When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
I come from the music industry and event production, and cannabis was always around at shows and concerts. I’d been a consumer for years and after starting to work in cannabis media, I saw the opportunities for blending industries and cultures together. After leaving my last job, my two business partners, Audrey Roy and Kolin Morgenstern, and I put our minds together with the mission of finding the intersection between cannabis and the potential for a world-shaping positive impact. In 2019 Hazy LA was born.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced marketing cannabis brands are the regulations. This has led me to strive to become a passionate expert in the safest and most ethical ways to operate our business and fulfill for our clients. From reading the regulations to continuing to talk with clients, peers, and our legal team about what the boundaries are; we can continue to strive for more open access and freedom to execute our campaigns. One of the main goals for Hazy is to set an example for others to follow and evolve.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
I would push for more open cannabis event regulations. I get frustrated seeing alcohol events and festivals being able to host virtually anytime and anywhere. Currently, in California, only venues like county fairgrounds are easily able to be approved for large-scale public cannabis events. Local city councils can approve venues for events, and I want to see more stadiums and parks approved for legal cannabis festivals, especially in LA County.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
Having an authentic voice and brand image I think is key in developing and maintaining your audience. The reason Hazy LA has been able to grow so organically over the last three years is because we are the ones behind it. There are no outside investors or forces telling us what to do. We produce content and events that we want to see or would want to go to. The more genuine and open you are with your audience, the more they will be attracted to your brand.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way is to treat people with respect, be involved, and care about the cannabis culture. People can tell when you’re only out for their money. I genuinely care about where this industry is headed and I want to leave a positive mark on the evolution of legal cannabis.