Branding Medical versus Recreational Marijuana

Depending on the dispensary you operate and what your state laws are, you could be selling medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. Even though both products are essentially the same, only a patient with a doctor’s note can purchase from a licensed medical dispensary and avoid paying for a majority of the tax that recreational marijuana is subject to. Besides the level of tax and amount of each type someone can purchase at a time, there also may be a significant difference between the characters of people searching for either kind of marijuana. It may still be the same leaf, and you may even offer each user the same kinds of products, but approaching both customers with a different strategy is essential to successfully branding and marketing your product.

Those who seek out cannabis products for therapeutic purposes most likely don’t identify with the typical lazy stoner stereotype, so it’s important to make them feel comfortable in a setting they normally wouldn’t enter. Referring to your product as “weed” or “pot” will most likely turn them off as those words still carry a negative connotation with them. Instead, medicinal users will respond more positively to healthier and classier words such as “leaf” or “herb”. Additionally, a priority for most medicinal users is discrete packaging. Small containers and plain or medical appearing wrapping will ease their fears of judgment from others due to their choice of healing remedy. Lastly, medical patients feel more comfortable purchasing from someone who has extensive knowledge on different products available to suit their needs, along with which products relieve certain ailments most efficiently. They may be interested to know the difference between THC products and CBD oil, or which type will better heal their current condition. There may be some patients who are completely comfortable with marijuana in general, and others who are using the plant as a last resort option for a chronic illness. Either way, they have decided to use marijuana medically, so you should refer to your product as such—a healing remedy.


While recreational users may carry an interest in the healing properties of marijuana, most will see it as an added benefit rather than the main reason they are seeking out your products. While you have slightly more liberty in how you brand your products for recreational users, not all customers appreciate the flashiness of weed culture. Again, more sophisticated terms, such as “cannabis”, will broaden your customer reach while a variety of products will appeal to different types of users. Sure, you can include pun related product for the customers who enjoy humor, but don’t forget to add more dignified product for the customers who want to feel as though they are enjoying a fine wine rather than a rugged shot of tequila.

Medicinal and recreational forms attract many different types of users, so it’s important to understand both for your ultimate marketing strategy. As more states legalize marijuana, branding will become even more important to profitable dispensaries wishing to retain or grow their customer base. Since legal marijuana is a relatively new market with ever evolving rules and restrictions, it’s vital to stay updated on every change for your own dispensary to thrive.

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