As the cannabis industry morphs from an underground “stoner” culture into a mainstream business, marketing and branding experts say it’s critical that breeders, growers and retail shop owners be alert to how the general public perceives their products. This is particularly important if the industry wants to make marijuana more appealing to a wider audience and get state and federal lawmakers on board.
Marijuana strain names are a good place to focus, experts said.
While longtime cannabis users may think nothing of names like AK-47 or Alaskan Thunder F#*$, such monikers can scare off uninitiated consumers and florida marijuana doctors and patients as well as raise eyebrows among lawmakers. Some strain names turn off people because they are offensive, sound scary or invoke deadly drugs.
Some companies are already taking action. Many growers announced the abandoning of traditional strain names in favor of an “effects-based” classification system using terms like “calm” and “cruise.”
“You shouldn’t need to bio-hack your body through a periodic table of ominous strain names like Trainwreck just to buy some pot.
Many Patient Groups came to a similar conclusion a while back. A California dispensary worked with a grower to come up with an alternative for the strain Green Crack. It’s now called Dream Queen.
“Green Crack is not very medicinal sounding, which is what we’re trying to portray the dispensary’s director of marketing. “Dream Queen, which is well-used throughout the industry, takes the edge off a name like Green Crack. It’s a widely acceptable use of an interchangeable name.”
Patients Group and marijuana doctors in florida also has reassessed other products. It previously sold a hash wafer named Shiva Crystals, which some of its patients took offense to for religious reasons. Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism.
“It was not super offensive, but it had a religious undertone that was offensive. “That was a very high-quality marijuana product, and we had to work with the manufacturer to change the name to be able to carry that top-quality product.”
The dispensary ended up calling the product Hash Wafer.
Understand the Meanings
Strain names typically reference the genetics of the two parent cannabis plants that created the flowers ultimately sold in dispensaries. The word “kush,” for example, is found in a number of strains that are descendants of indica plants originally grown in the Kush mountain range around Afghanistan and India. Chem and Dawg also are qualifiers found in many strains.
While there’s science and history behind what strains are called, many have names that perpetuate the industry’s counterculture. Marketing and branding experts say that could be detrimental to the marijuana industry moving forward.
“If formalized opposition occurs for any kind of legalization, the industry doesn’t want to give that opposition any fuel for a negative advertising campaign. The industry doesn’t want to give its opponents those high-octane names for its strains.