2021 Year in Review: The Highs and Lows of Brand Building in the New Era of Cannabis

The new era of cannabis will be driven by data.

This statement is not just a catchy tagline. It also describes the natural progression of a dynamic, diverse industry with unlimited growth potential.

In recent history, we’ve witnessed dramatic shifts in consumer behavior. The disruptions caused by Covid, the evolution of cannabis from illegal to “essential”, and the dismantling of stigmas have all contributed to a transformation of consumers’ relationships with cannabis. As a consumer insights firm, we’ve had the privilege of observing and measuring these monumental changes. Why not take a moment to pause and reflect on the experiences of 2021? This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that happened in cannabis in 2021, but rather, just a few highlights related to marketing, branding, canna-business and of course, consumer data and insights.

To read our recap of 2020, check out this Ganjapreneur articleWhat we learned about cannabis consumers during the weirdest year ever.

State markets to watch in 2022

First up, the legal landscape looked a lot different in 2021. In 2020, we saw perceptions of cannabis shift dramatically when dispensaries were deemed essential businesses. In 2021, the momentum continued. A whopping 5 new states came online for adult use in 2021. The most exciting markets we’re watching closely in 2022 include New York, which some say could become the largest U.S. state market. Colorado continues to break sales records and is home to dozens of innovative brands. Of course, we can’t overlook our home state of California, which is developing a robust tourist destination with spas, cannabis agricultural tours and cannabis-friendly lodging.

Related articles

The Benefits of Hiring a Partner to Gather Cannabis Consumer Data in Colorado

If you’re reading this, you probably already operate a cannabis business in Colorado or you are considering investing in one.

Can a Cannabis Market Research Company in California Guide Strategy?

The national cannabis market is on the upswing, and in recent years several states have passed legislation…

Bud and Booze Sign a Truce

After months of marketing campaigns deriding the effects of alcohol and promoting cannabis as a healthy alternative, Hollywood’s favorite beverage brand, Cann, ended their unofficial war on booze by launching a series of partnerships with alcohol brands. The topic of hangovers was notably absent in Cann’s 2021 holiday ad, featuring Kate Hudson and Kate Hudson’s vodka brand King St.

Why the sudden change?

ISA’s study of beverage consumers from 2021 revealed that consumers are not necessarily looking for an alcohol replacement, and 40% of cannabis beverage consumers say that when they drink cannabis, they’re also drinking alcohol. If you’re a cannabis beverage brand, it makes sense to pivot away from a marketing strategy that could potentially alienate 40% of the market.

Anti-alcohol rhetoric is so 2020.

Celebrities Crowd into the Cannabis
Market - Consumers yawn

Speaking of celebrities…

Seth Rogan, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, DJ Khaled, Lil Kim, Ice Cube, Melissa Etheridge, Drake, Bella Thorne – this is only a partial list of the celebrities who announced their foray into cannabis in 2021. It’s obvious that some partnerships between brands and celebs are a natural fit, and the wave of celebrity entrants is a good indicator of growing cultural acceptance. For most consumers, however, it’s just adding to the clutter. This Twitter user is over it.

How many consumers share this guy’s opinion? A lot. Last year we partnered with mg Magazine to understand the luxury cannabis market and how consumers define luxury for cannabis products. We asked 1,000 cannabis consumers to rate how important a celebrity endorsement is for them when evaluating products. The majority (56%) said it’s of little importance or not important at all.

Marketing professionals have limited options when it comes to promoting cannabis online. Facebook and Instagram are famous for shutting down accounts, often without so much as an explanation. LinkedIn is cannabis-friendly, but the business-forward platform can be a turn off for those who appreciate the subversive, counter-culture characteristics of the industry.

Enter Clubhouse. In 2021, the censorship-free audio-based networking app exploded in popularity and cannabis entrepreneurs found a safe space to promote their products, discuss business, and network.

Learn More about Clubhouse and Cannabis

Cannabis in the Metaverse (Cannaverse?)

In December of 2021, Higher Life CBD grabbed headlines with a promotion that allowed customers to browse and buy cannabis products in the metaverse and then have it delivered to their real-world homes.

