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Three Not-at-All Made-Up Cannabis Product Reviews




Three Not-at-All Made-Up Cannabis Product Reviews

Oksana Smith / EyeEm

Having this platform to share canna-centric news, viewpoints, and historical insight is a great privilege. It also means that I’m sometimes besieged with new products for review, and while that’s usually fantastic, it can sometimes… not be.

The thing that seemed so awesome to a team that’s developed a fancy new product can get lost on the way to market—but pointing this out can sometimes feels like punching down, especially in an industry with so many young, struggling businesses. So unless it’s prohibitionist claptrap or a total rip-off, I have a policy to generally not run negative reviews, especially since they sometimes start a feedback loop of angry comments.

But I care about you, so this week I’m going to throw hands and violate my policy of “don’t start none, won’t be none.” All of these products are 100 percent real and definitely not made up, for realsies, pinky swear, stick a needle in your mother’s back, etc. Just don’t look for them on shelves. They’re, um, all sold out.

Super Mega Monster Vape 500 XXXL Pro Edition

The variety of vaporizer options may seem limitless, but the makers of the SMMV500 promise that once you’ve tried it, “Anything else is like vaping rotting seal meat through a straw made of burning sewage sludge.”

The unit is hefty at nearly four feet high and 18 inches across, weighing in at an unwieldy 114 pounds, necessitating two-handed use at all times. A standard mouthpiece has been replaced with a neon green, pot leaf-adorned CPAP mask that makes the user sound like Bane.

Heat settings can be laboriously and slowly programmed to individual temperatures in .00001-degree increments, ranging from 120 to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, for hits that the press release claims “offer mad terps, and burst blood vessels in your eyeballs from the blackout-inducing hacking fits.” Each hit is accompanied by a five-second blast of airhorn.

It’s powered by dual car batteries, and affixed with eight wheels of questionable quality—three of mine broke off during testing, leaving me to drag the SMMV500 down the sidewalk, resulting in a shower of sparks that injured numerous passersby. The tank has a capacity of 13 gallons, which seems excessive, but hey, you never know.

SUPER Cheap Dabs

A year ago, you could pay $60 or more for a gram of top-shelf extracts. Oregon’s current cannabis oversupply has resulted in free-falling prices. But the makers of Overly Leveraged Industries have lowered the bar to subterranean, with one-gram butane hash oil (BHO) dabs that are readily available at a frankly baffling five cents each, or 25 for a dollar.

I asked OLI owner Lee Banfield how he was able to offer what is certainly the most inexpensive dab anywhere on the planet. “We just do, okay? Maybe don’t worry about it,” he responded. He mumbled something about “um, vintage trim,” which was later found to be questionable material from a medical grow in 2006. “Weed is weed, brah,” Banfield explained.

The dabs are Vantablack in color, and seem to throw off disturbing sizzling noises before they’ve even been lit. When the dab is burned, it emits a high-pitched screeching, which several users describe in online reviews as “oh god, these tortured souls want to drag me with them to the underworld.” Lab test results were printed in Cyrillic; when translated, they appeared to be a recipe for pickled herring pie. When asked, Banfield replied, “You really seem really hung up on this whole ‘test’ thing—I wonder what that’s about,” and insisted his products contain “all the best cannibal droids in the world, for sure, I bet, probably. Now leave.”

Celebrity Weed

Bandwagon Gardens, a division of Starfucker Farms, admit they may not have made the best choices with their line of celebrity branded pre-rolls.

“Releasing individual lines for all 28 contestants from season three of The Bachelor may have been a misstep,” a spokesperson sighed.

“Was our follow-up strain of ‘Quackers Kush,’ endorsed by Jeanne Bice from QVC’s Quacker Factory, a better choice? Certainly not,” the spokesperson continued, lighting a cigarette. “And people haven’t really seemed to connect with our line of Diff’rent Strokes products—our marketing research team discovered that the average consumer finds them ‘depressing’ and ‘inappropriate’ and ‘Jesus, what were you people thinking?’ But the biggest mistake was the timing of our signing Roseanne Barr and Papa John, for sure.”

When asked about the company’s overall strategy, the spokesperson took a hopelessly deep pull of whiskey and said, “Look, the weed is attached, I guess, to someone you’ve seen on, like, TV, or something. That’s a thing, right? People want stuff that famous people put their name on. I mean, just look at the White House—isn’t that how we got into this whole mess?”

