How To Talk To Anti-Cannabis Believers

One of the most challenging aspects to cannabis advocacy can be how to talk to anti-cannabis believers. Every cannabis advocate has their own story of how they came to believe that cannabis was a powerful medication for wellness. I didn’t try cannabis until I was 30 years old, after having had my two daughters and having spent three decades firmly planted as a small town born and raised card carrying young Republican, Christian, and NRA member. Not quite the vision of a hippy you had in mind, is it? Just ask my best friend from junior high, Summer, who I clearly recall giving the “marijuana is a gateway drug” speech to in seventh grade. I believed with my whole heart that Summer was just a puff puff pass away from the mean streets of heroin abuse, destined to a career of prostitution or homelessness. <Side note: we’re both successful entrepreneurs these days.> I think it is this background that allows me to understand where anti-cannabis believers are coming from. I get it. I believed for thirty years and was sure I was right. Here are some helpful tips to make it easier for you to connect with folks who don’t share your viewpoint. 

START WITH AGREEMENT: Anger comes from fear. Trolling a troll or playing their game will only serve to further entrench them in their beliefs. Begin with the fundamental understanding that they are scared. Fear is a powerful thing. Perhaps they are worried that their children will lose all ambition or that the structure that gives them security will fall apart. These may seem like irrational fears to those of us with the knowledge of what a regulated cannabis industry looks like and feels like, but if I’m living in my small town in a state without that experience or knowledge, it just seems scary. When I moved to Las Vegas years ago I was shocked that everyone assumed I was a stripper or that I spent all my time in a nightclub. The reality is that I was in an office like most 20 somethings building a career and my Sunday mornings were spent in a church pew. When you begin with the understanding that these are very real fears for people, it gives you insight into their motivation. As an advocate you will begin to understand why they are so passionate about their stance against cannabis. 

SHARE YOUR STORY: Advice and opinions are tricky things because they aren’t right or wrong. They just are. I do my best not to offer up either, even when asked. Instead, I share my story or stories of experiences I have had. I share what happened to me, what led to my change in beliefs, and why I believe what I believe today. My pastor told me years ago that no one comes to faith thanks to a guy holding a sign and screaming about Christ on a street corner. Live in such a way that people are drawn to you and inquire about why you choose what you choose. If you are truly trying to make a positive impact in someone’s life it doesn’t matter that they agree with you. When they hear your story they can choose to make the decision that is right for their life. It’s a lot harder for anti-cannabis believers to generalize about all cannabis users being lazy stoners when they meet a hard working, award-winning entrepreneur and mom like me. 

OFFER TO BE THEIR GUIDE: For 4/20 this year our team hosted 500 industry leaders in a private residence to celebrate the holiday. There were guests from 21-90 years old, all education and career levels from cannabis trimmers to lawyers and doctors, and the property was in mint condition by the time it was over. Not one guest was inebriated or unsafe and many used our custom Lyft code to make sure they did not consume and drive. Of course I’m proud of our event and my team, but I share this because sometimes the people who most need a reality check about what regulated cannabis looks like aren’t the ones in the industry. We’re surrounded by the diversity of our industry every day, so we forget what it can be like to be on the outside thinking it’s filled with risk. There are some great resources the Drug Policy Alliance offers if you need facts and figures to share. 

I have always approached cannabis advocacy in the same way that I advocate for all of my beliefs: with kindness and a heart of service. The best cannabis advocates are educators. We are educating the general public with each interaction about who cannabis users are and what the industry represents. When someone is educated and has had their own experiences they are fully armed to make their own decisions about what is best for them, their family, and their community. 

 

8 Cannabis Brands That Are Working It On Social Media

Everyone has been a victim of hanging upside down, off the edge of our beds, high AF! On the most usual occasion we marry this act with scrolling through Instagram after puffing on the finest cannabis around. 

So in the sake of scrolling, here are the 8 coolest brands that will make your experience that much better.

@karl_kronic: Whoever Karl is , he know exactly what he is doing! The content that is posted on the page makes cannabis so appealing. This is a must follow!

@weedstagram420: We literally laughed for about 30 minutes straight scrolling through this timeline. In that time our friends got tired of us sending them posts, haha.

