Marijuana will be legal almost everywhere in the near future, predicts Faith Popcorn, Futurist and CEO of the strategic consultancy Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve. In a wide-ranging interview with www.marijuana.com, Popcorn discussed the current scenario in Canada, where recreational use will be legal by July of 2018. However, recent legislation there suggests that marijuana products should be packaged in plain brown wrappers to make its status as a psychoactive clear and protect consumers.
Popcorn, an expert in consumer trends and marketing, feels that this packaging guideline would do a huge disservice to the companies that manufacture the products and especially to the consumer. She explains that a plain brown wrapper would keep marijuana looking like a shady, illegitimate product despite its legal status.
It would also run counter to the Egonomics Trend, which says that in our increasingly impersonal world, consumers want products tailored just to their unique needs. In order for prospective buyers to connect with a brand, they need more information than just size and strength of the product. Popcorn has said, “When you are drinking vodka, you get to decide if you want Tito’s or Absolut. Marijuana should follow the same path.” She points to the example of Netflix partnering with a California dispensary this year to create strains of cannabis that sync with the new season of streaming shows. She sees it as a brilliant way to acknowledge the ability of marijuana to achieve different moods – from giddy to relaxed to sleepy – and to allow consumers to decide just what they want to consume.
In addition, Popcorn emphasized that marijuana companies should take a cue from beverage alcohol companies. Those businesses steer clear of anything that could be perceived as marketing to those underage – nothing cartoony. She cautioned cannabis businesses to not go down the path of gummies and cookies that can seem targeted at those who are not legal. She also emphasized the importance of packaging sizes – she noted that THC-laced beverages are currently sold in familiar-looking single-serve cola bottles with instructions to drink just a small portion, not the whole 16 ounces as one usually would. Popcorn said that no alcohol company would ever put 100-proof liquor in that kind of bottle and expect the consumer to know not to guzzle the whole quantity. So too must emerging cannabis companies reflect and work with prevailing consumer behaviors to ensure a safe and satisfying experience – and one that doesn’t get them into the crosshairs of even stricter guidelines.
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