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The Future of “Big Cannabis” – The Meaning of Cannabis Culture

Ujwal Arkalgud, EVP & Group Director at Lux Research

Ujwal Arkalgud

EVP & Group Director, Anthropology

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Jason Partridge photo

Jason Partridge

VP, Client Success

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Welcome to “Why Meaning Matters”—a Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In today’s episode of Why Meaning Matters, Erin, Jason and Ujwal continue the conversation on the myths and meaning of cannabis use in today’s Western culture including the newly prominent work from home lifestyle, perception and consumer buying power.

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In today’s episode of Why Meaning Matters, Erin, Jason and Ujwal continue the conversation on the myths and meaning of cannabis use in today’s Western culture including the newly prominent work from home lifestyle, perception and consumer buying power.

Welcome to Why Meaning Matters. A Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In season one, our hosts discussed how ideas start as myths in culture which eventually become truths when enough people agree or build consensus on that myth. Cannabis culture is no exception.

UJWAL [00:03:06] “I think there’s something very interesting there because the myths around it are especially exacerbated by the fact that now we are going into a culture where we’re saying it’s okay to work from home.”

For cannabis companies, not only does this mean legitimizing and selling cannabis products, it also means tackling the threat of newly developing myths such as work-life balance and productivity when working from home.

JASON [00:04:40] “You know, now it’s this idea of killing productivity, which while at the same time is a little bit less dramatic potentially of some of the embellishments that happened in the past. But in some ways it’s more dangerous because you know, what is really interesting is that the more a myth is easy to understand and the more a myth is easy to identify as something you can relate to, the more sticky it can be”

How cannabis use continues to be represented and perceived in media and pop culture is that of unproductivity and a disconnect from science.

UJWAL [00:07:55] “So if you’re a cannabis company, you have gotta be freaking out right now, because on one hand, everybody started to throw money at cannabis and it’s not yielding the way it was supposed to yield. And on the other hand, I have not seen a single example of a cannabis company, a cannabis brand that has found a way to build a proper legitimate brand out of this. It’s a mess.”

Comparing the subcultures built around the role of alcohol and smoking as facilitating productivity while cannabis continues to be linked to a notion of laziness.

JASON [00:10:05] “Again, alcohol has the aperitif. It’s sophisticated, right? Like what is cannabis’s aperitif?”

There remains large groups of consumers who don’t believe in what “Big Cannabis” is doing and prefer to stick with underground sources where legitimacy has been built over time.

JASON [00:11:27] “If cannabis wants to make inroads with those groups of consumers, they also have to figure out what authenticity means with those consumers. Otherwise, they’re going to constantly be at odds with each other.”

UJWAL [00:12:15] “The definition of authenticity is different in the context of cannabis for recreation and it’s different in the context of cannabis for medical purposes, let’s say for pain relief and all that sort of stuff.”

Next week on Why Meaning Matters, the myths and meaning of cell phones in a world craving authenticity.

Why Meaning Matters is a podcast produced by Story Studio Network and iContact Productions for MotivBase- Decoding implicit meaning behind what people talk about.

If you want to contribute to the conversation, make sure you drop us an email at hello [at] storystudionetwork [dot] com. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to SHARE it, RATE it, and SUBSCRIBE to the show!

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