Cannabis continues to grow as an industry, and whenever there’s growth like this, there’s bound to be change. In the case of marijuana, as stigmas still swirl around “stoners” and the plant itself, savvy designers, marketing gurus and artists are rebranding cannabis away from the images of greenery and red eyes and closer to clean, vibrant packaging and advertising that evoke a higher form of normalcy.
Take MedMen for example. In their recent and ongoing campaign, Forget Stoner, the opening web page touts, “Today’s marijuana enthusiasts are everywhere and everyone. It’s time to drop the label. Forget stoner.” As you scroll down the red background, you see highly stylized images of people from all walks of life. In California, some of these people were displayed on billboards implying that we’re here, we’re the same as you, we just enjoy some pot.
And going into a MedMen dispensary, you may as well be walking into an Apple store. Glass cases with futuristic bud pods, a clean, fashionably sterile environment and smiling faces await within and they’re contributing to the changes that are happening rapidly within the cannabis community.
The marijuana movement started decades ago, with grit, fury, compassion and bombastic personalities that wore hemp suits with pot leaves adorning them and wreaths around their necks made of pot leaf shaped fabric. Every move it took to get us where we now are, pretty much started out at a grassroots level.
Now cannabis is becoming more and more normalized, not to mention regulated, and aside from business owners wanting to set themselves apart by looking sleek in today’s technological era, packaging requirements that don’t appeal to children take the obvious choices for advertising and displaying out the window.
Branding experts and designers are now working together to create streamlined, clean imaging for the cannabis marketplace. There’s even a stock photo cache called StockPot Images that feature over 20,000 pictures of beautiful shots of the plant alongside real people, not models. It’s founder, Ophelia Chong, was inspired by her sister, who was using marijuana medicinally when Chong caught herself judging. She was immediately humbled, intrigued and inspired.
Cannabis and how it’s looked upon may be changing, both inside and out, but sometimes shaking things up is a good thing. Cheech and Chong had their days and will continue to entertain infamously as cult classics into time immortal, no matter how much the movement tries to scrub itself clean. Still, higher forms of art are rebranding, re-imaging and rebirthing cannabis and it’s looking pretty sharp.