Climate change, cannabis, and creating a better industry by appealing to the best in consumers.
Stalks burn to the ground.
Flowers incinerate into thin air.
No one gets to consume cannabis anymore.
This is the cannabis apocalypse we’ve all feared! Not really, but 2020 is going to present some serious challenges for marketing cannabis.
Most poignantly, the threat of climate change is at the forefront of heated political debate, and many consumers carry their passion for the environment into their cannabis purchases. It’s important to address climate change when marketing cannabis in 2019 and beyond.
Here’s how the two are currently intersecting and how we can tend to the marketing environment.
How the Cannabis Industry Impacts the Environment
Cannabis is no doubt tied, in part, to climate change because it’s a part of the environment. It uses water and nutrients from its surroundings and produces byproducts in return.
A 2015 paper published in BioScience noted that “[cannabis] cultivation can have significant negative collateral effects on the environment that are often unknown or overlooked.”  More specifically, the authors indicated that cannabis:
- Is a water- and nutrient-intensive crop
- Is sometimes cultivated by clearing land, in particular, in “remote forested watersheds, on private, public, and Native American tribal lands.”
- Is associated with agrochemical pollution.
- Requires intensive energy inputs when grown indoors.
It should be noted that this paper did not discuss existing methods of cultivation that can reduce resource consumption. In today’s world, any impact on the environment, even if largely due to black market cultivators, can lead to bad press. Cannabis marketers should respond accordingly.
How Improved Marketing Tactics Can Help
The aforementioned problems with cannabis PR are just the tip of the iceberg. On top of the bad press, cannabis continues to be stifled by stigmatization.
Here are two ways cannabis companies can improve their marketing to roll smoothly into conversations about the climate:
- Improved and accurate messaging to appeal to the climate-conscious majority.
- Upgrading to environmentally-friendly operations: energy-efficient crop management techniques, recyclable packaging, waste reduction, etc.
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, a large majority of Americans believe climate change is real and that human activity is contributing to it. Supporting the idea that companies should take control of their practices to reduce their carbon footprint will let some cannabis companies take the lead in the long run.
These are just a few ways that cannabis companies and their marketers can reach (and retain) consumers in 2019 and beyond. Conversations regarding the environment, climate change, and being “green” aren’t going to dissipate. Are you employing responsible cannabis marketing techniques to help improve the climate of the cannabis industry? Let us know about it in the comments below!
- Carah, Jennifer K et al. “High Time for Conservation: Adding the Environment to the Debate on Marijuana Liberalization.” Bioscience, vol.65, no.8, 2015, pp. 822-829. [Times cited = 36; Journal Impact Factor: 5.378]