeling great now that I got this ever-expanding blog and job with the cannabis industry, I have gotten some…interesting comments, to say the least.  I’ve had people give me dirty looks, question my choices in life, and even walked away from me just to end the conversation.  Just last week, I had some friend’s parents give me dirty looks about where I work and stereotyped me as some lazy pothead (which is QUITE the opposite!). Quite frankly, I knew that this would happen ever since I dived deep into the cannabis industry.  There was no turning back now that I was riding that wave.  America is constantly changing and I was ready for the huge 4/20-friendly change hitting the streets of Boston.

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At this point, you’re probably asking me, “Jon, do you ever care about what people say or what they will be saying about you?”.  The answer to that question…ah HELL NAH!  Absolutely not!  As a matter of fact, I could honestly care LESS if people cut ties with me just because I’m working in the cannabis industry.

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Let me tell you something, folks – people are going to criticize you for ANY kind of work you do.  Whether you become a dancer at an exotic club or an accountant, someone will make some judging comment for some preposterous reason (either their ignorant or jealous!).  Those jackasses that start those judgement calls probably hate their jobs, so they waste their precious time belittling other people to make themselves better.

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If you absolutely LOVE what you…then KEEP DOING IT.  Don’t ever let some random judgement call throw you off of your game just because you want to satisfy someone.  One hard lesson I learned during my early 20s was that you can’t satisfy the whole goddamn world.  Someone is going to make judgement calls over choices such as your career path, colleges, your sexual orientation, where you choose to live, and other frivolous things that isn’t anyone’s business but yours.  People look over the other side of the fence to see if the grass is truly greener (SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT that greener!).

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In the midst of the 21st century gold rush that is occurring in America, I wanted to provide you some insight on my thoughts about the cannabis industry.  I am SO excited about what’s to come in Boston and the lessons I learned in my PR classes will finally be paying off.  Speaking of college, I know that my PR professors would be so thrilled to hear about my plans for the future.  Life has been crazy since finishing school, but I’m really starting to see a clearer path as the days go one.

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America is constantly changing every year and many people are scared of those changes.  Some people are SO scared that they’ll become ignorant or clueless about what’s REALLY happening in this country.  We’ve accomplished so much in this beautiful world and there’s more surprises in store for us.

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To those people that make those judgement calls about the cannabis industry – WAKE UP.  Open your eyes and wake up soon because there’s a whole new world waiting for us in the future.  The cat has been out of the bag for YEARS and it’s not ever going back in.  We are about to see a unique commodity bring about sweeping changes around Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and other major cities.

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It’s time to accept what will be known as…MARIJUANAMERICA!

 

Viva Pot Vegas!


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           Hope you folks have been having a great week so far!  Summer is here and we’re just a few days away from entering July (almost six months have passed, damn does time fly!).  Either way, it’s just the beginning of another beautiful summer month.  July 1st is also very special day for the stoners over in Nevada.

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On July 1st, Nevada will open up their recreational cannabis shops.  About 17 shops will be opening on Saturday and almost 40 could be approved to sell as well.  Some outlets are planning a grand midnight opening while one in Las Vegas is having a barbecue with some raffle drawings.  Not only will recreational shops open, but medicinal dispensaries will go recreational as well.  And the best part?  There will be dispensaries around the Las Vegas Strip.

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Ok let’s back up for one goddamn second…RECREATIONAL CANNABIS…will become legal to purchase in a few days what’s known as ‘America’s Playground’.  This is the city where you can legally carry your booze around the street while hitting the casinos with your bros.  Not only that, but prostitution is still legal in some Nevada counties (brothels are STILL open in this 21st century folks!).  All I can say now is that Sin City is about to get a WHOLE lot better!
Let’s recap on what will now be accessible on sin city:

  • Gambling
  • Booze (carrying it around the strip as well!)
  • Prostitution
  • CANNABIS

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Just…WOW.  What a time to be alive in this progressive 4/20-era!  Las Vegas is about to get a lot more interesting in the years to come (please excuse me while I send hundreds of resumes to PR companies there — #420NevadaLife).

