Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson get their lemon lavender Can Social Tonic and other cannabis-infused drinks were launched in New York State as soon as possible. Getting a foothold quickly in states where cannabis drinks are legal is critical, said Bullock, who worked in consulting and earned an MBA before joining the legal weed industry. As a pioneer in the cannabis-infused beverage market, his company can establish its brand and develop customer loyalty before significant competition emerges, he said, and it’s easier to get on store shelves before the market becomes overcrowded.
Bullock and Anderson launched their first canned marijuana cocktails in California in 2019 and have since expanded to four states and Canada. Moving quickly to new markets also helps fend off copycats launching products with similar packaging and flavors Can Social Tonics said Bullock.
The duo created their low-dose cannabis drinks to provide “a mild light intoxication” and a way for people to drink alongside alcohol drinkers. “People worry about getting too high, getting anxious,” Bullock said, but with just 2mg of THC per can, consumers are getting 20% of a legal “dose.” That means they can drink a few cans.
“We can’t drink alcohol like we did when we were in our twenties,” Bullock said, “our hangovers are worse.” We wanted to create a savory drink for adults that offered euphoria without alcohol.”
Cannabis cannot legally be brought across state or national borders, so to supply stores in Nevada, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, Minnesota and Canada, the company ships its flavored syrup to canneries that supply the cannabis that goes into its drinks. From there, a local distributor gets the drinks onto store shelves.
The brand is available in 600 outlets nationwide.
The cannabis industry presents special challenges to multi-state operators. “Each state is kind of like its own country with its own packaging laws, its own distributors,” Bullock said. Packaging and labeling must be created and produced according to each state’s regulations, so “we can’t achieve economies of scale because our orders are too small,” Bullock said, and it takes extra time to make sure they all exactly meet local regulations. to fulfil. New distribution partnerships must be established in each state.
Restrictive cannabis advertising regulations also vary from state to state. “We do local events and promotions” based on what each state allows, Bullock said. For example, in Venice Beach, California, the company created a brightly decorated pop-up space that offered samples of the drink without THC and told customers where to buy the infused version nearby. To reach a wider audience, the company commissioned a music video, “Taste So Good (The Cann Song).”
Despite the additional costs of entering new states rather than growing in existing markets, the company is pursuing geographic expansion. “There’s a lot of ‘cannacuriosity,'” Bullock said now, “We want to get on the shelves in as many places as possible and introduce the product to as many people as possible.”