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ISSUE 6Cultivating an IndustryDanny DannhauserMy mornings are a ritual – yoga, then a strong cup of coffee and quiet time in the garden pondering the mysteries of life. This morning I was pondering specifically the mystery of what I can call my religion – Coffee and Cannabis. It dawned on me that the cannabis industry is rather comparable to the coffee industry – the popularity of both cannabis and coffee spread as these products became more accessible. Neither product is only about the plant but about cultivating a culture.
South Africans are acquainted with the best of tastes when it comes to experiencing the coffee shop culture. We are fans of the drink and have embraced “Caffeine Culture”. Coffee is not just a beverage but a binding essence that brings communities together, invoking a sense of solidarity and memory.
In the cannabis industry, we see the market moving rapidly. New brands and products are being launched almost daily. Social Clubs are manoeuvring for their space in the recreational market. More and more farms are getting licensed up. In fact, there are more than 300 hemp permit applications that are currently awaiting approval.
All of these companies should be following the 4P’s of marketing – create a great product, at the right price, market it to the correct people through a kick-ass promotional strategy.
That being said, it is not that easy with a brand-new industry.
Essentially, without a proxy already on the market, it's each company’s role to educate customers on the value and placement of their products or services. At Oldy’s that is what we are doing. Our Mission is to; “Cultivate a Cannabis Culture”. Essentially, without a proxy already on the market, it's each company’s role to educate customers on the value and placement of their products or services. At Oldy’s that is what we are doing. Our Mission is to “Cultivate a Cannabis Culture” In the past few years, modern cannabis culture has blossomed. Dispensaries / Grow Shops with steel and glass cases present plants and products like rare jewels.
Culture magazines and podcasts map and chart new conversations and ways of thinking. Like a field of quickly growing weeds, this creative effort nods to the vast potential of the cannabis plant itself. Artists, designers, and all kinds of creative professionals have been given a challenging gift; to pollinate South Africa with ideas about what the plant means today.
We are tasked with developing a new expression of cannabis culture that is both forward-thinking and historically informed. It needs to be responsive because it is a culture continuously shifting in real-time. These creative expressions are often rooted in place.
Each region infuses their cannabis scene with its own local flair and personalities. Durban’s culture will be different from the Cape Town culture. The culture is going be as diverse as our local rainbow history.
When lawmakers in South Africa decriminalised cannabis locally, it’s unlikely that they intended to spawn a creative revolution. It is the “Creatives” in the industry that will ultimately create weed culture, one that reflects their values. The passion, care and craftsmanship almost always come with a great big smile and a friendly demeanour. Cannapreneurs in South Africa are designing objects and spaces that are meant to be seen and enjoyed, not hidden away. And by doing that, they are sending a signal: it is finally time to rethink the way we perceive cannabis. Cannabis certainly carries a deeply creationary force. The design here should serve a deeper purpose. It should begin to change preconceived ideas. There is a cultural identity assigned to cannabis users in popular culture. The view that “Stoners” are lazy, no-good criminals, or hippie drop-outs is intensely negative and wildly inaccurate. The artistry of the new cannabis culture offers a radical rewrite of these ideas, reflecting the truth. Because the truth is, once legalisation happens, it won’t take long before pot smoking stereotypes start to shatter. Legal dispensaries and brands will see the spectrum of adults interested in cannabis redefined.
It is our job to make legal cannabis look and feel friendly and appealing, inviting everyone in, long-time cannabis lovers, first timers, the cannabis curious, and everyone in between. Over the next few months, the Oldy’s brand is going to go through a transformation too. We will not only revamp our products, but also recreate the website to reflect our current views. There will be a strong educational section that will help with the elucidation of the consumer.
It has been said that the heart wants neither coffee nor the coffee-house, it wants friendship, that coffee is just an excuse. The same can be said for cannabis. It brings people together.
The combination of the two simply produces a wonderful companionable environment, conducive to conversation, camaraderie, and creativity. Grab a cuppa and cultivate a new, happier life.