Some say it will take years or even decades for the metaverse to reach a point of critical mass, where it really takes off and regular people start to spend their free time shopping, socializing, and gaming on the new platform. However, cannabis people are not regular people. The words pioneer, subculture, experimental and “not risk averse” come to mind. It stands to reason that the same group that was first in line to seize opportunities in cannabis will also be early entrants in the digital “Wild, Wild West.” The cannabis business leaders who survived and thrived through Prohibition, constantly shifting regulations, natural disasters, supply chain issues and a global pandemic are battle-tested, and well poised to gamble on a new platform and win. Also, they know how to throw a party, so there’s that.

The Birth of Weed Week

Speaking of industry gatherings, 2021 also brought us the return of live, in-person cannabis networking events. After canceling their live event in 2020 (along with the rest of the world) MJBiz Con triumphantly returned to the Las Vegas strip in 2021 for their 10th annual show. This time there was something different. A new event called MJ Unpacked opened up down the street and kicked off the same day that MJBiz Con wrapped up. MJ Unpacked caters exclusively to brands and retailers. Ancillary businesses are not allowed. Is the fragmenting of events a cause for alarm or a natural progression? Some say the addition of MJ Unpacked means we can now look forward to a yearly mega event in Las Vegas – unofficially dubbed Weed Week. See what industry insiders are saying about Weed Week.

Insights Take Center Stage

In the early stages of development as an industry, consumer preferences were often over-looked in the rush to bring products to market. There was a sense that any product would sell, and any product could make it onto retail shelves. Fast forward to 2022 – brands are more deliberate with their planning and attentive to their brand and what it represents. Specific, core audiences and usage occasions are no longer an afterthought in product development and marketing strategies.

In 2021, we saw more leaders embrace the need for insights and level-up their investment in research.

Related article:

There’s still a long way to go before cannabis catches up with major national brands, in terms of analyzing their customers’ behavior to uncover market opportunities. With federal legalization on the horizon, and further consolidation, it’s quickly becoming too risky to ignore fundamental questions related to brand health.

In 2022, more organizations will need to answer questions such as…

  • What are our customers experiencing when they use our products/ visit our locations?
  • How loyal are our current customers?
  • Why have our lapsed customers moved on?
  • How does our product address consumers’ underlying emotional needs?
  • Are we optimizing the use of our customer data?
  • Which product types or new state markets represent the greatest opportunities with minimal risk?
  • How do we stay in front of trends?
  • How can we create a customer feedback loop that informs new product development and/or helps us improve our current offering?

If any of these questions are on your to-do list for 2022, get in touch.

The ISA Group Announces Two Key Promotions, Supporting Expansion of Community and Analytics Offerings

Jennifer Holland promoted to Vice President of Research & Analytics; Julie McClammy to Director, Research & Analytics Division.

Insights firm ISA announced two major promotions today that will support the continued expansion of ISA’s Full Service Research & Analytics Division. Jennifer Holland will assume the role of Vice President of Research & Analytics and Julie McClammy will serve as Director, Research & Analytics, effective immediately. In their expanded roles, Holland and McClammy will focus on delivering strategic research and analysis to ISA’s growing roster of blue chips clients, including Fortune 500 brands like IBM, insights firms, public policy and public health organizations, and the nation’s top colleges and universities.

These promotions tie in to the larger company goals of expanding community services, servicing clients like IBM, and offering clients high-level thought partnerships.

“Jennifer and Julie have both played a critical role in the success and the growth of ISA and we are thrilled to promote them to these roles,” said Jacqueline Rosales, President of ISA. “When our company pivoted in early 2020 to assisting public health officials with measuring the spread of COVID-19, Jennifer led these vital studies and continues to oversee Covid-related projects today. Julie has been directing our Full Service team since joining us in 2019. Julie designed and managed the first-ever in-home usage test with cannabis products containing THC in 2020. These are just two examples of their ground-breaking work and commitment to high-level thought partnership.”

