Mary Jane is here to stay.
It’s hard not to notice that marijuana is being legalized in more and more places throughout the U.S.. It was first legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012, with Oregon, Washington D.C., and Alaska following soon after. 27 states now allow medical marijuana, as well. While the cannabis smokers of the country rejoice, lots of other people are taking notice, including investors, lawmakers, entrepreneurs and designers.
Marijuana prohibition: a throwback to alcohol prohibition
In many ways, marijuana prohibition is similar to the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s. People get it anyway, illegal operations profit, and the government wastes money to combat marijuana use. As cannabis becomes legal in more and more places, people are also noticing similarities between the end of prohibition and the status of marijuana today.
Investors plan to capitalize on the rapid growth of the marijuana industry
The marijuana industry is huge. A report by Arcview showed that legal marijuana — both medical and recreational — brought in almost $8 billion in the U.S. in 2016, and they project that amount will nearly triple by 2021. Todd Harrison, managing partner at a hedge fund that focuses on biomedical applications, wrote that “cannabis is already the fastest growing industry in the world despite the stateside illegality.”
Investors are looking at ways to capitalize on this growing industry, despite the obstacles facing marijuana vendors. The problems include their difficulty in using banks because of their heavy cash flow as well as the Trump administration’s promise to crack down on marijuana.
Meanwhile, lawmakers wonder how to regulate legal cannabis effectively
While investors pay close attention to the growth of the marijuana market, lawmakers looking at how to bring cannabis into the legal market safely. During alcohol prohibition, liquor went unregulated, which meant that customers never really knew what they were buying. Prior to legalization, it’s been the same with marijuana. And weed remains unregulated in most places. Concerns include how to tax marijuana and how to ensure traffic safety with effective DUI laws.
The marijuana market isn’t just for grungy cannabisheads
Marijuana smokers have the reputation for being grungy cannabisheads, but that’s not the reality of the market. A study by Miner & Co Studio showed that 65% of marijuana users have a household income of $75K or more, 93% of them use cannabis at least once a week, and that 80% of them consider packaging when making a buying decision.
Luxury brands help to give cannabis a new reputation
Scott Campbell, a celebrity tattoo artist and fine artist, collaborated with Clement Kwan, a former fashion executive, to make a company called Beboe that sells beautifully packaged edibles and vaporizers. Their packages are white with intricate line drawings. Buying them won’t make you feel like, in Campbell’s words, “you’re visiting your parole officer.”
Kwan explained one of the missions behind Beboe: “We hope to further along the end of prohibition by building sophisticated products and brands to attract a more sophisticated consumer. This is what we hope will be the catalyst in forging into this new frontier.”
Upscale cannabis subscription boxes
If you live in California, you can choose to receive a monthly box of edibles called an Au Box, starting at $99/month if you pay for an entire year’s subscription at once. The edibles arrive in a beautiful black box with gold lettering on it. According to Au Box, “We want to create a luxury experience that will change the way people view cannabis.”
ClubM, another marijuana subscription box company, offers boxes for as much as $2,000. Theirs packaging is black like Au Box’s and has an embossed design and gold lettering. These companies are using both their pricing and their designs to set themselves apart from less expensive marijuana brands.
Dispensaries designed like jewelry stores
One of the benefits of a cannabis subscription box is that you don’t have to go into a dispensary, which can feel a bit uncomfortable for some upscale buyers. Diego Pellicer, an upscale dispensary in Seattle, is designed like a jewelry store with granite floors and imported Spanish tile. To give you a sense of their prices, they have $3,600 marijuana cigars for sale. Their most sold products are Gaga Edibles, which also come in boxes with gold lettering on them.
High quality chocolates
Kiva, a California based chocolate maker, believes that selling high quality products in beautiful packaging will help customers make more informed decisions and enjoy their weed more safely. Nathan Sharp, who designed their earthy yet beautiful packaging told The Dieline, “The sustainable future of the cannabis industry is contingent upon good design. More than just making the product more broadly marketable, good design helps create a safer, more well-informed public. People need to see that the industry is changing and packaging will be the first and most salient ambassador of that change.”
Mary Jane looks good in luxury packaging
The bottom line? The market wants high-end marijuana options. And they want to buy their Mary Jane in packaging that reflects the high quality products within. Most of the packaging for marijuana has gold lettering on classic white or black boxes. But there’s a lot of room for creativity as well. If you want a high end, beautiful design for your marijuana products, let’s talk. You need the right packaging design to give your customers the luxury they crave.