Love it or hate it, social media is a tool few seem able to do without. Especially for those trying to promote, brand, or market a product, business, or themselves, it’s a necessity, typically, to be on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For the cannabis industry, social media takes on special significance because of regulations restricting cannabis advertising in traditional formats.
Going viral is nice, but the truth is successful social media presence is a gradual build that requires dedication (as opposed to unhealthy obsession). It takes some strategy and tools, to save precious time you could use to do other things (like running a business). But social media gives users an incomparable opportunity to interact with others interested in your business, product, or message.
Here’s a short list of cannabis industry social media movers that are doing something right, judging by analytic platforms like Klout and BuzzSumo. Several will already seem familiar, precisely because they have established broad platforms to raise awareness about themselves and legal cannabis. They are businesses, advocates, media outlets, and influencers.
If you’re following cannabis, you might want to add these accounts to your stream:
Tom Angell–Editor of MarijuanaMoment.net, founder and chairman of MarijuanaMajority.com, and longtime marijuana policy reform activist. A constant source of breaking developments on marijuana policy, legislation, and pot politics for outlets like Forbes.com, among others. Angell said on his LinkedIn profile, “I work to make sure that elected officials and the media know that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority-supported issue.” @TomAngell
Ricardo Baca–Founding editor-in-chief of The Cannabist, the Denver Post’s expansion into cannabis news coverage, launched as the legal industry was being born in Colorado. His experiences were documented in the movie “Rolling Papers.” Last year, Baca founded his own media relations firm, Grasslands. In 2016, Fortune Magazine called Baca on of the “Seven Most Powerful People in America’s Marijuana Industry.” @bruvs
The Cannabist–It’s #AllThingsWeed, all the time at The Cannabist, the Denver Post’s pioneering cannabis blog. With access to big, breaking stories from the heart of the Marijuana Revolution, they are the newspaper of pot. They’ve also got The Cannabist Show podcast and YouTube channel. On Twitter, they’ve got 70K followers–not too shabby. @Cannabist
Cannabox–Arizona-based monthly subscription service Cannabox is working all the social angles, including all the usual platforms, like Instagram (23.4K followers) and Twitter (123K verified followers). Social media’s ability to allow guerilla-style global promotions works well for Cannabox; since the under-$20 monthly subscription includes items that don’t contain THC, they can be shipped anywhere. @Cannabox
Tommy Chong–A marijuana icon, with comedy partner Cheech Marin, Chong typified the ‘70s hippy stoner for generations of “far out” fans. Cheech & Chong movies and comedy albums are the stuff of nostalgia for a bygone era, but Chong continues to represent, with his own Chong’s Choice brand and on-going medical marijuana advocacy. “America’s sweetheart of weed.” @TommyChong
Steve Deangelo–The pioneering founder and executive director of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA., established in 2006, and cofounder and president at cannabis marketing research firm The Arcview Group. In 2015, he authored, “The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness.” Deangelo’s been recognized extensively for more than 40 years of activism and being part of the conversation. @SteveDeangelo
East Fork Cultivars –This artisan grower raises specialty strains, sustainably and sun-grown, with a focus on high CBD-rich and medicinal varieties. CEO and farmer Mason Walker speaks out on the singularity of Southern Oregon “terroir,” the special magic in the very soil, and the benefits of cannabis medicine. The photos in their Instagram feed will make you want to move up country and get back to the garden. @East_Fork_Farms
Johnny Green–“Cubicle employee by day, cannabis blogger by night,” Johnny Green communicates a lot about cannabis. Based in Oregon, Green co-founded The Weed Blog in 2010, but moved on to greener pastures in 2016, when he started writing with Greenflower Media. In a recent Tweet, Johnny said, “No responsible person should ever have to live in fear because of their cannabis consumption.” #FreeThePlant @ThatJohnnyGreen
Dr. Sanjay Gupta–The doctor doesn’t focus exclusively on cannabis, but when he does talk about weed, people listen. As CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, in 2013 Gupta penned an op-ed titled, ‘Why I Changed my Mind on Weed,’ and subsequently reported on CNN series ‘Weed,’ which raised mainstream awareness of medical marijuana and CBD almost overnight. @DrSanjayGupta.
High Times–The most iconic of all cannabis publications, in print since 1974. The magazine that taught your granddaddy how to grow weed has stayed on the forefront of global cannabis culture. In June 2017, High Times was purchased by a group of investors including Damian Marley, son of legendary musician Bob Marley. They continue to provide broad coverage, expanding along with new legal markets. @HighTimes
Leafly–The online cannabis platform with an amazing amount of info on marijuana, Leafly is a familiar presence for consumers and the curious, looking for cannabis know-how. They’ve got their search engine optimization down tight, often appear at the top of Google searches, and have become a go-to for getting high. As consumer markets continue to grow, so will Leafly’s tally of followers. @Leafly
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)–Their mission is short and simple; as posted in their Twitter bio, Marijuana Policy Project “is working to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol.” Based in Washington D.C., they (as well as other advocacy groups) fight the good fight for patients, the prosecuted, the general public that favors marijuana legalization, and industry members. Twitter-verified at 175K followers. @MarijuanaPolicy
MassRoots–Denver-based, publicly traded (OTCQB: MSRT) online cannabis platform with news and educational info on strains, stores, and products. “MassRoots‘ primary mission is to connect people with the best cannabis products to treat the ailments they’re looking to alleviate,” MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich said in a Valentine’s Day update to shareholders, adding the company has renewed focus on its mobile app. @MassRoots
Medical Jane–Portland-based patient online educational platform MedicalJane.com is a “patient-focused resource offering trustworthy education, helpful guides, and access to industry professionals.” While patients with serious ailments should always consult a doctor when using any medication, Medical Jane is a place to start find out more. They keep more then 29K Tweeters posted on medical marijuana info. @MedicalJane
NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association)–“The Cannabis Industry” is this nonprofit advocacy organization’s tagline, and they can be found at CannabisIndustry.org. Part of NCIA’s mission as a national advocacy organization is to lead “the unified and coordinated campaign to ensure this emerging sector is treated fairly under federal law.” They also host three trade shows annually, throughout the U.S., so industry networking is definitely their thing. @NCIAorg
NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)–Founded in 1970, this nonprofit advocacy organization is O.G., on the forefront of the struggle to change marijuana laws for nearly 50 years. They’ve been telling pro-cannabis voters, and now industry members, to call their representatives for a long time, and are a resource for the latest legislative developments. @NORML
Sweet Grass Kitchen–This Colorado edibles company, established in 2009, consistently ranks high on social media measurement platforms, and is distributed in more than 500 dispensaries throughout the state. Their website is filled with cool educational information about cannabis and their products. Their social accounts stream often with cannabis culture info and tempting images of yummy-looking candies and treats. @SweetGrassKitch
WeedMaps–One-stop online portal for medical cannabis consumers to find information on local dispensaries, delivery services, medical recommendations, new products, and everything needed to find and access marijuana. In the quickly moving consumer market, their Instagram feed has 225K followers and lots of cool photos. Download their app for IOS or Android. @WeedMaps
Women Grow–If you haven’t already heard of Women Grow, you should be able to tell by the name; this trade organization cultivates women entrepreneurs and professionals in the cannabis industry with networking events and seminars. Women Grow’s social media following (126K on Instagram) reflects national outreach, with chapters located in several states. @WomenGrow