The “stoner” stereotype has plagued California cannabis businesses since before the drug was legal as medicine in the late 1990s. But many Los Angeles marijuana businesses are looking to re-brand their images in the hopes of better reflecting the type of business they do.
Branding is valuable for any business, but in the case of marijuana, the benefits are industry-wide because it can help to combat archaic conventional perceptions about marijuana as a product. Formulating a professional, unified brand can help address this – and allow companies to carve a name and a niche in a fiercely competitive market.
On the flip side, even where it’s legal to sell marijuana, it’s tough to advertise it. As our Los Angeles marijuana advertising attorneys can explain, marketing cannabis brands and marijuana dispensaries is rife with hurdles.
Hurdles to California Cannabis Advertising
A recent poll from Pew Research Center reveals nearly 7 in 10 Americans think marijuana should be legal. There’s a broad market of potential consumers within your reach. But when it comes to advertising, marijuana businesses need to tread carefully.
To begin, online platforms that are typically prime go-to’s for any start-up company – social media platforms like Facebook and search engine giants like Google – they don’t allow drug or drug-related promotions on their platforms. That means most cannabis advertising is left to blogs, podcasts, print media and e-newsletters. Although marijuana is legal in some form in 33 states and for recreational purposes in 11, it’s unlikely we’re going to see these corporations alter their formal policies until the substance is fully legal at the federal level. That also boxes bud businesses out of mediums like radio and television (each of which carry their own set of special rules too).
That leaves California marijuana businesses on their own to navigate the complex web of state-by-state, region-by-region regulations. Marketing restrictions can vary significantly depending on where you’ve set up shop. Some regulations are very similar to those for alcohol, but it’s best to have an attorney on retainer to advise you on such matters. In most parts of California, you can still advertise your cannabis company on a billboard, but not in certain cities. In other states, it’s wholly banned.
Some have taken the position that it’s easier to act first and apologize later. However, as our Los Angeles cannabis business attorneys can explain, an apology may not cut it. Instead, you could be staring down substantial fines and penalties. That’s not a risk you want to take if you can avoid it. An experienced legal team advising your branding efforts could help significantly.
Rebranding Your Cannabis Business Identity
Reasons to consider rebranding your marijuana business include:
- You’ve launched new or different services.
- The competition of your local market has shifted and you want your business identity to reflect that.
- You want to underscore the growing environment of professionalism within the industry.
Companies that are selling products online or arranging for pickup and delivery would also be wise to evaluate their branding and advertising platforms, both from a marketing and legal standpoint.
California cannabis companies have more to consider than the average small business when considering their marketing strategies. Consulting with an experienced marijuana attorney is in your best interest.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
The Challenges of Marketing Marijuana, Oct. 25, 2019, By Thomas Mitchell, Westword.com