Looking at cannabis brands in Massachusetts? Here’s an unbiased review. During visits to several dispensaries, we didn’t disclose our business identities to the staff, just the standard ID checks, so this is an honest and unbiased review. Further, as of 2022 in Massachusetts, raw cannabis flower and pre-rolls are the most popular products, with vapes being third.
There are a lot of Cannabis Brands in Massachusetts
A few companies form many brands you see on Massachusetts shelves. Furthermore, many companies have multiple brands depending on the product type, target audience, and recreational or medical branding. Anyway, ask the budtender, and they’ll give you the scoop.
Happy Valley Brand
You should probably look at Happy Valley products for cannabis in flower form. They’ve won a few awards from High Times. Also, I’ve personally gotten an eighth that was one bud. So whenever I visit the dispensary (which is rare), I look for Happy Valley products to see what they have on the shelves.
The Happy Valley brand’s growers take pride in their craft.
They have growers who understand the process, evident in the flower they display at dispensaries. Also, Happy Valley wholesale products are available at dispensaries throughout the state, and delivery is available in select areas. Happy Valley also offers cannabis-based wellness products.
Solar Cannabis Co. Brand
Yes, Solar Cannabis Co., the company Borat sued for a billboard, has struck a deal with Stone Road, an LGBTQIA+ cannabis company in California. Known for having some of the best pre-rolls in California, Stone Road is committed to organic, sustainable practices. The pre-rolls sound good to me, and I’ll try them out.
Solar Brand’s Packaging Needs Work
In my opinion, Solar’s eighth packaging is terrible. Straight up, it looks like a plastic cat food jar. Hopefully, they will fix that. Also, the brand’s packaging does not keep the air out. When I was budtending, the biggest complaint from customers was that it was dry. Anyway, make sure the delivery is fresh. The cannabis flower they offered seemed a bit dry, but the quality was good. If you’re rolling joints, it’s a good pick, especially if you don’t have a grinder with you.
Coast Cannabis, AKA one of T. Bear Inc.’s Brands
Chocolate bars are the trademark of T. Bear Inc, commonly referred to as Coast Cannabis. The owners’ dog inspired the name T. Bear. In addition to cannabis edibles, Coast Cannabis provides retailers with vapor cartridges made from biomass. As the name suggests, biomass is rejected plant material unsuitable for pre-rolls or eighths.
Is it even a weed strain after extraction?
It’s no longer a “strain” after the THC has been extracted. It’s just pure THC. To improve quality control and expand, Coast Cannabis plans to cultivate. Across the state of Massachusetts, you can find Coast Cannabis brands chocolate on the shelves. Also, I love the cookies and cream bar. It’s really good.
Nature’s Remedy Brand, AKA Jushi
Nature’s Remedy, aka Jushi, makes quality weed. Classy packaging and a good reputation make them stand out. Although, the THC levels in many of their strains are lower than those of their competitors, usually in the 15% to 19% THC range. Nonetheless, the whole spectrum and flavor are outstanding. I’ve bought a few strains from them, and because of the lower THC content, you can usually get Nature’s Remedy for a lower price. Anyway, it’s a budget-friendly and flavorful solution.
Southie Adams, one of Nova Farms Brands
Southie Adams (Nova Farms brand) makes pre-roll blunts, pre-rolls, and concentrates. Unfortunately, their packaging didn’t hold the blunts in place, it was messy, and often has loose flower falling out of the wraps. It is partly due to the shipping process, but some padding would make the box more stable. The flavor of their “Berry Bomb” vape cartridge was terrific. However, after day 2, it became unusable due to clogging, so I tossed it. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend buying their disposable vapes unless you’re using it up quickly. Fortunately, they have been responsive to adjusting as the market changes, so it’s likely they will adjust as needed.
A look at Southie Adams Brand Palm Leaf Blunts
Nevertheless, these are a good option if you want a convenient pre-rolled blunt made from palm leaves that smokes smoothly. Furthermore, they usually have flower with a THC content between low and mid 20%.
As for “high THC” weed, I’m not really into it. My preferred range is 14%-18%. Instead of just high THC levels, I prefer good flavor and strains with a pleasant smell. It’s worth mentioning that to achieve the desired effect, I am willing and prefer to smoke more. Southie Adams would be my first choice regarding concentrates or pre-rolled blunts.
NETA Brand, AKA New England Treatment Access
NETA, or New England Treatment Access, offers several proprietary strains. In addition to Black Triangle Kush and Arcata Trainwreck, they also make Dread Bread. So, I tried Black Triangle and Arcata Trainwreck. They were both outstanding. However, it is always busy at their store, so pre-order this brand online.