In her new role, Jennifer will be focusing on expanding market share of current clients in the Full Service and Community space, driving marketplace expansion, and partnering with the Material team and clients to diversify and expand service offerings. Jennifer has 25+ years of experience in market research and brings with her a passion for connecting consumers and businesses using insights and data. She has a focus on assisting clients in meeting their research objectives and guiding them through the correct methodology and sample planning, while coordinating research services support. Jennifer has worked with clients in a myriad of industries including CPG, QSR, Healthcare, Public Policy, Energy and Utilities.

In addition to delivering comprehensive insights to her clients, Julie will be working closely with senior executives across the larger Material organization to design thorough and precise research studies. Julie will continue to manage the Full-Service/Community Insights Research Team in her new role. Julie has 35+ years of experience in market research, emphasizing advanced analytics and segmentation. She is a visionary in pursuit of research excellence, innovation and quality. She inspires internal consultants to maximize impact through intelligent design and strategic analysis and consults with clients on sampling, weighting, and cross-cultural comparability. Julie also has diversified experience in all phases of consumer market research, as well as experience in Entertainment Marketing, PR and Promotions measurement.

ISA and Vertosa Announce Speaker Lineup for Live Event on Nov. 4: The Evolution of an Industry: Tales and Trends from Cannabis Industry Veterans

David Paleschuck, best-selling author of Branding Bud, will moderate the event featuring two speakers fresh off the stage at MJBizCon 2021

ISA and Vertosa announced today the speaker lineup for their upcoming webinar, The Evolution of an Industry: Tales and Trends from Cannabis Industry Veterans. In 2020, in-person conferences came to a halt. Last week the cannabis industry gathered in Las Vegas for the most-anticipated event of 2021. With 35,000 attendees, 1,300 exhibitors, and 130 speakers from around the world gathering to learn the latest about the cannabis industry, it was the place to be for industry executives and business leaders. This webinar will reveal shared learnings from this event, featuring two dynamic speakers fresh off the Las Vegas stage. Speakers will share their thoughts about the evolution of the cannabis industry as a whole, focusing on what has changed over the course of the pandemic era. Austin and Lisa will share the focus of their speaking engagements from MJBizCon and explore the themes and buzz from the event.

David Paleschuck, best-selling author of Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis, will moderate the live event starting at 1 pm PST on November 4, 2021. Austin Stevenson, CIO at Vertosa, Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, and Adriana Hemans, VP of Demand at ISA, will provide context as industry veterans who have witnessed the transformation first-hand. This engagement is the fourth in a series of webinar events stemming from a strategic partnership between ISA and Vertosa.

“Our panel brings together a diverse group of veteran industry leaders, each with their own unique perspective and in-depth knowledge of the cannabis industry. Join us to gain an insider’s look at the strategies for building successful brands in a disruptive market.” said Adriana Hemans, VP of Demand at ISA. 

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register here.

Meet the Speakers

David Paleschuck

David Paleschuck is the author of “Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis” and has over twenty years of global brand and consumer marketing experience at American Express, MasterCard, Pepsi and Microsoft – and over ten years in the legal cannabis industry as VP, Licensing & Brand Partnerships at Dope Magazine; Chief Brand Officer at Evergreen Herbal and The Matters Group. David has played a part in creating many of today’s well-known cannabis brands. His writings on cannabis trends, branding and packaging have been featured in A Different Leaf, The Cannabis Industry Journal, Green Entrepreneur, New Cannabis Ventures, Cannabis Prospect Magazine, Green Market Report, Dope Magazine, MG, and many others. His work has been noted and quoted in Forbes, Kiplinger, and The Brookings Institution. His recently released book was featured in Forbes magazine and is currently at the top of Amazon’s bestsellers’ list in the ‘branding and logo design’ and ‘green business’ categories.

