Written By: Leah Zitter, Ph.D.
Cannabis must be one of the toughest products to market. It’s got its stigma, and, then, there are
the extremely strict marketing and advertising regulations. If you’re a marijuana entrepreneur
like a store manager, vaporizer retail, edible maker, and the like, you’re in for a challenge.
Blockchain technology may make it easier for you.
The stigma of cannabis
Surprisingly enough, America’s war on cannabis started, not with Nixon in 1971, but with
Mexico in pre-colonial days, as Isaac Campos in his book Home Grown shows.
The origins of the war against drugs lie in the ideological conception that marijuana is
dangerous. Such beliefs first emerged in Mexico, linking the substance to violence and
The United States adopted that narrative, stigmatizing the substance, and, eventually, cracking
down on it.
Mexico’s anti-drug perception spawned the age-old American idea that weed leads to a
zombie-like kind of sickness and aggression. Today, most millenials who became adults in the
age of cannabis normalization make finer distinctions. Nonetheless, the alarmist view of weed as
“social collapse” lingers and is reinforced by govenment anti-cannabis regulations.
State regulations for advertising cannabis are appalling.
Here are three of them:
● Most cannabis businesses are not allowed to advertise on social media platforms like
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The powerful Google AdWords bans all
● Section 843, the Controlled Substances Act prohibits cannabis business from using
“communication facilities” (like TV advertising) to sell Schedule 1 drugs.
● Cannabis advertisers cannot incorporate content like cartoon characters, flashing
imagery, music and the like in their ads that may attract viewers under 21.
The Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 found that marijuana entrepreneurs resolve the
challenges largely through strategies that include developing an online presence, networking, and
A lesser-known means is blockchain technology that expands your network, cuts cost by
eliminating middlemen, helps you target your market, and builds trust for your product – all the
while helping you retain your sanity.
Blockchain for marketing cannabis
A growing number of businesses use blockchain to market their cannabis business or products
for some of the following reasons:
1. Blockchain advertising is cheap
Blockchain platforms like BitBay help you market your weed business directly to targeted
platform users. Bitbay, for instance, has smart contracts called “Buy/Sell Anything” that also
work for auctions and reverse auctions, where you spell out your commodity and wait for
someone to make an offer. Details are encrypted in the contract, so as soon as the buyer sends
you money, your contract spits out the product.
Standard marketplaces like eBay or Amazon deduct about $40 – $0.99 per transaction. BitBay is
free. There are no chargebacks and refunds, no postal and shipping losses, no subscription
charges, seller fees, referral fees, and so forth. The blockchain prevents all of that, since all
BitBay participants witness the transaction and have a copy of your document.
No wonder, advertisers save hundreds, if not thousands, in dollars. The blockchain levels the
ground between the well-established company and the struggling startup with minimal capital.
2. Blockchain marketing is fast
All cannabis-based ideas need an IP attorney to review their patents, which can take anywhere
from 32 months to three years for approval. With the blockchain, it’s instantaneous. Small
wonder, then, that blockchain applications almost doubled in 2017 according to Coindesk.
Advertising also takes longer through traditional means, with channels reviewing content before
publishing and distributing them.
Say you want to open a store, the blockchain process is certainly faster than the tedious process
of gaining a permit, hiring helpers, stocking shelves, and so forth. The blockchain route is faster
than designing your own website and developing an online presence. You submit your
advertisement, and blockchain miners review it before they encrypt it on the ledger that same
3. Blockchain marketing is secure –
For those entrepreneurs who carry minimal capital and need mediators like notaries, lawyers, or
intellectual property attorneys to patent and unscramble advertising and marketing regulations –
blockchain is ideal. The platform works on a p2p basis, where the hundreds of computers on
your network receive a replicated copy of your idea. Your digital documents are time stamped
with all relevant details and permanently encrypted into the blockchain unhackable platform.
The ledger is unhackable simply because an invader would need an incredible amount of power –
enough to power about 2.26 million American homes – to hack it.
Small wonder, then, that a growing stream of cannabis entrepreneurs – like PotCoin,
CannabisCoin, and GreenMed.io – launch ICOs to market their wares.
They say it makes all the difference.