Cannabis is a Good Corporate Dollar - The Culture...Not So Much
If you walk into a large crowd of complete strangers and raise your voice slightly and say just two words…“Sour Diesel”… invariably at least one head will turn in your direction with a knowing nod or grin.
We’ve created our own language from dabs to tokes, from bangers and blunts, and especially when it comes to the names that we attribute to different strains of cannabis.
From Blue Dream to Extreme Cream, and every kush and haze in between, those in the know can tell you exactly what aroma, flavor, and effects to expect just by hearing the name of the strain.
But, with the incoming wave of corporate cannabis flooding dispensaries comes a lame new trend.
Companies like Canndescent have taken to ditching strain names altogether, instead using five very generic categories to differentiate the weed they offer in what they call their “effects-based classification system”; Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, Charge.
They all start with the letter C, just like the brand name. Surely some marketing exec got a corner cubicle in exchange for that brilliance.
The descriptions that customers are given in order to make an informed decision are just as bland.
For example, here is their full description of their “Connect” “strain”: When it’s time to laugh, go out with friends or get intimate, invite Canndescent Connect™
Cool, well what if Trainwreck gives you a headache, Chocolope doesn’t get you baked, and you only like lemon/pine OG’s not the earthy/nutty ones, so you really want to know exactly what you are getting?
It must list the strains used somewhere on the website, right?
In a 2017 interview with MJBizDaily.com, Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin said, “We put together an online application where we forced our people to take a test, converting the old strain names to what we were going to call them for our specific phenotypes. Now, a year and a half into our journey, we don’t even know what the original, underlying strain was.”
Their argument is that if you take a strain like Durban Poison there may be 1000 people growing it across America at any given time. It can be grown indoors in soil or hydroponically, or outdoors under full sun, or in a greenhouse environment. The variables are endless, and since it is a plant with seemingly endless phenotypes, the odds of you getting the same exact Durban Poison from two different growers is slim.
That is certainly true, but it has been true forever. You always have to know your source, and when a breeder or grower finds that ideal pheno, it becomes a highly sought after commodity.
Canndescent says they can eliminate that hunt with their own large-scale in-house grow-op and a $500,000 brand development plan.
Perhaps a good question to ask then is - who says that their Durban Poison is actually Durban Poison?
Or, does a batch of “Calm” cropped in 2017 have the same exact cannabinoid and terpene profiles as a batch of “Calm” that gets harvested in 2018?
Their answer may be - does it even matter?
If you take a step back and look objectively at what they are doing, it does make sense business-wise. When your packaging is as elaborate as theirs is, limiting the nomenclature to just 5 words is smart. And if you try to look at it from the perspective of someone just discovering the benefits of cannabis with zero interest in the history behind it, the dumbing down of strain hunting could be appreciated.
But make no mistake about it, corporate moves like this drive large nails into the coffin of the cannabis culture as we know it.
First of all, we went from Ziploc bags to plastic jars almost overnight but weed packaging these days is getting out of hand and Canndescent is as guilty as anyone. Their signature orange box comes with a branded pre-packaged 8th of what they call “virgin” flower, a branded box of matches, a branded strand of hempwick, some generic branded rolling papers, and a form letter from the CEO and the grower.
How fast do you go through an 8th of flower?
How many damn orange boxes would you personally put in a landfill in a month?
When you look on Weedmaps at the top eight dispensaries that sell Canndescent "Calm", the average price per 8th is just under $56.
Want the average price for a quarter? Too bad, they don’t sell quarters because corporations deal in bottom lines, not in price breaks.
How much cheaper would that 8th be if they kept their box and their schwag accessories?
Secondly, and just as importantly, this just feels like a slap in the face to the breeders and growers who - under the fear of legal retribution for decades now - created, cultivated, and propagated the strains that we all love today.
If we only need five categories, Canndescent logic would bear that we only need five strains...right?
Or do we need to honor the amazing stories, legends, and myths that surround this badass plant and its endless variations?
What do you think? Do you like what Canndescent is doing, and do you think that other companies will begin to follow their lead?
Let us know in the comments here and on Instagram – we are going to grind up some Forbidden Fruit and some White Walker OG and spark a fat blunt!