Is Canndescent Paving the Way For the Future of the Cannabis Industry?
Luxury brands and branding indicate an upscale future for marijuana.
The image of marijuana is in a state of flux. Many around the country still likely associate it with timeworn stereotypes that do not speak to the new age of cannabis consumer.
One of the chief signs of the changing cannabis market is the success of luxury brand Canndescent. With a goal of providing ultra-premium cannabis for adult-use in California, the brand has become the No. 1 selling cannabis brand in the Golden State.
Founded by Harvard Business School graduate Adrian Sedlin, Canndescent seeks to provide the new era of cannabis smokers with a luxury experience. That’s apparent on the company’s home page and Instagram pages. Both are stylish and promote marijuana not as some outlaw lifestyle but as just one part of an upscale, stylish mode of living. There’s not a peace sign or a tie dye shirt in sight.
That’s the future of cannabis.
“Call us the Courvoisier of cannabis or Hermès of cannabis. We're going after that high-end adult use,” Sedlin said on CNBC’s “Marijuana Millionaires” special.
Packaging and Point of View
Canndescent reached the top of the cannabis brand competition in California through a focused effort on presenting the brand as an alternative to the “normal” in the marijuana industry.
The company completely understands what some others are just now catching onto: cannabis has moved completely past its hippie and stoner stereotype. Terms such as “pothead” -- still, sadly, used by many in the media -- are a holdover from a bygone era. Professionals now use marijuana as a way to relax and unwind rather than a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Cannabis is now as upscale in some circles as fine wine.
The packaging of Canndescent mirrors that, with tasteful boxes that look like those used with upscale teas. Cannabis is shipped in jars with humidity packs to preserve the structure and quality of the flower.
All of this comes at a premium. The Canndescent ⅛ jars cost $65, while the average price is $60. But the quality of the flower has made it popular, leading to the “premiumization"" of cannabis. And since a ⅛ jar equals 15-20 servings, the cost is $3 to $4 for a premium experience.
To put it another way, it’s what Starbucks did for coffee. In 1980, the idea of paying $2 for a cup of coffee seemed luxurious or foreign, but Starbucks made it an experience worth having.
The Art of the Flower
Canndescent also has taken a simple, elegant approach to delivery of cannabis products. Marijuana flower is offered in one of five different varieties: calm, cruise, create, connect, charge. On its site, Canndescent lists the varieties with the question: “How do you want to feel?”
The point is to “demystify” cannabis by naming the strains by their effect and pairing them with activities. They are as follows:
- Calm. For sleep or for relief from aches and pains
- Cruise. To “keep up the pace” while also relaxing and sailing through the day
- Create. For when it’s time to “paint, jam, code, blog or game”
- Connect. For laughing with friends or being intimate
- Charge. For going out at night or to “take a run”
Canndescent ensures the quality with a step-by-step process. It starts with propriety genetics for their plants and grow houses that use purified water and organic pest management. Each type of plant has its own customized area, and flower is dried and cured for more than 30 days.
Workers never touch the flower, which are trimmed from the stem by hand. The goal is to have flowers “glimmer, shimmer and snap.” In short, the company backs up the promise of the upscale packaging.
Rejuvenating the Economy
Canndescent has gone beyond simply altering the way marijuana is manufactured and marketed. The company also has helped rejuvenate the economy in Desert Hot Springs, California. The city went bankrupt in 2001. Now, by being one of the first towns in California to open itself to cannabis companies, the job market in the area as well as the overall economy have rebounded.
This commitment to improving the state’s economy is just part of what Canndescent brings to the table. The company’s focus on reinventing how cannabis is made and marketed is part of an overall movement in the marijuana market toward a more upscale, rewarding experience.