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Respecting ‘Stoner Culture’ Will Pay Off For New Marijuana Investors


marijuana cash industry bankingThe landscape of the marijuana world is changing a lot these days. For a long time the marijuana industry operated in the shadows. The industry back then was largely comprised of stoners that were part of the counter culture movement. Yes, some were hippies who wore tie dye and listened to Grateful Dead. I was certainly ‘that kid’ when I was growing up. I wore tie dye Grateful Dead tour shirts to school all the time. For the record, I’m 33 years old, so this all took place in the 1990’s (not exactly the flower child era!). I was proud to be called a stoner then, and I’m proud to be called a stoner now, even though it’s considered to be a ‘put down’ by many. I frequented head shops, and listened to mixed CDs that were full of marijuana themed songs by Cypress Hill and other ‘stoner musicians.’ I watched movies like Half Baked and Cheech and Chong on an almost daily basis. I lived, ate, and breathed marijuana, and still do to this day obviously.

Whereas the marijuana industry was entirely a cottage industry back in the day, it’s been rapidly evolving. Marijuana laws are being reformed, and with that reform new business opportunities are being created. There is big money to be made in a legal marijuana industry, and that big money is attracting investors who are not from the ‘stoner culture.’ They wear suits, and graduated from silver spoon universities. Very few of these people even consume marijuana, and definitely didn’t back in the day. They have never fought for reform, at least not prior to trying to make money off of marijuana consumers, and are mainly motivated by profit. I don’t personally think there’s anything wrong with people wanting to make money in the marijuana industry, but I do have a problem with people that want to bash and alienate marijuana consumers in the process. It’s OK to want to rebrand marijuana, but not when it comes at the expense of the average marijuana consumer.

I call these people ‘suits’ and suits don’t seem to like stoners. Rather than cater to the average marijuana consumer, these suits are trying to replace the average marijuana consumer with other suits. But the fact of the matter is, the marijuana consumer base is still largely made up of people like myself, not suits. Does that mean that no person that wears a suit consumes marijuana? Of course not. There are many professional people that consume marijuana. It’s just that they don’t consume marijuana and buy marijuana related products on nearly the scale that the ‘traditional’ marijuana consumer does. All of my friends and family that are true die hard marijuana fans spend just about every dollar of their disposable income on marijuana and marijuana products. Compare that to the consumer base that suits wish the marijuana industry will eventually become, which will never buy marijuana and marijuana products at the same pace. The consumer that suits really want to cater to buys marijuana once in a while, and when they do, it’s not much. They buy a couple of grams once every couple of weeks when they want to unwind, but for the most part, they are not a day in day out consumer.

Very slowly, new marijuana investors are realizing this. The prime example that has been making headlines lately is Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of Leafly. Mr. Kennedy recently entered into an agreement with Bob Marley’s family to create the ‘Marley Natural’ marijuana strain. Creating a marijuana strain with Bob Marley’s name is a no brainer business decision, as Bob Marley is obviously one of the most famous and revered marijuana celebrities of all time. However, it has created a PR issue for Brendan Kennedy due to the fact that he has made so many insensitive comments about stoners in the past, and has even thrown Bob Marley’s name under the bus in an attempt to try to rebrand marijuana. Per a very accurate article written by valued contributor to the Blog Russ Belville for the Huffington Post:

In June 2013, the New York Times was covering Kennedy for “How to Invest in Dope” (interestingly, the story’s URL is “how-to-succeed-in-the-legal-pot-business,” indicating that someone changed the title.) Again the story of how Privateer acquired Leaf.ly is revealed, with the Times reporting “A big part of the site’s appeal was that it wasn’t already branded with symbols of pot culture.” Kennedy explained that “It didn’t have any of the old clichés. The site wasn’t plastered with pot leaves or pictures of Bob Marley.”

