This week’s Trailblazer is Nikki Thomas, Senior Trade Marketing Manager at WeedMD, a federally licensed producer of cannabis products for medical, via the Starseed Medicinal brand, and adult-use markets sold under Color Cannabis and Saturday Cannabis brands.

Nikki Thomas WeedMD

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

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

As soon as I realized it was an option, I made the leap in my marketing career from traditional CPG to cannabis. I had officially entered the space a month prior to Legalization Day (October 17th, 2018) and can genuinely proclaim it as one of the best experiences of my life. My involvement in this industry was made possible by the incredible activists who blazed the trail long before me. It is because of them that I get to continue forging a path to “break the grass ceiling”.

The biggest drivers of my decision to leap into the cannabis industry includes my passion for cannabis as a value-add to life, my desire to help educate & destigmatize consumption and my desire to be the representation I want to see in the space. That said, there is still a lot of work to be done on all three of those fronts and the long hours I put in everyday are fueled by purpose.

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

Rebranding cannabis in the minds of Canadians after a history of negative perceptions about the plant and doing this in a highly restrictive legal environment has been the biggest marketing challenge that I have faced.  Though tough, it is not a challenge that we can afford to give up on.

Nikki Thomas Saturday Cannabis

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

I believe that cannabis should be upheld to the same marketing restrictions as alcohol in this country.  As two highly regulated legal substances, I would love to see cannabis afforded the same opportunity to truly normalize consumption and educate about the beautiful intricacies and effects of the complex plant.

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

Through my observations, the most effective marketing channel comes byway of The Almighty Budtender. The Budtender is knowledgeable, passionate, and usually a critical conduit between a shopper and their purchase decision(s). Many brands seek to resonate with Canadian Budtenders to become (and remain) top-of-mind but it all must start with great quality cannabis that delivers a great quality smoking experience.

Nikki Thomas WeedMD

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

I see role models in many trailblazers in the cannabis industry. Brilliant black women like:

Mary Pryor (Co-Founder of Cannaclusive and CMO of Tonic CBD) who is leading the fight for diversity in cannabis.

Sirita Wright – Co-Founder and CMO of EstroHaze, a media company offering women of colour a space to learn about the numerous lifestyle and career opportunities within the cannabis industry.

Ericka Pittman (CMO of Viola Brands), a highly accomplished enterprising visionary who is pioneering leadership for women of color in the cannabis space.

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

A tip I would offer a fellow marketer looking to get into the space would be to ensure that passion and purpose are at the forefront of their decision because working in the industry is not the easiest proposition. There will be many instances you will have to draw upon your resilience, lean into perseverance and showcase grit, but it is fun, and it is worth it.

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

A big thank you to Nikki 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.

ADCANN

ADCANN

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