Discover more from Sticky Bits by Lauren Yoshiko
CBD Dips & Crystal Balls
Plus: A cannabis execution.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, May 1, 2023
Time to read: About 6 minutes. Contains 1,278 words.
Whew—I’m finally, mostly back in the swing of things after submitting my book draft(!). I spent my 4/20 knee-deep in Google Docs, but I loved catching glimpses of many of your holiday celebrations around the internet. I hope everyone had a perfectly hazy, giggly time at home or with friends.
Now that the dust has settled and businesses have a better sense of budgets for the rest of the year, I’d like to call out a few past posts to help you make every dollar stretch. These are accessible to paid subscribers only, but they represent just a handful of the many resources you can dig into once you sign up.
-An affiliate networking explainer that breaks down the jargon and reveals how this system works for brands, media operators, and influencers, plus this first-hand advice from CBD brand TONIC on how they use affiliate marketing for web traffic and press plays.
-Multiple brands across the THC, CBD, and accessory spectrums answer two simple questions: What single marketing moment was the most worthwhile for your brand? And what campaigns didn’t land? Round 1 and Round 2.
In addition to the entire archive of past newsletters, you can watch an hour-and-a-half Ask Me Anything session with Monica Khemsurov of Tetra about doing your own PR.
As I build out my game plan for the rest of 2023, remember that the comment section and my inbox are open—I’d love to hear your requests for future topics. What challenges, tasks, and informational needs are top of mind right now? Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you prefer.
Without further ado, let’s get caught up on the latest news, launches, and weird weed things on my mind.
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One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
One brand that didn’t have the happiest 4/20: Dutchie. The cannabis delivery software company and thousands of its customers dealt with major technical difficulties on April 20th. For many hours on the big day—including 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time—online menus were intermittently unavailable, programmed deals disappeared, and online and delivery orders were disrupted or canceled. MJ Biz Daily reports that CEO Tim Barash intends to compensate retailers “an amount equivalent to our estimate of lost profits.” Judging from the comments on his LinkedIn apology, the company might’ve lost some customers over this one, though.
Delaware became the 22nd state to legalize adult-use cannabis. Legal sales will likely begin in late summer 2024, but Delawareans 21 and up can now possess and privately consume the plant to their heart’s content. Home grows were not included in the legislation. Interestingly, Governor Carney—who’s vetoed cannabis legalization bills in the past—progressed the legislation without his signature, noting in a statement that while his views on the subject haven’t changed, “I believe we’ve spent far too much time focused on this issue, when Delawareans face more serious and pressing concerns every day. It’s time to move on.”
PAX seems to be leaning into a fashion-forward marketing approach: I spotted its rectangular vapes styled as a Lady Liberty-inspired crown in Sundae School’s epic 4/20 runway show, and their logo emblazoned on this very fun pair of custom Dunks for a holiday giveaway.
I was pleased with a slightly more ambitious slate of mainstream cannabis coverage this holiday season, particularly this fun galaxy-style chart of dispensary names gathered by the Washington Post. I just wish we could toggle around the chart to further explore the concentrations that show popular themes of “outer space,” “various trees,” and “various spellings of dragon.” The article posits that too many strains are named too similarly. However, considering that 99.9% of vineyard names go in one of my ears and out the other, I’m not sure that one-of-a-kind shop names are that significant.
A Singaporean man named Tangaraju Suppiah was executed under the country’s death penalty last week over the charge of facilitating the delivery of a mere 2 pounds of cannabis. Note that he was charged, not convicted—many activists and human rights organizations were calling for clemency amid concerns over a lack of due process. It’s a shockingly tragic and vicious action that goes against the momentum in the region. Although Asia has been associated with a more conservative approach to cannabis in recent decades, cannabis-friendly resorts and retail are thriving in Thailand, and Los Angeles lifestyle boutique Mister Green just opened a second location in the middle of the popular Shibuya district of Tokyo.
Want to hear music made by cannabis plants? Ceramic accessory brand Summerland enlisted Erren Franklin to create three sensory films inspired by the core pieces of their bong collection. Franklin collaborated with experimental music artist Nico Georis to capture the sound of cannabis. Georis attached a pair of diodes to the leaves of living cannabis plants to read the current of its fluctuating biodata. The signals seem to vary according to the conditions of the plant's environment and development, but “the process is largely a mystery.” Paired with imagery shot on 100% analog, 8mm film, the “Silhouette” trilogy is exactly the otherworldly, of-another-time art I believe this plant would absolutely love.
A couple headlines from the CBD realm that caught my eye: CBD-centric e-commerce site Standard Dose apparently owes thousands of dollars to vendors, and Happy Dance, Kristen Bell’s CBD topical brand, is folding. However, I don’t think this means CBD is dead. I think it shows that consumers are not happy with products that don’t deliver on bold promises made by brands (and that celebrity is not enough to get people to buy products that don’t do much).
Likely related: During a panel on cannabis and creativity at the Aster Hotel in Los Angeles last month, Marta Freedman, founder of cannabis brand Angel Therapy and co-founder of skincare brand, Dieux—a brand that walked us through clinical trials for CBD efficacy in a past newsletter—mentioned that Sephora is reportedly slashing its CBD offerings.
One of the newer destinations featured in my book is Cirrus Social Club in Denver, Colorado, a gloriously over-the-top consumption lounge opening later this year. I only saw renderings when I talked to founder Arend Richard—who mentioned a coral Steinway piano—but the pop-up they threw in LA last week gave a solid sense of the aesthetic.
A former Dyson engineer designed OOKA, a fancy new flower vape built to work with Keurig-like pre-packaged flower pods and a hookah-inspired hose.
Are you a Colorado-based cannabis business majority-owned by a social equity licensee? Mission-based lender, NuProject, would love to issue you a low-interest loan of $50,000 to $150,000.
Cool cannabis art book alert! Heads Together, Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate 1965–1973 is a collection of drawings, grow guides, and ads for local dealers published across the “loose confederation” of hundreds of underground newspapers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. David Jacob Kramer’s book is an instant classic for collectors of counterculture relics that capture the youth uprising.
I love the look of Sackville & Co.’s super-slick, silver iteration of their Crystal Ball Pipe made in collaboration with Playboy to mark the magazine’s 70th anniversary. In addition to tapping into disco vibes as you puff on the reflective orb, the right angle offers a totally new take on ikebana.
Back to enjoying May flowers,