Austin Stevenson

Austin Stevenson is Chief Innovation Officer at cannabis and hemp infusion technology company Vertosa. Austin plays an integral role in the business development of Vertosa, facilitating partnerships with leading brands to produce top quality cannabinoid-infused beverages, topicals, edibles and more. Prior to joining Vertosa, Austin leveraged his bio-tech experience building the regulatory Hemp/CBD testing program for Eurofins – a world leader in food, environment, and product testing services – where he worked with CVS and Walgreens to test and verify the quality of their retail CBD topicals. Austin and the Vertosa team are also committed to community action and industry leadership. He serves as a Member on the City of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, for which he supports the licensing of equity partners and works to break down financial barriers to entering the industry by championing grant funding. He is also an Advisory Board Member oEAZE’s Momentum Program, a business accelerator designed to support and empower underrepresented founders in the licensed cannabis industry, as well as a founding board member of the Cannabis Beverage Association.

Lisa Buffo

Lisa Buffo is a marketer and entrepreneur with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a trade association focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. CMA has hosted over 100+ educational events nationwide bringing together the cannabis marketing community. Lisa has been quoted in Forbes, The Guardian, VICE, Denver Business Journal, The Boulder Daily Camera, Marijuana News Network, Cannabis Culture Magazine and other national, local, and trade publications. Lisa has worked in the cannabis industry since 2014. She started working in commercial cultivation where she grasped the important role compliance plays for cannabis companies. Lisa helped launch 10 cannabis startups for CanopyBoulder, the industry’s first business accelerator in 2015. Lisa also launched the industry’s first online wholesale brokerage as their CMO, garnering national coverage in VICE and INC Magazine and becoming the first cannabis-related company to present at SXSW in Austin, TX. Lisa is the Founder & Co-Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Marketing & Advertising Committee where she co-authored the Public Relations Crisis Manual and the Short Guide to Colorado’s Marketing & Advertising Regulations. Lisa is an active speaker and has spoken at WomenGrow, NCIA, and CMA events.

Adriana Hemans

Adriana Hemans is Vice President of Demand at ISA, where she heads up the Cannabis Research Division. She helps cannabis brands build more customer-centric businesses through data and insights. Adriana’s work has been published in numerous industry publications including mg Magazine, Marijuana Venture, and The Cannigma. She has been invited to speak onstage at cannabis events across the country, including NECANN (Northeast Cannabis Business Conference) and the NCIA’s Annual Cannabis Business Conference.

How Professional Cannabis Consumer Insights Can Help Guide Strategic Decisions

States across the country have taken steps in the direction of cannabis legalization and decriminalization. Some states have legalized sales and; depending on the source you trust, as many as two-thirds or up to 68% of Americans believe that cannabis products and their associated consumption should be legalized. Consequently, the legal cannabis industry has consistently grown.

Whether you operate a successful dispensary and have been in business for years or you’re just looking into the financial implications of running one, there is value in cannabis consumer insights. Business leaders base much of their strategic planning around forecasts developed from extensive consumer opinion polling and other objective research.

But how can it benefit your business? Much of it comes down to how well you understand your consumers, what they do, why they do it, and what they want.

When historical sales data is insufficient, sometimes the answer lies with gathering the data proactively. Here are some of the key questions that cannabis consumer insights, consumer polling, and market research can help you answer.

How Do Customers Prefer to Buy?

Though this question, on the surface, looks like a high-level “cash or credit?” type of question, its implications run much deeper. Consider the shifts in purchasing habits that have taken place over the past two years or so.

More and more online and local shoppers are increasingly desirous of free shipping that is also stipulation-free; that is, customers who buy online want free shipping or free local delivery. Is your dispensary prepared to handle that?

For example, our research indicates that 33% of cannabis users in select markets relied heavily on delivery services during coronavirus lockdowns. Is that trend going to continue or will it falter? Past sales figures can’t tell you – only current polling and other research.

The bigger question is: is your dispensary poised to adapt to changing consumer preferences such as these?

What Are Customers Cannabis Consumption Habits?

Does your dispensary sell only flower? Or does it sell a range of different cannabis products, such as edibles, tinctures, concentrates, cannabis drinks or other unique products? More importantly, does this matter to your customers?

If your target buyer smokes flower, then you’re set for success. But what if your buyers only purchase flower incidentally, then decarb it themselves in order to make their own edibles? You might serve them better by expanding your product portfolio. Consumer data can yield insight into this consumer data.

