Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 62: Beyond Profit: How Social Impact Drives Success in the Cannabis Industry

Episode Description

In this episode of Party Like a Marketer, Luna Stower, Chief Impact Officer at Ispire, shares her expertise on authentic marketing, social impact, and advocacy in the cannabis industry. Luna discusses the importance of storytelling, community engagement, and lobbying in shaping cannabis policy and building successful brands.She emphasizes the power of authenticity in personal branding and corporate communications, especially in an era of AI-generated content. Luna also provides practical advice on how individuals and businesses can get involved in cannabis advocacy and make a meaningful impact on the industry’s future.

Learn more about Luna and connect with her at


Learn more and connect with the Cannabis Marketing Association:

Read the Transcript


Hey there cannabis marketing community. I’m Emily wells, the membership manager here at cannabis Marketing Association, and you’re tuned into another exciting episode of Party like a marketer. Before we dive in, I wanted to introduce myself properly. You’ll be hearing more from me in upcoming episodes, and I’m thrilled to be involved in this incredible community and can’t wait to bring you more insightful conversations. Speaking of community, you’ve considered joining CMA, right? As someone who produces a ton of content in this space, I can tell you firsthand, our membership is pretty phenomenal. We’re talking exclusive networking events, cutting edge educational resources, and a supportive network of industry pros. It’s like having a secret weapon for your cannabis career. And trust me, you don’t want to miss out. Now let’s get to today’s show. I’m beyond excited to introduce our guest Luna stauer. Luna is the chief impact officer at ICE fire vape technology and brings nearly two decades of cannabis experience to the table. She’s got a master’s from USF and a BA from UC Santa Cruz. But her real education comes from the trenches of the industry that has been instrumental in launching several California legacy brands like Jetty extracts, and she’s become an internationally recognized industry expert. You’ve probably seen her dropping knowledge on b2b panels, podcasts, summits and consumer expos. In fact, she was named cannabis culture Advocate of the Year and 2021 by the cannabis Chamber of Commerce. But Lin is not just about business. She’s a passionate advocate for social and plant medicine justice, she has been key in local decriminalization measures and groundbreaking social equity initiatives. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also judged for some of the most prestigious competitions in the cannabis world, including the Emerald Cup awards, and Spannabis cups. Luna, thank you so much for being here today. We can’t wait to learn from you.

Lisa Buffo  01:58

Luna, thank you so much for joining us again on the show. Thanks, Lisa. It’s

Luna Stower  02:03

so good to be back. Great to see you. Yes.

Lisa Buffo  02:06

So you do a lot in your work in the industry. You do a lot and a lot in your role professionally. Can you tell the audience a little bit about what a chief impact officer is? What does your day to day look like? What are you involved in from a marketing perspective and an advocacy perspective? And then I want to talk about what makes you so good at what you do?

Luna Stower  02:27

Well, thank you so much. Chief impact officer to me means someone who is accountable to making sure that your vision and your voice really tracks all the way through to the end user and throughout the community b2b wise, for me, social justice, women’s issues, mentoring, education, speaking on panels, sharing keynote presentations of why love is lucrative and why Dei, CSR and ESG giveback programs really do impact bottom lines and really do support. profitability, which is something we don’t talk about much we we worry about, you know, issues around regulations, and turnover, and morale and all of these things that are huge issues to our ability to grow as businesses. But we don’t always correlate that to our company culture, how we show up in the marketplace. And in this kind of era of canceled culture and controversy, how to really hedge against some of the negative messaging that other competitors or haters in the space that might not want to see your company grow. How the way that you show up, the way that you get back, the way that you really put your money where your mouth is both internally within your own staff at your company, but also how you show up in the b2b space and how that trickles down to the to the end consumer because obviously, at the end of the day, we’re we’re a consumer, you know, product company, or the industry is very CPG. So for us, we’ve seen it in you know, examples from Patagonia be corporations. And there really is no reason why cannabis companies have companies, nicotine companies, everything that’s in the vise or the cannabis related space can also hold that same. That same standard. So for me, I travel around the world. We’re a global company, I work for ice fire vape technology, we do hardware for the cannabis, community and beyond. And we really just want to listen, I mean, a huge part of marketing is you have a message you’re trying to get across. And what I’ve learned is it’s in the listening and in the meeting the needs of the market, where it’s at and being of objective value to that not just showing up to the party with what you want everyone to drink or eat. And they’re like, Oh, well, we don’t eat meat or Oh, we don’t drink alcohol. And it’s like you thought that you have this beautiful, you know, pepperoni pizza and beer night going and everyone’s like We’re vegan and California soberly, you know, it just feels like we’re bringing, sometimes as marketers, we’re bringing what we want out of context and applying it and this is why, especially in the cannabis industry, you can’t afford to just mess around and figure it out. You have very little runway very little money. So getting your why and your story and your team really in lockstep and really solid to be able to communicate that out in a strong way will be the sticking power that will make you succeed or fail will be the difference between the two in this industry, unfortunately, it’s very, very cutthroat and volatile as you know.

