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I was going to write about the national brand landscape this week but I have an itch I need to scratch, so I’m throwing the normal format out the window. Before that, you should know this week’s episode of the Builders Build podcast was one of my favorites and it’s now streaming on Spotify and Apple.
Anyway, the other day I posted the following on LinkedIn and I wanna talk more about it, so let’s get into Free Smoke:
Soccer moms don’t buy weed
As long as I’ve been doing weed I’ve been getting the soccer mom pitch. Truth be told, I even stood firmly behind a “normalize cannabis” tagline for a good chunk of time. Please forgive me for my sins.
“Stoners are the target market. Few understand this.”Danielle Sebastian, Korova OG and Unrivaled Director of Marketing
First, let me clarify the phrase “soccer mom“. According to a 2016 USC study by Laurel Parker West, the “soccer mom” stereo type was popularized during the 1996 presidential elections, and is one of the 4 social constructs covered in her study of the media coverage of 90’s welfare reform.
A soccer mom is a powerful and privileged upper middle class (likely white) woman, and she probably doesn’t smoke weed. The illusion she does is validated by the reality that there are some well to do mom types who puff a vape now and then. The consumer avatar we all have in our head right now isn’t actually limited to moms, it easily ports across the spectrum to clean cut jocks and all the way over to grandma and grandpa who supposedly want to get high at the nursing home.
These “normal” and “clean cut” hypothetical cannabis users of the future are the same people used to validate low dose product ideas. Every few months they go into a dispensary and buy a vape, maybe a gummy they’ll dice into grains of rice and joint if they’re getting crazy this weekend. You can point to them as part of the future of cannabis, but the dollar share and unit share of the market is tiny for one simple reason: they hardly touch THC.
For the most part, this misconception and all the refined sleek low dose pitch decks, are fine. Consultants, marketers, investors and Forbes contributors love it and I’ve got no problem with them wasting their time and money as long as they do it without throwing shade on the people and culture that got us here. My friend Jackie wrote an article for High Times titled I’m Over Cannabis Brands That Don’t Like Cannabis Users and nailed it. Jackie and I don’t quite agree on everything (I think sick packaging is sick), but brands that don’t like cannabis consumers should get out of the cannabis business, period.
Business and feelings aside, with millions of cannabis consumers to sell product to in 2022, why y’all trying to sell weed to people who don’t smoke weed?
Rapper Cassidy famously said “I could sell salt to a slug” and I can’t help but say…
I’ll close this rant with some irony: My preferred consumption method is a grape Swishers but if it’s not smoke, low dose products are the ones that I personally like. That’s always been a red flag for me: If I like it, there’s probably not much of a market for it.
Low dose will happen someday, it doesn’t need to alienate anyone, and being early is the same as being wrong.
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Photo by Chiara Summer