If you’re looking for vape cartridges, check out Fernway. Vapes like these are great when discreet options are needed. Honestly, it’s good even though they use biomass and their blend of terpenes. In fact, there are a few Fernway brand carts in my stash, notably Red Headed Stranger and Homegrown. They are both excellent products. Also, they have a superb purification process, and to top it off, their oil is clean.
In many cases, I would agree that biomass is a no-no. However, you only get THC from the biomass in a vape cart or edible. THC is extracted from everything else. In addition, the strain becomes irrelevant, and only a hint of flavor remains because it’s down to the molecular level of what ends up in the product. What is more, Fernway adds terpenes for flavor and spectrum effects, which I believe paid off. “Homegrown” tastes earthy, “Wild Mint” tastes like chewing on mint leaves, and “Red Headed Stranger” tastes like low-temp mid-tier bong hits. Anyway, I recommend giving Fernway a try.
Honorable Mention Brands:
Smyth Cannabis Co.
Smyth makes high octane weed. I remember getting a shipment that reeked (in a good way) through the box. Skunky, with a citrus hint. Not to mention, their products tend to be in the upper 20% THC.
Atlantic Medicinal Partners, AKA AMP Brand
AMP has a solid stand in Massachusetts. They have great packaging for pre-rolls. Furthermore, they have consistent product quality.
Seltzers, don’t knock it till you try it. However, I do not like seltzers, but these things are reliable, predictable, and easy to find. A solid choice for BYO events. I don’t like booze, so these are a good option in my case.
Gibby’s Garden is a small farm. So, if you prefer to shop locally, Gibby’s is a good option. Also, support small businesses. They need it more than the MSOs. They have quality flower, and they sell a pre-roll mix pack that’s pretty good.
Novelty cannabis cigars. Gold foil, wax sealed, the works. Great gift or celebration option. The flower is… inconsistent, but it looks cool and smokes well. Hopefully, they’ll get their brand’s curing process refined. Besides, it’ll be ready if you buy this a few months before you use it. Just store it in a room temperature dark container. Additionally, if that isn’t an option, ask the budtender for the oldest one on the shelf.
These brands are not in any specific order.
Companies on the list (or not) can contact us for a discussion for product reviews. Just bring your A-Game. We won’t sugarcoat it. We’re master certified in cannabis. However, if we decide to try your company’s products, we do not guarantee that we will do a write-up about them. We also do not guarantee that we won’t do a write-up about them. That’s the best part about this blog. We do whatever.
Does Weed Go Bad? A Complete Guide to Storing Cannabis Properly
Properly storing cannabis is essential for preserving its potency and quality over time. With the right storage methods like airtight containers in cool, dark spaces, weed can stay fresh for up to a year or longer.
Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is a popular recreational and medicinal drug derived from the cannabis plant. Like any other herb or agricultural product, cannabis does degrade over time if not stored properly. However, with the right storage methods, weed can maintain its potency and quality for extended periods.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about proper cannabis storage and signs of weed going bad. Read on to become an expert on keeping your bud fresh and avoiding degraded, ineffective marijuana.
How Long Does Weed Last? Cannabis Shelf Life and Expiration
First, let’s go over the basics on weed’s shelf life. With optimal storage conditions, most strains of cured cannabis buds can last around:
- 6-12 months – when kept in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Refrigeration extends life up to 18 months.
- 1-2 years – when vacuum sealed and frozen. Up to 2-3 years if no oxygen and stored below 0°F (-18°C).
- 4+ years – with long term deep freezing using commercial equipment.
Exact shelf life depends on specific storage methods and the quality/dryness of buds before storage. Fresher weed stored optimally can potentially last longer.
Weed doesn’t necessarily “expire” but it will slowly lose potency and degrade in quality over time. This happens faster with exposure to air, heat, light, or moisture.
For best results, use your cannabis within 1 year of purchase/harvest. Smoke older weed first before tapping into your freshest supply. Check buds for signs of degradation periodically.
Now let’s look at the science behind cannabis longevity and what factors speed up deterioration.
Why Weed Goes Bad: Causes of Cannabis Degradation
Cannabis plants produce hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The concentrations and balance of these chemicals determine weed’s potency, effects, aroma, and flavor.
Unfortunately, many of these compounds are delicate and break down when exposed to:
Oxygen and Moisture
Exposure to oxygen (oxidation) degrades THC, terpenes, and other chemicals over time. Moisture encourages growth of mold and bacteria. Both oxygen and moisture are enemy #1 when it comes to preserving your bud.
Heat and Light
THC and other cannabinoids are degraded by heat and light. Ideal storage temperature is 60-70°F (15-21°C). Higher heats accelerate chemical breakdown. UV light also rapidly destroys weed’s potency and quality.