Lisa Buffo  05:20

Yes, it is. And it has been. Yeah, so Okay, so you work on impact internally and how that translates to your end customer and consumer, you travel internationally. Can you talk a little bit about how do you say marketing is also about listening? It’s not just what do you want and then imposing that on your customer? But can you talk about what that is in practice? Like, what are some of the campaigns or examples you have or initiatives you’ve done that sort of reflect, hey, we’ve listened and this is what we’re delivering based on that or, like, how can our audience better understand how to do that and what that looks like?

Luna Stower  05:59

So some some of the more fun ones that just come to mind quickly. We’ve done so many endless I engages in every potential cause that has come across my desk and for years, so pretty much any any anything that has a giveback element. We’ve probably touched in some way but like this weekend, we’re doing the puffed out pride party, we do monetary sponsorships, we send staff to help we bring product we support. We don’t just want our name on a banner, we really believe in showing up for you know, in this case, it would be the queer community. Last year for Emerald Cup, the harvest ball, we when we had all of the farmers come from around all of the Northern California counties, a lot of them can’t afford a five to $10,000 booth. So for us to be able to bring 10 different farms down there and cover their booth fees. Instead of spending it on a party or spending it on a booth ourselves and, and putting our name out there. Our name wasn’t anywhere it was just promoting the small regenerative craft, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa Lake, county farmers and producers, that really doesn’t necessarily always translate to us like they’re not making vape pens necessarily. I’m not trying to win their business, what the most important thing that we’re seeing is that it’s a rising tide raises all boats, and we’re an ecosystem. And maybe down the road, one of them will make a suggestion of ICR because they remember well being well taken care of. And that ends up being how it goes. Or we make connections at Advanced Nutrients does the humanity heroes backpack stuffing events for housing insecure neighbors in Los Angeles, they go to the community folks, volunteers from our company. And also from a donation perspective, we are making sure that they’re able to do this on a yearly or quarterly basis to give away these these hygiene kits are unbelievable. Like they keep they keep folks good for for a minute, like there’s, you know, first aid and an extra pair of clothing and resources. And that’s something that typically the cannabis industry doesn’t get into, you’ll see us, you know, on a consistent basis out at Venice beach picking up trash off of the beach, we believe in ocean sustainability, we believe in, you know, understanding that we are in that deep space, there are some concerns around sustainability that we want to make sure that we are acknowledging and giving back to and saying yes, we see that in order to bring medicine to the people. There are other effects. And we want to help offset that by giving back in these ways. So for us, I think that it helps build, you know, when a client’s looking for who they want to work with when they see our team at every event, and we’re not a factory in China that’s faceless and 15 hours ahead and has cultural and language barriers, they see that we have stick to itiveness that we show up for people that, you know, we do shout out posts on our social media to support when someone cool launches something or when someone’s working on something that we’re inspired by. We want to contribute to the industry in ways that are just beyond this transactional profitability model.

Lisa Buffo  09:01

And you are uniquely suited for this role because you’ve done so many things in your career before you join cannabis. And can you talk about a little bit about what those were and how, how they translated to what you’re doing now and how you got here?

