Article by Growth Op
Cannabis and music have always been closely linked, not only as a part of the experience for fans at home, festivals and concerts, but also in the creative process for artists. It has evolved from Jerry Garcia fighting for legalization to John Mayer renouncing alcohol for cannabis, advocating how his “quality of life has gone up considerably.” The association between the plant and artists is an enduring one.
Like many, my pairings of music and cannabis started as a fan, but I was also fortunate to create deep connections to both through my professional life. Working at indie and major labels, I saw first-hand the shift in the recorded music landscape. Technology brought access to the world’s music into our hands, but for artists, it moved the decimal point to turn dollars into pennies. The industry has changed, and a transformation needs to happen so that artists can benefit from the content they create and continue to have support through grant programs.
When the Cannabis Act was released, I sat down to read it and put on the first episode of Mad Men in the background. As I was listening to the show’s characters discuss the challenges of differentiating near-identical products, I was reviewing the regulations and seeing how difficult it would be to make any brand or product stand out when it hit me: change the conversation. Make cannabis meaningful.
Supporting artists can become a rallying cry. Make it a business whose identity is not centered around the product, but in how it gives back. Offer an answer for talented artists who have been under-served or unable to access existing grant funding.
LOOP/POOL was born from this concept of supporting emerging artists by committing to give back a minimum of five percent of proceeds from the sale of our licensed cannabis products. I’ve seen the hardships that touring musicians go through to become successful in the industry. With venues shut down during the pandemic, the challenges these artists have been facing can seem insurmountable. Now is the time to revitalize the music industry and innovate in an emerging space like cannabis, where legalization has paved the way for new opportunities that can benefit artists.
The path to building a new brand that marries creators and cannabis took me through Dragons’ Den, which was one of the most thrilling, nerve-racking experiences of my life. It was the ultimate test for me and our company, but I learned two key things that can be applied to any upcoming cannabis brands.