Why I Don’t Want a Weed Social App
Plus, creative launches & fresh drops.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, November 29, 2021
Time to read: 6 minutes, 1 second. Contains 1206 words.
I know your inboxes are stacked with lingering Black Friday promos and to-do’s, so I’ll keep my greeting short and sweet.
I’m very excited for this Friday’s newsletter, and I encourage any small businesses interested in 3D prototyping—and product manufacturing at all—to subscribe as a paid subscriber if they aren’t already. Another Room opened up and told me all about their new Protoype Shop, the Broccoli Report-born idea that led to a sold-out drop, and how 3D printing has allowed them to make weird, wonderful things in a sustainable way. This is a special one—don’t miss out!
Now, to the question I’ve been mulling over the past week(s): Is a social app for cannabis even a good idea?
Is a separate, cannabis-centric social app worth the effort?
The struggles of posting on Facebook or Instagram as an individual or brand at all related to cannabis are nothing new to anyone reading this. A recent post from @cannabonsai_manny really captured the depressing dynamic. He notes that while he has other options, including a healthy Youtube channel, he sincerely enjoys IG, but posting may no longer be worth the risk. “Every post feels like it could be my last. It has given me terrible anxiety. I don't know what to do. This might be goodbye, I'm so over this,” he writes.
This makes me sad. Instagram is where I discover most of the people and businesses I write about, and it’s where most brands and editors reach out to me for work. It’s where they can check out my page and see if I know what I’m talking about; where I can express my stoner self and make friends and business contacts with similar interests. (You can listen to Mennlay Aggrey and I talk more about expressing our weed selves online in this Broccoli Talk episode). But when news of the Weedmaps and Berner partnership on a cannabis-centric social app started making the rounds, it didn’t offer a sense of relief. A separate, isolated safe space for cannabis businesses will contribute absolutely nothing to the ultimate goal of progressing mainstream culture past the fear-based regulation of cannabis-related content.
You might’ve caught some of my rant about this on Instagram. Digital media is powerful because of the way it connects us across state lines and social groups, facilitating the discovery of people doing things that interest you in unexpected places. Fleeing to a safer corner of the internet removes us from the conversation, and it won’t accomplish the thing that made IG so key for weed brands: introductions to audiences who don’t consider themselves weed enthusiasts.
Don’t get me wrong—I am very open to popularizing apps outside of the Meta™-verse (🙄). However, as far as cannabis-exclusive social spaces go, I invite you to recall a lil app called MassRoots, which tried the whole “Facebook for weed” thing in the mid-2010s. I was a fan. It felt safer to post pictures with actual weed there than on Facebook—I don’t even think I was using Instagram yet—and the community was really positive and supportive. Lots of twenty-somethings asking each other what they were smoking in wake-and-bake posts; lots of “what’s up, #MassFam?!” But the user base plateaued, and it got boring, like visiting weed church: safe, repetitive, predictable. And its user base withered as soon as it became too much of a product-centric review site (which is where I see the Weedmaps X Berner app heading).
We need to stay a part of the greater digital community. We don’t need another echo chamber—we need change.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Later this week, iconic rolling paper company Zig-Zag will debut a new, creative platform that “inspires creativity through entertainment, digital media and elevated product collections.” Called Zig-Zag Studio, it will launch with content like live music performances, apparel drops, and docuseries Through My Lens, featuring the unique origin stories and creative processes of artists like photographer Sam Dameshek and musical producer Dot. The content will be available exclusively on ZigZag.com and their YouTube channel.
Alpine IQ, a “data-focused loyalty solutions provider for the cannabis industry,” published a report on November purchasing trends ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, compiling data from more than 170,000 transactions in 49 dispensaries across California, Arizona, Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. A couple of interesting takeaways: 62% of all early November orders were gummies—that’s nearly 4% higher than usual—and cannabis beverage sales dipped 1.5% across the board. The drop could be due to consumers drinking fewer cannabis beverages in this season of gatherings with stocked bars, or it could be the advent of wintery weather—people are less inclined to reach for a refrigerated beverage as temps drop.
The latest installment of CNN’s special cannabis series with Dr. Sanjay Gupta delves into the relationship between cannabis and autism. It features insights from researchers, doctors, and some families speaking publicly for the first time about how they’re using the plant to take back their lives. WEED 6: Cannabis and Autism is available to stream on demand via CNNgo and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.
New Canadian cannabis brand Bellebud is making a hefty bet on this whole cannabis beverage trend: Approximately 40% of inventory at their Toronto flagship is reportedly cannabis-infused beverages.
Other Ontario headlines of note—the Uber Eats X Tokyo Smoke partnership is not as exciting as it sounds—at least, not yet. For now, ordering an eighth from the dropdown menu titled “cannabis” still requires pickup at the nearest Tokyo Smoke location. Since the app already allows for liquor delivery, it’s possible that Uber Eats will be down to deliver cannabis products straight to consumers once regulation permits.
Love this non-infused Gingerbread Greenhouse from British Columbia brand Pure Sunfarms. They collaborated with a local Vancouver bakery to craft a custom-made gingerbread greenhouse inspired by their actual greenhouses. Each kit comes with hand-poured candy window panes, marshmallow cornflake nuggets (that double as imitation buds/plants), and royal icing for assembly and decorating.
Equally charmed by this group run for New York cannabis lovers put on by Higher Standards and Rage & Release, a collective of cannabis advocates and athletes who specialize in creating content and curating experiences that shift the perception of the plant. On Saturday morning, runners gathered for a 4.20 mile run followed by snacks and cannabis-friendly conversation. Follow Rage & Release to stay tuned for more of these “Runner's High” events.
Comme des Garçons has entered the weed perfume chat. GANJA has a “woody, herbaceous scent,” with top notes of black pepper and cumin seed oil, “middle of hemp accord,” maté, lentisque, guaiac wood oil, frankincense, and patchouli oil.
Accessory brand Heir is known for its stately modern bongs, but did you know they created a filter for their handheld pipes? I’m impressed by this solution for smoothing out a flower hit. I have a friend who’s experienced heightened smoke sensitivity following sustained exposure to wildfire smoke, and smoking flower out of a pipe now gives them a headache. A filter like this could be exactly the kind of innovation they need to keep enjoying flower comfortably.
From the other end of the flower comfort spectrum,