Luna Stower  09:14

Absolutely, yeah, I was a teacher. I have a master’s in teaching and focused on urban education and social justice. I’m bilingual. So I have the B class which is a bilingual certification that allows me to teach Spanish or teach newcomers. So I spent a lot of time with immigrant communities, focusing on making sure that they integrated well and that the kids felt loved and seen and supported, which is so important to newcomer kids in the United States. They feel very alienated. So I, I learned a lot about education, marketing through trying to teach literacy to teenagers, right. And then I got into the cannabis industry. I left my teaching job, I went out on disability and started working with a vape pen company called Neos or Naevus, which was founded by poppin Barclays co founder Giro court. Then I went into por vida edibles which was an organic gluten free first on the market edible and got into 300 stores across the state. And then my friend Brett Reisner at mg magazine, told one of the jetty guys, when they were looking for someone to start the company in NorCal, they had had no employees, they’re like, we’re looking for employee number one, he’s like, I’ve seen Luna around, she’s, she writes for mg magazine, she’s a journalist, she’s an activist, you know, she helps, you know, she’s working on, you know, the equity program in Oakland and writing those things. And she’s really connected on the sales level and all the retailers you might want to give her a call and I was with Jetty for four or five years, actually, you can still email me Fun fact, Luna, jetty, still works. Because they love me, we’re still we’re still very close. And congratulations to them on their on their on bringing them to the point where canopy was able to, you know, have the right to acquire them and infuse them with with 40 million and a lot of support. So that was wonderful. So I was able to, you know, be employee number one and help them get public. And then now I’m employee number one ice fire have been there for years, and we just went public last year. So it’s been a really cool journey of, you know, seeing our education and advocacy really work together to be able to push an industry where people can actually feed their families and build generational wealth for their legacy. Yeah,

Lisa Buffo  11:16

that’s amazing. Sounds like everything you touch turns to gold. So

Luna Stower  11:21

I’ve been really lucky, I’ve been really blessed. And a lot of people have horror stories in the cannabis industry. And I’ve obviously had struggles but man would have, I’ve been privileged to work with really heart centered, Vision focused leaders that saw me as a whole being and just take good care of me and let me work my magic in the market. And don’t make me present as a as a as a high pressure sales position. I can just be, you know, curious and powerful, and help lobby and show up at the Capitol and speak from my personal experience as a patient and as a business owner in the Bay Area. And what I’ve seen, it doesn’t have to always be what benefits I aspire because, you know, of course, we’re just like everyone else. We love making money. We love supporting the cannabis industry. We love selling product. We love being out there. But that’s not what drives me. That’s not what gets me up in the morning. It’s making sure that we’re leaving this better than we found it.

Lisa Buffo  12:14

And you do do a lot of lobbying and advocacy work. Can you tell? Tell us a little bit about that story, like anything you’re willing to share about your patient story, but what you are involved in what that looks like, and also what our audience can learn if they if they’re not doing that work. How can they get involved? What does that look like? Like, tell us about your lobbying story or your advocacy stories. For those

