lifestyle | 10.23.2018

Can High-End Brands Help End Cannabis Stigmatization?

Sam Anthony

Staff

Historically, marijuana has been considered more of a low-brow activity.

Where I grew up, there was one well-known headshop called Piece of Mind. Their motto was “pound for pound, the dopest shop around” and it was owned by the usual bearded, scruffy-looking pothead types. They opened right next to my high school, which probably wasn’t by accident.

Although they weren’t breaking any laws, they certainly weren’t helping legitimize weed culture. More  than likely, they were perpetuating the stereotypes that kept "War on Drugs" believers from supporting new legislation.

Fast-forward to today and certain high-end cannabis brands are looking to change that perception.

The Importance of Branding

Imagine if McCormick’s Vodka and Canadian Club whiskey were the only liquor brands available. Someone that didn’t know anything about drinking would think this whole “liquor thing” was only for college students and hobos.

Now, think of Crown Royal Canadian Bourbon; the box with a royal insignia on the front, the bottle encased in a soft purple drawstring bag, the hefty cap resembling a crown. Think of Grey Goose Vodka with its long, elegant bottle, luxury commercials, and expensive price tag incite feelings of wealth and celebrity. And, in a capitalist culture like ours, wealth and celebrity equate to what people like to call winning.

High society people must drink this stuff - or at least that is what their brand managers want you to think.

The point is that McCormick’s and Grey Goose are both vodka (although the quality is objectively different) but one makes the general public think of yachts and black-tie events, and the other invokes images of vagrants and degenerate kids at backyard ragers.

The same thing applies to weed -- no one is going to take it seriously if it only comes in a sandwich bag that you bought from “your good buddy, Rocko."

Mature markets have more than one market segment and that is what cannabis culture should strive for if it wants mainstream acceptance.

So, where is the Gucci of Ganja?

Marijuana needs a rebranding if it’s going to be more ubiquitous in society. And high-end brands like MedMen, Mister Green, Défoncé, and Dosist are looking to do just that.

Dosist

Dosist is a great example of an innovative new brand that is helping to refine marijuana culture. To get an idea from their website, think clean, professional, and futuristic.

Their branding is a complete one-eighty from traditional stoner culture. For example, the color green isn’t even on the website, nor is a pot leaf or traditional stoner lingo like “dope” “baked” “4:20” ...none of that stuff. And consciously so. It's simply integrating a better, more modern product and aesthetic into a growing industry.

Not all of these brands are going for a fully refined style, though.

Mister Green

Mister Green, on the other hand, is a clothing brand that still rocks a lot of the hippie vibes that are more in line with marijuana culture’s past, but does it with a much more stylish aesthetic. They have locations in Tokyo, London, Paris, and Los Angeles and have slowly become a respected streetwear brand that has kids all across the world waiting to cop. Check out their website here: Mister Green Life Store.

Slowly, but surely...

Regardless of the approach, the important part is that people are using and wearing these brands without fear of being marginalized.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Similarly, decades of propaganda and misinformation about marijuana is not undone without years of effort. But it will happen in due time and it appears that these high-end brands are helping it along.

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