We recently attended a community discussion about the opening of a dispensary in our home state of Maryland. A panel of business owners and industry experts answered questions from concerned citizens about a medical cannabis dispensary opening up just down the road from their neighborhoods, local businesses, etc. With the disconnect between federal and state legalization efforts, it's not surprising that the reactions from the community were mixed. While many applauded the health benefits for a variety of ailments, others expressed concern for how legal cannabis will effect Maryland's opioid epidemic.
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.
So, what can we as industry leaders do to properly educate potential patients and citizens who might be misinformed about cannabis? According to Shawnta Hopkins-Green of MyCannx, proactive community outreach is crucial. Hopkins-Green partners with her dispensary clients to hold seminars and set up booths at local events and festivals. In addition to conversing with potential consumers one-on-one, she also advises taking advantage of digital marketing, posting educational snippets on Facebook and Twitter, sending out digital newsletters, or uploading informative video content to your website.
Like Hopkins-Green, we at Brand Joint think it's important to introduce engaging bite-sized educational pieces that are easy to digest. This could be done through videos and blog posts, as well as printed materials and in-store displays. There are a variety of topics to focus on, and many of those topics come from patient and community questions:
- Where the state laws?
- How do you become registered as a patient?
- What is the difference between CBD and THC?
- What are the different ways to consume cannabis?
Through our internship program at Brand Joint, we focus on creating such content. Our most recent video highlights the differences between indica and sativa strains. This information is helpful for patients new to cannabis in determining which medicine is best for their ailments.