The article has numerous quotes from Brendan Kennedy highlighting how he has disrespected stoner culture over the last few years since he entered the industry. Brendan Kennedy is not alone. There have been numerous companies that have been trying as hard as they can to throw the stoner culture under the bus in an attempt to change the marijuana consumer base from one that rarely wears suits to one that only wears suits. That strategy has backfired big time, as the overwhelming majority of marijuana consumers are like me, and don’t fit that description. We are here to stay, and if we feel disrespected, we aren’t going to support companies that obviously don’t like us or want our dollars. If you made a pile of all of the potential consumer dollars that would come from the ‘suit consumer’ and another pile of all of the potential dollars that would come from people like me, there would be no denying that the money pile from fans of stoner culture would be exponentially larger.

If new marijuana industry investors want to succeed in the long term in the marijuana industry, they will do a better job of embracing stoner culture and respecting it, instead of trying to distance themselves from it in a negative way. If a company doesn’t want to cater to stoners, and wants to rebrand marijuana, by all means do so. That sliver of the industry is all yours, and I wish you nothing but the best, assuming you do it in a respectful way. However, if you verbally attack traditional marijuana consumers, and try to make us out to be second class consumers, trust me, you will not make nearly as much money. You will continue to get called out in the media, and people will always question your motives even when you backtrack on your statements. In Brendan Kennedy’s defense, he says that he was wrong about his past comments. However, people will now always ask the question, ‘is this because you are sincere Mr. Kennedy, or are you only doing this because of a monetary motive?’

If marijuana investors were really smart, they would never disrespect any consumers, stoners or otherwise. By keeping everything respectful, they will not get bashed by long time advocates, will get more customers, and won’t lose market share to competitors that do a better job at respecting people. There is room in the industry for suits and stoners, we just need to remember to respect each other. I predict that companies will start hiring ‘stoner culture consultants.’ I have been approached by a few companies asking for advice in this area. These companies want to be good stewards of the marijuana industry and movement, and wish to avoid PR problems that are plaguing many large marijuana companies. If your company fits that description, feel free to send me an e-mail anytime. I’d love to talk and help you understand and navigate the marijuana world the right way.  Just realize that I don’t normally wear a suit!

How do readers feel about this issue? Do you feel that you have been disrespected by corporate interests that are new to the marijuana world? On the flip side, do you feel that this is all just blown out of proportion, and that it’s not a big deal? I look forward to reading your comments while I’m at work today.



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  1. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    you mean from a literary point of view don’t you because your books had to be printed and anthropologist only look at the dead and found dead not the living and organic…… your historical science is flawed with self serving creations from people like Colin’s a photographer that toured the east coast and staged photographs of Native people in supposed EARLY dress and method in the attempt to capitalize on his photography methods, not preserve history. my point is if one did it all did it…… no prejudice ……try looking for reason and understanding by looking at what is left behind………newspapers……reams of newspaper not science no body looking for the missing rib in the newspaper…. and it causes a filter of 10 thousand eyes…….. kinda like OJ and the glove look at the medical industry on the eastern sea board….hydro therapy finds its beginning with the Mormons exposure to native medicine and they were allowed to while KICKAPOO native peoples were arrested for the practice……..there is more abuse here more and more and more there is not end to the lies the books and government push to control and manipulate people.

  2. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    wow you mean if my grand father did not write it down in your history book published by barnes and noble or westinghouse ……you cant find the information you need to prove to you what MY grandfather showed me how to do as a child and the scars from the burns and the dead children or perhaps the brain dead children who and where 1611
    what is your evidence to prove European was the first anything on the continent you are arguing with the stone in the mountain and you are the idiot. I am only sharing a family historical legend. I suppose you will attempt to say the kickapoo only lived in the Midwest and so only could have known about Midwest plant which they studied about and learned how to cultivate from the Europeans as well. TYpical theology of that ignorant race of people asserting power and commerce dominance and destruction upon the world. There is your legacy white man except it and move on. My families did not kill all the buffALO NOR STRIP THE SOIL OF TIMBER CAUSE THE DUST BOWL POLLUTE THE RIVERS AND STREAM WITH FERTILIZER KILL THE FISH POISON THE AIR WHEN YOUR LUNGS ARE CHAFFED AND CRUSTY i WILL TELL YOU WHY YOUR RICK SIMPSON OIL IS POISON AND MAYBE THEN i WILL SHARE THE FAMILY METHOD WITH YOU.