Conversely, a product line expansion might be a wasted expense if it doesn’t result in sales and conversions. How and what your target buyers consume can help you grow strategically, making informed decisions that can justify that growth with sales – not just with a larger, costlier enterprise.

How Frequently Do Your Target Consumers Partake?

The prices you set and the type of buyer you want to attract will both affect and be affected by the consumption habits of your target market. Profitability will be affected by sales, and you might need to adjust prices accordingly to reflect projected sales forecasts.

As a very simple, high level, but reasonable example, if your target market only partakes occasionally, you might want to sell in larger or bulk quantities in order to meet that demand and expand profitability at the same time. Selling in smaller quantities might not make sense.

It all comes back to what your buyers do and when they do it – how often do your target consumers use cannabis, and can your dispensary meet that demand?

What Type of Budget Does Your Target Customer Set?

Similarly, you need to understand your target buyers’ budget as closely as possible. Other questions such as those related to price sensitivity are equally important to answer. If your branding appeals to a price-insensitive audience, a price scale or adjustment might be in order. The same could be said if your brand was not well-aligned with the actual visitors that came to your dispensary.

The key takeaway is that your price model might be inefficient, but you wouldn’t know it unless you can answer some key questions about how much your target audience intends to allocate to discretionary purchases of cannabis products.

What Types of Incentives Will Your Target Buyer Respond to?

Another basic but surprisingly relevant question revolves around strategic growth. It’s been shown time and time again that effective loyalty programs can improve customer satisfaction, boost customer engagement and retention, and increase sales. The operative word in that statement is “effective.”

What type of loyalty program will appeal to your target buyer? Why? What other strategic positioning incentives can you undertake in order to reach more consumers more effectively? Our consumer research shows that over 70% of dispensary shoppers would spend more if the dispensary offered a loyalty program.

What other questions about strategic growth do you need to be answered before you can justify the expense associated with rolling out new programs? You may be the only one to be able to ask those strategic questions, but our cannabis consumer insights can help answer them.

Basic Cannabis Consumer Insights: Your Buyer Persona

Reflect on what you’ve read so far. You’ll notice that we used the terms “target audience” and “target buyer” several times throughout this article. Before you can answer any of the other questions we posed with cannabis consumer insights, you need to define your target buyer – surprisingly, target buyers are not just the people that come into your dispensary to purchase. These are just buyers. Target buyers fit a profile defined by habits, preferences, and demographics that you must define in order to launch successful marketing campaigns.

Luckily, cannabis consumer insights can also help you define your target audience. To learn more about how you can get started making wiser marketing moves, visit our pages on Cannabis Market Research and CANNApinion Polling, or get in touch with us directly at 818-989-1044 or at hello@ISACorp.com.

ISA President Jacqueline Rosales Answers Cannabis Questions in San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Rosales spoke to the Business Journal about why ISA started doing market research into cannabis, what people are buying post pandemic and why she admires quarterback Tom Brady

ISA’s company president, Jacqueline Rosales, has been featured in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. In her interview, Rosales talks about where consumers are coming from post-pandemic: how the big shifts are centered around self-care and self-sufficiency tools. She believes consumers are really focused on the question of how am I going to do things at home?

Rosales gets very personal when she delves into the details of her history with medical cannabis, which is as a result of being involved in an awful car accident in 2015. Because of her multiple injuries and being laid up for a long time, she found a very good health care team who was able to explore cannabis, which eliminated much of the ridiculous amounts of prescription medications. It was this experience that made her realize the huge opportunity there was to be part of the emerging cannabis industry. Fast forward to 2021, and ISA already has two years’ worth of data, thanks to Green Time, a community of cannabis consumers.

Rosales offered her advice to someone looking to start a business: “Take risks. Fail often”. And most importantly: “People. Hire people who are smarter than you”. When she states this, there’s passion in her voice, “I feel that if we have the greatest team that we can do anything!”