Luna Stower  12:33

who weren’t around before California and Colorado, everyone started going recreational in, you know, between the early 2010s to late 2010s. You might not know that the amount of advocacy that was happening has completely dropped off. There was something that happened when we legalized for adult use in the states that kind of let people feel like kind of like having like an MLK Day. It’s like you didn’t just win racism just because you call there the day, you know, just because you you commercialize cannabis doesn’t mean you dealt with the wrongs of the war on drugs or that you’ve made it more accessible to patients or more affordable. It’s really the voters voted for decriminalization, and what they got was commercialization, which is tax control and regulate as it was a decriminalization, which allows for possession, growing consumption and sees it as a public health issue, not a criminal issue. So what I really inspire people to do and beg people to do is call your local city council members show up to city council meetings. That is the only way we got the equity guidelines pass, to put folks of color and people hit in communities hit hardest by the war on drugs in priority line for licensing and access to resources. But just, you know, like knocking on doors, going to Sacramento, make an appointment, go to DC I’ve been lobbying so much recently, and you would not believe you can walk into these places sometimes without an appointment and get a staffer. And they will write down your personal story way faster than your policy recommendation. You’ll tell them we you know, we want to make it so that, you know, what were we lobbying for, you know, safer banking or, you know, decriminalization or D scheduling or any of these things. They’ll nod they’ll listen, they’ll say, Oh, I do or don’t you know, Can you email me more information about that? But the second you say, Yeah, my homie got shot at the dispensary because he’s a security guard and the cops don’t ever come and protect or like there’s a lot of robberies because there’s no safe banking. Like I actually have seen someone bleed out in front of their place of work like then they listen, they write it down, they go wait, you had to leave your state because your kid is epileptic and you couldn’t treat them without losing custody. You know, and you don’t even have to be a constituent of that state. Sometimes they don’t ask sometimes. Yeah, I was going to North Carolina. They didn’t ask my constituents satis they just figured probably figured because I was there I was. So I went to all the conservative states. All my friends. Were like, I want the people you know, we were in Sacramento or whatever. 20 People were going to like Alameda County. And there was like two of us that were in like other counties. I was like, I’m gonna go to like the Riverside County, I’m gonna go to Trinity County, I want to go to these smaller county offices, and have conversations with people that aren’t necessarily exposed to people like me who have a story. And I’m a public school teacher, and I’ve worked with I sit on the board of veterans organizations, we have real compelling stories. And if you do not share them via email, handwritten letter, in person or phone call, you are not helping this movement move forward. And what ends up happening is business owners and advocating to the regulators and regulators don’t like that they don’t trust us. They see it’s a conflict of interest. They feel that we have ulterior motives, they want to hear the average person, how not having cannabis, how prohibition is negatively impacting their lives. If you are not yelling those messages to as many regulators as possible as often as possible. You cannot say you’re in the industry, you cannot say you care about the industry, you cannot benefit from the industry, because you are making it harder for all of us who are keeping people in prison, you are allowing people to be searched and seized for cannabis. And you are allowing families to be ripped apart. If you are not, and I hate to be so like, so intense about it, but like I’m losing my patience, because I find that there’s a lot of entitlement that the cannabis community has around things just falling in their lap. And this is just an American problem in general of like, the lack of really working for what you want this thing that it’s just gonna happen because you’re in America and freedom rules. No. Democracy is for the hungry, you have to wake up, you have to get ready in the morning knowing that you are going to change something and that apathy that sense of lack of responsibility hurts all of us. And if you love a cannabis company, it doesn’t matter if you don’t care about cannabis at all. But oh, your little Kiva gummies. At the end of the night, like you don’t go to cannabis events. You don’t listen to Bob Marley. You don’t share with your friends, you just have your one. Even like if you care about Kiva, if you have one connection, if there’s that one bond that your mom were we use that worked on her knee, you that’s the only thing you have to have is one product, one person, one patient that relies on a healthy, thriving industry. That’s your story. And that’s what you say, you don’t have to be a sales rep. You don’t have to have a sexy, cool brand. You don’t have to be an influencer. You just have to have a story and care. That’s the real marketing. The real storytelling is from the heart. And that’s what changes hearts and minds. Not prefabricated AI generated value propositions. It’s just not the world isn’t doesn’t want it. The world wants realness right now the world is craving realness, even the governmental officials?

Lisa Buffo  17:38

Yeah. Because they don’t know what they don’t know that. Yeah, I’m so glad you said that. Because I talked about storytelling on this podcast all the time. And that good marketing is really good storytelling and basically say, a lot of what you said in different words about how and to your point, I think you are right, the more we do move towards AI, the more people are just craving the total opposite, where they do want that emotional connection, they do want to hear from real people. And I’m glad you mentioned that you just need one story. Because I think a misconception about lobbying is you have to go ask for something specific and say, I want this law, I need it to be this way, or I’m advocating for this and feel that their story doesn’t matter if they don’t have experience doing that, or they don’t know what they’re asking for when education is so much of that delta and that component to changing the laws like you don’t have to be a policymaker to go speak to regulators and the people who are making laws about these things, but don’t actually fundamentally understand them. So I’m glad you mentioned that and that you can do that. I also honestly did not know until you said it, you could speak to lawmakers that were not of your constituency. You