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Image result for Las Vegas Hotel

Now that I got my 4/20 mindgasm out of the way, here is what I’m so damn excited about.  Las Vegas receives a majority of profits through tourism/hospitality (it’s known as ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’, FYI!).  A majority of people travel to Nevada just for Las Vegas to do some gambling, stay at a pampering hotel, and eat some magnificent food on the strip.  Nevada voted to legalize recreational cannabis last year and now the dispensaries are opening up in just THREE DAYS!  More than half of the dispensaries sales are expected to be from the 40 million tourists visiting Sin City.  If you do the math real quick (2-3 dispensaries plus 40 million tourists roaming around the Las Vegas strip) then you’ll know that Nevada will be hitting some MAJOR profits!

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So besides the amazing marketing miracle that the dispensaries will be bringing to Las Vegas, The state of Nevada will hit the financial jackpot with the cannabis sales.  Nevada is expecting to hit sales much farther than Colorado or Oregon during the first week (the population is much greater BECAUSE of its bolder reputation!).  It will also be such a great PR move for Nevada being that they’ll receive more profits, attract more tourists, and even extend their branding tools to rejuvenate themselves for the years to come.

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There is a whole new gold rush happening in the Wild Wild West folks and the Golden Nugget could be replaced by the Golden Nug (weed pun, hah!).  Seriously though, this is major news for Las Vegas as well as the state of Nevada.  It’ll be interesting to see how Nevada fares with recreational sales for the next six months until California enters the market (when the Golden State legalizes in January 1st, 2018).  Would Las Vegas be able to hold up against their competitions a year later?

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Let’s not jump to far ahead though.  Instead, we should be psyched that Sin City will become much more sinful once cannabis hits the shelves.  We should be all be ecstatic over Las Vegas hitting another jackpot this summer.

In the end, always remember this  — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Graduation(1 Year Later)


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This past weekend I attended my friend’s graduation party in Dracut.  I took the long drive from work to reunite with my old PRSSA friends.  It was going to be interesting to see how everyone was doing now that their all done with college. Some of my friends already snagged jobs while others are still working on their career path.

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Overall the party was amazing.  Great summer food, cold craft beers, and timeless conversations with the graduated crew.  This was the time for us to reflect on the amazing adventures life had to offer us.  We all may done with most of our education, but this was when the real lessons started.

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While heading home from a night of fun with my amazing PRSSA crew, I started pondering about how much has happened in over a year.  It’s been over a YEAR since I walked those steps and received my diploma, igniting what would be the start of the Real World.  I entered college in 2010 and officially finished my schooling by winter 2015.  What’s even more shocking is that it will be almost SEVEN years (more than HALF a decade!) since I packed my bags up to Burlington for Champlain College.

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It was a long and strange journey folks – a roller-coaster of emotions, events, thoughts, and actions.  The silver lining is that I’m on another journey that’s just as better as the college era.  While my Friday nights have been replaced with Netflix and cannabis rather than going hunting for house parties (HOUSE PARTY HUNTER ON THE LOOSE!), I’m still going out to Boston every week for adventures.

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So at this point, it’s time to ask those burning questions.  Where are we now?  What has happened a year after graduating college?  Have I become the entertainment PR superstar I was destined to be?  Has MakeSandcastlesNotWar transformed into the golden path of my dream career path?

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At this point, things have gotten more…interesting to say the least.  I haven’t picked up my dream PR job yet, but I shifted around with a few jobs here and there.  If you’ve been keeping tabs on MakeSandcastlesNotWar, you would see that the blog has grown significantly (25-30 views a day compared to 5-10 views!).  Even with my part-time job in place, I continue to generate that amazing PR juice for this blog.  The blog has really been branching out its brand identity, what with the addition of the ‘4/20’ category and ever-growing ideas popping out.  Sure, there isn’t as much leisure time in my life, but there will never be roadblocks when it comes to creativity!

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Personally, I knew that this journey wouldn’t become so easy; but in actuality, I’ve discovered that there’s much more steps in the system that I imagined.  I’ve learned the hard way that you have to get your name/face out there in the world before any major PR work can happen.  Everyone starts at the bottom and goes up in the ladder (like Oliver Queen’s salmon ladder!).  Yes it can be complicated at times, but colleges never said that it will get simpler.