Improper handling can crush delicate trichomes (where cannabinoids are produced) and rupture cells containing flavor/aroma compounds. Grinding weed exposes more surface area to damaging oxygen and moisture.
By storing cannabis in cool, dark environments with minimal air exposure, you allow it to stay fresher longer.
Next, let’s go over some visual signs that your pot has gone past its prime.
How to Tell If Weed Has Gone Bad: 7 Signs of Degraded Cannabis
Over time, weed will slowly lose its vivid colors, alluring smells, and crystal trichome coverage. By regularly checking stored cannabis (every 1-2 months), you can catch signs of degradation early.
Here’s what to look for to know if your pot has spoiled:
Loss of Green Color and Fading
Fresh cannabis has vivid and bright green colors. As chlorophyll breaks down over time, the greens become olive/brown and fade.
Browning and Drying Out
Oxidation causes browning and drying of the buds. They lose moisture and become brittle and crispy over time.
Exposure to moisture can result in fuzzy white, grey, or green mold growing on buds. Moldy weed has usually gone too far past its prime to salvage.
Aroma is one of the first things to go as terpenes oxidize. Older buds lose their fruity/citrus smells and take on stale, rotten, decomposing odors.
Loss of Trichomes/Crystals
THC is produced in trichomes – the shiny, glue-like resin glands coating buds. As trichomes oxidize and break down, weed loses its “frosty” appearance.
Harsh Smoke and Bad Taste
Smoke from degraded buds tastes harsh and unpleasant. The smoke may be rough on the throat and lungs.
Weak, Non-Existent High
The ultimate sign your pot has gone bad is if it fails to get you high. The THC and other cannabinoids that cause weed’s effects degrade over time.
The more signs are present, the more cannabis quality has declined. Now let’s go over proper storage to keep your flower fresh.
How to Store Cannabis Correctly: 4 Key Tips
Here are 4 essential rules to follow for preserving your pot potency and shelf life:
Use Airtight Glass or Plastic Containers
Air exposure accelerates weed’s decline. Store in sealed airtight containers, like mason jars or plastic bags. Glass protects against light better than plastic. For very long term storage, use rigid airtight plastic or metal containers.
Keep Buds in Cool, Dark Places
Ideal storage temperature is 60-70°F (15-21°C), so avoid hot areas like garages or attics. Protect against light by storing in darkened rooms or opaque containers. Use amber colored jars to filter light.
Control Humidity with Boveda/Integra Packs
Too much moisture invites mold, while too little dries out trichomes. Use humidifier packs to maintain ideal humidity around 60%. Popular options are Boveda and Integra Boost packs.
Freeze for Extended Storage
Freezing pot locks in freshness for 1-2+ years. Use air-tight, freezer-grade bags or containers. Double wrap to prevent freezer burn. Thaw fully before opening to prevent condensation.
Let’s explore these cannabis storage tips more in depth so you can make your weed last.
Best Ways to Store Weed: In-Depth Storage Methods
Here are some best practices for storing cannabis using various containers and strategies.
Glass mason jars block light and form an airtight seal, making them a top choice for cannabis storage. Keep away from direct light. A small Boveda 62% pack can add two-way humidity control. Open periodically to “burp” and replace oxygen.
Plastic bags are cheap, disposable, and air-tight. Look for thick, high quality plastic for durability. Freezer bags work well. Squeeze out excess air before sealing and place in a cool dark spot. Not ideal for long term storage as plastic is porous.
Plastic containers keep out light, moisture, and air when sealed. Look for rigid, food-grade polyethylene plastic suited for freezing. Ensure a tight seal and open to air out regularly. Can also contain Boveda packs.
Vacuum Sealer Bags
Vacuum sealing pumps out oxygen for extended shelf life. It reduces aroma but retains potency. Use special vacuum sealer bags and double wrap for protection. Keep sealed bags frozen for 1-2 years of freshness.
Your refrigerator provides cool, dark storage around 40°F (4°C). Use airtight glass or plastic containers. Avoid storing weed near foods, especially produce, which can absorb smells. Don’t freeze weed in your refrigerator.
Freezers below 0°F (-18°C) give the longest shelf life of 2 years or more when vacuum sealed. Use special rigid plastic freezer containers or high quality bags to prevent freezer burn. Double wrap bags and squeeze out excess air before sealing.
Humidors with Boveda packs can store and cure cannabis at the same time. Keep humidors around 60-65% relative humidity and out of the light. Slow curing over 6+ months in a humidor can enhance weed’s aroma, flavor, and smoothness.
How Long Does Weed Last in Different Situations?
