Each influencer represents a different aspect of the industry
If you’re into social media, you may know that sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can at times police sites for what they deem to be promoting illegal activities. However, in the age of cannabis legalization, these 10 people have maintained a strong foothold in social media spaces and the cannabis community at large.
Influencer marketing is a bit different than traditional marketing, where influencer marketing uses people and personalities to represent a target market. It works by having brands identify individuals who are resonating with target markets, who have a social media presence, and it allows a brand to build their marketing strategies around that person.
Cannabis is full of influencers, but for this cause, they aren’t only representing certain brands that align themselves to them, but they’re also representing the cannabis movement as a whole. Each influencer represents a different aspect of the marijuana business, and thus, are valuable for brands in their own ways.
Here’s a peek into 10 cannabis influencers you should be watching:
Cheryl Shuman has been named “The Martha Stewart of Marijuana” for her high-class image and her alignment to her creation Marijuana Moms, a community-building initiative for mothers who are interested to use cannabis without the stigma. Shuman is an outspoken member of the cannabis community, offering insights into cannabis investing and more recently becoming an outspoken advocate against Roger Stone’s appearance at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (which sources say he’s been recently dropped from).
Krishna Sai Andavolu
If you’re a fan of VICE and Viceland, and enjoy learning about all things marijuana, Krishna Sai Andavolu is your guy. Host of the web series WEEDIQUETTE on Viceland, Andavolu couples extensive marijuana knowledge with opportunities to test out different marijuana strains, methods and smoke spots across the world.
Her name is synonymous with cannabis in Canada and Jodie Emery’s flame isn’t showing any signs of burning out anytime soon. Connected to Cannabis Culture, Jodie and her partner Marc have been persecuted over their dispensaries and have emerged as strong advocates against the criminalization of marijuana in Canada. If there is any legislative hearing to be had for marijuana in Canada, Jodie is sure to be there having her voice heard.
If you’re looking for marijuana statistics and data, Troy Dayton is your guy. Head of ArcView, one of the U.S. biggest investment and research firms, Dayton has emerged as a strong voice for cannabis and the investment potential within the business and can back up any cannabis growth claim with many statistics.
Dr. Michele Ross
Dr. Michele Ross is the influencer on this list who represents the medical community and the medical perspective on cannabis. She specializes in neuroscience and is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and research on cannabis within medical communities and within public health. She is the founder of IMPACT Network, which focuses on the advancement of research on cannabis for women’s health.
Twitter: @drmicheleross and @impactcannabis
Women of Cannabiz
This online community, founded by Rachel Garland, is a place that celebrates all the amazing contributions of women in cannabis across the world. All women who show up on Women in Cannabiz represent a different part of the cannabis industry and share their story with the greater cannabis audience. The site celebrates female entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry and serves as a source of empowerment for not only women, but all cannabis entrepreneurs.
Studio 420 is a Denver-based agency that identifies as a cannabis-friendly creative agency, providing web services for the cannabis industry worldwide and also acting as an authority for best practices in web development, marketing, and content creation for the cannabis industry.
Aaron Justis is one cannabis influencer to thank for laying the groundwork for legalization through his work as a drug law reform activist. He currently resides in L.A. and is the president of the dispensary Bud & Roses. Justis is often a go-to as he’s been working within his dispensary since 2007, which represents some of the best practices in licensing and training of employees.
She is best known for her 2014 “Fuck it, I quit” stunt on Alaska news that went viral when it was revealed that she was the founder of the Alaska Cannabis Club (ACC). Since then, Charlo Greene has proven herself to be an important voice for cannabis in the northern state and across the nation. She hosts “The Weed Show” and has become a popular public figure.
Known to be one of the most influential of “WeedTubers”, Joel Hradeck’s YouTube channel CustomGrow420 has become one of the most followed 420-related channels, with almost one-and-a-half million followers amassed since 2013. Hradecky is famous for on-screen smoking antics, such as ripping a 3-inch bong to providing product reviews of all things 420. Note that all his content is marked 21+ and is more of the taste for those who love “stoner culture”.
Tune Into Influencers
How can influencers help your marijuana retail operation? There are a few ways that you can get involved with influencers:
- Share their content with your followers
- Invite them to do in-store events at your dispensary
- Send them products to try and see if there are opportunities for cross promotion
- Join forces on an initiative that seeks to advance the cannabis industry
- Have them guest blog on your site
Most of all, be creative. Remember while these influencers may have big-time cannabis personas, they are human beings with a shared interest in advancing cannabis. They’ll likely be excited to embrace you as a comrade in cannabis if you show interest in what they’re doing.