February 20, 2019

Maryland’s 4th Largest County Sees Drop in Opioid Overdoses

Despite 62% of the Americans favoring the legalization of cannabis, it's still common to hear the plant referred to as a "gateway drug," meaning that its consumption will lead to addiction and the use of harder drugs. This unproven theory is often cited as an example for opposition to state medical marijuana programs and dispensaries opening up in our communities. However, several extensive scientific and academic studies are finding that cannabis is actually an "exit drug" — one that diminishes the reliance on opioids.

Just one year since the implementation of Maryland's medical cannabis program, we are seeing promising results thanks to this life-changing medicine — notably in Anne Arundel County, home to the Brand Joint studio. According to the Maryland Department of Health January 2019 report, there has been a 40.4% decrease in opioid overdoses since this time last year. Additionally, there were 17 fewer fatal overdoses — a 52.9% decrease from 2018.

With a population of nearly 570,000, Anne Arundel County, currently has only two operating dispensaries. Imagine if there were several more locations where patients suffering from opioid addiction could find help with high-quality, natural, medicine. The opportunity to heal our nation starts at the local level, and our efforts to embrace legalization.

Though this example is just a microcosm of an entire country plagued with the opioid epidemic, it's hard to overlook the timing of our state's medical cannabis program. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Center for AIDS Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, researchers found that in states that enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010, there was a 24.8% lower annual opioid overdose death rate, compared to states without medical marijuana laws.

This data shows a path to healing, and it shouldn't be ignored by our fellow citizens and lawmakers. We are excited about this great news out of our home state and we anticipate this trend to continue throughout the country where medical cannabis programs are implemented.

January 2, 2019

Looking Back On Brand Joint’s 2018

2018 has been quite the year for Brand Joint, our cannabis branding studio based in Annapolis! Looking back, it’s hard to put into words the amount of fun we’ve had doing the work we love. But, we’re going to try!

This was the year for field trips! Our Brand Discovery sessions have led us to exciting places, like on an oyster boat on the Potomac, cannabis cultivation & processing labs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and DC, and a decorative door and cabinet hardware factory in Western New York. In February, Jenn spoke on the main stage at the Women Grow Leadership Summit in Denver. And in November, she attended the nation’s largest cannabis conference and expo in Las Vegas. In May, Jenn and Shelby travelled to Boston for the HOW Design Live conference. They came back full of creativity, inspiration, and productivity tips that kept our team motivated throughout the entire year. In October, the Brand Joint crew successfully solved the puzzle to exit the Mission Escape Room in Annapolis (with a minute to spare). It was a great team-building experience!

Our apparel line, Crabcakes & Cannabis has become the “must-have” of the year. We had a blast at pop-up shops and festivals across the state — with our team working the booth. It’s always fun to be out from behind a computer screen and interacting with customers!

And, when we needed some rest and relaxation throughout the insanely busy year, you could find us in the mountains of Colorado, singing along at Bonnaroo, or soaking up the sun on the beaches of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

We designed quite a few logos and completed several websites, but our packaging design really stole the show this year. We hate to brag (not really), but our design for Prime Extracts, a brand of Maryland refined cannabis concentrates won Best Branding by LeafLink. We are also working on some new brands which we’ll launch early this year, so stay tuned!

Our cute Annapolis studio is growing and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Two amazing new women joined our team: Graphic Designer, Kelsey and an Office Manager, Deanna.

Throughout this busy year, we’ve been so fortunate to work with the best clients around the world. With our deepest gratitude, happy New Year from the Brand Joint family!

November 12, 2018

Prime Extracts Named Best Brand By LeafLink


LeafLink, a sales platform for cannabis brands, distributors, and retailers, has chosen Prime Extracts, one of our cannabis clients, for having the Best Branding in their 2018 LeafLink List! Each year the LeafLink List recognizes the best-selling and fastest-growing brands and products on their platform. We are incredibly honored to see our work among some of the most well-known brands in the cannabis industry!

Over the past year, the Brand Joint team worked with Prime Extracts to develop the name, logo, packaging design and overall brand strategy for their line of refined cannabis concentrates. To set a strong brand foundation for their product line, we worked with the Maryland-based company to determine what their brand stood for and how to best differentiate their products from others across the state. Together, we focused on three core brand values to communicate to their target audience through marketing and design: quality, transparency, and responsibility.