Here’s a quick reference for cannabis longevity:
- Stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container – Lasts 6-12 months
- Kept at room temperature in a container/bag – Lasts 3-6 months
- Stored in the freezer (-4 to 0°F) – Lasts 1-2 years
- Vacuum sealed and kept in deep freezer (below 0°F) – Lasts 2-3 years
- Kept in a refrigerator (36 to 40°F) – Lasts up to 1 year
- Stored with a Boveda pack – Lasts 6-12+ months depending on temperature
- Placed in an airtight bag/jar with minimal air – Lasts 6-9 months
- Stored on your shelf or in a drawer in a bag – Lasts 3-6 months
- Left out in the open air – Lasts 2-3 months before very degraded
- Ground up into bud – Lasts 1-3 months or less depending on storage
As you can see, cool, minimal air exposure is key for longevity. Now let’s look at frequently asked questions on storing cannabis.
FAQs: Your Common Cannabis Storage Questions Answered
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about proper marijuana storage:
Does putting an orange peel in with weed keep it fresh?
No, adding produce can increase moisture and growth of mold. Orange peels also provide inconsistent humidity levels. Use Boveda packs instead for regulated humidity.
How long does weed stay good for in a plastic baggie?
In an airtight plastic bag kept in a cool, dark space, weed can remain fresh for 3-6 months. Plastic is more porous than glass so not ideal for long term storage. Put baggies inside an opaque container to further protect from air and light.
Can you freeze weed in a plastic bag?
Yes, you can freeze cannabis in a plastic bag if done properly to prevent freezer burn. Use thick, high quality freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air before sealing tightly. Double bag for added protection. Limit freezing time to 1-2 months.
Should you keep weed in the fridge?
Your refrigerator can effectively store cannabis for 6-12 months if kept in an airtight container. Avoid freezing weed in the fridge to prevent moisture condensation when thawed. Keep weed away from fresh produce or foods with strong odors.
What is the best temperature to store cannabis?
Ideal storage temperature for weed is 60-70°F (15-21°C). Temperatures between 40-60°F are also acceptable. Higher temperatures accelerate degradation while freezing below 0°F provides the longest preservation.
Is it better to store weed with stems or without?
Without. Remove stems from cured buds prior to storage, as they can poke holes in bags/containers and introduce excess moisture. Stems also take up unnecessary space and weight.
Can you vacuum seal weed without crushing it?
Yes, you can successfully vacuum seal cannabis without compression by using rigid containers rather than bags. Place cured buds in an airtight plastic container, seal, then use the vacuum sealer to remove air from the container. This avoids squishing.
Does vacuum sealed weed lose potency?
Vacuum sealing extends shelf life but some terpenes and aromas may be diminished over time. However, THC and CBD potency can remain for 1-2 years or longer if frozen, making up for any minor terpene loss.
Following proper storage methods allows you to keep your cannabis fresh for as long as possible.
Reviving Old Weed: Is it Possible to Rehydrate Dry Cannabis?
If stored incorrectly, weed can dry out rapidly. While reviving extremely dried out, crumbling buds is difficult, you can sometimes rehydrate cannabis to regain a little bit of its lost moisture.
Here are two methods to try:
Use Boveda or Integra Boost Packs – Place desiccated buds in an airtight jar with a 62% humidity pack for 1-2 weeks, rotating daily. This slow humidification often improves texture.
Use Orange or Lemon Peels – Add a peel or two to the jar of dry weed for 12-24 hours, rotating periodically. Monitor closely for any condensation or mold growth.
However, rehydrated weed usually won’t return to the exact smoothness, aroma, and potency of originally cured buds. And dried out cannabis is still degraded. For best effects, rehydration is only temporary to restore some moisture before consumption. Old weed generally won’t be revived back to its peak former glory.
What to Do with Bad Weed: What’s the Best Option?
So you checked your stash and discovered your weed has gone bad. Now what? Here are your options:
- Throw it Away
If moldy or severely degraded, the best option is to cut your losses and toss the bad buds in the trash. Mold spores and bacteria can make you sick.
- Use for Edibles and Tinctures
You can mask poor taste and harshness by infusing old weed into edibles or tinctures. The THC will cook into the food or alcohol, though potency has declined.
- Make Canna-Oil
Another way to extract remaining cannabinoids from degraded flower is through canna-oils or butter. Simmering buds in oil will bind to and pull out some of the THC.
- Compost It
If weed has simply dried out but no mold, you can toss it into your compost pile. Break it up thoroughly and mix it deep into the compost so no one picks it out. The nutrients will enrich your soil.
- Use for Joints or Blunts
Harsh, bitter flower can be sandwiched between fresher bud when rolling joints or blunts. This masks some of the poor flavor of the degraded cannabis.
