Rebranding Pot: A Book Proposal

Top 18 Companies Giving Cannabis a Makeover

Overview of Rebranding Pot

In the U. S. and Canada, cannapreneurs — entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry — are employing increasingly sophisticated design strategies to position their brands. They are targeting a range of potential consumers — women, connoisseurs, skeptics, health nuts, millennials and (perhaps most interesting) those who have never used cannabis before. Rebranding Pot will feature the cannapreneurs who are responsible for the green revolution’s exciting examples of innovative branding and advertising, and will reveal how certain cannabis companies attract new consumers and position themselves in a burgeoning industry.

Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash

For those who partake in legal cannabis, the question will arise: What role does design play in that decision?

Rebranding Pot is structured around the central assumption that aesthetics will play a significant role in how cannabis products are received by society as cannabis becomes legal in North America. Intelligent and elegant solutions will allow companies to disassociate themselves from the stigma traditionally attached to cannabis consumption, securing new consumers among the cannabis-curious. The book’s thesis will be supported by images, stories and case studies that showcase the range of branding trends surfacing as a result of the green rush.

Case Studies

In order to create an overview of the cannabis industry’s most compelling designs, Rebranding Pot’s case studies will focus on the people responsible for leading their company’s branding process. Through interviews and independent research the authors will explore questions such as:

  • How are cannabis companies defining target audiences?
  • How do these companies position their cannabis products?
  • How do they catalyze contemporary trends or execute the unexpected?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Rebranding Pot will make readers wonder: What will this industry look like once cannabis is federally legal? What does legalization look like?

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Draft Table of Contents

Rebranding Pot will profile cannapreneurs from the U.S. and Canada. Each chapter will focus on a specific sector of the cannabis industry such as edibles, mechanical equipment, fertilizer, accessories, dispensaries, private equity companies, and subscription boxes. The book will also discuss how celebrities are leveraging their notoriety to promote their cannabis companies.

Introduction

  • Visual stereotypes: discussion of the visual signifiers of the past four decades connected to cannabis.
  • Historical context: discussion of substances that were once prohibited or once strictly regulated (e.g. alcohol and tobacco products).
  • Legal overview: discussion of which states have legalized cannabis and overview of strategies employed to promote American legalization.
  • Pot Tech: new technologies that influenced the cannabis industry and its aesthetics (e.g. vaping, eJoints, websites, social media).

Chapter 1: Private Equity

  • Brendan Kennedy, founder and CEO of Privateer Holdings, a Seattle, WA-based private equity company that owns Marley Natural (a cannabis brand based on the life and legacy of Bob Marley that sells flower, accessories, and body care products), Leafly (a website where companies and dispensaries can list locations, products, and strains) and Tilray (a medical cannabis grower and online dispensary committed to producing medical cannabis safely and reliably).
  • Bruce Linton, founder and CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation, a Smith Falls, Ontario-based medical cannabis company that is publicly traded. The company has three subsidiaries: Tweed (a medical cannabis company that refines popular cannabis strains and breeds proprietary genetics), Bedrocan Canada (an international medical cannabis company that pioneered medical cannabis growth in Holland) and Mettrum (a medical cannabis company that educates and supplies physicians and patients across Canada with high-quality medical cannabis and cannabis products).

Chapter 2: Celebrity Cannapreneurs

The 16 celebrity cannapreneurs discussed in this article I published would be profiled together with any additional players who have entered the industry.

Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Josh Groban.

Chapter 3: Online Magazines

  • Sirita Wright, Kali Wilder, and Safon Floyd, co-founders of EstroHaze, a New York City-based online publication incubated by CanopyBoulder that highlights the business and lifestyles of multicultural women in the cannabis industry. CanopyBoulder, a Boulder, CO-based seed-stage accelerator for cannabis startups that produce ancillary products and services. The company provides a $70,000 grant, a 16-week bootcamp and industry knowledge to startups in exchange for a 6–9.5% equity stake in each business.
  • Jason Lazar, founder of Hemponair, a New York City-based online publication that serves as a gentleman’s guide to style, culture and cannabis. The publication fuses cannabis and fashion by featuring product reviews, launches, style, trends, people, culture, and events in both the fashion and cannabis worlds.
  • Verena von Pfetten and David Weiner, co-founders of Gossamer, an online and analogue publication that “looks at the world — travel, design, art, culture, and food — through a green lens.”
Fumettes from Elevate Jane.