@thehighcircle: On their page they show you how to make a bong out of an airhead. Um what else is there to life?

@headyhawaii: The best bongs in town! hands down!

@nugshots: Its all about the strands with this brand! They post the weed we all should be smoking at least once a day!

@therealdank: Hey to all my hardcore fellas, we think you will appreciate this one.

@masterbong: This is some amazing content. Def tumblr worthy.

@dankshire: yeah, its about that time to roll up after this one. you have seen nothing like it before.

Okay so that is our list for the best cannabis brands on instagram for OBVIOUS reasons!

Meet the Unicorns: Roni Stetter Cannabis Queen

A Sacramento native, Roni Stetter learned at an early age the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Since age 10, Roni battled with chronic pain, and in high school,  discovered cannabis was the only medication that could help her be active and get around. 

roni-stetterAfter relocating to San Diego for college, Roni channeled her passion for the potent plant to politics, leading the charge to garner support for California’s 2010 attempt at marijuana legalization, Prop 19. 

While the measure failed, it sparked the activism bug, which led Roni on an internal battle. “I was working in public relations at the time sneaking around and hiding the fact that I smoke weed.”

It was at that point Roni made the decision to fully embrace cannabis culture. Taking her strong writing background and PR skills, Roni launched her own company, aimed at working directly with grassroots marijuana startups.

roni-stetter

In 2015, Roni earned the title of Miss High Times, boldly sharing her personal relationship with cannabis and the impact it has had on her life.

“I author a health and fitness blog and share training and nutrition tips for people trying to become more active. My ultimate goal is to be an evangelist, to showcase the health benefits of the plant,” she said in the interview

A longtime activist, wellness lifestyle blogger, and entrepreneur in the cannabis space, Roni brings both passion and enthusiasm to the Social Media Unicorn team.

You can connect with Roni on Twitter and Instagram as well as on her blog The Hurt Guru.

Every Cannabis CEO Needs to Know THIS About Social Media

Every cannabis CEO needs to know THIS about social media: it isn’t about social media. Apple Marketing Genius Guy Kawasaki said, “Today, social media is near the top of what determines your success or failure, whether you’re promoting a business, a product, or yourself.”

I remember back in 2006 when I opened my first business I got a wide range of advice on how I should market that business. From hiring a fancy advertising agency to joining the local Chamber of Commerce, everyone had an opinion on the best means to launch my business. So, I started where I was: the internet. These were the very early days of Facebook, long before you could get a business page, and MySpace was still the preferred social media platform.

Long before there were books about growing your business on social media, there I was in Northern Alberta doing just that. Today I find so many parallels between the tale of my first venture and the industry I am in today: cannabis. As America’s fastest growing industry, cannabis is the Wild West of marketing. Facebook and Instagram have taken a hard line against the paid promotion of cannabis, eliminating a lot of the pay per click options available to other industries on these platforms.

I spend my days working with brands of all shapes and sizes in the cannabis space on how to increase their brand awareness and drive revenue of their products. It doesn’t matter if you’re an A list celebrity or an enthusiast with a dream, if you are the CEO of a cannabis brand there is just one thing that you need to know about social media: COMMUNITY.

Too many social media strategists have gotten the fundamental understanding of what makes social media work wrong. They think it is about a pretty cover photo or great content. They’re sure that if you gain a particular audience size or achieve a particular percentage of audience engagement success will happen. All of these things are important in a comprehensive social media strategy for a cannabis brand, but there is only one thing that needs to remain front and center for you and your brand: COMMUNITY.

Social media works because since the dawn of humanity we have congregated together based on shared likes and dislikes. It is these human preferences that connect us. Particularly in cannabis communities across the world it is a fundamental belief about the use of cannabis that binds us. It keeps us firmly focused on the normalization of the use of cannabis, fighting back against generations of prohibition that was contrary to all common sense. It keeps us marching no matter our political party affiliation because we believe in the power of the herb. Social media is built on the principle of community.

For cannabis CEO’s who understand this one thing about social media for their cannabis brand they are able to view social media not as some abstract marketing tool. Instead, they are able to view social media as the foundation for all of their marketing efforts. Successful cannabis brands understand that they will go no where in the cannabis community without building and embracing the cannabis community.

