Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

Did you know that Colorado voters approved medical marijuana laws in 2000 and also approved Amendment 64 to allow for recreational marijuana in 2012? As of January 2016 there were 424 recreational dispensaries, 1265 growers, and 370 edible manufacturers in Denver alone. Advertising for cannabis-related products or services is limited due to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Regulations. For example, television, radio and internet advertising are prohibited unless there is reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21. This limits Cannabis company’s ability to have PPC advertising on AdWords, television or social media channels.

Other market industry trends include upcoming nation-wide elections for local and global marijuana and cannabis laws. In November 2016 Denver residents will vote on whether regular businesses like bars, cafes or yoga studios should be able to create indoor or outdoor areas to consume marijuana that their patrons would bring. In addition, 9 U.S. states will be voting in November on whether or not to legalize recreational or medical marijuana including California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana. Currently 25 U.S. states allow for medical or recreational cannabis. Further, the legal marijuana market size in the United States is projected to grow to $7.1 billion in 2016, a 26% growth over the previous year.

I’ve recently taken a part-time job as a Brand Ambassador for Studio 420, a cannabis friendly creative agency in Denver specializing in branding, web design and digital marketing. I’ve had a chance to go to two educational cannabis industry networking events, Women Grow in Boulder and the CannaTech meet up in Denver.

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I’m really happy to be a part of a company that has an awesome mission and philosophy –

Studio 420’s mission is to “work closely with it’s clients to define and develop their identity, position and presence in their marketplace. We help clients achieve sustained growth through ideas, strategies and solutions that influence consumer taste and shape culture.” Their philosophy includes establishing credibility for clients in the cannabis industry and to raise standards in the entire market. They value a company culture that focuses on cultivation, growth and transparency by training their partners in their approach and processes.

And here is a slide I put together for my digital marketing communication class at DU this fall term, it really underlines some basic critical features of great web design and why it’s important to building and nurturing your relationships with your customers.

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References

Studio 420. 2016. “About Us.” and “Services.” Studio 420 A Cannabis Friendly Creative Agency. Last modified unknown. Accessed October 1, 2016. http://420digitalstudio.com/

The Cannabist. 2016. “Denver to vote on allowing social marijuana use in some businesses” Colorado News. Last modified 26 days ago. Accessed October 1, 2016. http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/09/01/denver-social-marijuana-use-initiative-qualifies-2016-ballot/62399/

Wikipedia. 2016. “Cannabis policy of Colorado.” Wiki. Last modified September 23, 2016. Accessed October 1, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_policy_of_Colorado

Leafly. 2016. “State-by-State Guide to Cannabis Advertising Regulations.” Industry News. Last modified unknown. Accessed October 1, 2016. https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/state-by-state-guide-to-cannabis-advertising-regulations/

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Teaching English as a Foreign Language

I’ve always been interested in language learning so I decided to embark on earning my certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TEFL/TESOL).  I started 160 hours of online courses through TEFL Express early last year and completed the program earning my TEFL/TESOL certificate this last July.

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Last summer in June 2014 I traveled to Madrid, Spain to participate in VaughanTown, a week long volunteer program to teach English through relaxed  language immersion, it was mostly one-on-one conversations and some group activities with adults from all over Spain.  The program covers your room and board at nice hotels or campuses, three meals a day and you get to meet wonderful people from all over the world.  I met wonderful Spaniards and English speakers from the UK, Australia, South Africa and the U.S.  I had to teach the meaning of  idioms and helped the Spaniards practice their conversational skills and we had enough free time outside the curriculum to enjoy ourselves so it was a great intern experience!

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This year I signed up for another volunteer experience with My TEFL Experience a small English school in Valencia, Spain the first week of September, on the recommendation of a fellow TEFL teacher.  This time it was more formal classroom teaching, and most of the students were beginner to intermediate so I taught English grammar and lessons to practice reading, listening, some writing and speaking.  It was at times challenging  but I taught about 20 hours during the week and got to practice my Spanish, eat good Spanish food and do some sight-seeing outside of teaching at the academy so it was another great teaching experience in beautiful Spain!  Again I met some wonderful colleagues from the UK, Australia, Texas and the students were wonderful, they all really wanted to learn.

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So now I decided my next teaching experience will be at home here in Colorado.  I’m about to go through a short teacher training at Intercambio, a school in Boulder, Colorado that offers English and Citizenship classes to mostly Mexican immigrants.  It’s another volunteer experience and I expect to start in November or December for once or twice a week one-one-one in the Boulder county or Broomfield area for six months.

I have 9 years of experience working in the communications and business-to-business field so I’m happy to help individuals learning English for business or career reasons or for any reason really. It’s funny where life will take you if you let your interests guide you.

I’m also learning Spanish so traveling to Spain helped me practice Spanish and hopefully having some language exchanges in Boulder with new students will further my Spanish language learning, as well as hone my teaching skills.  Volunteering is it’s own reward and being exposed to new cultures, languages and people is personally enriching.  I’m so grateful for these experiences and excited for what’s to come!

Redstone Meadery: Nectar of Colorado

IMG_8362My husband and I visited the Redstone Meadery in Boulder, Colorado earlier this month for their Saturday Tasting Tour and sampled a handful of flavorful honey and nectar meads and learned about the process for making mead.  Besides the plethora of imaginative flavors, the chocolate meads and educational welcoming atmosphere, what I really love about this place and mead, is the buzz:  it’s very clean and refreshing, perhaps due to it being sulfite and gluten free and that it is fermented with honey. Read my article I wrote for more on Redstone Mead at 303 Magazine here.

Ozo Coffee in Boulder, Colorado

Ozo Coffee Brew Bar Tasting in Boulder
Ozo Coffee Brew Bar Tasting in Boulder

I had a chance to interview one of the the managers at Ozo Coffee in Boulder and experience their Friday Brew Bar coffee tasting last week.  I was thoroughly impressed with the knowledge bestowed about the methods to brew coffee and where they get it.  They trace their coffee to the farm level, educating folks about the growing process.  The piece was published yesterday, read about it at 303 magazine here!  I hope after the read you will have learned a little more about coffee and why this business is one of the best coffee shops and roastery in Boulder, Colorado.  It was especially cool that my brother Roman Tafoya took all the pictures since he interns for 303 Magazine as well as a photographer.