Choosing a name for your cannabis company can be one of the most challenging and important parts of developing your brand identity. It’s important that your cannabusiness name conveys your brand essence to consumers. The name “Prime Extracts” reflects the purity of the concentrated cannabis. Using an organic, food-grade ethanol extraction process, plant material is distilled to its prime components, resulting in clean, consistent products comprised only of cannabis-derived ingredients. Reflective of that brand promise, we designed a minimalist logo using prime shapes and numbers. Additionally, the packaging incorporates bold, bright patterns, complimenting the robust and flavorful terpene and cannabinoid profiles for which Prime Extracts is known.




Prior to Prime Extracts' release in the Maryland market, we noticed that other brands attached a generic, unformatted label listing the state-required lab results and ingredients to their products. That label often covers up packaging design and is difficult to read due to its small print.

The Brand Joint team took Maryland's packaging regulations and incorporated them into a design feature that benefits consumers. Our unique label highlights Prime's terpene and cannabinoid profile in a simplified, educational design. This allows patients to quickly identify ingredients, allowing for educated purchasing decisions based on their desired experience. Additionally, when new products and strains are released, our social media team posts the third-party test results as another way to educate consumers through transparency.


One of the biggest problems our team identified with concentrate packaging is the difficulty of identifying a strain type once it has been removed from the original packaging. How can a consumer choose the appropriate strain type without any identifying marker on the cartridge? The brightly color-coded system we created for all Prime products is especially effective on the mouthpieces for vape pens. Sativa-dominate distillate, for example, will always be packaged in orange, while hybrids are marked as purple. Not only does the packaging stand apart on shelves, but it goes above and beyond in terms of patient safety. Packaging inserts and strain information are often discarded upon initial use, but patients will be able to medicate responsibility and appropriately based on their desired experience.

While this overall brand strategy and design is unique to Prime Extracts, the Brand Joint process is applied to each and everyone of our clients. Whether designing a logo, website, or social media content, we always start by building a brand's foundation — establishing the brand story and core values — before releasing products into the market.

We are grateful to LeafLink for recognizing our brand strategy and design for Prime Extracts on their 2018 List! We look forward to developing new products with the Prime team in the near future. Follow Brand Joint on Instagram to see what we're up to with out other cannabis clients!

October 5, 2018

An Open Letter to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission 

Just this week, news broke in our home state that the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission has announced a proposal moving to restrict advertising and marketing efforts for cannabis growers, processors, independent testing labs, and dispensaries.

Below is an open letter to the Commission from Brand Joint's Founder and Creative Director, Jennifer Culpepper:

I am writing to the MMCC in response to the Commission's proposed regulations for advertising and marketing. The new regulations would prohibit radio, television, billboard and print advertising, as well as websites, apps, and social media that do not verify the user is 18 years or older. As the Founder & Creative Director of Brand Joint, a branding and design company working exclusively in the cannabis industry. Social media, marketing and advertising  is just a small aspect of what my company does.

I write not as someone who is concerned about the financial impact these regulations might have on my company, but as someone who believes that patients and the overall community deserve open communication from cannabis businesses. Social media platforms, such as Facebook & Instagram are one of the most convenient and accessible forms of communication medical cannabis patients have with their dispensaries, makers of their medicine, and their fellow community members. Within the last year, I have seen thousands of patients come together to form supportive groups on these platforms, thanks, in part, to engaged cannabis businesses.

Because there were no reasons provided for this sudden change, I can only guess at goal of these proposed regulations — to hide cannabis and its use in order to protect children, teens and the general public.

Common Sense Advertising & Minors 

It’s commendable that lawmakers want to ensure that children and teenagers do not have access to cannabis and are not influenced to try cannabis upon seeing creative marketing and advertising campaigns. We agree that content, advertisements and packaging should not contain anything attractive to children, such as cartoons, characters, popular phrases or references to candy. These regulations are widely embraced by programs across the country. However, by blanket banning advertising and marketing, we push Marylands' program into the dark and risk making legitimate businesses and prescribed medication relegated to the black market.

