As this potent little herb is slowly gaining legalization across the United States and Canada, it is design that is shifting generational perceptions from stoner to super premium. Design will continue to build cannabis brands that radically change culture as it “buds” into the mainstream. 

A Must See: Grass Is Greener [HD] | Netflix

Since California voters passed a proposition to allow the use of medical marijuana in 1996, 30 more states and Washington, D.C., have followed suit. Of those, nine have also legalized it for recreational use.  Whether you are crafting cannibus or making marijuana or designing doobies , the legal marijuana trade is now the country’s fastest-growing industry. According to Arc view Market Research, Americans will spend around $11 billion on legal marijuana this year (up from $8.5 billion last year.) By 2021, that figure will double. The numbers are staggering, but they might be conservative, considering the momentum of the pro-pot movement.

Marijuana Brand Positioning & Design

Adriana Kertzer the author of Rebranding Pot dares to study how design is playing a rolefor those who partake in legal cannabis? In the U. S. and Canada, cannapreneurs — entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry — are employing increasingly sophisticated design strategies to position their brands. They are targeting a range of potential consumers — women, connoisseurs, skeptics, health nuts, millennials and (perhaps most interesting) those who have never used cannabis before. Rebranding Pot features the cannapreneurs who are responsible for the green revolution’s exciting examples of innovative branding and advertising, and will reveal how certain cannabis companies attract new consumers and position themselves in a burgeoning industry.

Earlier this year, MedMen released a series of new billboards in Los Angeles. They were easy to miss, not only because of the landscape (they were, after all, billboards in Los Angeles), but also because of the imagery. There was a nurse with migraines, an athletic coach suffering from muscle pain, a white-haired granny looking for a social boost. Real people who engage with cannabis products.

Forget Stoner Campaign | MedMen

Cannabis Package Design

Whether or not cannabis is legal in your state, it’s not illegal for packaging design firms to work for cannabis customer. Designers are leading some of the most inventive packaging and delivery systems. If you are a design leader considering work with cannabis companies, you’ll need to embrace an up-to-date interpretation and steer clear of the old clichés that can have more negative connotations. As in any marketing systems design, you’ll also want to consider your target audience and inclusive design trends. Check out a few of these superb design led brands.

Leafs By Snoop

Leif Goods

Leif Goods

Leif Goods’s elegant chocolates could be mistaken for a Mast Brothers bar. Which, of course, is the entire point. Leif Goods sleek, modern chocolate wrappers embody weed's move upmarket. 

Retail Experience Design Innovation

Megan Stone has taken environmental branding and retail dispensary design innovation to a new level. Megan designs retail locations for medical use, and shops, where weed is sold legally. She is on a mission is "to elevate the cannabis industry through professional retail design", said 31-year-old Stone, who set up her studio in 2013 after completing her design studies.

Serra Cannabis – a self-proclaimed "modern druggist" – opened in July 2016, after the state of Oregon legalized the recreational use of cannabis products in October 2015.

Serra Cannabis dispensary in Portland

Serra cannabis dispensary features greenhouse-like display cases by Portland studios OMFGCo and JHL Design.

Simply Pure is considered one of the best dispensaries in Denver. Entrepreneurs Wanda James and Chef Scott Durrah, the first African-Americans licensed in the state of Colorado to own a dispensary and manufacturer of infused products: Simply Pure.

The pair not only have a dispensary, they have a dynamic restaurant, Jezebel's Southern Bistro & Bar, for food with a Southern flair and a Coloradan attitude. The Simply Pure Dispensary has some of the finest green goodies ever grown, with guidance from owner Dan Pettigrew and expert extractor Professor Piff. View Simply Pure Video

There are many uncertainties facing the cannabis industry, the fate of craft cannabis among them. If Cannabis is legalized by the federal government of the United States, like other industries, it may become dominated by a few large firms. But there is ample reason to believe the craft market driven by design can not only survive but thrive. Consumers are showing a preference for diverse and regional products, while some states are taking steps to promote small businesses and prevent the industry from consolidating. As the industry matures, crafting cannabis should maintain a strong presence in the marketplace just as it has for the liquor giants.

The maestros to monitor:

Sources, Related Articles & Papers

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Doobie Design via @jpenabickley