By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
New Year’s Day 2020 was a day highly anticipated by many of my fellow Illinoisans. A definite, palatable buzz permeated across the Land of Lincoln. In fact, when the smoke cleared, there was outright euphoria among segments of the population.
Okay, enough with the silly puns and intended hyperbole.
You know what I’m referring to: On January 1, Illinois became the 11th state to allow the sale and recreational use of cannabis to people 21 years and older. Leading up to legal weed day, there was the expected media frenzy of stories regarding the impact of state-sanctioned sale of a product that remains illegal on a federal level. Would cannabis vendors run out of product? Would a rush by recreational weed patrons result in a diminished supply of medical cannabis? How much revenue will legal weed bring to the state? Where can pot possessors puff legally? Would there be a mad rush to stock up?
As noted in the image at left, on January 1 marijuana connoisseurs of all types waited in long lines at dispensaries across the state to score flower, edibles and tincture without fear of prosecution. And, the rush for the green stuff has continued in the ensuing days. The result: the projected shortfall of product has happened.
And, in the “this just in” department, this recent Chicago Tribune story reports city has set up “cannabis amnesty boxes” at our two major airports for passengers who want to discard weed products before boarding to avoid the prospect of violating federal law. My advice: Get high before you fly!
So many questions, so much uncertainty, so much still to unfold surrounding the debut of recreational marijuana; but I have a question of my own.
Back in November of last year, I published a post asking fellow public relations professionals if they would provide counsel to e-cigarette manufacturers, companies that produce another legal smoking product. Given the landmark events of last week, let me follow up with a new query:
Would you represent a cannabis company as public relations counsel?
If first-week sales statewide is an indication, legal cannabis is on track to reach major highs … I mean heights. Cannabis shops sold nearly $11 million worth of product over the past seven days, a figure that assuredly would have soared had there been more product available and more dispensaries open. So, the industry is legitimate, at least from a financial perspective.
It would be prudent for PR firms now representing cannabis companies to jointly share strategies and tactics. It blows my mind (figuratively, of course) to contemplate how account teams learn more about the product.
So please: Don’t bogart your comments and pass opinions and insight. Or, whatever.