While you can salvage some uses from bad weed, it’s better to not let your marijuana deteriorate to this point in the first place. Follow proper storage from the start.
Key Takeaways: Keep Your Cannabis Fresh
Proper storage preserves weed’s potency and primes for peak enjoyment. Follow these core tips:
- Store buds in airtight glass or plastic containers away from light, heat, and air
- Use Boveda or Integra packs to maintain ideal humidity
- Keep cannabis in cool, dark spaces around 60-70°F if possible
- Freeze for long term storage of 1-2 years
- Check buds and rotate stock to use oldest weed first
- Frequently “burp” containers to refresh stale air
- Watch for signs of degradation like smell, appearance, and texture
With the right storage, your weed will stay fresh and potent for months or even years. Now go enjoy your preserved cannabis at its full potential!
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The Cannabis Framework Project Will Transform the Industry
The Cannabis Framework Project burst onto the scene, earning an invitation to shape policy alongside the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC).
There are many movements that sprout up and fade away without realizing their full potential. But the legal cannabis industry’s time has come, thanks to the dedicated advocates, activists and visionaries who have long fought for legalization and continue working to shape its future. Groups like the Cannabis Framework Project aim to guide this nascent industry’s evolution in a sustainable, ethical way through open collaboration.
Introduction: The Promise of the Cannabis Framework Project
Our initiative burst onto the scene, earning an invitation to shape policy alongside the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC). But our vision reaches far beyond testing standards. We aim to guide this industry’s evolution holistically by crafting frameworks to tackle every challenge and honor cannabis culture. The mainstreaming of this plant depends on it. Through collaboration, we aim to guide this nascent industry’s evolution in a sustainable, ethical way.
Enabling Progress Through Partnership
The future of cannabis regulation depends on addressing the patchwork of testing requirements across states. Recognizing this, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC) formed in 2021 by Perkins Coie to establish and promote national standards, paving the way for interstate commerce and public health protections.
Comprised of legal experts, scientists and lab operators nationwide, the NCLC proposes transitioning from variable state testing programs to a unified scheme. By collecting data from participating labs and consulting scientific standards, they aim to create a baseline for quality testing and risk-based approaches.
The NCLC recommends national standards governing three areas:
- Standard test panels defining compounds for analysis
- Consistent sampling and testing methods
- Lab accreditation plus proficiency testing
These would allow interstate commerce, currently hampered by conflicting state rules, and safeguard consumers by ensuring dangerous additives are monitored nationwide.
While the legal cannabis market expands rapidly, federal legalization and interstate trade loom imminent. The NCLC recognizes addressing testing discrepancies and crafting national standards is imperative to facilitate this and advance public health. By proposing a collaborative approach drawing on scientific rigor and industry insights, they are enabling the responsible and prosperous development of this nascent market.
With a wealth of expertise and dedication to consistent, data-driven standards, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council is uniquely poised to shape policy. Their recommendations balance regulated compliance and industry growth potential. The NCLC’s partnership paves the way for the Cannabis Framework Project to develop frameworks guiding the cannabis industry’s sustainable and ethical growth.
The mainstreaming of cannabis depends on consumer trust in safe, regulated products. By forging a path to interstate commerce and codifying standards to protect public health, the National Cannabis Laboratory Council is lighting the way. The future of cannabis looks bright indeed.
The Approach, Vision and Mission of the Cannabis Framework Project
The legal cannabis industry has progressed rapidly, but a lack of standardization poses barriers to mainstream acceptance and a safe, sustainable future. The Cannabis Framework Project (CFP) was founded to establish open-source policy solutions through collaboration. By developing consistent guidelines for issues like cultivar classification, testing, labeling, and more, the Project aims to legitimize the industry and drive further legalization.
The CFP Already Morphed Into Something More
Initially focused on categorizing strains intuitively based on effects and compounds to make cannabis more navigable, especially for newcomers, the CFP recognizes progress depends on including diverse insights. They aim to address issues surrounding social equity, sustainability, standards, and transparency through frameworks incorporating science, culture, business, medicine, and policy.
The CFP Recognizes The Legacy Market, and the Licensed Market
There are many perspectives on classification, from morphology to chemotype, chemovar, or experience-based systems. The CFP sees value in balancing scientific validity and practical accessibility, honoring tradition yet enabling innovation. An ideal model may utilize hybrid frameworks that evolve with education and social acceptance. By focusing on collaborative solutions, they hope to achieve compromise where strict categories are counterproductive.
