CANNAINVESTOR Magazine January / February 2017 - Page 91

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The industry’s move toward branded products provides tremendous opportunities for existing state-licensed marijuana businesses, entrepreneurs seeking to enter the industry, and businesses seeking to establish brands. Most importantly, branded marijuana products allow growers, processors, retailers and dispensaries the ability to reap a larger profit.

The app and online website, Leafly, lists 2100 marijuana strains, and hundreds of vape pen cartridges, waxes and concentrates capsules and tinctures. As America’s marijuana industry becomes more mainstream and continues to grow at breakneck speed, this increasingly large number of marijuana products reinforces the need for distinctive branding.

For growers, processors and retailers, brands are critical to building customer loyalty, creating and sustaining consumer trust and introducing new products that are relevant, innovative and trendy.

Currently, much of the marijuana industry is based on customers being “sold” products by budtenders. Budtenders are the gatekeepers at dispensaries and retail stores, and are key to the success of the business. Generally, budtenders suggest that customers or patients take a whiff of various strains contained in apothecary jars, or follow their recommendations regarding concentrates or edibles. This is a throwback to how most medicine and consumer products were sold at the turn of the 20th century, over a hundred years ago. As pre-packaged marijuana and marijuana products become more common, the role of the budtender will change, however they will continue to be the key to suggesting the purchase of specific marijuana products in dispensaries and retail stores.

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