This week’s Trailblazer is Abi Roach, the Head of Marketing & Merchandising at Mera Cannabis, a vertically integrated, privately owned Canadian cannabis company.

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?

Cannabis and its culture became my passion from toke #1. Most of my life work has been selling weed & accessories from Queen West to Jamaica. Back in my younger days, I did a youth entrepreneurship course where we were taught that doing what we loved as business was the best option.

So as a young 20-year-old woman, I invested in what I loved the most… Cannabis!!! and opened my Headshop Roach-O-Rama.
This business then flourished into what was the HOTBOX house of brands and businesses. I fell in love with my customers immediately and have made it my life’s work to innovate and further cannabis culture and the industry.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?

Once I transitioned out of my own business and became a part of someone else’s organization. Explaining my ideas, concepts, and vision to someone who may only be interested in numbers, became a challenge. Taking my passionate guerilla marketing style into a corporate environment and translating it into ROI for an industry that has barely tracked marketing success, and does not have access to traditional trackable channels, has been a hurdle, but I am enjoying figuring out the solutions.

If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?

Packaging regulations in the Canadian market, have created a bizarre marketplace, where people are literally reading ingredients and numbers which they may or may not understand, to make buying decisions about a product that sells on bag appeal, scent, and vibe.

In my opinion, this has been the key driver of the high THC issue we see in the market today. Consumers are reading cannabis like milk, high THC means it’s good and packaged on date is your best before. If we could have normalized packaging where the product can be viewed, with creative branding which tells you something about the product, consumers would be making much better purchasing decisions, and the industry would have a chance to properly differentiate.

In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?

An authentic community around your brand will always win the consumer over. Cannabis brands need to not only show up where the consumers are, but they must create a welcoming atmosphere, where the consumer becomes your promoter. Winning brands create a relationship with their end-user that goes beyond quality and price. The Hotbox Lounge was a great example of creating a community around a brand, which people were proud to say they were a part of and share their experiences with their links. There are some awesome brands these days building strong ties, which makes me happy to see.

Abi Roach Mera Cannabis

Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?

Of course! I am loving the new generation of people throwing some great budtender consumption events. I love saying the gray line of the law gets moved inch by inch. And I truly feel that these industry events are bringing back old school vibes to the new industry. Rebuilding the culture which was being washed away. Big up to High Sprung, Got Loud, KIND and so many more for trailblazing our culture back to the future.

What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?

My tip for anyone entering the industry is: get to know the end consumer, learn the culture, where it came from and where it is going. While traditional marketing, and corporate jargon may work in other industries, this is weed and our culture runs deep. Marketers who truly understand the why of the industry, will win the how.

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

A big thank you to Abi from Mera Cannabis for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.



ADCANN is a digital publication and content creation team that showcases the most creative concepts in the cannabis space.