Chapter 4: Accessories

Monica Khemsurov and Eviana Hartman, co-founders of Tetra, a New York City-based online retailer selling high-end cannabis accessories that is dedicated to elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience. Tetra sells designer smoking objects like pipes, ashtrays, and lighters as well as home fragrances, vintage finds, and other accoutrements.

Chapter 5: Online Dispensaries

  • Dona Frank, founder of Natural Cannabis Company, a Santa Rosa, CA-based dispensary with locations in Oakland, CA and Hopland, CA that offers cannabis delivery services and in-store pickup. The company collaborated with South African rap duo Die Antwoord to create Zef Zol, a cannabis product line that features vapes, vape refills, candies and lip balms and celebrates the link between creativity and cannabis.

Chapter 6: Nutrients

  • Michael Straumietis, founder of Advanced Nutrients, an Abbotsford, British Columbia-based cannabis fertilizer company. Since 1996, the company has produced cannabis fertilizers that make it easier and less expensive for customers to grow bigger and better crops.

Chapter 7: Dispensaries

  • Wanda James and Scott Durrah, co-founders of Simply Pure, a Denver, CO-based dispensary and edibles company that specializes in producing a healthy alternative to the traditional edibles market. James and Durrah are the first African-American couple in Colorado to own a dispensary.
  • Josh Ginsberg and Rhett Jordan, co-founders of Native Roots Dispensary, the largest dispensary chain in Colorado with dispensaries in Denver, Aspen, Vail, Trinidad and Colorado Springs. The company provides high-quality medical and recreational cannabis products in locations with minimalist industrial interior design and trademark graphic wallpaper.

Chapter 8: Subscription Box

  • Austin Heap, Ian Buczowski and Evrett Kramer, co-founders of Potbox, a San Francisco, CA-based monthly cannabis subscription service delivering high-quality, ethically-grown cannabis The company has since expanded throughout California, and provides a more sophisticated alternative to the various other ‘on-demand’ cannabis delivery services.

Chapter 9: Chocolate

  • Peter Barsoom, founder and CEO of 1906 New Highs, a Denver, CO-based premium edibles company. Its products marry the benefits of cacao, cannabis, and ethnobotanical ingredients and are designed to appeal to responsible, informed, health conscious adults.
  • Scott Palmer and Kristi Knoblich, co-founders of Kiva Confections, an Oakland, CA-based medical cannabis company selling chocolate that is potent, consistent, and enjoyable. The company’s chocolate won “Best Edible” at the San Francisco and Los Angeles Cannabis Cups in 2013.

Chapter 10: Hardware

  • Jay Evans, founder and CEO of Keirton, a Surrey, British Columbia-based cannabis trimmer company. The company collaborates with dealers, customers, and leading producers and growers to develop specialty crop harvesting solutions with a strong emphasis on systems thinking and single piece flow.

Conclusion

  • Future predictions: the possible directions that the cannabis industry will take due to new consumers, products and fads.
  • How cannabis branding will evolve: how current cannabis branding trends will continue to develop and speculation about possible emerging branding trends.
  • Federal legalization and the potential shaping of a new market paradigm: issues relating to cannabis legalization efforts on a state and federal level and the impacts of those issues on the cannabis industry.

Social Media and Website

The book will have its own website, Twitter account, Pinterest board, Facebook page, and Instagram feed. Content for these platforms can also be created collectively.

Lead Author & Editor-in-Chief of Rebranding Pot

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store