On Friday, we co-hosted a stellar event in Southampton called Pot or Not. The Or Not Experience is the proprietary conference collaboration between Loeb.nyc and Bonin Ventures. Geared towards brand marketers and focused on consumer trends, the event is designed to separate the hype from the facts. Each year introduces a new theme but the result is always the same: conversation, education, information, and empowerment around elusive marketing tactics.
Last year’s theme was blockchain and the inaugural conference centered chatbots and messaging technology. On Friday, it was Cannabis’ turn. We covered a wide range of topics, from cultivation to consumerism, while speakers such as Kassandra Frederique, State Director of New York Drug Policy, and hip-hop icon Fab 5 Freddy touched on social and criminal justice reform. There were panels dedicated to women in the industry, growth opportunities for brands, and taking Cannabis mainstream. Super fresh companies emerged, including 1906 and OLD PAL. It was a well-rounded event where Green Street met Wall Street.
The same day, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 66-47 to allow legal possession and sales of recreational marijuana beginning in 2020, making Illinois’ the first state legislature to approve commercial sales (and the 11th state to legalize). The big news back home is a pending vote on legalizing the cultivation, distribution, taxation, sale, and consumption of marijuana in New York State. That vote, scheduled for June 19, may not come to pass if Governor Cuomo’s suspicions about insufficient votes in the State Senate are true. Who’s ready to engage on this issue and expedite passage of this crucial measure? Message me off-list if you are!
From Nue’s culture marketing perspective, it’s incredibly exciting to see a brand new marketplace being built in real-time with an install base of millions (arguably “Billions”) of consumers looking on as cannabis goes from a Class D substance to a legal, socially accepted one. I don’t recall another situation like this in our lifetime and there are countless areas impacted in the sector. Michael Loeb, Loeb Enterprise’s CEO, made this very case at the conference, explaining how rare an opportunity this is to habituate a base this big with brands and products this specific.
Nothing creates product affinity like connecting to a consumer with music, technology, and culture. The speed and depth of our connections will be derived from our ability to leverage these social commodities.
I want to thank Michael and Katie Loeb for producing this amazing summit, Bonin for being the lightning rod of inspiration that he always is, and Drake Sutton-Shearer CEO of Prohbtd for his unmatched expertise and insight. When it comes to Cannabis, they are the thought leaders.