(Editor’s note: This story is one in a series of recurring comments from cannabis experts. Mike McDonald is the CEO and chairman of Ammonite, a cannabis production company based in San Francisco).
Ten years ago I was at the forefront of the growth of Atlas Snowshoes, a company that had just invented and launched the modern snowshoe.
Some consumers associate snowshoeing with weak equipment, strenuous exercise and winter recreation for those who prefer not to stay in ski resorts.
It just didn’t work out.
So we used innovative engineering and design to create the gear people want to own, and worked with leading ski resorts around the world to create the luxury snowshoes we know today.
The lessons I’ve learned have served me well as I face challenges – both similar and new – in the cannabis industry.
As President and CEO of Ammonite, a San Francisco-based company that manufactures the Dablicator oil applicator, I work to educate consumers and change the perception of concentrates.
While concentrates, a product category that includes oil, wax, resin and shards, is becoming the preferred method of consumption for some cannabis connoisseurs, most consumers don’t pay much attention to this category, or worse, don’t even know much about it.
Through consumer education, design updates and strategic partnerships, that is now changing.
Improvement of the equipment
Although the quality of cannabis oil has improved over time, the equipment has remained stuck in the past.
Cannabis oil enters the body primarily through weak plastic syringes that tend to leak.
Most oil sprayers are equipped with gauges to dose and use every drop, but they are quite bulky and uncomfortable to carry – two features of the product that customers generally find inconvenient.
They are also not the most attractive or worthy presentation at group meetings.
When you couple the fact that cannabis oil has traditionally been patient-centered with medical marijuana, it’s not surprising that the category is ignored by most of the recreational market.
There is a certain ritual to being caressed and focused, a bit like the old school floral experience that takes place around a bong, and a modern applicator should enhance this special atmosphere, not spoil it.
The first step in changing consumer perceptions of cannabis oil, therefore, was to replace syringes with modern, user-friendly devices that pique consumers’ curiosity.0
The new oil devices combine convenience, privacy and precision in a pen that is easy to use, intuitive to operate and directly addresses the needs of entertainment customers.
The best devices are everything that the syringe is not, so they are affordable to the average buyer.
Training and experience
Of course equipment is one thing, but my time at Atlas has taught me that training and experience are all that matter.
To encourage more people to snowshoe, we’ve partnered with ski resorts to develop new and unique winter snowshoe excursions in the Atlas Mountains that make snowshoeing a fun way for skiers and non-skiers alike to get out into nature.
Once consumers experienced the wonder and serenity of floating in the snow in a forest landscape, they were sold.
In the same way, we must show the masses the magic of the concentrate.
Concentrates can be used not only for smoking, but also to increase the precise dose of cannabis and start immediately, either by pouring over food or drink and sealing the joint, or by simply putting the cannabis under the tongue.
By partnering with brands and retailers that consumers know and trust, we can promote this enhanced application and, more importantly, gain the trust of consumers.
With the support of reputable companies in this field, it is difficult for consumers to be turned off to the possibilities that these upgraded devices offer.
By introducing initiatives that educate consumers on the various benefits of modern oil applicators and provide a unique experience for each demographic, we are completely redefining the value of cannabis oil to the industry and introducing a whole new way to benefit from concentrates.
California and Colorado are leading the movement for cannabis oil, where the category has entered the leisure market in every state with explosive growth, and as we’ve seen in the past, where California and Colorado go, the rest of the United States follows.
Experienced cannabis consumers are now contributing significantly to the expansion of concentrates production, which is expected to exceed $13.78 billion by 2026.
However, cannabis oil has a great chance of breaking through into the larger consumer market as this trend spreads to all states.
This is just the beginning of what these foods can bring to the table.
Over time, consumption in this sector will reach unprecedented heights, making it accessible to cannabis connoisseurs and new consumers alike.
Through the application of progressive design, education and experiential marketing, the cannabis industry can be completely transformed – just as it has been with snowshoes.
Mike McDonald is president and CEO of Ammonite, a consumer and branded products company founded by Jetty Extracts. He can be contacted at [email protected].
The previous version of this series can be found here.
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