Each cannabis community is different. Social Media Unicorn works in six cannabis markets: Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Oakland, and Los Angeles. In each of these unique markets we notice the nuances of the local cannabis community. Recreational or medicinal; organic or not; so many communities within each cannabis community emerge. It is our job to identify the nuances of each of these communities and find authentic, creative ways to connect with the members of these communities.

After all, it’s not about social media. It’s about being a social company.

Social Media Unicorn helps business leaders and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. We solve problems and make connections to make your life easier. Discover how our team of Social Media Unicorns can help you and your cannabis brand today by calling 702-812-6555 or send an email directly to our founder at krista@socialmediaunicorn.com.

What Parents Get Wrong About Marijuana

What parents get wrong about marijuana is the same as what they get wrong about children in general: they get it. Children will understand what you teach them. They are fully capable little humans who will understand all of those uncomfortable topics that you don’t want to talk to them about. My daughters have been raised around marijuana, understanding that it is powerful medicine just like they know that guns are powerful weapons. I didn’t hold back when it came to the dangers of how sick it can make healthy people should they accidentally or intentionally consume it. Your children are fully capable of understanding that a plant can be powerful medicine. They get it.

The easiest way to educate your children about marijuana is the same way that you would start talking to them about their maturing bodies, sex, alcohol, or travel. The first time I took my girls on an airplane it was scary. Today they’ve been on so many airplanes that they comfort the kids around them. What parents need to do more of is have open, non judgmental conversations with their children on a wide variety of topics- including marijuana. When your children know that they can talk to you about anything, it removes the fear and taboo.

No matter if you are working in the industry, consuming marijuana, or just wanting to address the normalization of cannabis that is happening in our world today, talking about it openly with your children is the best way to make sure they don’t use marijuana underage.

Cannabis In Canada: Becoming A Global Leader

The legalization of cannabis, either as a medicine or for recreational consumption, isn’t just a hot topic in the US. Other countries are facing the same demands from their populations: to legitimize and decriminalize cannabis. What has been interesting is the different approaches countries have taken in tackling this issue. Here in the US, the marijuana movement has been predominantly at a State level, but is there a better way to do this? Let’s take a glance at what our friendly northern neighbors are up to with cannabis in Canada.

The Federal Approach

The biggest difference in how Canada is handling cannabis is that they chosen to start at the top and then work downwards. Canada tackled the issue of cannabis as a country first, working towards providing structure and guidance to each province to round out their marijuana programs to best fit their own populace and economic needs. While the first attempt at regulating marijuana came into being in 2001, there have been many changes since then in regards to fine tuning the program to keep making it better. The latest news is that Canada is on track to make cannabis legal across Canada for adult use by July of 2018, putting it on track to be the second country in the world opting for complete legalization.

Federal Licensing

Because legalization is working from the top down, federal agencies are involved from the very beginning. Health Canada (sort of like the US’s FDA) issues the licenses for growers and distributors. This doesn’t mean that they won’t need business licenses in their home provinces, but the fact that the rules are the same across the country puts every ganjapreneur on relatively even footing. Their agricultural department is involved, supporting and helping the government to put together beneficial guidelines to help improve the industry. Local law enforcement is receiving guidance from national agencies, uniting local agents and providing valuable input on  how to regulate such a system.

Business Benefits

One of the biggest problems here in the US is that while some states are embracing cannabis, the country has not, despite a recent Gallup poll suggesting 60% of Americans support legalization. This means that because marijuana is still federally illegal, cannabis businesses are extremely limited. Federal banks cannot deal with them, large ad agencies don’t want to touch them, and most landowners won’t work with them. Marijuana as an industry has grown exponentially despite these serious limitations. What we are seeing in Canada is that because it is supported on a national level, these cannabis companies are able to play on the same business fields as other industries. They can work with national banks for loans and services and are also able to be publicly traded. Their potential for growth is much less inhibited than their US counterparts.

While the legalization of cannabis is not a new issue, it has been interesting to see how each country around the world has gone about tackling it. Countries such as Uruguay, where cannabis is legal, and soon-to-be legal Canada will be leaders in this global trend. Whether they intended to be or not, countries like Canada will be looked upon as an example of cannabis legalization.

