I’ve been telling people’s stories — musicians, technologists, designers, executives, strippers — for nigh on 20 years, pretty much my entire career. But I’ve rarely told my own.
The launch of the Herbal Verbalist, my new cannabis brand-messaging enterprise, seems like a good place to start. I’m still working in personal branding and lifestyle marketing (through Editorial Emergency), but now I’m also telling the stories of cannabis entrepreneurs, for fun and profit — theirs and mine.
Things Have Changed
I recently started seeing a new doctor. During the intake interview, she asked if I used drugs, and for the first time in my life, because its recreational use is now legal in my adopted home state of California, I answered honestly: “cannabis.” She didn’t bat an eye.
With this writing, I’m officially outing myself as a recreational cannabis user. (Now that I think about it, however, I’m realizing the extent to which I’ve used it for medicinal purposes, which will surely be the subject of a future post.)
This, in and of itself, isn’t all that noteworthy; what’s noteworthy is the new industry into which I’m expanding, one for which licensing and other regulations are being hammered out as we speak. One in which women are taking a leading role and people over 60 are considered an attractive demo. One from which major scientific breakthroughs are emerging. Thrilling stuff.
The Lightbulb Moment
Not long ago I was driving east on the 210 listening to Madeline Brand on KCRW. She was interviewing people in the edibles space, purveyors not only of pot brownies but elaborate, multicourse feasts made with seasonally available, artisanally produced ingredients.
I was well aware of the Green Rush and pretty sure pot would soon be legalized for recreational use in California, but it was just dawning on me how advanced the cannabis industry had already become. People had been developing this for years. Why couldn’t I join them?
Companies like Kiva Chocolates and Dixie Elixirs were crafting sophisticated brands and reaping the benefits. “Hey, I can do that,” I thought. “The bold businesspeople building these brands need website copy and taglines and marketing content and sales sheets and articles establishing their bona fides as influencers just like the rest of my clients. Eureka! I would combine my enthusiasm for cannabis and my talent for copywriting — color me green!
It’s Going to Get Personal
In upcoming posts, I’ll discuss not only cannabis brand messaging (most of it clichéd at best and illiterate at worst) but also efforts to make the green sector greener (sustainability-speaking), the social-justice implications of decriminalization and the intersection of cannabis and technology — “Find Out What Happens When Stoners Meet Geeks!”
But it won’t all be issue-oriented. I’ll be delving into my relationship with cannabis and why I plan to stick with it. Stories about how I learned first-hand the pain-relieving power of pot while sitting with bleach on my head. How I’ve gone from smoking whatever to vaping organically grown, sativa-dominant, CBD-balanced weed that won’t give me the munchies. And how — duh — cannabis is good for your sex life. Did I mention how sweet it is to be living in the world’s biggest marijuana market? That, too.
Until then ...