With responsible advertising and marketing practices, the cannabis community offers an opportunity for families to have important conversations with their children. As a mother of two school-aged children, I am quite familiar with approaching difficult topics. Just like any other prescription drug they may see advertised, I tell my children that cannabis is medicine only to be used by the intended patient under a doctor's supervision. One cannot purchase cannabis from a dispensary without qualifying and receiving a written certification from a registered physician.

Like any other substance, there will always be those who abuse cannabis. This should also be part of the conversation we have with our kids. As medical cannabis continues to gain support across the United States, we must take the responsibility to have conversations with our children as we would with any other substance intended for adults. By shielding information about cannabis and Maryland's medical program, we miss out on important teachable moments for our children.

Educating in the Community 

Dispensaries, growers, and processors utilize social media to advertise educational events that are beneficial to patients, as well as community members interested in learning more about medical cannabis. Advertising is crucial to community engagement. Without the use of social media and other forms of communication, our community would have no idea these events are taking place. More so, it threatens the potential dialogue and important relationships between businesses and the community.

Many scientists, doctors, patients, and cannabis advocates applaud the plant’s health benefits for a variety of ailments. Due to misinformation and debunked myths about marijuana, there is still a deep-rooted concern by some lawmakers and citizens that cannabis is a dangerous drug and a threat to our community. In response to those concerns, my team has helped organize several events for dispensaries and cannabis businesses, including town halls, veteran-focused gatherings, and "meet and greets" with respected industry professionals, doctors, and scientists. We always make sure to reach out to nearby businesses and neighborhoods to address community concerns. These events would not have been successful without the use of print advertising and social media. Quite simply, the ability to advertise is the ability to speak directly to our community.

Advertising and Marketing for Good 

This new policy, in my opinion, continues to stigmatize cannabis and cannabis consumers. Through social media, we have the ability to normalize medical cannabis use and create a supportive environment for patients. For Brand Joint and our clients, social media has become an important tool when it comes to educating the public about the cannabis plant, its medicinal benefits, history and culture. Our company was founded with the vision to make cannabis more accessible and approachable to a broader audience.

Through our work, we aim to break down negative stereotypes and remove the stigma that medical patients and adult-use consumers face. As states across the U.S. implement medical marijuana programs, its clear that the plant and its usefulness as an alternative to prescription drugs is being brought into the light. I believe that the proposed advertising regulations put our state's program two steps back and into the dark.

The state of Maryland has become one of the top 5 states with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths and since the 90’s, Maryland has continuously been above that national average of opioid deaths. According to research by JAMA in April of 2018, "State implementation of medical marijuana laws was associated with a 5.88% lower rate of opioid prescribing.”

With a health crisis in our very own state, I believe the ability for cannabis businesses to interact with their communities is key to addressing prescription drug abuse. I encourage the Commission to allow industry professionals to continue their efforts in educating and engaging with their patients and the community through social media platforms and advertising opportunities. I ask that you reconsider the proposed advertising and marketing regulations, so we can continue to bring our amazing medical cannabis program into the light.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Jennifer Culpepper
Brand Joint
Founder & Creative Director


June 14, 2018

Talking Terps in Downtown Annapolis

On Wednesday, June 13th, Brand Joint co-hosted an amazing event with the Maryland chapter of Women Grow in beautiful downtown Annapolis. Industry professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, cannabis enthusiasts and medical patients gathered on the rooftop of Metropolitan to learn more about cannabis concentrates, terpenes and cannabinoids during the panel discussion, "Talking Terps with Prime Extracts."

Jennifer Culpepper, Brand Joint's Founder, led the conversation with two of our incredible clients, Reggie Alston of Prime Extracts and Dr. Chanda Macias and Michael Bobo of National Holistic Healing Center, as well as Philip Stripling of Steep Hill Maryland and DC.

Reggie, Prime's Founder, explained how his Maryland brand of refined cannabis concentrates are formulated to create a well-balanced experience for consumers. As a cell-biologist and dispensary owner, Dr. Chanda shared knowledge about ailment strain-alignment, and how certain strains and terpenes can benefit patients with certain illnesses and symptoms. Michael revealed his three favorite terpenes — Ocimene, Limonene and Myrcene — and demonstrated the various concentrate delivery methods. Phil then informed attendees about the Steep Hill Labs testing process and how patients can utilize test results to determine which strains are most beneficial for their needs.