Tell us what you think about cannabis legalization both here in America and around the world.

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The Best Cannabis Documentaries On Netflix Right Now

In the past, documentaries were those things you may see broadcasted on PBS or in an obscure ‘artsy’ local theater. Even then, a cannabis documentary likely wouldn’t have made it very far. With the advent of platforms like Netflix, we now have access to media that we traditionally would not be exposed to. Netflix has done an excellent job of offering a selection of powerful documentaries on a variety of topics, but in our case we are going to explore some of the documentaries that hit on a fiery topic – cannabis.

The Culture High

This cannabis documentary is a sequel to the award winning “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High” which was released back in 2007. This newer documentary, released in 2014, has an updated take on the war on marijuana in the USA and what is has cost us. Following the war on marijuana begins on the frontline with the DEA, other enforcement agencies, and the prison system under scrutiny. Following up the chain of government, the true cost of marijuana prohibition and what is has cost us, both fiscally and socially, are examined. Several marijuana activists, including Snoop Dogg and Berner, speak candidly along with many prominent scientists, enforcement officers, and policy makers. A well done film, you will appreciate this take on the current culture of cannabis in our country. Watch the trailer here.

Super High Me

Our favorite comedian stoner, Doug Benson, takes us on a before and after adventure into the lifestyle of a frequent marijuana user akin to the documentary Super Size Me. Basically, Benson spends one month completely free of cannabis in preparation for his time as a frequent user. His next 30 days is spent consuming large amounts of cannabis and we are taken on a journey with him to various doctors appointments and tests to determine the effects that cannabis has on his body. As hilarious as this canabis documentary is, it addresses many stigmas about the effects of cannabis consumption on not only the human body but the human lifestyle. Watch the trailer here.

Inside: Medical Marijuana

This documentary, released in 2011 by the folks at National Geographic, focuses on medical marijuana as a business and how this industry is finding legitimacy not only in the USA, but in other countries as well. With a focus on the medicinal benefits along with an examination of the economics of this industry, this cannabis documentary tackles how this industry has begun to take shape and gain ground amidst a number of political and cultural obstacles. Follow ganjapreneurs on their quest for an economically viable business while navigating the waters of legality, ethics, and social stigmas. No trailer for your viewing pleasure, but there are some tidbits located here.

While Netflix has a host of fictional cannabis stories to tell, it’s important that these documentaries also make it into your binge rotation. Productions like these help spread news and education to those seeking to understand the current climate of cannabis not only in America, but in the rest of the world as well. Check these titles out and be sure to write a review!

Want to get into the cannabis business but aren’t sure how? Contact us for all your cannabis business needs, we’re here to help!

Doobious Sources: Fake News, Stoners, & Why This Is The Movie You Need To Watch for 4/20

Doobious Sources is the award-winning debut feature film by Clif Lord. It is a stoner comedy that combines fake news, two bumbling stoners, and California cannabis culture. This wild ride follows a pair of weed-loving, freelance video journalists who have found themselves targeted by a mark they slandered in one of their exposes. The Reg and Zorn are stoners with a mission as self-appointed investigative journalists seeking to out local scammers and con men. In their blind ambition to secure juicy stories they are led to cut corners and fabricate the truth. When a powerful man they slander in one of their exposes comes looking for revenge, it takes every sleazy move in their toolbox to make it out alive. 

This low budget stoner comedy won the “Golden Leaf” award at the Maine Cannabis Film Festival. Doobious Sources is a modern take on stoner classics like Harold and Kumar, with 98 minutes of hijinks that any stoner will appreciate. The Reg and Zorn are goofily endearing, with clever lines like “I did not realize I was riding shotgun with Jacques Derrida.” For newbies to cannabis culture you might find the comedy stupid and pointless, but that’s ok- that’s the point.

Grab your favorite strain, get a good couch lock going, and sit back while you enjoy these marijuana fueled games. I recommend any indica or indica heavy hybrid to relax and let the giggles happen as you watch Doobious Sources. There’s a reason this film has an 8.1 on IMDB and 99% on Rotten Tomatoes: stoners love it. There is no better way to give the middle finger to fake news and celebrate stoner culture than downloading Doobious Sources on Amazon or iTunes this 4/20. Happy 4/20 Everyone!