This week’s Trailblazer is Jess Moran, Founder of JESSCO Marketing & Communications. She is an expert with more than nineteen years of industry experience across a broad range of communications roles in the not-for-profit, corporate, government, agency and start-up sectors.

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

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

I got involved in the Cannabis Industry about 5 years ago. At that time I ran a marketing consultancy, and one of my clients was a Cannabis Tech client which I found quite interesting. In and around the same time, personally I was looking for plant-based medicinal options for our Autistic daughter. Both my business and personal interest really fueled my passion for the industry and intersected at a perfect time!

Jess Moran headshot

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

The biggest challenge is the strict regulations from Health Canada which makes it incredibly challenging for cannabis companies and brands to generate awareness, and advertise.

Unfortunately, this is tied back to a stigma that still exists, in addition to a general lack of mainstream knowledge on Cannabis.

The other thing is the ever-changing regulations which cause clients to have to pivot on a dime, it certainly has taught me in my own business, and clients to remain incredibly nimble.

Jess Moran

Helping clients move the needle

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

Bill C-45 needs to go! I think all restrictions should be removed and cannabis should be treated exactly like alcohol. Certainly we should not be able to direct market to minors, but we should be on a level-playing field to alcohol.

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

I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ – it really depends on the cannabis company and it’s goals. For that reason, we take a customized approach. However, in general we’ve had good experiences with utilizing influencers (within the proper parameters), Public Relations, and connecting with gated micro-cannabis communities with high interest, and therefore, a high conversion rate.

JESSCO on mic

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

Ashleigh Brown, Elias Theodorou, Angelina Blessed, Tabitha Fritz, Jeannette Vandermarel, Trina Fraser, Deepak Anand, Riley Cote, Eben Britton, Jacqui Childs, Miz D (Danielle)

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

Prepare to be flexible! Given the industry is in it’s infancy, the Regulations are still panning out, and everyone is still figuring out the industry, therefore flexibility is key as what you may be allowed to do one day, you can’t do the next, or a business/marketing plan may be viable one day, and not viable the day after!

And since I don’t follow instructions well I have another piece of advice – HAVE FUN!!! It’s cannabis! Not brain surgery! We have an awesome industry, and awesome cannabis community that we should be proud of, and take moments to enjoy the ride, soak it all in, and HAVE FUN!!!!

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

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

Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.

Spencer Tropea

Spencer Tropea

Spencer Tropea is a seasoned creative and certified cannabis sommelier with 15 years of experience in PR, design, and photography. He's worked with several prominent cannabis brands across North America, using his unique skills to craft engaging narratives that breathe life into the industry and the passionate people invloved.