The doors are opening for people who used to be considered criminals to take on new roles in their communities as this wave of legitimacy sweeps the nation. Many states are beginning to set rules for the medical/recreational marijuana industry, but the industry as a whole isn’t doing itself any favors with names and logos tied to classic cartoons or parodies of children’s brands.
Like Dabs R Us pictured above, for example. These folks were at the High Times SF Cannabis Cup 2014, and just a few booths down was “Boo Boo’s Bubbles” (as in Boo Boo from Yogi Bear). The names are clever, and I know these entities likely didn’t choose their names in order to appeal to children. In a nostalgic, hipster sort of way, these names are clever and intended for adults.
But clever or not, these sorts of branding tactics need to go. The cannabis industry is gaining ground, but some parents are still scared their children are going to be targets of dealers and dispensaries.
I know, I know. Most of those fears are unfounded. Look at Colorado, where no dispensaries were tempted into selling to minors — kids just aren’t getting buds from legal shops. Teen cannabis use remains stagnant even though it’s legal for adult recreational use in 2 states. Or how about the studies that show having dispensaries in a neighborhood has no effect on serious crime rates and may actually decrease crime?
Facts like those, however, aren’t going to win over parents by themselves. The industry has to self-regulate.
Let’s show them we mean business and that we care — cut out the kiddie names from marketing before the state makes us. We can save a lot of effort and gain a lot of good will through voluntary compliance. Like it or not, cannabis is being compared to big tobacco companies, and parents had every right to worry about them marketing to teens (because some were!). Though we may not agree with the comparison, it’s not a huge leap to see where concerned parents are coming from.
Not to pick on these folks, but Dabs R Us wouldn’t even have to change their name. They could adjust their logo design so it isn’t a direct take on the toy store brand.
Why win over parents?
Because many of their fears are based on misinformation. Those that are actually concerned for the welfare of their kids (and not just using their children as a shield for a general dislike of cannabis) could be our biggest allies, especially since CBD and other cannabinoids have been shown to have positive effects on children with a devastating seizure condition. Some parents already are allies, like Parents 4 Pot.
There are some legit concerns from that camp, too. Clear labeling for edibles is a big one. And some studies have indicated that cannabis use in teens and younger children has a negative effect on their developing minds (though that study is being challenged and called flawed).
What about Girl Scout Cookie and other entrenched names?
As cannabis enters the realms of legitimacy, issues of trademark and copyright will arise. The Girl Scouts of America probably aren’t thrilled with the name of the popular cannabis strain Girl Scout Cookie, though some regions are fine with their scouts selling their regular cookies outside of dispensaries.
Will we need to start calling this strain “GSC” instead or something entirely different? Will other strains need to change their names to protect the innocent? Or will we carry on with a wink and a nod to the real Girl Scouts? All of this is new territory for a legit cannabis industry.
Let’s enter this new era of regulation and legitimization with grace. Cut the kiddie branding.