Everyone Should Collaborate, Otherwise It will Miss Something
The CFP advocates for continuous reevaluation to best serve community and industry. However, consistency is also needed to educate, empower and drive commerce. An ethical process would balance evolving validity with practical stability, outlining a coherent strategy for improvement and mechanisms to anticipate changes. Through an inclusive model built to mature with progress, cannabis can achieve its potential as a lifestyle product and wellness aid.
There are no perfect or universal solutions, only the option that currently balances needs and allows for ethical progress. By encouraging open participation to shape frameworks and build upon existing work, the Cannabis Framework Project aims to forge a path forward where none yet exists. Their approach reflects the necessity of balance – new and familiar, validity and accessibility, progress and stability.
The Scary ‘Standardization’ Word… is required
With standardization, cannabis can gain mainstream trust and global trade. But strict categorization risks omitting nuance or implying universal experiences that ignore diversity. Continual changes also confuse. The Project’s mission is finding compromise through collaboration, developing solutions to guide the industry’s growth in a sustainable, ethical way.
The Cannabis Framework Project was founded to establish open-source policy solutions through collaboration. By developing consistent guidelines for issues like cultivar classification, testing, labeling, and more, the Project aims to legitimize the industry and drive further legalization. Through our partnership with the National Cannabis Laboratory Council, we are poised to make this vision a reality.
Overall, the Cannabis Framework Project represents hope for progress through open participation and shared responsibility. By incorporating expertise from across sectors and prioritizing the greater good, we aim to overcome challenges that self-interest alone could not. Our collaborative, community-driven approach invites all to shape an equitable, sustainable future for cannabis. The mainstreaming of this plant depends on it. By combining the insights and efforts of many, the promise of cannabis may yet be fully realized.
Is The Cannabis Industry ‘Gatekeeping’?
The cannabis industry exhibits a strong tendencies towards ‘gatekeeping’—the formation of exclusive in-groups that alienate outsiders and create barriers to diversity and inclusion. This exclusionary behavior prevents the industry from achieving mainstream acceptance.
The ‘Cliques’ – Companies and Professionals Alike
The cannabis industry exhibits a strong tendencies towards ‘gatekeeping’—the formation of exclusive in-groups that alienate outsiders and create barriers to diversity and inclusion. This exclusionary behavior prevents the industry from achieving mainstream acceptance.
These tight-knit insider groups hire and promote from within their own networks, creating work environments that feel welcoming only to those ‘in the know’ who share a certain mindset. Outsiders face discrimination and find it difficult to break into these established in-groups.
For most consumers and potential industry participants, these gatekeeping in-groups are an instant turn-off. They feel like outsiders peering in, unable to truly engage with or understand the industry because they don’t share the same connections. The industry’s marketing frequently targets these ‘in-groups’ and also feels alienating. They don’t see themselves represented in industry events, media, or brands.
Breaking down this gatekeeping behavior is essential for the cannabis industry to achieve diversity, inclusion, and mainstream success. Anti-discrimination policies need to be established and enforced to promote fair and equal opportunities. Outreach beyond established in-groups needs to become a priority. The industry must recognize that its image depends on reflecting and welcoming outsiders.
The cannabis industry’s tendency towards gatekeeping and exclusionary in-groups creates barriers to diversity, inclusion, and mainstream acceptance. By shifting focus to inclusion, education, and representing outsiders, the industry can break down these barriers. But first, there must be acknowledgement of the negatives impacts of this exclusionary behavior, and a will to open these well-guarded doors and make sincere efforts towards change. Only when the industry drops the act of gatekeeper can it achieve the mainstream influence it desires.
The cannabis industry has a problem with more established insiders adopting an attitude of superiority that pushes newcomers away. These ‘know-it-all’s flaunt their expertise in niche cannabis brands, products, and terminology as a way to assert dominance and look down on those still learning the ropes. Their holier-than-thou mentality serves as a form of gatekeeping, making newcomers to the industry feel unwelcome and uneducated.
Know-it-all’s impart an illusion that there is endless amounts of crucial ‘insider’ knowledge to attain about cannabis. The reality is that most consumers and newcomers to the industry just want to understand the basics—some guidance on products, strains, and consumption methods to suit their needs. Still, know-it-all’s insist that everyone adhere to their advanced standards of expertise, scolding those who don’t know the difference between various hyper-niche solventless hash rosin brands, for example.
This know-it-all mentality creates an environment where newcomers feel afraid or unwilling to ask questions for fear of appearing uneducated or unable to keep up. It impacts hiring practices, media, events, and marketing by promoting an attitude that only those with a certain level of pre-existing knowledge and expertise could possibly understand or participate. The end result is an industry that feels inaccessible to most outsiders looking in.
