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  • Dr. Joan Irvine

The Changing Last Mile in the Cannabis Industry

For years, the "last mile" in the cannabis industry referred to delivering products to customers through home delivery or having them visit a dispensary. Many cannabis brands focused on establishing a presence in dispensaries, distribution centers, or delivery services.

However, the landscape of the industry is evolving, with a growing emphasis on lower-dose products and an older demographic. I believe this shift has redefined the "last mile" as the critical step in educating the general public about the many health benefits of cannabis.

In the past, the cannabis industry primarily targeted a younger demographic, often associated with the term 'stoners.' As the industry evolves, we must demystify cannabis and discuss its wide-ranging benefits, including improved memory function, menopause relief, healing properties, mood enhancement, beauty, better sex, and yes, even more fun.

The challenge lies in reaching potential customers who won't attend cannabis-centric events or identify as stoners. They need to be introduced to cannabis in settings where they feel comfortable, such as mainstream events like Chamber of Commerce gatherings, charitable events, 55+ communities, and senior centers.

Positive references to cannabis in the mainstream are essential to reduce the stigma and fear associated with it. A prime example of this is the Coachella Health Festival, scheduled for November 18 in Coachella, CA ( I am moderating the 'Benefits of Cannabis for Baby Boomers.' This festival will attract 2000 mainly women aged 40 to 70, typically of higher socioeconomic status, who are interested in health and well-being. They don't want to get stoned, but they are open to experiencing a mild cannabis buzz, similar to alcohol.

As an Author, Motivational Speaker, Brand Spokesperson, and Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy, I'm dedicated to empowering individuals to make the most of this chapter in their lives, and cannabis can be a part of this journey. I am doing this in my hometown of Redondo Beach, CA, where I am a Community Leader and openly advocate for legalization and cannabis education for seniors. I've even been labeled the 'Cannabis Lady.'

Some dispensaries, like The Farmacy in Santa Ana, CA, are pioneering this approach. They host senior events and transport residents from local 55+ communities. For the second consecutive year, I'll be the featured speaker at their first event of the year (January 16, 2024). I'll discuss topics like how to have a Dry January using cannabis and preparing for a Hot Valentine's Day.

Mama Sue Taylor, the Executive Director at The Farmacy, is a major pioneer in this movement. She is on a mission to bridge the generational gap and eliminate the stigma associated with cannabis. Her background as a former Catholic High School Principal highlights the mainstream appeal she brings to the cause. She is gaining recognition through appearances in documentaries, including the recent CNN Anderson Cooper documentary, "The Whole Story: Weed - A Senior Moment," hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

UPDATE March 30, 2024

Sue Taylor received the Canna Women's Most Influential Women Award on March 30, 2024

Acceptance of cannabis is a slow and delicate process. It cannot be forced onto people; instead, it must be introduced subtly. For instance, at a community mixer for an environmental charity I founded a decade ago, I included a raffle item—a vacation at the cannabis-friendly Coral Cove Health Resort in Jamaica. I also assembled a basket of cannabis gummies, beverages, tinctures, and topicals and included it in a silent auction. Notice that I didn't include 'flower' since smoking anything in public is not permitted in Redondo. It turned out to be one of the most sought-after items!

As the cannabis industry matures, the last mile is evolving from mere distribution to a profound need for education and normalization, especially for older demographics. The approach must be gentle, understanding, and subtle, breaking down the stigmas surrounding cannabis and revealing its multifaceted health benefits to a broader audience. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and diverse cannabis consumer with the added benefit to the industry – INCREASED and CONSISTENT REVENUE!


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