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Marijuana and CBD companies can’t advertise on Facebook and Google, so they’re getting creative – CNBC




David Bozin used to get cuts and scratches on his arms when it came time to bathe his golden retriever, Jax, who rebelled against the prospect of being dunked in water.

Then he learned that dogs, like humans, respond to the properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a cannabis compound that helps the body relax without producing intoxicating effects. Bozin got to work on a line of CBD-infused dog products, including a dry shampoo and puppy treats, that he calls ZenPup.

But in trying to find customers for his new company, Bozin faces a unique challenge in today’s market. He doesn’t have access to Google, Facebook or Instagram (owned by Facebook), which have banned CBD and marijuana promotions. The two dominant online advertising platforms account for 57 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, according to eMarketer, and almost all emerging brands today count on Google’s search ads and Facebook’s precision targeting to efficiently get the word out.

“Facebook is not the end all, be all. Instagram is not the end all, be all,” Bozin told CNBC. “Does that mean you’re not going to see as much traffic at the get go? Sure. But at the end of the day the most important point is conversion,” or getting people to buy your products, he said.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 10 states and Washington, D.C., and available for medical purposes in many others parts of the country. CBD is a bit more complicated because the laws are murky.

Currently, 47 states allow some form of CBD sales. The 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress passed this week, allows states to decide if CBD products made from hemp can be sold in their jurisdiction. However, it doesn’t protect the products from the Food and Drug Administration, which can penalize companies for making inaccurate health claims.

“We avoid talking about anything too specific about what the product will do,” said Cary Smith, senior vice president at agency North 6th Agency. “If you come from an educational standpoint, you skew towards less restrictions, and have a bit of a larger organic reach.”

With so much uncertainty in the market, Google and Facebook have shied away from allowing marijuana and CBD advertising, taking a similar approach to how they handle tobacco and related paraphernalia. When it comes to alcohol, Google prohibits companies from targeting underage users or promoting unsafe behavior, while alcohol advertising on Facebook has to adhere to local laws.

In the absence of Google and Facebook, ZenPup has been forced to find alternative ways to launch its products. The co-founders, who worked in marketing and public relations, are spending time building relationships with media companies, high-end dispensaries and pet accessory retailers, along with other brands that might be open to partnering with a CBD provider. They’re finding popular social media influencers, who can support the products organically on their accounts.

ZenPup has also focused on clean, attractive packaging so that it’s appealing for “shelfies,” or staged product photos that people post on their feeds.

“Those younger consumers are looking for something different from an aesthetic standpoint, that also is top quality and at a good price point,” said Nicholas Weatherhead, ZenPup’s chief marketing officer and co-founder.

Other approaches are available to CBD companies, depending on the specific industry. Hillary Wirth, media director at the agency Noble People, said there are plenty of ways to get your brand in the right place.

To promote Viceland’s digital show “Weed Week,” in April Noble People bought local and national TV ads with DirecTV and Comcast, as well as on channels like IFC , USA and BBC America, and focused on pornography site Pornhub. There are also digital ad networks like like Traffic Roots that allow marijuana and CBD ads.

“So you can’t advertise on Facebook or Google – it’s not the end of the world,” said Wirth. “There are plenty of other media channels that will get you contextually next to relevant weed content.”

Noble People got creative in other ways. The firm organized a Washington, D.C., Viceland event to allow people to “Smoke Weed with Jeff Sessions.” But it wasn’t the former attorney general — just a man from Wisconsin with the same name.

Another approach is storytelling and finding a narrative that can generate PR.

For example, branding agency Abel told the story of Charlotte’s Web, a dietary supplement company named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who suffered from epileptic seizures. With the help of CBD, Figi was able to to reduce her seizures and improve her health.

With “brands like Charlotte’s Web, the founders, who are very positive about the cannabis opportunities, have been able able to use PR as a marketing channel,” Abel CEO Julian Shiff said. “The word of mouth is so strong they are developing a tribe around their brand.”

Sponsoring sporting events and concerts are effective ways to find brand resonance. Smaller gatherings can work as well. Recess, which makes a CBD-infused seltzer, holds information events at places like hip-hop yoga chain Y7 Studio and samplings at Rise by WeWork. The company is based around a beverage, but it’s really trying to sell a lifestyle, said CEO and founder Ben Witte, who used to run mobile strategy for ad tech company AdRoll.

Witte said Recess has reached 50 times its projected sales this year, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The product is mostly sold online, but is also available in New York City stores.

“The most important thing is to have a clear mission and purpose,” Witte said. “The best way to communicate that mission and purpose is not through a Google or Facebook ad.”

