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What’s up confessioners, confessionistas, confessionalists! I recently decided I needed to make a move in life. I left Steamboat Springs for the college town of Ft Collins, Colorado. It was time for a change, but do not worry, I only changed towns not occupations. At this point, I cannot imagine myself doing anything other than working in the cannabis industry. I have been in training to work in this field since I was fifteen years old, I am not going to leave it now. What am I going to put on a suit and tie and work at some bank? No that is not me, I like the reality of a cannabis dispensary and I love the people you find there. I had been living a very confined life in Steamboat the last year or two, most of my friends had moved on to other things but I kept my feet planted. Maybe it was because of a woman, maybe it was because my older brother lived close by, maybe I feared change? Honestly, I cannot say why I chose to stay so long but for the last few years, I knew I was forcing something that was not meant to be. I suppose I felt like I was waiting for something that would never happen, in work and in life. It is like Buddhists say, if you want to be free, just let go. Steamboat is lovely but I needed a change, so I left. I have always dug Ft Collins, and although it is a large city it has that small-town vibe and I felt at home the moment I arrived. I got myself settled and luckily found a job with the best dispensary in town. However, when I sat down to write this week’s blog I came across an interesting piece of information. Apparently, flower is not a popular item in weed shops anymore?
According to a recent High Times article* flower is on the way out, while oils and edibles are on their way in. So, none of you are smoking weed anymore huh? I find that hard to believe. A recent collaboration between an online ordering app called Baker, and the firm New Frontier Data, shows flower is dropping in sales. High Times’ article will have us believe that current sales patterns indicate accurate market trends. It could not be more wrong, and New Frontier’s data should be thrown out. We all know flower is the best, regardless of what fad happens to be in this season. Only when purchasing limits are done away with can accurate information be studied and relied upon.
The article I am referring to is “The Bloom Is Off the Rose for Flower’s Popularity”, by John Kagia. Wow, sure is a catchy title. I was personally baited into reading it by the headline only to be disappointed with the short article. I assume that is all they want though, a little content and a good headline. I should just title my current blog “New Study Finds That Gorgeous Babes Love Stoners”. Hey, that is not half bad, I would click on that.
Identifying emerging trends is very important for the cannabis industry because currently, nobody knows how to market it. No matter what sales experience someone has, there is no barometer for measuring the popularity of these products because too many purchasing restrictions are in place. Since 2010 companies have tried to sell weed the way other industries do. You know the phrase “sex sells” right? Well that does not apply in the weed industry, so stop it Foria. Cleavage will catch my eye but it does not mean I will like the product. I am also not seeking relief from the packaging that a product comes in. Appealing to my ego does not sell weed, nor does tugging at my heart strings. Also, gimmicks like canned weed are a waste of everyone’s time and money. For example, what am I supposed to use to hold my weed after the can is open? These are all speedbumps on the way to the end goal. Creating a particular image for your business will be what sells weed in the long run. The quality, and the longevity of that quality are what will matter to customers. Basically, weed sells weed.
The cannabis market still exists in such a gray area that no data can be taken at face value yet. The only stable thing you can track right now is how many people are coming into a shop. Aside from that, customers’ buying habits are still a mystery. For one, the data used for this study is specifically geared towards retail customers, and retail customers have only a certain amount they can buy. Imagine if you went to the grocery store and you were only allowed to buy a set amount of groceries. Now, as a person who enjoys sustenance, you would probably choose the necessities, but you would also try to give yourself as much variety as possible. Added, if you were growing vegetables at home you would not buy vegetables. That would not mean you do not eat vegetables, it just means you are only getting what you cannot grow in the ground. If cannabis purchasing was opened up to allow any amount to be purchased we would see different numbers. Why waste your daily limit with something you can get back home? Even in illegal states, most everyone has access to flower.
This High Times article should have been titled something more along the lines of “Retail Customers Are Purchasing More of What They Cannot Get Back Home”. In an illegal market, there is no such thing as a quality concentrates or measured doses for edibles. When you come to a market that has legal hash and legal edibles it is the new experience that you want to try. Plus, tourists will start buying weed again when they find out their grower back in Anytown USA is using Miracle Grow to grow the weed they buy.
Understanding of sales trends is important for marketing as well as for customer retention, but any current information on the matter is unreliable. Give cannabis consumers something they like and something they identify with. Focus more on quality and stop trying to apply what works in other industries. For now, the best thing to rely on to sell your product is the budtender who is excited about it, and remember that. Mr. Kagi’s High Times article offered a nice headline, but he offered nothing in the way of real facts. If you want first-hand facts from an inside source, come to me, not some guy who does not even smoke weed. I am neck deep in this industry no matter what city I am in. Plus, eighty-seven percent of all statistics are wrong anyway.


* article by John Kagia July 26, 2017

Cannabis products are designed for adults 21 and older. Please consume responsibly.

Chris grew up in Dover, Delaware with his sights set on the wild west. Inspired by 80’s and 90’s- era ski movies Chris found his way to Gunnison, Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, now Western State University, and to ski Crested Butte. In this little mountain town in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains Chris also found a lovely little plant called cannabis. Chris still lives in Colorado, having moved to Steamboat Springs after graduating to follow his love of skiing, mountain biking, and all things outdoors. Currently working as a budtender with 7 years experience in the cannabis industry Chris has a passion for cannabis, a desire to write, and a love for Colorado.