While a dispensary’s internal marketing strategies help get a brand’s messaging out, collaborating with cannabis influencers adds credibility, consumer engagement, and brand recognition.
In this two-part series, we’ll be featuring influencers dispensaries should be paying attention to. These are the YouTubers, the bloggers, the Instagram personalities, the Facebook feeds, and the podcast hosts who have made a mark for marijuana online, in print, on TV and beyond.
Influencers are not paid by brands to provide a “celebrity shout-out” for more sales – consumers have caught on to this Kardashian-style form of marketing and are frankly a bit tired of it.
Influencer marketing is more about collaborating with industry people and platforms to get conversations going, help people recognize their options, and widen the reach of dispensaries to a larger audience scope.
First, we’ll look at 10 of the 20 influencers in the industry that enthusiasts and dispensaries alike are paying attention to.
This list, by no means exhaustive, covers visionaries, producers, researchers, advocates, musicians, and platforms that have stepped up to keep the marijuana business thriving and the dialogue going strong.
Krishna Sai Andavolu
Vice has become a popular platform for all topics both common and controversial, and has certainly not stayed away from marijuana culture.
Krishna Sai Andavolu, host of Weediquette on Viceland travels the world telling stories of all walks of life and their experiences with cannabis. His Twitter feed is a wealth of information on a global level,including legalization and the critical role of marijuana on economics, law, health and society.
Rogan has emerged from his Fear Factor days to become an outspoken, controversial, and sometimes crass advocate for marijuana legalization.
He uses his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, as well as social media channels to keep the dialogue alive regarding legalization, decriminalization, and the ways marijuana influences aspects of human health, including fitness and exercise.
He is a no-holds-barred advocate who has no problem pointing out flaws and hypocrisies in the legalization and criminal justice system.
Executive Director of Moms for Marijuana and founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, Cheryl Shumer brings high society to medical marijuana.
Referred to by the New York Times as “the Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills”, and also earning herself other monikers such as “The Martha Stewart of Marijuana” she is one of the most well-connected entrepreneurs in the business, being involved in regular TV, radio and print appearances and contributions.
Her Twitter feed is an up-to-date source of what’s happening not only in the U.S. but abroad in regards to marijuana legislation.
The acceptance and advancement of medical marijuana in California and across the nation has been greatly due to the efforts of Aaron Justis – current owner of Bud & Roses dispensary in Los Angeles.
Justis has been essential in helping legislators lay the groundwork for regulation at federal and state levels. He markets himself as a marijuana advocate and pioneer and has an impressive list of businesses under his name from which he can act as an influencer.
Dietrich maximizes what’s possible with technology, social networking, and cannabis. Founder and CEO of MassRoots, an app that helps people meet and share what they’re consuming, Dietrich has done quite a bit to up the ante on spreading strain and product knowledge.
His Twitter account explores the ins-and-outs of marijuana, cannabis events, and the latest in the industry while sharing helpful insights.
The talk show host we all know and love introduced his plans for a marijuana brand in 2016, revealing himself as a proud proponent of medical marijuana use, in particular for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
His new company, Lenitiv Labs, takes a comforting, informative and therapeutic approach to the delivery of medical marijuana products. Williams personal Instagram feed features a variety of topics and snippets of his life, places a positive spin on health treatments related to MS.
One of the founding members of WomenGrow, a members-only community of inspiring, educative and empowering women leaders, Jane West offers a brand of her own.
She brings total sophistication into the market, believing that the smoking experience is essential in advancing the movement. Both her accessories shop and her personal Instagram feed reveal her to be a likable, relatable woman entrepreneur who exudes passion for her work and the cannabis business all while being a dedicated mom.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Dr. Gupta, CNN’s current Chief Medical Correspondent, has been a big part of bringing the dialogue around the medical benefits of cannabis to the mainstream with his CNN special “Weed”.
He is a well respected, highly followed and reliable figure who has done a lot to soften the opinions of those who may have been previously ignorant or opposed to understanding the hype about medical marijuana.
Known mostly as a singer-songwriter and rockin’ guitar player, Melissa Etheridge has emerged as another celebrity influencer for cannabis.
Since going public with her use of medical marijuana after facing cancer, Etheridge has become a vocal and unapologetic advocate for medical marijuana and has used her fame to advance the societal and cultural acceptance of marijuana use.
She is the owner of Etheridge Farms, an organic farm which announced plans to produce marijuana products last year.
Willie Nelson continues to be one of the most recognizable, and effective figures in the advancement of marijuana.
Recently coming out with his own brand, Willie’s Reserve, the living legend maintains a loyal following due to his music and symbolism of Americana while remaining an unapologetic advocate and marijuana enthusiast.
As confirmed by our first batch of influencers, the legal marijuana business is backed by some incredibly dedicated and prominent people and platforms that can prove to be fruitful business relationships for dispensaries.
In part two of this series, we’ll examine some more influencers, such as Jazmin Hupp, Ry Pritchard, and Wanda James who are making a strong stamp on the marijuana industry. We’ll conclude our series by providing dispensaries with some ideas for creative ways that they can build relationships with influencers.