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To my PRSSA friends at the graduation party (as well as all of the graduates having their party as well) – congratulations.  Congrats to all of your hard work during the most amazing years of your college lives.  Now is the time to pool in all of your experience, knowledge, tricks, and ideas into what your set out to do.  You’ve learned all that you can in the courses and now it’s time to push your own twist to it.

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In short, I’ve been grateful for the ones I went on the past year.  From my experiences, life has gotten a LOT more interesting now that school’s out forever!

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I used this quote last year and I’m bringing it back again…I know we’ll be just fine when we learn to love the ride.

 

#MACannabisAdvertisingProposalsFAIL


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A major bill has been floating around MA since last week that showcases some interesting changes to the cannabis laws.  One surprising notice was that recreational cannabis products could be taxed as high as 28%, which is twice as high as the original format at 12%.  That number may be high, but there’s even some more shocking changes that must be discussed.

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Advertising could be SEVERLY limited under the proposed changes.  The new proposal would limit the use of radio, billboards, TV, print, and even internet (which could include social media!) for advertising cannabis companies.  These advertising tactics would be available ONLY if 71.6% of the audience is over 21.  None of the ads could be targeted to any under 21 nor can the users depicted in the ad as well.

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As a PR pro that delves into the creative advertising world, my first answer to these shocking advertising rules is ‘What…The FUCK.’

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71.6 of the audience over 21?  Where the hell in MA can the mad men lock down their targeted audiences for their ad campaign?  Boston?  Somerville?  Brighton/Allston?

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Seriously though guy…this is NOT good at all!  Aside from the tax issue (cannabis WILL be taxed since it’s such a useful commodity!), these ad proposals put a serious damper for the advertising business.  Creative directors, copywriters, art directors, media buyers, and all other creative geniuses won’t be able to launch their huge campaigns if they only cater to areas where 71.6 of the audience is over 21!  Cannabis companies WILL be shipping to Boston in the next few years and the severe lack of advertisements will only put the industry to a halt.

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To better explain this problem, let’s take Don Draper and his creative team from the Mad Men universe as our leading example (since Don is the sexy creative genius of the Mad Men world!).  Supposed Don’s team relocated to Boston and are working with clients within the cannabis industry.  Members of the cannabis companies meet with Don’s team to discuss the new ad campaigns they would be working on.

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Don’s team CAN work on drafting the ad campaign, but they won’t reach the large number of audiences they want to reach since the areas HAVE to be mostly over 21.  Their advertising strategies would only work in very few places in Massachusetts.  If Don’s team doesn’t reach the intended numbers after running the campaigns, then cannabis companies could take their business elsewhere (to a more 4/20-friendly state like California or Maine).  This would mean that most of the work coming from Don, Roger, Joan, Peggy, and Pete won’t be enough to keep themselves afloat.

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Advertising agencies would want to work with the ever-trending cannabis industry to deliver the best advertising campaigns, but they won’t be able to do that if they can’t reach the amount of audiences they need. It will be a complicated challenge for the Boston mad men if the advertising proposals pass.  Cannabis’s image is heavily plagued by the PR nightmare caused by the Reefer Madness scandal and revitalizing PR tactics are our only solution.  To put it in another way, advertising is going to need some serious help from public relations on flourishing cannabis’s reputation before any amazing image can be shown.  The mad men do have the image (the pot leaf!), but that universal image must be repaired before any advertising tactics are set.

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While I didn’t go to Salem State University for advertising, this issue is still important to me as a former PR student.  Cannabis is the hottest new commodity sweeping the nation since being legalized and audiences are looking to get their hands on it any way they can.  With legality issues standing in the way of communicative creativity, business will become sluggish for industries like advertising and marketing.  They are many aspiring individuals in PR, advertising, marketing, journalism, and other areas of communications that see a brighter future through cannabis.  As the writer of entertainment PR stories at MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I take so much joy in informing the audience about the current cannabis trends.  It’s been such an honor to write about an industry that was once so taboo where it was troublesome to even talk about it (let alone smoke it in the open!).

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Recreational cannabis use is one of the hottest social issues here in America.  There’s a brighter future out there for the cannabis industry and we need the most creative mad men out there to showcase that future to ALL audiences.