The “Green Rush” is stronger now than ever and that’s before Election Day. If November 8 goes the way experts think it will, 2017 will be known as Green Rush 2.0, meaning the original cannabis pioneers in places like Colorado and Washington are going to have to find a way to stay in the game, now that the novelty has worn off.

Savvy cannabis businesses are investing in shaping their image and getting their brands noticed. Here are three reasons why your company would benefit from public relations:

    • Cannabis is still federally illegal, which means most prominent news outlets won’t consider a cannabis-based ad. Sure, you could always turn to the local ‘alternative’ publications, but you can bet a dozen of your competitors had that thought, too, and then all you do is race to the bottom on price. So how do you get in the mainstream dailies, weeklies, and yes, maybe even the glossy monthly lifestyle magazines, without an ad, and with third-party credibility? Public relations, that’s how.
    • Consumers are becoming more educated about cannabis, and thus, the media is becoming more educated about it. Are you catching the cycle here? That means cannabis business owners need to be more sophisticated in handling questions from the media than ever before. What is your crisis plan? What do you tell the investigative reporter who got a tip that your grow has pesticides? The crisis communications component of public relations has never been more important to an industry. It could mean the difference between having a bad month and your brand being tarnished, potentially ending your business
    • As more states legalize, companies are going to have to think more ‘local’. Canna tourists are going to stop visiting your state if it’s available closer. That means connecting with your community is vital, and that means more than just buying roadside signs for litter abatement programs. The reason a couple down the street comes to your business instead of the one two blocks in the other direction is because they see you as a good corporate citizen. Is your CEO networking with mainstream business organizations in town? Are you thinking strategically about other businesses to align yourself with? Contrary to popular opinion, PR is a lot more than just being in the media. It runs the gamut of these kinds of initiatives.

Allegedly, there are now more dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks stores. While I’m not sure that’s entirely true (awesome if it is), bottom line is that if you’re in the cannabis industry, you need to start thinking in the same terms of every other business owner trying to get their brand to stand out from the rest. And that starts with public relations.