One of the nation’s largest commercial cannabis producers and distributors
Expertise: Cannabis, Codes and Regulations, Public Affairs, Public Relations
Just weeks before state regulators were to decide on a vital licensing issue for one of the nation’s largest commercial cannabis producers and distributors, a scandal erupted over the company’s sudden change of ownership structure. Though largely the result of a misreading or misunderstanding of emerging state regulations, the issue was framed by a somewhat hostile press and anti-cannabis advocates as a covert move designed to circumvent the new rules.
We designed and executed an aggressive public information and education campaign to explain to lawmakers, regulators, and the media exactly what happened and why the issue should not interfere with the company’s plan to win state approval. Moreover, we used the opportunity to build bridges to the local media, to explore ways to better tell the company’s story and invite coverage to bolster its image and reputation. Quite simply, the history of the company should have been a good news story: local entrepreneur seizes an opportunity in a burgeoning new market and business and creates the nation’s leading company of its kind, approaching $1 billion in annual revenue, employing hundreds, and contributing mightily to the economy, particularly in areas in dire need of good, clean, jobs.
We invited major media to tour the company facilities, helped facilitate visits from elected officials, and generally made top executives available for interview and comments. Additionally, we wrote several opinion pieces for placement in local and regional press.
Our efforts resulted in at least balanced, if not overly positive, coverage. And while the company was fined for its alleged transgression, the regulators unanimously approved its application for recreational cannabis sales.