Marijuana! Don’t Call It That!

Is marijuana a racist term best forgotten or is its avoidance an attempt to remove the industry from cultural associations?

Cannabis marketing & branding is in having an identity crisis. You may ask yourself what’s in a name but facing growing competition & an uncertain legal environments the industry must tread carefully with its message. Counter to the trend embraced by many marketing professionals cannabis may not be the only term used in product descriptions and branding schemes after all. We’ve all heard the debate but with medical marijuana as an umbrella term and solid brands like Marijuana Business Magazine the term isn’t going away and maybe it shouldn’t. We are an industry created by activists. This history offers us so many clues as to how to negotiate our path. We have seen other political movements and marginalized peoples adopt racial epithets to take away the sting of the words. This process makes them their own and redefines the way society uses them over the long term. The LGBT community has embraced the once derogatory, “queer” for example once negative attributes into points of individuality and pride. Perhaps the future holds a place for marijuana brands in mature & diverse cannabis industry.

Wait I thought as an industry we were not going to avoid this word and it’s negative connotations. We can make decades of propaganda cease to have impact with a simple change of nomenclature. We are an industry we should be united. Those things are true but one can still offer a cannabis product while adopting branding and marketing communications based on a myriad of lifestyles & look feel. With the controversy over the word marijuana, savvy brands which embrace an edgy or rebellious image and target market may find including the term as a way to stand out from their competitors. The growing population of Hispanics means that companies will want to consider the appeal of their brand by offering cultural sensitivity & allegiance in reflecting what consumers use to refer to reefer. Marketing executives may want to steer brands clear of buying into racist oppression by acting as though the term marijuana is bad and unacceptable for the image of their brands. What are your thoughts on the Cannabis vs Marijuana debate? Does a bud by any other name smell as sweet?