ISA and Vertosa Announce Upcoming Live Event Exploring Branding and Marketing for Cannabis-infused Beverages

The virtual event taking place on July 27th will include the best-selling author of Branding Bud along with business leaders from WUNDER and Pabst Labs

ISA and Vertosa announced today the speaker lineup for their upcoming webinar: “Category Creators: Marketing and Branding for Cannabis Beverages.” Alexi Chialtas, CEO of WUNDER, David Paleschuck, Author of Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis and Mark Faicol, Brand Manager at Pabst Labs, will join the live event starting at 1 pm PST on July 27, 2021. This engagement is the third in a series of webinar events stemming from a strategic partnership between ISA and Vertosa.
The infused beverage market is expanding rapidly, driven by consumer curiosity and innovative product development. With new cannabis beverages launching almost every day, brands must constantly create and maintain excitement around their product. ISA and Vertosa developed this content specifically to bring to light new marketing strategies, concepts and approaches. The panel of experts will explore the question of what consumers are really looking for and how marketers can speak directly to their needs. Additionally, ISA will be releasing new data and insights showcasing the enormous potential of the infused beverage market.
“Our panel brings together a diverse group of powerful industry leaders, each with their own unique perspective and in-depth knowledge of both the cannabis beverages market, and the cannabis industry as a whole,” said Jacqueline Rosales, President of ISA. Jacqueline will moderate the event and lead the conversation about marketing and branding for cannabis beverages. The event is free and open to the public. 

Q-insights Welcomes In-Person Research with the Official Re-opening of Their Sherman Oaks Facility

After 16 months of closure due to pandemic safety, ISA’s Q-insights focus facility is now open for in-person interviews, focus groups, and product testing

ISA announced today that their Q-insights office is fully open for clients and respondents after more than a year of closure during the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to vaccine adoption and falling transmission rates in-person research is now safe. This means no more physical distancing, no capacity limits on businesses and relaxed mask guidance. The Q-insights facility, located in Sherman Oaks, CA will be a mask-free environment.

“We are thrilled to be getting back to in-person research,” said Jamie Quider, Vice President of Q-insights.  “During the pandemic, we were able to fulfill projects by tapping into our in-house online and telephone capabilities, and now being able to offer our clients the opportunity to see respondents’ live expressions is truly gratifying.”

Q-insights provides a unique combination of solutions to their clients and partners including in-person quantitative and qualitative research, specializing in car clinics, large recruits with hard-to-reach audiences, and multicultural recruiting and interviewing. They’ve served hundreds of brands across key industries and specialize in automotive, multicultural recruiting, and field management research. When face-to-face research was no longer an option during the pandemic, Q-insights was able to adapt their research methodologies to keep projects running smoothly.

 

The Q-insights office is located at 15060 Ventura Blvd #125, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.

 

ISA Announces Speaker Lineup for April 29 Edibles Webinar

Industry experts from Undefined Inc, Wana Brands and dreamt will discuss the future of infused edibles

ISA and Vertosa announced today the speaker lineup for their upcoming webinar “Form, Function & Flavor: Edibles for 2021 and Beyond.” Dorian Morris, Founder and CEO of Undefined Inc., Mike Hennesy, Vice President of Innovation at Wana Brands and Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, MS, Chief Science Officer at dreamt will join the live event starting at 2 pm PST on April 29, 2021. This engagement is the second in a series of webinar events stemming from a strategic partnership between ISA and Vertosa, announced in November 2020.

“Our speaker lineup brings together a diverse group of powerful industry leaders, each with their own unique perspective and in-depth knowledge of both the edibles market, and the cannabis industry as a whole,” said Jacqueline Rosales, President of ISA. Jacqueline will moderate the event and lead the conversation about product development in the edibles market and how the products of the future will fit into consumers’ lives. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register here.

In 2021, we’ve seen an explosion in new edibles products that address specific needs – sleep, anxiety, creativity, energy, diet support and immune support. Innovative brands are embracing new delivery forms, flavors and functions to meet consumers’ evolving interests.

“With stress at an all-time high, accessibly priced, plant-based solutions are even more important now,” said Dorian Morris, Undefined Beauty Founder and CEO. Morris was recently featured in the Target Takeoff Beauty cohort, in which she discussed her new collection, focused on adaptogenic mushrooms for stressed skin.