Luna Stower  18:49

could Lisa you can walk in to the federal and state buildings without an appointment, just an ID walk in, go to the elevator find their thing and like walk into their office and meet their staffer. I was 40 years old when I learned this like and I’m an activist, I’ve been city council, but like City Council’s only open, you know, five to one in the morning on Tuesdays like i mean like i In theory, I guess I could have gone to their offices throughout the day, but I just never did. I did it when I had other people and we had like something on the agenda I’d never thought about just a Monday through Friday, nine to five like they have an office you can walk into and they work for us. We paid for that office. Yeah, they worked for us. It was the coolest like mind blowing thing. And for all of the you know, shout out to last prisoner project and normal and NCAA and all these folks who are really preparing folks, for these for these meetings. But the number one thing I learned was that that the most important thing is that is the personal story that it actually isn’t secondary that if you don’t have one and I actually saw this in real time there was a group. It was the black Lawyers Association, or black cannabis Lawyers Association. And they did an amazing job of their like their policy recommended and their lawyers like they knew they like sounded wrong one point, there was a group of a bunch of them and, and I was there at the same time with the same kind of general group. But I gotten there early, and I kind of said, my perspective. And I heard like everything they said was like, so onpoint so compelling. And the staffer was like listening, listening, listening. And they were like, is there anything else you want to add? And I just kind of like, as I was sitting in the room, we were all meeting together. I was like, Do you guys mind just punctuating it with some personal stories, and it changed, like, we were there for another 25 minutes. Turns out that hurt. She’s also a medical like her one of the women’s daughters or kids, they had to move out of the state that they were in, because like they were constituents of that state, because they couldn’t get access to medicine. And someone else was talking about physical violence and things that didn’t happen in their path. And it was like they were lawyers. And they even like, we are all thinking that they want the logical argument, we have to like continue reminding ourselves the thing we’ve been told not to do, which is to emotionalize personalize it anecdote, the things that we’ve been told don’t count don’t matter don’t mean anything. This staffer couldn’t write fast enough as they were talking about these stories. And that’s when I saw it in action. I was like, I was able to be a fly on the wall and be like, Oh, he can get this information from the internet and from anyone when he can’t is was the personal story. Yeah. When Kent was hurt, here’s and his, he’s he’s like sweating as he’s talking about the veteran experience. He’s like, Do you know the PTSD that we live with? And he’s like, just just like in a suit, like in this office, like, clearly, feeling deeply what he’s talking about, like that only happens in person, that staffer said Pay attention, and he’s a veteran who’s begging for help. Like, you don’t get that kind of advice like that kind of fast tracking of like, what doesn’t matter your Twitter ad, it doesn’t matter how cool your leaflet in your cartridge box is, if you’re not literally crying in front of these staffers and the senators, and these representatives, they won’t hear you and they actually want it. They need fodder when they’re putting forth these legislations to say, I had three constituents in my office this week, all of whom said that they’re losing security guards and friends to the safe banking thing, we got to stop this, I’m I don’t want to have another person in here crying about a debt security guard, let’s solve this. Like they are not the enemy all the time, even though we’re kind of like the government plays, you know, an antagonistic role with us. They can’t do it unless we tell them to they can’t push forward these policies unless they have data points that say that they’re being asked to. I didn’t know that knew, like we don’t we’re not taught this in school. And I consider myself a very savvy activist. And I still didn’t understand this specific strategy, and how empowering also it is for you. You leave there feeling. It’s cathartic. You feel like you’ve been heard, you feel seen you feel like you’ve got democracy done today, and you’re like, Wow, I’m like a big kind of a big shot, all I have to do is put on a blazer and have a little printout to look at, and I and I’m changing laws. It’s such a beautiful reinforcement that we might have a chance with this democracy that we might reach one, teach one one voice change, the world might still be possible. And you won’t feel it unless you felt it in your bones the way that I have lobbying the past few years for this plant. I’ve never felt so much like the time and energy I put into something was was realized in real ways like the D scheduling and all these things or rescheduling happen from loud advocates banging on doors, not from people sitting at home getting on the couch. Yeah, you can get high on the couch after you bang on the doors all day. Yeah. Yeah, saying on door first, and then you know, close yours. Yeah. And

Lisa Buffo  23:40

thank you for shouting out those other organizations. And I also want to shout out NCI because I did do lobby days with them in DC right before the pandemic. And we did now that like you’re saying all this is coming back to me, but we did go to state offices of representatives at the House of Reps that were there was a group of three of us. And we went to these different offices. None of them were our constituency, I like I’m pretty sure to we were talking to like Oklahoma, none of us were from any of those places. But in my mind, I had thought, oh, because NCAA set it up that like that’s just how this work. And I had not tied that together that it really didn’t matter. They were just scheduling the meetings. But that is how it works. Anyways, regardless of if there is an organization there. So while it’s wonderful and to do that, and to support organizations like NCI anto to those things, you also can just do that independent anytime. Even though we only hear about lobbying in the media as like something that’s a paid corporate interest. And yeah, yeah, this big, big thing that it doesn’t have to be because that’s that wasn’t the intention of our

Luna Stower  24:41

It is so fun to do it with cannabis friends, too. Yeah, it was not the intention of our founding fathers. Actually, this is the most American thing you can do is ask questions. You know, that’s how I was raised. My culture is all about a question asking. It’s all about wandering and intellectualizing and philosophizing and being like does this work and ended The annoying and it creates a lot of discussion and it takes longer to make decisions, but it’s a thoughtful approach that’s relevant.