  3. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    Okay specifically Cannabis as medicine specifically labled and sold in a public market here on this continent under the United States Laws we don’t need to go back to the bible because you have already proven my point…….Laws Change and so does intellectual ownership by the destruction of written literature old ideas become new found technical wonders. I welcome you to smoke plenty and know your medicine personally before you ingest a poison made specifically just for you by your friends.

  4. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    I believe we are in agreement, Rob My diatribe is not to claim ownership it is to point out that the Kickapoo people were accepted into the public domain as Kickapoo Indian Medicine Doctors before prohibition and at the onset of prohibition this medicine went invisible to the public forbidden and prosecuted vigorously the tribe was characterized as drunkards and lazy sloth like vagrants, the ditches of EMO were viewed as open pit sewers unsanitary and a public hazard. the apothecaries were burned to the ground and the doctors were railed out of existence with public humiliation and violence.

  5. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    when you search do you look for Marijuana? or for rope or for Kickapoo Indian medicine or just European knowledge which is written for you in your own language. provided by the theology of the crown intended to force domination across the planet.I am not asking you to fabricate anything just look at the volume of non-related newspapers articles from the era of prohibition. say 100 years that should be enough say 1800 to 2000 here on this continent please not europe. now in the year 1800 who was in world domination …. no one country……and vast lands of people were roaming free of political ownership or ideals of ownership.
    looking for interesting images of newspaper publications will show the popular commodities being produced and sold in public market….. public commerce…..what is now refereed to as public domain. according to Admiralty Law which define the PUBLIC DOMAIN as the deck of a ship the rule about public domain is that once a commodity has been produce in public commerce without patent that commodity becomes public domain available for general use without title.
    this dialogue is not intended to claim ownership of the medicine…. it is intended to show that history which caused so much trauma will repeat itself again and by exposing the lies about this vegetable we may be able to insulate our future against political take over of the HOME GROWN ABILITY TO MANUFACTURE OUR OWN MEDICINE. keep it legal and make it very inexpensive …. every garden should include the plant just like planting a lawn and about as popular.

  6. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    i agree with you folks had rope everywhere but the rope of this continent from the aboriginal here was sought after because of it’s durability and strength. it is not the discovery or the knowledge ….. when we as humans step back and look ……….who decided to pick up the first stone and place it upon the next is not important the ones that collected it together and said hey wanna buy my rope? or hey wanna Buy my medicine? this is what you should look for. that is what I am specifically pointing out
    this medicine is organic at it’s best. and when synthesized will loose some very special properties commercialization is already being fabricated, and already people are noticing the difference………..this is what I am attempting to show folks that organic means ORGANIC with all the bugs and juice from the soil no salt no synthetic chemical fertilizers the method is important just as important as the milk in your tea governor’ LOL simply because you sail around collecting sample does not mean you discovered anything it means you went out exploring and learned something from your environment including the other people that live here contrary to popular belief Europeans are not servants of God attempting to save the world. push your language and religion and all the rest of your self important crap on the world because ” you think you know better” like admiralty law.
    but America was a great country to live in a few decades ago, I’d go back to where I came from but you see I am already there.

  7. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    what you mean to say is the colonist began growing hemp here in 1545 and who showed the colonist the starving crippled colonist what was good to grow CONVERSATION between people from the European and the aboriginals will show that people were learning from each other …..now if you use this as a guide to practical influence………the Kickapoo regardless of where they learned to make textiles including rope and string and wax and candles and fire were the first on this continent to use and produce fabric as well as medicine from this specific plant in a commercial way. hence intellectual property. which is why the federal government has a patent on the production of Cannabis extracts and not the Kickapoo Nation.