MEET THE SPEAKERS
Dorian Morris

Founder and CEO of Undefined Inc. A true champion of inclusivity within wellness, Dorian Morris is a beauty junkie with deep expertise across categories from cosmetics to haircare to skincare to food/wellness. She is the Founder/CEO of Undefined Inc which includes Undefined Beauty, a clean, conscious, inclusive lifestyle brand focused on democratizing wellness and destigmatizing plant magic.

Adriana Hemans

Vice President of Demand at ISA, where she heads up the Cannabis Research Division. She helps cannabis brands build more customer-centric businesses through data and insights. Adriana’s work has been published in numerous industry publications including mg Magazine, Marijuana Venture, and The Cannigma. She has been invited to speak onstage at cannabis events across the country, including NECANN (Northeast Cannabis Business Conference) and the NCIA’s Annual Cannabis Business Conference.

Austin Stevenson

Chief Innovation Officer at cannabis and hemp infusion technology company Vertosa. Austin plays an integral role in the business development of Vertosa, facilitating partnerships with leading brands to produce top quality cannabinoid-infused beverages, topicals, edibles and more. Prior to joining Vertosa, Austin leveraged his bio-tech experience building the regulatory Hemp/CBD testing program for Eurofins – a world leader in food, environment, and product testing services – where he worked with CVS and Walgreens to test and verify the quality of their retail CBD topicals. Austin and the Vertosa team are also committed to community action and industry leadership. He serves as a Member on the City of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, for which he supports the licensing of equity partners and works to break down financial barriers to entering the industry by championing grant funding. He is also an Advisory Board Member on EAZE’s Momentum Program, a business accelerator designed to support and empower underrepresented founders in the licensed cannabis industry, as well as a founding board member of the Cannabis Beverage Association.

Mike Hennesy

Vice President of Innovation at Wana Brands where he oversees their research and development program, new product design, educational training content and growing partnerships with new cannabis technologies. Hennesy led the team in creating Wana’s new Quick line of gummies and tinctures that use innovative encapsulation techniques to increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids that bypass liver metabolism and take effect quickly. He developed Wana’s online interactive training program for budtenders and employees that covers the science of the endocannabinoid system and directed the development of Wana’s vape line, including the line’s unique proprietary terpene blends.

Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, MS

Founder and Chief Science Officer at dreamt. A gifted academic with deep experience in the developing regulatory standards of the cannabis industry. Carolina’s areas of specialty include organic chemistry and biochemistry research, laboratory testing and laboratory practices, quality assurance, and R&D for cannabis products, pharmaceuticals, foods, and beverages. She has more than 10 years’ experience with organic synthesis and extractions and has extracted DNA, RNA, proteins, terpenes, and other pharmacologically active molecules. Carolina is a nationally recognized cannabis scientist, and has been a featured expert in Rolling Stone, HelloGiggles, mg and Forbes, and was named one of Dope Magazine’s “Outstanding Women in Cannabis.”

ABOUT VERTOSA

Vertosa creates industry-leading active ingredients for infused product makers. Their catalog of patented and patent-pending nano-emulsions are carefully designed  for the specific needs of each customer, with pre-suspended aqueous solutions that create incredibly homogeneous and stable products while maximizing bioavailability, clarity, and taste. Vertosa works closely with their lab partners and clients of all sizes throughout the manufacturing process to achieve target potency and successfully bring consistent, reliable, quality infused products to market.  Learn more about Vertosa at vertosa.com.

ABOUT WANA BRANDS

Wana Brands is the No. 1 edibles brand in North America. Wana leads the industry in quality, consistency and potency, providing a range of different options that enable customers to create the specific cannabis experience they want. Wana products offer diverse product forms, four different CBD/THC ratios as well as a variety of different dosages, onset times and duration of effects. The portfolio is designed so products can be used singly or in combination to address specific health, wellness, and recreational needs. Wana products are available in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Oregon, and Oklahoma dispensaries, with Massachusetts among the states imminently coming online. Wana Brands is available internationally in Canada. For more information or to subscribe to Wana’s e-newsletter, visit www.wanabrands.com.

