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  • Writer's pictureJeff Eaker

Working on weed.

I never thought I’d see the day when you could just walk into a store and buy marijuana. It’s still pretty weird that this stuff is legal now. And I don’t know if you’ve been to a good dispensary or not but it’s more wine shop than head shop.

It’s just insane. The college kid in me is still totally freaking out about it.

But what’s even weirder, is that as an advertising creative, I’ve gotten the chance to actually do work in the cannabis space. Which is a shit ton of fun to do and just makes you feel like you’ve got the coolest job in the entire world.

Again, the college kid in me. Our conversation might go something like this.

“So you’re saying, in the future not only is weed legal but we’re gonna get paid to write about it?”

“Yes. This is what I’m saying.”

“And yet we still don’t find happiness?”

“It’s complicated.”

I was at an agency a while ago that had a dispensary account. And one of the owners of the agency also either owned the dispensary or was a partner in the dispensary or was receiving equity in exchange for doing work for the dispensary. I don’t really know. It was sort of a sketchy arrangement that you never really got the straight dope on.

Which is kind of one of the cool things about modern cannabis. Even when legalized, to a certain extent, it’s still able to retain a significant amount of its inherent sketchiness.

Here in Michigan, we’ve been legal for some time now and the dispensary’s have been open to recreational users since December of 2019. They existed before that, but you needed a state issued medical marijuana card to shop at them. Which wasn’t difficult at all to obtain. There was a robust economy of sketchy weed doctors that you could go to who would “examine” you and fill out the necessary paperwork. It cost around $200 and took about 6 minutes.

At the height of the pandemic, when all the businesses were closed, the dispensaries stayed open. They were deemed essential services because of the medical thing. I thought that was kind of cool.

At the agency, I didn’t work on the dispensary account all that much. Again, the sketchy thing. Only certain people could bill hours to it, and of course everyone wanted to work on it, so it maintained a fairly impenetrable firewall. But I got a few chances to write some blog posts for it, which was kind of right up my alley.

The brand took a more scientific approach to cannabis. Which was fun to research. It was all about cannabinoids and terpenes and finding the right strains to meet your particular needs.

I learned about Limonene. It’s one of the terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that researchers have found help shape a particular strain’s aroma, flavor and effects.

Limonene is produced by plants to help protect them from harmful microbes and its antibacterial and antioxidant effects are well documented. Scientists are now studying its effects on anxiety and other mental health disorders. As the name implies, Limonene has a lemon/lime citrusy taste. So, anything with lemon in the name is usually a good indicator that it’s the shit you’re looking for.

Being the data driven creative that I am, I’m always on the hunt for little nuggets that I can jump off of. I enjoyed stumbling onto this one quite a bit.

The average child smiles 400 times a day. The average adult smiles between 20 to 40 times a day.

There’re a lot of reasons why kids might smile more than adults but that’s still a massive deficit in happiness. Ironically, one obvious explanation has to be rooted in the enormous amount of adult unhappiness caused by children. Ain’t that a kick in the pants?

Smiling is interesting, though. When our brains feel happy, endorphins are produced and signals are transmitted to our facial muscles that trigger a smile. And when our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system, and further increasing our level of endorphins.

That right there is called a positive feedback loop, friends. So you can give that smiling stuff a try if you’re a miserable adult. A little weed probably helps. Get some with that Limonene stuff in it and you’ll be zippity fucking doo-dah in no time.

I always thought it was comical when the drug war people would go on and on about how marijuana is a gateway drug.

"You start puffin’ on that wacky weed and in no time at all you’ll be up to your eyeballs in booger sugar and giving hand jobs at the bus station."

For the record, I have never done booger sugar nor given a hand job at a bus station. Neither the desire nor the opportunity has ever arisen. But who knows what the future holds.

Regardless, I hate hypocrisy and that gateway statement was always full of shit to me. They’re right. Marijuana is a gateway drug. But it’s not because of the drug itself. It’s because to get it, thanks to the drug war people, you had no choice but to go out and find yourself a good drug dealer. And that’s where the gateway occurs. Drug dealers are just like any other business. They tend to carry a variety of products and can sometimes try to upsell you.

That’s the thing that legalization makes me happiest about. If you just want some weed, you don’t need to associate with people committing a felony anymore. It makes me happy knowing that when my kids grow up, many years from now, and decide to dabble in the doob to see if it’s their thing—they won’t have to drive all the way across town to some sketchy dude’s house and deal with all his sketchy dude shit while he weighs out the bag. Sure, they’ll grow up soft and miss out on meeting some interesting characters, but they’ll be a lot safer and that’s what every parent wants for their little experimenter.

The cannabis industry is obviously in its infancy right now. What we have today won’t be what we have tomorrow. To tell you the truth, it’s a bit of a mess right now. But that will sort itself out soon enough.

One thing that’s interesting to me is where cannabis might intersect with the gig economy someday. Rodan + Fields comes to mind.

And what about turning cultivation into a blockchain model? As a Michigan resident, I can legally grow up to 12 plants. Each plant is going to yield about a half pound of cannabis. That’s roughly 225 grams. At $10/gram, with 12 plants, you’re looking at about $27,000 worth of cannabis every 3 months.

Suppose there was a company that came to your house, provided and set-up all of the equipment you needed to grow your crop, gave you customer support while you grew it and then after about 12 weeks came and picked up all of your weed and gave you $5000. An extra $20k per year would be pretty enticing to a lot of people. And I’m suspecting that many of them wouldn’t even be cannabis users.

That model does have one hitch. Yes, I’m allowed to legally grow 12 plants, but only for personal usage. We’ll need a few very clever lawyers and perhaps a good lobbyist to get around that one.

Processing is another area where I see potential for new models. Cannabis comes in a lot of different forms these days. You don’t just roll that shit up and smoke it anymore. You can vape it in distillate form. You can process it into concentrates like wax and shatter. And edibles are the delivery system of choice for many consumers. I see the potential for a business where you grow the cannabis yourself and then take it to a processor who turns it into whatever you want.

So at this point you’re probably thinking I’m a total weed addict. I’m not. I’m just in advertising. And that’s the thing I love most about advertising. Whatever you work on, if you do your job as a creative and dive deep into the research, you quickly become fairly dangerous in terms of knowledge. After that, it’s just like working on anything else– your finely tuned, creative problem solving instincts kick into high gear and off you go.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat about 14 Oreos. Have you tried the Golden Ones? They’re fantastic!

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