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Virtual Reality

Cannabis businesses are turning to virtual platforms to stay connected as COVID-19 prevents them from hosting and attending large gatherings. The following are some of the lessons learned from their experiences: • Have someone manage virtualevent technology while the host engages with participants. • Do a test run to ensure the camera angle and lighting are correct. • Understand and use available functions on your chosen virtual platform. Drew Martin sent participants in its virtual cocktail-making class packages that included a box of its branded pre-rolls along with mixers and elixirs needed to create the drinks. Courtesy Photo

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s states around the country started shutting down businesses in March to try to stop the spread of COVID-19, both mainstream and cannabis businesses pivoted from in-person to virtual events. In some cases, such as 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday, the switch had to be made in a matter of weeks. In the cannabis industry, companies including Marijuana Business Daily are turning to virtual platforms for everything from trade conferences and product launches to consumer and client education as well as staff training. Whether it’s Instagram, Zoom or a platform specifically designed for conferences, the industry still wants to gather to exchange ideas, conduct business and engage customers and clients as the world navigates tumultuous conditions resulting from the pandemic. While most companies report that virtual events have been successful and attendees say they’re getting value out of them, there are challenges. “There is a distraction issue,” said Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer for Wana Brands, a Boulder, Colorado-based manufacturer of infused products, who has participated in a number of virtual

conferences both as an attendee and a panelist. “The challenge is you’re on your desktop and you catch up on emails.” Even so, it appears that virtual events are the reality for the time being. What follows are lessons learned from three cannabis-related businesses that have hosted virtual events.

Company: Drew Martin Headquarters: Los Angeles Line of business: Pre-rolls What Happened: Drew Martin was

planning to launch its line of high-end pre-rolls with a series of dinners and cocktail parties. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to shift to a virtual Zoom event and subsequent parties. Drew Martin teamed up with San Vicente Bungalows, an exclusive club in Hollywood, California, that caters to A-list celebrities and power brokers. “We knew we’d have to do this all virtually and digitally to keep our team safe and to keep our guests safe,” said Andrew Freeman, Drew Martin’s chief brand officer. “Being a part of what’s happening in Los Angeles was important

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• Survey participants to determine what they’re interested in discussing. • Create an outline and agenda for participants to ensure the group stays on topic.

to us. We worked with San Vicente Bungalows to create a program for their members who could get the word out about what we were doing as well.” Participants in the Zoom event—most of them from the L.A. area—were treated to a master cocktail-making class by company founder Drew Martin, a former mixologist who has worked in several James Beard Award-winning bars. Participants received a list of alcohol and other ingredients they would need for the event. Packages that included a box of pre-rolls, a lime, a lemon, a measuring cup and a few mixers and elixirs were delivered to participants. “Our founder who created the product is a mixologist and herbalist by training,” Freeman said. “He’s always talked about these joints as if they’re cocktails.”

What Worked: The partnership with

San Vicente Bungalows enabled Drew Martin to engage with an audience that is aligned with what it has to offer. “Because our participants had to gather their own supplies, they were more invested in it,” Freeman said,

Profile for MJBiz Daily

Marijuana Business Magazine September 2020  

The cannabis industry's first printed trade magazine, featuring in-depth trend pieces and profiles. Print subscriptions are available for fr...

Marijuana Business Magazine September 2020  

The cannabis industry's first printed trade magazine, featuring in-depth trend pieces and profiles. Print subscriptions are available for fr...

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