For the cannabis industry to achieve mainstream acceptance, this superiority complex needs to be brought down to earth. The reality is that most consumers just want to try quality, trustworthy products without being made to feel like newcomers or judged for their lack of hyper-niche knowledge. An open, educational environment where all feel empowered to learn and ask questions will do far more to advance the industry than exclusionary practices meant to stroke the egos of self-proclaimed cannabis ‘experts’ with know-it-all attitudes.
The know-it-all mentality poses a significant barrier through its ability to make others feel unwelcome and uneducated. But it is a barrier that can be overcome by shifting focus away from flaunting expertise and towards empowering newcomers with education and understanding. By embracing inclusion over exclusion, the cannabis industry’s know-it-all’s might just learn a thing or two themselves.
Overarching Niche Branding Practices
The cannabis industry’s obsessive focus on niche strain names, cultivation techniques, and products creates more confusion than choice for mainstream consumers. This hype-driven branding illusion poses a barrier to growth by overwhelming newcomers and restricting access to only those ‘in the know’.
An endless proliferation of niche strain names like ‘Gorilla Glue #4’ or ‘Alaskan Thunder Fu*k’ means little to most consumers and only serves to make them feel uneducated for not understanding the subtle supposed differences between options. The same can be said for touting obscure cultivation techniques and extracts that market to hardcore insiders. This niche branding significantly restricts the industry by excluding mainstream consumers from participating. Currently, there is an organization called The Cannabis Framework Project that is working on a solution here where everybody wins.
While variety and choice are important, the industry must recognize that too much of a good thing can lead to paralysis for newcomers. The uninitiated just want good, trustworthy cannabis products—they don’t need or want to know every minute detail of how a product was grown, extracted or came to be named. An environment of endless niche options and hype-driven insider branding creates barriers to trial and adoption.
Rather than focusing so heavily on branding meant to impress industry insiders, businesses should work to attract mainstream consumers by providing choice that means something. Simple, descriptive product names, categories based on desired effects, and clear labels conveying potency and dosage guidance will do far more to build trust and empower new consumers than an overload of niche jargon.
Niche branding may convey passion for craft and connoisseurship to some, but it severely limits the potential for industry mainstreaming. By acknowledging the confusion and choice paralysis that too much hype and insider-focused branding creates, businesses can take concrete steps to open their products and messaging to wider audiences. The opportunity lies not in endlessly new niche options but in inclusive education and simplifying choice in a way that allows anyone to feel confident and excited to explore what the cannabis industry offers. mainstream success depends on it.
Niche branding may impress insiders but will not achieve mainstream success. By focusing less on hype-driven niche options and more on inclusive education and simplifying choice for newcomers, the cannabis industry can make products and messaging accessible to all. The key to widespread adoption lies not in how many strain names or cultivation techniques a business can tout, but in empowering all consumers with the knowledge and excitement to participate.
Lack of Transparency
The cannabis industry is plagued by a lack of transparency that benefits insiders while keeping mainstream consumers in the dark. There is little clarity into growing practices, pesticide use, potency testing, and genetics for most products. Opaque supply chains and deceptive marketing are common, empowering shady operators while preventing newcomers from making informed choices.
Without transparency, consumers cannot know for sure what they are purchasing or putting into their bodies. They have no visibility into potentially harmful chemicals used, for example, or if the potency is actually as stated. This creates an environment of uncertainty where people feel unable to trust and participate fully. It significantly limits mainstream acceptance.
Similarly, opaque supply chains allow poor quality or contaminated product to enter the market, as there is no mechanism for tracking or accountability. And when combined with deceptive marketing practices, lack of transparency poses a serious risk to consumer health and safety. However, this same lack of clarity benefits industry insiders, allowing some to cut corners or make exaggerated claims without consequence.
To achieve mainstream success, the cannabis industry must establish and enforce strong transparency standards. Accurate potency testing, certified clean growing practices, pesticide monitoring, and supply chain tracking are all needed to build consumer trust. Marketing claims require regulation to prevent deception. While this may require effort and reduce profits for some, transparency is crucial for further progress.
With transparency comes accountability, and an end to practices that prioritize insider gains over consumer trust and empowerment. By acknowledging the systemic lack of transparency and following through on meaningful industry-wide changes, cannabis businesses can differentiate themselves, build trust in their products, and attract mainstream customers. The opportunity lies not in opaque practices that benefit a few, but in establishing clarity and accountability to advance the industry as a whole.
Lack of transparency in the cannabis industry significantly hampers mainstream acceptance while benefitting insiders. By focusing on transparency standards, accountability, and consumer trust, businesses can overcome these barriers. While change requires effort, the reward will be an end to deceptive practices and the chance to open the industry to audiences that have so far remained in the dark. The key to progress lies in businesses recognizing that their own gain means little without empowering consumers through clarity and truth.
