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Mary Jane's Dictionary: How Marijuana Slang Informs Advertising


A Marijuana culture enjoys a history of slang and alternative word usage, which will assuredly come into play once advertising really ramps up on the new industry. If you’d like a quick primer, here is an excellent place to begin.

blazin’ a trail with marijuana slang

If asked to create a list of terms to describe marijuana, the average person would have no trouble at all thinking of pot, weed, joint, spliff, roach and any number of words that call up an instant image of the product. Not only that, but as the new industry takes shape the culture has begun to form new slang terms that define the rising success of licensed businesses. Budtenders and ganjapreneurs take the stage to dole out reefer whether it’s 4:20 or not. All of this creates a veritable vocabulary that can come in very handy when approaching the branding or marketing of a marijuana business.

savvy sativa-slingin’

Proper usage of these terms will allow businesses in the industry to do a number of things when marketing their marijuana. Smart use implies that the business is canny to cannabis and cannabis customers. It can establish a base level of trust for new and veteran users to approach what you can offer and not come off as some out-of-touch investor who entered the market with no prior knowledge of the product. Marijuana slang also benefits from a great deal of connotation that immediately trigger meanings for new and old customers. Take such different terms as ‘chronic’ and ‘dank’, they are unique words that speak to an association with marijuana. Pot slang is full of these gems that carry a great deal of significance with them. Using them implies a level of association and knowledge that may be hard to gain otherwise. Furthermore, the vocabulary that has existed for decades and continues to evolve is striking in its uniqueness. It provides an enormous palette from which you can derive any number of slogans, packaging or marketing strategies. In short, don’t be afraid to use the many slang words that surround marijuana culture. It reflects the long history that formed the culture and the one that rose to the task of legalizing the new industry. With that said, you should also approach the use carefully.

don’t aim for the bottom

You still have to employ these words with skill.  There are countless ways that branding can wrongfully use the slang words so graciously given by generations of marijuana cultures. Here are three examples:

  1. Particularly in terms of new businesses looking to establish a firm user base, never approach customers with something that talks down to them. The black market is still a very viable option to most veteran users and it will only hurt to sell them ‘Scooby doobie treats’. Like every other form of marketing, marijuana users are discerning and need to be coaxed and enticed.
  1. Because of that, you should also respect the veteran who has a long knowledge of the proper and current usage of the vocabulary. It would probably be ill advised to begin a campaign calling your products ‘groovy, man’ or to mistakenly call a product snickle-fritz when you mean that it is white rhino. You should know and respect your customers and the culture that formed their recreation.
  1. The other side of that coin is that you don’t want to scare away new and curious customers from being too specific. Remember that you still want to be approachable with your slang. Invite people into the culture with messaging that might subtly explain whether green badger is a good or bad thing. It’s better than shutting them out because they do not speak the language.

Marijuana culture created a rich and varied world of words. Look around, enjoy it and treat it with respect.

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