The panel was extremely informative and attendees were able to ask any questions they had about cannabis concentrates and the differences between wax, shatter, and oil cartridges.

Crabcakes & Cannabis, a Maryland lifestyle brand created by Brand Joint, was also in attendance with a pop-up shop and raffle giveaways.

The venue was beautiful, the weather was great and the turnout was incredible! We are so thankful for the wealth of knowledge shared by our industry panel and we hope that attendees walked away more comfortable and informed about the benefits of cannabis concentrates.

November 13, 2017

Veteran’s Day in Baltimore: Healing Our Heroes

The Brand Joint team was proud to partner with Women Grow to organize an amazing educational event on Veteran's Day at Charm City Medicus, a medical cannabis dispensary in Baltimore, Maryland. "Healing Our Heroes" provided the opportunity for veterans to hear from a wide variety of cannabis advocates, doctors and industry experts about the basics of cannabis and the different ailments the plant can treat. Attendees were also allowed to take small tours throughout the recently constructed CCM dispensary.

Speakers at the event included:
Bryan Hill: Charm City Medicus
Sarah Stenuf: Retired SPC 15R Apache Crew Chief & Founder of HappyHealing420 LLC
Reggie Alston: Prime Extracts (formerly 7 Points Agro-Therapeutics)
Jim Elftmann: gLeaf, Director of Cultivation
Dr. Brian S. Kahan: Medical Director at The Kahan Center for Pain Management
Dr. Andrew Rosenstein: Steep Hill Laboratories
Dr. Chanda Macias: Women Grow DMV/ National Holistic Healing Center

The Brand Joint team in the brand new Crab Cakes & Cannabis line


Jim Elftmann, Director of Cultivation at gLeaf speaking about the differences between Indica and Sativa strains


Retired Army Veteran Sarah Stenuf shares her story and explains how cannabis saved her life

As Maryland dispensaries prepare to open, educational events and community outreach are crucial. With the disconnect between federal and state legalization efforts, it's not surprising to have concerned and confused community members. CCM's President, Bryan Hill prioritizes community outreach events to help educate the public about medical cannabis and its health benefits. Hill was thrilled to see such a great turnout on the chilly Fall Saturday,

"Healing Our Heroes was an amazing first event held at the dispensary. Our team was excited to see so many patients and those that just wanted to learn about cannabis show up and interact with our panel of speakers. It's important for our patients to feel comfortable when they visit the dispensary and this event was an important step to introducing ourselves to Baltimore and Dundalk communities."

Just like the CCM's patients, the Brand Joint team is counting down he days until the dispensary's grand opening. We look forward to organizing events for our clients, including CCM, to increase community awareness and patient education within the state of Maryland.

June 14, 2017

Patient & Public Education Matters

It's easy to roll your eyes at a friend or family member who recites a “fact” about cannabis use that sounds eerily similar to a quote from Reefer Madness. Now, more than ever, cannabis entrepreneurs and enthusiasts must make a conscious effort to educate the public about cannabis use and users.

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April 25, 2017

Maryland Patient Registry Now Open!

After months of delays and anticipation, open patient and caregiver enrollment officially began on Monday, April 24 for The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission! The registration processes and requirements differ for adult and minor patients, but both are to be completed online. Requirements and more information on how to register can be found here

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January 18, 2017

Cannabis Branding: Differentiating Your Dispensary

A good dispensary does not just providing a product, but an entire patient experience. To help you understand and visualize your intended experience and narrow in on the smallest of details, it’s best to view every touch point through the eyes of your patient or consumer. What do they feel, hear and see the moment they walk through the doors? Does your website provide a similar experience? How does your staff dress? Does your interior design match your brand? How are your products displayed? Does your dispensary provide the largest selection products, cheapest prices, or do you specialize in high-end strains?

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December 14, 2016

Maryland Dispensaries Announced

On December 9th, The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) made the much anticipated announcement of the 92 Dispensaries that were awarded Stage One license pre-approvals. Combined with all 10 Grower pre-awardees who were also awarded a dispensary pre-approval, there are now 102 Dispensaries slated to open in the state of Maryland.

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