Even with recent outspread legalization, many people still believe in the old stoner stereotype that people who use marijuana are unkempt, lazy, stupid, unproductive, or otherwise unsavory. But the recent legalization and opening of recreational stores are proving those stereotypes are just plain wrong.
Today’s recreational user is more like what you might see in your local coffee shop. Maybe because the new retail recreational stores are looking and feeling more like your local coffee shop. From the soccer mom to the college professor, from the young hipster to the white collar business professional, we are seeing a drastic trouncing of the old stoner stereotypes. Here’s why we think the new retail store format is helping to shape the new face of cannabis consumers.
1. Safer access. Gone are the days of the back alley deal with unsavory characters. Consumers over 21 can enter a clean store with professional bud tenders who are knowledgeable and friendly. That’s causing folks who wouldn’t go to the black market before, to come try the new legal retail market instead. And these are folks who definitely don’t fit the typical stoner stereotypes.
2. Safer products. All of our products are lab tested for quality, potency, pesticides, and to make sure there’s not a bunch of excess leaf, twig or other unsavories in your cannabis. Just the good stuff.
3. Higher quality products. Gone are the days of ditch weed. Legalization has brought formerly underground grow operations out into the open as Washington’s new producers. These are people who have been growing for years but are now able to expand their facilities and production, allowing for better growing conditions. These folks aren’t your average stoner growing pot in his mom’s basement. These are true artisans at their craft who are now able to grow in the most desirable conditions. Top quality growing facilities = some pretty amazing cannabis.
4. Control over the experience. If we haven’t experienced it ourselves, we know someone who has. A bad trip. When all you wanted was to feel stimulated and party all night, and what you got was a 6-hour couchlock. What was available in the market before was mostly indica. Why? Because it is smaller (read: easier to hide), and faster to flower (read: faster to market). But indica is the variety that can sometimes leave you couch-locked. So, if you bought from your dealer looking for something to get your motor going, or inspire your creative side, you may have been disappointed with the experience. The realization that you can be highly functional on weed, even more alert, AND predetermine your outcome, is changing that stoned-on-the-couch stereotype.
5. Wider selection available. Post prohibition marked a rapid increase in the types of available liquor, beyond bathtub gin. The landscape is no different here. Legal growers are out in the open, allowing them better facilities and resources. They are cross breeding and creating new strains with great fervor and the result is an outstanding selection of flower. Want it to smell like berries? No problem. Want to taste an earthiness and enjoy a heightened sense of creativity? You got it. Need sleep? We’ve got you covered.
6. Closet consumers are “coming out” in droves. In a brilliant and touching ad, Green Flower Media calls out these closeted consumers and asks them to share their story. It’s called #ComingOutGreen. And we love it. Mostly because it shows average people. People that you might see in your local coffee shop, at a PTA meeting, at the high school football game, at work. And here’s the kicker, most of the time you would never have guessed they used cannabis.
7. Legality makes it legit. Those law-abiding folks who were reluctant to try it before because it was illegal, are more willing to step into a clean store to purchase it safely and legally. Also, see #6.
8. Tasteful advertising. Gone are the images of scantily clad women in compromising positions surrounded with smoke and holding a bong. Also gone are the slew of slang terms that bring the stereotypical stoner to mind.
You know, terms like pot, weed, dope, grass, green, ganja, herb, reefer, cheebah, chronic, Mary Jane, bud, skunk, doobage, sticky icky, and wacky tobaccy. As well as phrases like getting high, stoned, baked, ripped, faded, sparking up, smoking up, toking up, and, lest we forget, getting blitzed out of our gourds.
The best MJ marketers will not be using any of these terms because of the derogatory associations and because they really no longer apply.
9. Viewing cannabis growth for the art it is. We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the art and craftsmanship that goes into our favorite beers and wines. Cannabis is no different. Much the way a viticulturist is a master of the grape vine, the people growing cannabis are experts in plant breeding, growth conditions, nutrients, and masters of the plant itself. With the new legalization, these folks can finally spread their wings, and it’s causing an amazing and sharp increase in the quality and variety of the products they are able to bring to market. With retail stores offering “meet your grower” experiences and featuring weed like fine wines, the stigma surrounding it is quickly fading.
10. Consuming responsibly. The new industry is being forthright in its advertising and advising folks to consume responsibly with ad campaigns focused on anti-over-consumption and starting slowly – because let’s face it, this shit is getting real. Some strains are testing at 40% THC! And the edibles? Whoa. So seriously, start slowly and consume responsibly.
Our recreational clients are getting better quality, safer products and the education to empower them to make the right choice for them and the experience they want. All of those things put the power in the hands of the consumer for the first time. Consumers are finally emboldened to “come out”, and that alone is blowing the stereotype away (and blowing the doors off some closed minds).