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Culture » Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals 11/25-12/2

Canna-lebrity Endorsements

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Lately, Smoke Signals has been somewhat infatuated with the coming cannabis consumer experience revolution. For those who are not regular readers, the "revolution" we are referring to is the birth of a brand new product in the world's biggest economy during the golden age of consumerism.

And it isn't just one product or even one type of product. First there is what the cool kids are calling "flower" these days, which is just good old-fashioned cannabis bud. Then there are edibles, which includes both foods and drinks. There are also extracts and concentrates, which allow uses such as vaping.

Throughout the history of the black market in America, and pretty much everywhere else, cannabis bud was sold in a clear plastic baggie. You were lucky to find a "supplier" who would go the extra mile to use sealable bags. For obvious reasons, there was no label to identify the grower and the strain, much less the THC level or whether pesticides were used on the plant.

Contrast this with Leafs by Snoop, which as you may have guessed is Snoop Dogg (nee Lion)'s new line of cannabis products. The Atlantic says Leafs by Snoop "looks like it'd be right at home amongst the artisanal chocolate bars at Whole Foods or the all-natural lotions at Kiehl's."

And The Atlantic is correct. The products are beautifully packaged and creatively branded. The edibles line is called "Dogg Treats" and includes such deliciousness as dark chocolate, watermelon drops, strawberry fruit chews, and peanut butter cups. The bud packages include some iconic slogans such as "Smoke Weed Everyday," and each package includes a signed message from Snoop, which says, "it's beautiful to see how chronic leafs are a common source of peace, love and soul that connects us all."

For Snoop, these products will also likely be a source of huge amounts of cash. For now, the edibles are only being sold in Colorado, but may soon come to Oregon and Washington as well. Of course, Snoop has his eyes set on the California market and beyond.

Snoop will be competing with some other celebrities for a share of the cannabis market. Willie Nelson now has "Willie's Reserve," which is a set of bud products that Willie says is intended to reflect his personal values. Willie calls it the "anti-Walmart model" and says his products will meet quality and sustainability standards. The bud will come from both Willie's grows, as well as third-party growers. Willie also plans to open his own stores as well.

Bob Marley's family has created "Marley Natural," which includes a range of products featuring "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains." Marley's products are also exquisitely well-branded, making use of the Jamaican lion and photos of the verdant mountains of central Jamaica.

Marley's daughter Cedella told Caribbean Life News, "My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb. He's smiling right now at what's really happening." Many Jamaicans are hoping this high-profile investment by the Marley family in the U.S. market will help lend some momentum to the cannabis legalization movement in Jamaica.

But these products are not just about their celebrity creators, and the goal of the branding and packaging is not just to create an attractive product. Instead, these businesses are trying to present something that transcends the stoner stereotype. According to Cheryl Shuman, a leading cannabis consultant and a former editor of HighTimes, a key benchmark for these products is whether a woman would want to buy it.

Shuman told Fast Company, "Women are the secret to this whole thing." According to Adweek, women buy 85 percent of all household and consumer products. But it's not just that women are prolific consumers. The idea is that a cannabis product that would appeal to women is one that would appeal to almost anyone who would buy cannabis.

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