ABOUT UNDEFINED INC

Undefined is clean, conscious, inclusive plant magic. We live at the intersection of wellness meets adaptogens (like beautiful CBD) meets purpose-driven conscious capitalism. My mission is to “undefine” and democratize beauty and destigmatize plant-based solutions through an unapologetic, uncompromising, unfiltered approach. Wellness shouldn’t be illusive or exclusive—let’s democratize it.

Undefined Inc partners with BIPOC founded, female-led, LGBTQ+ suppliers from their manufacturing partners to their creative team.

ABOUT DREAMT

dreamt is an award-winning sleep aid made with cannabis. The science-backed formula is a precise blend of THC, CBD, and other sleep-inducing compounds, such as melatonin, valerian root, and L-theanine. This unique formula was created by dreamt’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, to treat her insomnia during her chemistry PhD at USC.

dreamt is a female and minority-owned social equity business based in Los Angeles.

4/20 Celebrations Rebound After Covid

Poll results from ISA indicate significant boosts in dispensary visits, gifting and trying new products for 4/20/2021

There’s a dramatic shift in the way cannabis consumers across the U.S. will be celebrating the 4/20 cannabis holiday this year, according to poll results from insights firm ISA, a Material Company. This year more consumers plan to host friends at home, visit dispensaries and celebrate in public places, such as live events or restaurants. This comparison is based on survey results from another ISA study fielded in April of 2020.

The percentage of cannabis consumers who say they will celebrate the holiday in some way has now outpaced pre-COVID-19 levels. In 2019, 70% of cannabis consumers said they would celebrate the 4/20 holiday. That percentage has jumped to 78% in 2021.

The most significant variance from 2020 poll results has been among people who say they are planning to celebrate 4/20 with friends at home. In 2019, before the pandemic, 58% of consumers who planned to participate in the holiday said they would celebrate at home with friends. That number dipped to 29% in April of 2020, and has now rebounded to 55%, indicating a return to normalcy for cannabis consumers who celebrate by hosting private events.

The findings could indicate the cannabis industry will experience a significant uptick in sales on and around April 20th, with more people venturing out to their local dispensary. The percentage of cannabis consumers who say they will visit a dispensary to celebrate 4/20 rose from 13% in 2020 to 30% in 2021, coming in slightly above the 2019 percentage of 26%. Additionally, more consumers plan to purchase 4/20 gifts for friends and family in 2021, compared to 2020. The 2021 poll revealed that 37% of consumers who celebrate 4/20 plan to buy gifts for others, while 16% reported doing so in 2020. Another positive sign for dispensaries and cannabis brands is that a significant number of consumers (40%) are planning to try a new product as part of their holiday celebration, up from 21% in 2020.

“The cannabis industry grew steadily throughout the pandemic,” said Adriana Hemans, ISA’s VP of Demand. “What’s exciting about the early poll results from 2021 is that cannabis consumers are coming together again for 4/20, seeking novel experiences with new products. Those products could potentially become part of their regular cannabis routines, providing additional growth opportunities for brands.” ISA will continue to gather data and insights from cannabis consumers in the days leading up to April 20th, providing business analysts, industry experts and media outlets with ongoing updates on consumer behaviors related to the 4/20 holiday. Figures presented in this press release are based on three studies – a nationwide poll of 1,001 cannabis consumers fielded April 26th through April 29th of 2019, with a 3% margin of error at a 95% level of confidence; a nationwide poll of 420 cannabis consumers fielded April 18th through April 20th of 2020, with a 5% margin of error at a 95% level of confidence, and a nationwide poll of 420 cannabis consumers with a 5% margin of error at a 95% level of confidence. To qualify for inclusion in all of these studies, participants indicated that they are over 21 years old and had purchased or consumed cannabis in the last 90 days. Participants in the 2021 study were gathered through ISA’s proprietary cannabis research panel – The Green Time.

 

Cannabis Consumers 4/20 Celebration Plans