Lisa Buffo  25:06

Yeah. And that’s how you get to real answers versus just as assumptions. Yeah, I love that. And so I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about you. So you yourself, you do all this lobbying and advocacy, you do impact work, but you also to sales and marketing. And you do it not only for your business, but you also are an influencer on LinkedIn, and Mata, within the cannabis industry have a pretty strong presence in profile. Can you talk about some of the lessons you’ve learned? And I’ll say Marketing and Communications pretty broadly? Because it’s not necessarily I’m not saying that in the corporate sense. But what you have learned between your jobs between loving adequacy between teaching and your online presence? Like what are some of your marketing best practices, or things that you have learned through doing that, and maybe particularly on the personal branding side, that are relevant for this audience?

Luna Stower  26:00

I don’t think authenticity can be understated enough. I think that the perfunctory nature of messaging, especially as we were talking earlier about AI and the sophistication of the things, we’ve we’ve become very sophisticated as consumers of media, of information, of products. And I think the going back to the why in the storytelling, if it’s not really grounded in something authentic, or maybe there’s a founder or a founding marketer, that really puts their heart and soul into it, and it’s not adopted by the entire team or isn’t relevant to the market or the audience. It won’t live on. So I think that that’s the most important thing around, you know, just starting from the most close thing. It’s like, what’s the intention, what, what, what’s the vibe we want to create? Who is our target audience, and who is not our target audience, because in order to be authentic, I mean, obviously, you can be authentic in spaces that don’t resonate with you. But I think part of authenticity is also pointedness. And knowledge of oneself and one’s path in one’s market. And I think that this approach, you know, we’re for every one or anything, hasn’t worked in cannabis, there’s no generic branding, it makes more sense to have a lane that you stay in. And with that, whether it’s you know, You’re a queer own brand, whether it’s you use ocean, recycled plastics, in your packaging, whether it’s you are a legacy brand, you have, you know, social equity related to it, maybe you just are about education and bringing intending users and curious users and baby boomers into the fold. And you’re really focusing on a more medical approach to folks that are afraid of using cannabis in the upper 60s, whatever that is really nailing down why it matters to you, and then finding the events, the platforms, and the strategies or campaigns that make most sense to making that happen. Being every festival being an every consumer event, if you’re a b2b side doesn’t make sense. Being at some of these investor events, if you’re a consumer brand may not make that much sense. So I think in the cannabis industry, there’s a lot of noise not only on the b2b side, but also you know, what platform should I be using. If you want to have a funnier voice maybe you should lean into x more if you are really concerned if you really want it to be lifestyle and you want people consuming that is not the place for you you might need to go on on on you know on on a Patreon or your own website and own that content. Maybe a YouTube might be able to let you get away with it a little on LinkedIn but if that’s something you’re gonna stick to the you want people smoking blinds you you have to know that x y&z are not going to be available to you they will shut down your account they will shadow ban you so I think that stuff like this LinkedIn lives YouTube getting you’re owning your narrative and owning your message and the platforms that it’s on is so key in a time of the the terms and conditions death that is happening in the metal world with bots just scanning for keywords or smoking on camera. It’s destroying people’s pages and their online presence. So always making sure that not only is it authentic, but it should be educational, and ideally a little bit light hearted or funny like edutainment is the one thing that is the least likely to get banned reported taken down or harm you and then really trying to use that to get people from whatever these social media sites until that changes to your website. So for example, I would I Spy we have a press release. I don’t share the PR Newswire I share the ice biotechnology dot coms posting of the VR newswire so that I’m getting SEO, I’m getting people to hit my site, they might check out some other stuff we’re working on. But I don’t know if people are sophisticated enough right now to really understand how to use these sites. So for LinkedIn, for me, you can hashtag cannabis if you’re really interested in creating thought leadership around cannabis. LinkedIn is the place to be, but you need to you know, post very consistently you need to engage and you need to be vulnerable. You can’t use sales or marketing language. You can’t sound like you’re saying salesy ought to be vulnerable and be like, I had a rough day today. Anyone else having problems with accounts receivable drama or anyone else having problems with, you know, getting buyers to call you back or anyone else annoyed with their state changing the labeling requirements? And it’s like people were like, Yeah, brother, I hear you, we use this cool company, they were amazing or, like, I really appreciate you sharing. I felt like I was really alone in this thank you so much, or, you know, someone saying like, Oh, yeah, we went, we, you know, we’re about to go through that, thank you for helping us avoid that pitfall by you sharing this thing. Those are those that authenticity, that vulnerability is the objective value that we’re bringing to this space on the social media platforms. It’s not how cool you look unnecessarily, that will come. But I think that, you know, just doing a Black Lives Matter post on on Black History Month is not going to help create a holistic view of your company and your value system. And your authenticity as a whole. It needs to be a consistent thing that they always see you showing up for important causes. They always see you being a fair person, they always see you using positive language in your posts. Not getting involved in petty industry drama, not responding to the trolls that people are watching the subtleties of not what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. I don’t I don’t think that can be overstated enough.