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How Cannabis Could Become The Next Real Estate Disrupter – Forbes




Outdoor restaurant renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

For a while it looked like the best thing to bring to a neighborhood was a new Whole Foods grocery store. One study showed that homes in these neighborhoods would appreciate at a much faster rate than if they were near a Trader Joe’s (and both were better than a Starbucks). Another sign a neighborhood is on the cusp of revitalization is when the yoga studios start vying for space with the arthouses. Usually it is not long after that the expensive coffee shops and cupcake stores start showing up at street level. But now that so many states have passed laws favorable to the marijuana movement, the next big thing to bring a neighborhood back from the brink just might be the increasing number of organizations that work in the industry.

Downtown Los Angeles could be the first case study to see this phenomenon in action. Next month, a seven-story building in the heart of Los Angeles’ Jewelry District will open up, filled with tenants who all have cannabis somewhere in their job description. The 67,000-square-foot Green Street Building (the name is in reference to its anchor tenant, the Green St. Agency, which works solely with clients in the marijuana industry) will house everything from co-working spaces to an art gallery, dispensary, restaurant, law firm, luxury spa and lounge. Real estate investment company Bow West Capital purchased the property last year for a reported $14 million. Once open it will be the largest real estate space dedicated to cannabis in the U.S.

“The buildings in [the Jewelry District] have not received the proper upkeep, allowing for low sale prices of the buildings but also requiring full renovations,” said Matthew Rosenberg, CEO and Founder of M-Rad, Inc, the design team behind the project. “With the prosperity and funding in the cannabis industry on the rise, this is a perfect combination for this exciting new industry to make this area their home, with Green St. being the catalyst.”

While there are not many residential properties for sale within the Jewelry District itself, data from shows the few that are on the market have a median asking price of $525,000. Surrounding neighborhoods vary quite a bit with the neighborhood of Florence-Graham about five miles away to the southwest seeing median list prices of $440,000 compared to Greater Wilshire a few miles to the northeast seeing median list prices of $1.7 million.

Lounge renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

M-Rad took the 1913 building and completely renovated the interiors to create mixed-use spaces that cater both to the requirements of offices and restaurants as well as the unique needs of cannabis companies. They needed to create the right proportion of an open-plan design matched with a set of cloistered, secluded rooms for those who want privacy. Here are some images of the interior provided exclusively to Forbes.

For example one concept for behind the hidden door of the library bookshelf could be the Bud Bar, with a custom-designed table. (Interested? A Forbes contributor put together a Gift Guide which includes some of the most unique marijuana rolling papers, with some that are made from gold and others that look like money.)

Concept of tableDesign by M-Rad Inc.

The lounge, MOTA—which if, like me, you didn’t know is a Spanish slang term for marijuana (at least one dispensary out there has ascribed the words Medicine Of The Angels to the letters, but the term doesn’t have its origins as an acronym)—will complement the restaurant which may prepare cannabis-infused menu items and have a U-shaped bar designed specifically for potential cannabis tastings. It will also have fully transparent windows into the kitchen so guests can see the food being prepared. Sound-proof rooms are also available for private meetings and the Flower Room can be a designated smoking area. [Update: The design team followed up after this was published to clarify these features are just in concept stage and have not been confirmed or approved. No cannabis products will be sold on site based on current plans.]

MOTA Cafe renderingDesign by M-Rad, Inc.

“The companies who are part of the building are some of the biggest players in the industry,” says Rosenberg. “Which will bring in high-level clientele and investors who may feel encouraged to invest in the development of the area. The building itself will host a number of cannabis-related programs such as cultural activities and gastronomic experiences which will attract new clientele.” Some of the big names affiliated with the project are prolific investor Gary Vaynerchuck, who is a 50% stakeholder in Green Street Agency, and Vicente Sederberg LLC, dubbed The Marijuana Law Firm, is one of the tenants.

Typically neighborhood revitalization follows the pattern of stores opening up on a neglected city block one retail space at a time. But this model is different. By bringing a critical mass of companies to the neighborhood all at once, the sudden influx could accelerate the resurgence all the more quickly. Los Angeles’ Jewelry District could become a major player in a matter of months, not years.

Follow me on Twitter @amydobsonRE

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[Winner] November 1, 2018 Giveaway (Episode 2)

William Mottl



Brady Shepherd wins our 2nd Rate.Review.Win! Giveaway!

hosted by Automatic Weapons

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