Where Does Cannabis Sit Along the Design Spectrum?
In the midst of legalization with new money and companies coming to the playing field, a new problem is arising: tensions of the cannabis design spectrum.
We all know what a spectrum is. Two ends, two opposite sides, a whole bunch of juicy middle stuff. When looking at weed design, we currently have two clear endpoints on the design spectrum.
On one end, we have the heritage market. This — you now know — is not inherently bad. It has its place and is important not only for the largest group of consumers but also for the rich history of cannabis culture in America.
All the way on the other side, we have the “elevated market”. The “elevated market” is the current trend in cannabis. You can see it in the Apple-like packaging and high-end dispensaries that have popped up all over the place. It’s a Whole Foods-style experience, but does everyone want or need that? Elevated brands are important; they were needed to raise up perception, they were needed to be able to do things like raise VC funding, and they were needed to be able to change legislation.
But what happens to the middle?
I’d like to take a moment here to look at what is happening in our country right now. Right now, the United States of America is so polarized that people literally delete friends off their Facebooks for having differing views. But believe it or not, there is one thing that is actually uniting people and politicians, and it’s weed. We have both red and blue government officials siding with green because they recognize that it will bring them more tax dollars, less crime, and ultimately more votes. (And let’s be real, that’s what a lot of them care about.)
So when we have more public figures coming out and supporting cannabis, it is our job as designers, innovators, and forward thinkers to have an environment ready where everyone feels welcome. When someone looks to join a community, the first thing they ask is “are these people like me?” If there isn’t a brand, a product, a dispensary that suits their needs, then we have failed. Design needs to be for all, but design can very easily be alienating.
Design is about empathy. Empathy, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, because then you are still thinking about what you would do if you were in their position. True empathy is really learning and understanding what that person wants, from their own perspective.
I’m about to be controversial, but Steve Jobs ruined designers. Jobs said, don’t ask the customer what they want, tell them what they want. It’s very easy to design for yourself, or your friends. What’s difficult, is to design for everyone. What this industry needs now are brands that are for all.
I am not by any means endorsing soda, but strong brands like Coca-Cola do a great job being for everybody. It’s inviting, it’s familiar. At first, you might think well that’s somewhat generic, that’s not very cool Libby. But that’s what cannabis needs right now, it needs more brands that fill out the middle of the spectrum. A brand that you can bring to that Florida Thanksgiving for your uncle and show off to your whole family.*
There’s overwhelming support for weed now. Hemp CBD is everywhere you look including internationally, people are sporting leaf pattern apparel, and working in the cannabis industry is a hot topic. As cannabis greets the world, we have to realize that it’s not just a product or a plant, it’s an idea. Real and lasting impact can come from that idea, but only if we do it the right way.
There’s so much potential in the future, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Got any predictions of what’s to come?
*Disclaimer! I am not telling you to fly with weed. Don’t cross state lines with cannabis.
Tyson 2.0 Launches New Mike Bites Cannabis Gummies
Nearly 25 years after he was disqualified from the World Boxing Association Heavyweight Championship for biting his opponent’s ears, Mike Tyson’s Tyson 2.0 cannabis brand has just released ear-shaped edibles, Mike Bites.
The new ear-shaped edibles are complete with a missing chunk where Tyson removed a portion of Evander Holyfield’s cartilage in what became known as The Bite Fight. After Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear, the 1997 match resumed. However, after attempting to snack on Holyfield’s second ear, Tyson was disqualified and his boxing licence was withdrawn. The Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Tyson a a $3 million fine for his actions and he didn’t fight again for over a year.
Mike Bites gummies will be sold at dispensaries in California, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Wiz Khalifa Debuts New Taylor Gang x Stündenglass Collab
Wiz Khalifa and his entertainment company Taylor Gang Ent. have collaborated with Stündenglass, the world’s first gravity-powered infuser, to introduce the iconic gold and black Taylor Gang x Stündenglass.
“I’m honored to have collaborated with long time friend Wiz Khalifa, who is as passionate about this product as I am. Our mutual admiration for Stündenglass made it a natural collaboration,” Stündenglass CEO Chris Folkerts said via a press release.
Taylor Gang x Stündenglass is an authentic collaboration developed after the multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated Khalifa discovered Stündenglass and began enjoying it regularly as seen on his Instagram.
“I love my Stündenglass, and I’m pumped everyone gets to experience this with me now,” Khalifa.
The infuser features a patented 360-degree gravity system that elicits a powerful and immersive experience. It generates kinetic motion activation via cascading water, opposing airflow technology and the natural force of gravity.
The Taylor Gang gravity bing comes in an exclusive black and gold colorway and features two glass globes on a metal base made of aircraft-grade aluminum, surgical grade stainless steel, and high-quality Teflon seals.
Taylor Gang includes artists Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J, and Berner among others — the former of which has his own line Stündenglass collab with his Cookies brand.
“We’re very excited to launch the official Taylor Gang x Stündenglass. We use glass in our everyday lives, so it only made sense to team up and create an exclusive Taylor Gang collaboration for the fans,” Taylor Gang said.
No Super Bowl for Brock Ollie
With medicinal marijuana being legal in 37 states and recreational cannabis allowed in 18, we should be seeing commercials for companies, products, and services almost as frequently as commercials for sports betting, which is permitted in 30 states in some form.
However, mainstream cannabis advertising continues to be non-existent, as demonstrated in the recent news that NBC has rejected an ad by cannabis e-commerce and advertising platform Weedmaps from being shown during the Super Bowl LVI event his coming Sunday.
Weedmaps reportedly approached the network late last year about airing a Super Bowl commercial that would be “similar to a PSA,” according to reports. Execs volunteered to present some of their earlier educational-based programming, assuring NBC executives that it would not contain any direct-sell messages, which are still forbidden under federal law.
“The answer was a hard no — they wouldn’t even entertain the conversation,” Weedmaps Chief Operating Officer Juanjo Feijoo told Adweek. “We see ourselves as trying to be trailblazers in the industry and making new inroads where others haven’t gone before in cannabis advertising. So it was disappointing.”
The contentious ad personifies cannabis as Brock Ollie, a head of broccoli, the veggie emoji commonly used as a visual representation of cannabis in marketing. The 30-second ad takes viewers through a day in the life of Brock Ollie, whose superfood identity is in jeopardy as he is repeatedly misidentified as cannabis. The ad offers a lighthearted take on the industry’s issues, such as social media censorship and a lack of clear advertising standards, which limit cannabis-related commercials during nationally televised events like the Super Bowl.
“Despite three quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see in support for change at the federal level, the industry continues to face roadblocks that inhibit competition in the legal market and stifle opportunities to educate,” Chris Beals, CEO of Weedmaps said. “There’s an irony in the fact that the biggest night for advertising will feature an array of consumer brands in regulated industries, from beverage alcohol to sports betting, yet legal cannabis retailers, brands and businesses have been boxed out.”
The game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will be played Sunday in L.A.