Lisa Buffo  31:12

Yeah, I agree that how you’re doing it is very, very important. And I appreciate you putting it that way, because we don’t talk about that enough. And I do want to mention, you had talked about before we got on a little bit. So thank you for covering all that on the personal side. And tying that to what you do on the brand side as well. But we had talked about before we got a cut on a little bit about some of the things that I aspires doing differently to differentiate in this space and putting some of those things in practice. We do know, you know, I’ve known you for a long time. We’ve both been in the industry 10 years, a lot of things have changed since we started. Can you talk about a little bit about what that is, but as far as doing and maybe how that plays into the bigger picture?

Luna Stower  31:56

Absolutely, yeah. So we’re excited right now to pretty much be a scaling partner. That’s how we’re kind of positioning ourselves we are founder brought to market the vertical coil vape pen patented the entire vape space including ASIC was built on the patent came out around 2009. And they started production in 2012, or 13, or one of the largest manufacturers in the world. So we have this unbelievable knowledge of supply chain scaling financing. So we’re on the we’re public on the NASDAQ. So we have abilities that other plant touching or smaller cannabis oil companies do not have as far as like flexibility. For cartridges that eliminates popping, clogging, and a lot of the issues that happen contamination, so we have that as well. Is machines and a huge thing that it helps is it to 80 E is offset because it’s an automated process. So instead of having the labor of having people hand filling, for those of you don’t know 280 E was a tax law that was started after 1981 precedent setting case where a drug trafficker was able to write off his operating and labor costs. So the IRS made it illegal to write off any payroll taxes or any operating costs, which for most businesses is like 70 to 80% of the business cost. So this is catastrophic. So that’s one way that we’re trying to use automation to help scale and just be really asset light and keep you know cogs down and labor costs down. And then we have the verify is one of our partners that has partnered with clear to create an age verification for youth vaping prevention and access whether it’s you know, can be any controlled substance, cannabis, hemp, nicotine, that creates a a wave to verify that basically locks the pen unless they are able to verify their age, you know, kind of like a clear situation, it’s actually through the same clear that TSA uses or the Some of us will use to verify something online, which is really exciting because as marketers, we’re hedging against this very much. What about the children this puritanical, fear based, which is important? We obviously want public health no one’s no one’s belittling that. But it’s been very, like shutting it down black or white? Absolutely not. Never but no one’s ever given an opportunity to say you know, it’s not yes or no, it’s how we can have adults the safely and not allow it to get to the hands of children or people that it’s not meant to. It might not even be a child. It might just be your nosy neighbor who found it on your front porch or you or, you know, your roommate who always steals your wheat. Like, it’s just about having more control and being able to be in these rooms and say, we’re not little kids anymore. We’re adults. Now we know how this can go down as far as public health issues, lawsuits, like we’re not trying to play the game of hurting anyone or hurting our business or hurting the industry, as a public image. How can we be in conversations and market and say, we are actually at the forefront of tech and innovation, we are already thinking about the things that regulators are concerned about, we’re getting ahead of it with things like vape safer, we have a coalition of all the big manufacturers, we’re all it’s kind of fun. We’re all like competitors, but we’re, but we’re still in this working group, which is super awesome, every week we meet and it’s got a wonderful energy of collaboration. And we all want to see our products be as safe as possible. And we are regulating ourselves like that kind of a thing, is something that we’ve never seen before in the industry. And I think that that’s a really important messaging, we can really gather around that as a response to some of the concerns and the doors that get slammed in our faces, because it’s triggering, they’re worried about kid consumption, I get it. So if we have something, to offer them to at least let the conversation go down the road a little bit further and take this incremental baby step approach to regulatory changes to even just the understanding of how we operate as an industry that just, it’s just impressive when we self organize, and we create our own standards, and our own regulatory structures that we can codify, you know, with a 501, C six and lawyers and handed them and say, you know, you can redline this, but this is pretty solid, like we’re telling you what’s wrong with vapes, because we know because we make them a word we’re avoiding doing it. You as regulators don’t even know. So you’re throwing out vapes altogether, when we’re saying, there’s a way to do it, right. And I’ve never seen something so exciting. I’ve been selling vapes for 10 years and 2014, I’ve been selling vape pens, and I have never been involved in something that I think will be so life changing for consumers, the b2b space, the pharmaceutical model, the regulatory structure, as this move towards age gating, safety, and also just safety standards that we all adhere to as like a GMP among ourselves. It’s extremely exciting. Ya know, it