  8. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    book or at least a library reference would be nice…. read Kickapoo Lords of the border…. there are several specific references to the collection of reeds along the Now named gulf of mexico this alone is not enough reference to cannabis however if you examine the textile floor coverings of the Kickapoo lodges you will find cannabis fibers as well as wolves hair.But you know you may come to your own conclusions just like everyone else support your idea of truth and justice be a good European anthropologist and support the crowns grasp on the planet. just like BP didn’t mean to kill the environment in the gulf…. it was not an act of war …. or was it?and the rope of the B’s navy was not made of hemp in fact the rope of this continent made by the Kickapoo families were very valued commodities although the British navy never bought anything from the Kickapoo people why would they not simply take and re manufacture the rope as their own. yea travel the world and steal everything you see on your way. mmm call it God’s domain and name yourself a servant of the crown second only to god…..what shit that is we know already okay?

  9. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    it is true like birds with seeds in the shit this plant is a very invasive vegetable and will grow everywhere around the world Knowing where you find it first in history is not important unless your just looking at the genome of the plant as far a historical use look at the public newspapers of the time just before Prohibition here in the UnitedStates of America who was publicly making and using the medicine as a medicine and textiles were what the Kickapoo People made why is it so difficult for you to give up ownership of the land and property including intellectual property for which factual written evidence is produced and you want to take it farther into obscurity. if you confine your knowledge to what is practical and reasonable chain of discovery not bird shit found in some cave under the ocean. think news papers not land formations or sea encrustations.

  10. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    credibility? for directing your search for more information to a more recent exposure ……….your right what difference doe a few decades make …………..

  11. Actually, after I wrote my initial reply to you, I got interested and looked harder. Crickets…
    Perhaps they did use it but not prior to 1611 when the colonists brought it here. The earliest possible time they could have used mj would have been 1545 if a member of the Kickapoo Tribe was standing on the shore to meet the Spaniards who had cannabis seeds. I doubt seriously that happened so it was probably, at best the late 17th century when the La Salle expedition ran into some Kickapoo Indians in the midwest, where they are from, before anyone on the west coast even saw cannabis.
    So because it resides in the folklore of the Kickapoo Tribe and nowhere else, everywhere else has to be wrong right? How much credibility must you lose?? Geez…

  12. Seriously?? Great Britain had one of the best Navy’s in the world before the colonists even arrived here. They would not have been able sail here without rope. Vikings and the Romans had been making rope for a century or more before 1611 when the colonists introduced hemp to North America and the Spaniards did so in 1545. This information is widely available with a simple google search of “the history of marijuana in north america” or just simply “marijuana history”. Marijuana, based on what I’m reading, had never been an ancient North American Indian medical remedy. Peyote? Yes but marijuana no.

  13. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    one more thing I would like to read where you found evidence of the colonist from England bringing hemp as rope to this continent because from what I have read the Europeans didn’t know how to make rope until they came here.

  14. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    you wont find any educated information however the documents produced by the original Kickapoo Indian Medicine company date back to 1893 and even older the Kickapoo people were found using this plant to make rope and fabric along with reeds gathered as far south as the panama now lets see your official public library has news papers with bolstering publications from the era.
    exploiting the fine fabrics and wondrous cures from the tribal family recipes of cannabis extracts.
    you did not look very hard a simple Google image search will produce a dozen historical leads to pockets of artifacts from the era which describe how to use and prepare the home remedies using the Kickapoo Bear Balm extracts “found immensely successful for 5 years” by one New York Paper>? before paper money ,prohibition, and the FDA or Pharmacopoeia,

  15. Actually from a historical perspective, mj came to North America via the colonists as industrial hemp. Its origins go back to Asia not north America. I could find no historical reference to a connection between native Americans and mj prior to the mid 19th century. Mj was supposedly brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the mid 16th century so as far as mj bring an ancient American Indian medicine… There isn’t any proof of that I was able to find quickly. I’m open to being incorrect with sources. :-)

  16. I see it as you do but would add that it is also a culture of dress, music and values as well as all other things that serve to identify a group socially. For me there is a distinct difference between between a culture and casual behavior.

  17. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    HEY DO YOU FIND YOURSELF ARGUING WITH A DRUNK OFTEN? just stop drinking and smoke more pot you will find clarity eventually if you smoke enough.

  18. Talk about writing less. You have Tolstoy beat ! You think that your diatribe is fact to all. Your own people probably have outcast you as being a nutcase.

