If there were a Mount Rushmore for weed, the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead would undoubtedly be on it, Holistic Industries CEO Josh Genderson said during a panel on celebrity brands Monday at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami Beach.
Few names are as representative of cannabis culture as the Grateful Dead, and it was a matter of time before someone launched a cannabis brand that references the group and its founder, who died in 1995.
But landing such a coveted endorsement is not easy.
Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) got Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen; Caliva got Jay Z; B-Real launched his own thing; and the Jerry Garcia name found a house at Holistic Industries.
How did this come to be?
It’s all about taking care of your team, said Genderson, a former wine industry exec: the best place to work leads to the best products.
This in turn creates the best possible shopping experience, he said. And that in turn creates the best investment opportunity.
Tickets to the next Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Detroit, Michigan April 1 are available now.
Genderson and Holistic Industries CMO Kyle Barich broke down the specifics of the Garcia brand.
Understanding the community is fundamental, they said.
“A big part of our team are big fans of the Grateful Dead,” Genderson said, explaining the importance of getting the product right.
Jerry’s daughter Trixie could not emphasize this enough, he said: the only way for customers to love the brand is to pay proper tribute to the Dead’s legacy.
A brand cannot thrive and grow on just culture, he said; for the Garcia brand to succeed when it launches later this year, it needs scale and distribution.
Barich came to Holistic after a career that included marketing the launch of Viagra.
Just like with Viagra, “there’s an opportunity to change perceptions around cannabis,” he said.
Could celebrity brands play a big role in this re-definition of cannabis?
It’s certainly part of Holistic’s plan.
Photo courtesy of The Jerry Garcia Cannabis Collection.
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