How Much of it is Actually Craft Cannabis?
The cannabis industry’s recent focus on expensive, artisanal ‘craft cannabis’ products has made the plant inaccessible to most. While high-end offerings certainly have their place, when they become the sole focus, it comes at the cost of affordability and restricts the industry to niche audiences. The mainstream opportunity lies not in $18 half-gram pre-rolls but in providing quality, trustworthy cannabis for reasonable prices.
Craft cannabis can validate and raise the profile of the industry, but it cannot be the only option. For the industry to achieve mainstream success, the average consumer must have their needs met. And the reality is, most simply want straightforward, affordable cannabis products, not lavish displays of supposed connoisseurship and craft. By prioritizing extreme pricing and notions of artisanal superiority, the industry risks forgetting and alienating these mainstream consumers, limiting itself to those with the means and mindset to participate.
While enterprise and mom-and-pop craft growers alike deserve to make a living from this plant, businesses must recognize that mainstream acceptance depends on balancing high-end offerings with reasonably-priced options. When cannabis becomes accessible only to those willing and able to pay steep prices to satisfy the craft ethos, it results in an exclusionary environment that benefits the few at the cost of empowering greater audiences. The opportunity for progress lies not in craft distinction alone but in honoring and attracting the average consumer.
Craft cannabis will always have an important place as a demonstration of quality, care, and connoisseurship. However, for the industry to continue advancing, businesses must make their products accessible through competitive pricing and by focusing not just on craft distinction but on the mainstream opportunity. By recognizing that most consumers want good, trustworthy, and affordable cannabis, the industry can establish an inclusive environment where all feel welcome and empowered—where craft and accessibility live in harmony rather than coming at the cost of another.
The cannabis industry’s future depends not on an attitude of craft elitism but of serving and empowering the mainstream. And the mainstream, the average consumer, deserves an affordable option. By providing quality, trustworthy cannabis for the masses in addition to expensive craft offerings, businesses can differentiate themselves while removing the pretense of exclusivity. The opportunity is not in how fancy or lavish an offering is but in giving the people what they actually want and need.
While craft cannabis has an important place, it cannot come at the cost of affordability and mainstream accessibility. By focusing not just on craft distinction but on empowering wider audiences with quality, trustworthy, and fairly-priced products, the industry can achieve diversity and inclusion. The key is in recognizing and serving the needs of average consumers, who desire good cannabis they can afford and enjoy rather than an illusion of connoisseurship meant only for those willing and able to pay the price of admission.
Cannabis Events are Nearly Pointless
Many cannabis industry events, media outlets, and organizations primarily target those already well-versed in the industry, contributing to an echo chamber that prevents new audiences from engaging. By focusing on insider crowds and advanced knowledge, these exclusionary happenings create barriers to mainstream acceptance and inclusion.
Events, media, and organizations that only speak to those in the know contribute to an endless circle of preaching to the choir rather than reaching new audiences. They perpetuate gatekeeping by imparting an attitude that only certain types of people—those with a high degree of existing knowledge and connections—can fully participate, understand or benefit. This significantly limits industry growth by preventing education and access for wider crowds.
While insider events and niche media certainly have value in connecting those already in the space, it is crucial not to forget the mainstream opportunity. For the industry to continue progressing, it must establish an inclusive environment where all feel empowered to learn and engage, not just a select few. By diversifying content and happenings to provide education and on-ramps for people outside established circles, the industry can achieve exponential growth.
Exclusionary practices may benefit established groups by reinforcing a sense of superiority, but they harm the progression and mainstream acceptance of the industry. The opportunity lies not in echo chambers of knowledge meant only for select audiences but in creating accessible education and community. By recognizing the need to reach and empower new crowds, events, media and organizations can transform into inclusive platforms for sharing knowledge and fueling excitement in the wider public.
The cannabis industry’s future depends on inclusiveness, not exclusionary echo chambers. By diversifying to create accessible events, media and organizations that educate and engage mainstream audiences, the industry can overcome barriers to achieve widespread acceptance and participation. The key is in turning inward focus outwards, toward empowering the audiences that have so far remained outside—in serving and inviting the general public rather than just catering to insiders.
While insider events and media have value, the opportunity for industry progress lies in inclusive education and community, not exclusionary echo chambers. By recognizing the need to reach new audiences and empower mainstream participation, organizations can transform from niche platforms into accessible channels for sharing knowledge and fueling excitement in people from all backgrounds. The cannabis industry’s future depends on inclusiveness. And that inclusiveness starts with businesses and groups making efforts to open closed circles and turn outward to welcome those still on the outside looking in.
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