  19. I put my interpretation (below) in an earlier location. This location right here appears to be more appropriate so I’m pulling and copy/paste move here:

    You have touched upon (maybe by mistake) an analogous scenario regarding what the term, “stoner” means and whether it has a possible adverse effect in the overall cannabis industry. And seeing that the article subject matter revolves around this term, I think that this is an appropriate place to bring up the analogy.

    Having everyone that uses cannabis, whether it be for medicinal or recreational reasons covered under the umbrella term of “stoner”, is analogous to everyone who consumes alcohol being covered under the umbrella term, “drunkard” or “boozer”.

    I think as time goes on and the momentum of the cannabis movement moves forward, there will be a distinction between a “user” and a “stoner” — and rightfully so. In my mind, and I would think that some will identify with what I am saying here is that a user is one who uses, (maybe daily) as where a stoner is one who is constantly under the influence of cannabis.

    Of course, this is just my impression, and it will vary from one person to another based on the frequency with which one uses to apply the label of “user” vs. “stoner”. I don’t associate the two terms with anything around clothing, choice of music, employment status, career choice, etc. I see it as a function of frequency-of-use only.


  20. You have touched upon (maybe by mistake) an analogous scenario regarding what the term, “stoner” means and whether it has a possible adverse effect in the overall cannabis industry. And seeing that the article subject matter revolves around this term, I think that this is an appropriate place to bring up the analogy.

    Having everyone that uses cannabis, whether it be for medicinal or recreational reasons covered under the umbrella term of “stoner”, is analogous to everyone who consumes alcohol being covered under the umbrella term, “drunkard” or “boozer”.

    I think as time goes on and the momentum of the cannabis movement moves forward, there will be a distinction between a “user” and a “stoner” — and rightfully so. In my mind, and I would think that some will identify with what I am saying here is that a user is one who uses, (maybe daily) as where a stoner is one who is constantly under the influence of cannabis.

    Of course, this is just my impression, and it will vary from one person to another based on the frequency with which one uses to apply the label of “user” vs. “stoner”. I don’t associate the two terms with anything around clothing, choice of music, employment status, career choice, etc. I see it as a function of frequency-of-use only.


  21. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    If I state that I HATE DRUNKS EVERY WHERE!!!! are you now going to assume that my directed communication is referring to you specifically by name address and social security number? why do you assume hate toward yourself are you guilty of being a drunk sloppy stoner?have you stopped beating your daughters into submission……it is called reading………..no slur intended…………some types of reading require adult supervision because the intent of the author is not specific at first this is called a STYLE of written communication. LOL as long as the leash is taught you know the dog is barking the correct direction …..ever read POGO 1945 didn’t think so couldn’t read then could you “CHILDREN”

  22. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    The Kickapoo Indian Medicine is the oldest established business that actually prescribed this medicine before prohibition exploited from the Kickapoo Nation illegally and then made illegal to have possession. funny how the GOV wants to own the patent on the process and keep everyone away until they control it completely out of the reach of the common man.

  23. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    still not reading hm can’t find the page or is the light turned off in your room?

  24. Mi-Cree-Ni Quash-Mah on

    don’t give a second thought to what you believe whiteman you don’t know how to reaD AND GET INSULTED AT WHAT YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND.
    white man …… first nations elder>>>>> AS IN >>>> eNrolled tribal member of senior years<<<<<<<<<<<<<< fIRST ELDER GOT IT DUMB AS……. SHUCKS HAVE TO EXpLAIN EVERYTHING….. MMMM yep cultural misunderstanding is exactly what killed all the Buffalo and destroyed the environment. nasty shit cultral stuff is use it to grow really good compost don't includ the potatoes or suds but I always like to use the wash off thee POTATO…. for you clinton fans that don't read allot or inhale. it's okay you wont understand at first it will take a while to sink through. cause it written in "STONER DUDE SPEAK"

  25. Calling me a child and a drunkard then saying I can’t read? Then you want me to beleive you are a tribal elder? Good luck to your tribe…….sheesh.

  26. An elder would not have slung the hate and ridiculous insults that you have at me…which have been deleted….Yay!

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