How One Distributor Is Positioning Itself To Become A Player In The Cannabis Market
Since 1994, MBS Communications (PPAI 698516, D1) has been helping clients put brand names on useful, mostly benign products like pens, nametags, yard signs and business cards. Recently, the distributor decided to branch out and target a new market, an industry that might have seemed controversial back when the company was founded: cannabis.
In June, MBS Communications launched DispenseMore.com for custom dispensary products. Over half of U.S. states have either fully legalized marijuana or decriminalized the use of it.
In Illinois, where MBS Communications is based, marijuana is legal. DispenseMore.com will put brand names on smell-proof bags, grinders, lighters, rolling papers and trays, along with other accessories.
There was a point when the stigma of marijuana as a drug or vice would have made it antithetical to the purpose of a successful promotional product. MBS Communications had conversations around that very issue but decided that times have changed and opinions have evolved. “We see that stigma decreasing all the time as more people embrace the benefits of cannabis use and more states legalize it,” says Matt Unkraut, MBS Communications’ director of business growth and development. “Eventually, we think it will be legalized nationwide.”
Indeed, the public perception has shifted on cannabis in recent years as more research is done into the plant’s potential. According to WebMD, limited research suggests cannabinoids (the active chemicals in marijuana) might reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation and relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth, relax muscles in people with MS and stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS.
According to Unkraut, the decision to get into cannabis products was organic. One of MBS Communications’ fastest growing product segments in recent years has been bags. “We saw an opportunity for dispensaries to send purchases home in branded bags,” Unkraut says. The leap to additional cannabis-related products was fairly seamless.
Rather than incorporating the cannabis products into the line of standard products MBS Communications already offered, the company launched a separate website. But Unkraut says the company is fully behind what they see as the potential growth of this venture.
“We landed on ‘DispenseMore’ because that says exactly what we’re trying to do: help dispensaries grow by dispensing more.”