Music & Cannabis – Blending Cultural Crossroads to Help De-Stigmatize CannabisIn the small mountain town of Salida, Colorado, cannabis mogul, cultural icon, and music legend, Willie Nelson, is joining forces with Long Play to highlight the crossroads between music and cannabis.
Before the days of cannabis legalization, prohibition and propaganda put a negative tone on marijuana. As legalization spreads across the nation, a growing corporate culture has infiltrated, professionalizing the industry – much to the chagrin of legacy cannabis culture. However, one cannabis company based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains believes it’s possible to embrace them both.
Andrew Davison, CEO of Long Play – a company created from the merger of Pure Greens and GCH, Inc., stated, “We’re trying to build off what has always been there, take the best of the cannabis culture, and make it more inclusive for all demographics.”
He continued, “I think the stigma was always wrong. The true cannabis culture we all reflect and know is one to be celebrated. There’s an incredible history of cannabis as a creative force.”
With a wide variety of experiences from 25-plus years in business, Davison admits that “consumer products have been the common thread” throughout his career. With Long Play, he’s helping blend music and exclusive cannabis IP into an all-encompassing cannabis and hemp brand portfolio that appeals across sectors and all demographics.
Working with Willie
Throughout the years, one thing has always remained constant: Willie Nelson is a cultural icon in music and cannabis. Davison stated, “he’s woven into the fabric of the cultural landscape.”
“When we started this project, we used a proprietary research segmentation study that yielded incredible results: Willie Nelson appeals to every demographic, to every geographic region, and every political stripe,” he added. “He’s a person who has gone out of his way not to tell people what to do but to advocate for options.”
The research also revealed other data subsets that suggested a connection between positive cannabis experiences and music. Davison said, “according to our research, more than 90 percent of people associate music with a positive cannabis experience.”
So, to build on this musical niche, Long Play is also working with Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats, Margo Price, and the estate of Tom Petty, with additional collaborations coming in the future.
Community and Environmental Stewardship
Based in the heart of Colorado, Long Play’s geographical location is ingrained in its core values. Their Salida campus touts a state-of-the-art, 23-acre facility with 100,000 square feet of greenhouse and 68,000 square feet of production, processing, packaging, and administration. Long Play plans to be in the industry for the long haul.
Anticipating future interstate commerce and regional distribution blocks, Long Play’s facility “can grow and expand with the industry.” Using an omnichannel distribution system and having a cross-platform product line that includes high-THC cannabis and low-THC hemp products, the organization is ready for expansion opportunities when federal restrictions lift.
Additionally, the facility is incorporating several eco-friendly processes and policies, including composting soil and capturing wastewater to recycle it. Using Argus Controls, their greenhouse is capable of a perpetual harvest.
Adding to their community connection, Davison explained, “We’ve renamed our facility to ‘Twelve Peaks’ to reflect our commitment to the area, honor the outdoor lifestyle, and represent our efforts to be good environmental stewards.”
Davison stated, “we’re really excited that a critical part of Long Play is the Willie Nelson brand, but that we encompass a broader platform, as well.”
Some of the company’s current brands include Kayak, an outdoor-focused, water-wise adventure brand. In the hemp market, Long Play offers the Willie’s Remedy line of products, which includes CBD-infused coffees and teas, and they have plans to release a sparkling water line soon.
Addressing Broadening Demographics
Davison recognizes that cannabis is no longer just a “head shop culture.” Today, the demographics of cannabis consumers vary almost as wildly as the variety of products available on the market. Long Play’s diverse brand portfolio allows them to address several consumer segments.
Davison reminds us that consumer behavior and use patterns fall on a spectrum. However, he advised that cannabis products are much more complex and allow for a broad range of consumption options to fit each consumer’s preferences.
Comparing it to alcohol, he said, “alcohol ranges from a light drink to a heavy drink – you can have a wine spritzer, or you can drink Everclear and easily gauge your response. But cannabis is on a matrix unique to the consumer’s variables.”
Davison also reminds, “We all have endocannabinoid systems, but we may prefer different delivery methods or formulations, and different formats allow for a more controlled approach that’s less harmful, less stigma oriented, and frankly, more social.”
“If you believe the numbers, it’s a hundred-billion-dollar industry; there’s a lot of unaddressed consumer demand.” He continued, “Smart leaders in this industry are addressing these variables, as they are creating a lot of opportunities, and I think we’re just scratching the surface, and it’s exciting.”
The Bigger Picture for Long Play
Davison concluded, “We want to take the positives that have always been there and bring it forward to make cannabis more inclusive. For us, that’s about music and cannabis, getting outdoors and celebrating cannabis as a part of a creative, active, and positive lifestyle.”