Lisa Buffo  37:16

takes it to the next level. Because I mean, right now, the way the regulations work regarding advertising to kids just says, audience can’t be more than 20 25%, under 21. But there’s not really a way to verify that. I mean, there is to some degree, but that really does take it to a much more tangible, thoughtful next level that I think will quell a lot of the fears out there and also give people a lot of data to see see that and say, it’s working, or what’s next and how do we improve this? So that’s, that’s really exciting. Because that sounds like one of those Win Win scenarios, win win win for industry for people for regulators that we don’t always get so we’ll take them when we can. Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, Luna, well, is there anything else you want to mention or talk about before we wrap up, we talked a little bit about your history what you’ve learned your lobbying and advocacy what you’re doing it I Spire, but any other insight you want to mention or discuss before we go,

Luna Stower  38:17

I’m just sending out love to the cannabis Marketing Association for being everything you are and giving a platform to thought leadership is fabulous. If you want to follow me on Instagram, Luna underscore stauer, or Luna We’re at get ice fire if you want to learn more about us. And shout out to Emily for setting this up. And I can’t wait for another in person Canada’s Marketing Association because that summit that I went to a couple years ago, is still my favorite cannabis event I’ve ever been to was the most thoughtful, collaborative, everyone was sharing all their dirty and clean secrets and all of their Monday morning strategies. It was the most helpful, productive, like collegiate supportive event I’ve ever been to and I you anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been to 1000 No Joe probably 1000 Over my career cannabis events. And this that was the most that one really felt like they were like actually trying to help your business grow not just trying to help your the the event business grow, you were really Yeah, you put way more into it, we got way more out of it, I feel like than we put into it, I can’t imagine that you guys made any money off that because that was way too good of an event for how much you guys were charging for it. So I just want to thank you for being an unaccessible high quality, meaningful, useful, like time honoring, not time wasting event and group of people and led by young females which is as a young female in business, seeing people so successful and do something in such a sophisticated way. When we are seen as like little girls, sometimes by the mass society just really shows me that as you said earlier, offline, that are Generation is breaking the ceilings that the boomer generation put in place and to see someone like you do so much work with so little starting out I saw you I was at your I was on your your first event was my first panel, or your first panel. That was my idea or something like that. Like it was like, Yeah, this is probably 2016. So it’s like we’ve seen each other completely blow up in less than a decade. And with very little resources and support. It’s been from passion, and this plan and blessings and community. And I just wanted to shout you out and tell you that I love you so much. Thank

Lisa Buffo  40:33

you. I really appreciate that was the most generous compliment that I we could have gotten today. So thank you so much. I’m so glad because we did put a ton of work into that. And that’s exactly talking about it we received. So we’re excited. Yeah. Well, thank you, Luna. I appreciate you sharing your time and connecting with us today. And we will put your Instagram, your website, all that information you just shared in the show notes and thank you to all of our listeners. We will see you next week. Much love. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoyed this interview, please subscribe to party like a marketer on your preferred podcast platform and follow at Cana marketing on social media. If you are interested in learning more in joining the cannabis Marketing Association, or advertising on this podcast or our media channels, please reach out to membership at marketing Or you can visit us at the Cannabis marketing where you can subscribe to our newsletter. See you next week.


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Meet Your Host

LISA BUFFO, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association

Lisa Buffo is an award-winning entrepreneur and marketer with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a membership based organization focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. She was named one of 2019’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Cannabis by Marijuana Venture Magazine in 2019 and named “The Marketing Guru” by Women & Weed magazine and is a featured speaker and media source in publications like Forbes, The Guardian, and VICE. You can find her on Instagram @libuff and Twitter @libuff21.

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