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The face of cannabis has changed dramatically in recent years. From a culture once populated by age-old symbols, idols and images, cannabis has transmogrified as an industry has taken shape around the plant. As medical cannabis continues to gain more public acceptance, so too is recreational cannabis being legalized in states and countries around the world. The revolution has unquestionably included a complete facelift for cannabis as a brand.

Where cannabis packaging was once inherently nefarious – dime and plastic bags stuffed with merchandise procured from an illegal source – branding of the plant’s flowers and extracts is now in the hands of sophisticated marketing teams at large commercial growers. In fact, there are dozens of creative agencies now devoted exclusively to the cannabis space.

An industry now replete with inviting products and brands, cannabis has become a more enticing experience for consumers, as it has gained mainstream popularity. Particularly, brands, perhaps more than any other item, have come to invite not only current consumers, but the cannabis curious to the conversation.

With this new headway, however, cannabis branding has come under the scrutiny of policymakers in countries where legalization of recreational cannabis is now permitted. In Canada, for instance, the Cannabis Act, which will see cannabis legal in the country in October of this year, will place tight restrictions on the marketing and advertising of both medical and recreational cannabis.

Within the parameters of this regulatory environment, creatives in the cannabis space will be forced to adapt or fold. Because the same leeway available to other industries will not be allowed in Canada’s cannabis space, creative agents and agencies will have to be astoundingly discreet and clever when trying to tell their brand’s story. In this pressure-cooker type of environment, there’s no doubt creatives will continue to evolve the general image of cannabis.

There has been nothing short of a coming-of-age for cannabis in recent years, specifically as it pertains to branding and marketing of the once-bedeviled plant. As more states and countries work to reform their drug policies in the context of cannabis laws, so too have more commercial interests started to take stock in the potential of the plant. And as more patients and recreational users turn to cannabis as a therapy option, so too will more creativity be invited into the space. In terms of branding of new cannabis products, the sky truly is the limit.

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