As more states pass laws or voter initiatives to legalize marijuana — either for medical purposes or for recreational consumption — commerce that was once an illegal, underground enterprise is moving slowly into the mainstream. From growers, producers, and sellers of cannabis and its by-products to manufacturers and distributors of related goods, those engaged in cannabis commerce are learning that they need to undertake the same kinds of business activities as any other company. That includes marketing, PR, and other kinds of communication.
The burgeoning cannabis industry is attracting a flood of entrepreneurs in the states where it is legal. Aliza Sherman, a pioneer digital marketer, is among them. Aliza — who founded Cybergrrl, the first woman-owned Internet company, in 1995 — has launched a new marketing agency, Spark The Creative, which provides marketing services specifically for the cannabis industry. Concurrently, she has created Her Canna Life, an online publication focusing on women in the industry.
In this FIR Interview, Shel Holtz talks with Aliza from her home in Alaska about the preparations she undertook before opening the doors of her new agency, why she’s keeping it separate from her existing enterprise, some of the challenges in working in an industry that, while legal in some states still violates federal law, and what it’s like working with businesses that have never considered marketing before.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Spark The Creative, Aliza Sherman’s cannabis marketing agency website
- Her Canna Life is a website dedicated to exploring the roles of women in the cannabis industry
- Aliza Sherman’s website
- Aliza Sherman’s Medium posts
- Aliza Sherman’s LinkedIn articles
- Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific, by Martin A. Lee
About our conversation partner