Naming a cannabis business isn’t as easy as it sounds

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the July issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

So, you’re starting a marijuana business or thinking about changing the name of your established cannabis company.

It’s not as simple as making a pun playing off marijuana or incorporating words such as “420,” “canna” or “green” into a name.

Any names being considered for a cannabis business should reflect the image the company hopes its customers associate with the firm.

Choosing the right name is trickier for a marijuana brand than for a traditional company because of the illegality of cannabis at the federal level in the United States.

There’s also the stigma attached to marijuana and the fact that legalized cannabis is a relatively new market.

“Like any newer category, there’s a little Wild West involved,” said Bill Winchester, president and chief creative officer of the marketing firm Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, which has offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis.

“As things mature, trademarking is going to become more important.

“Whether you want (your company’s name) to reinforce the stereotypes or lean away from them will become less of a personal preference and more of a business decision.”

And it won’t be easy.

“Naming is a hard thing to do … a lot harder than people think,” said Ron Silver, owner of Azuca, a New York-based company with a line of CBD-infused syrups and edibles.

According to cannabis branding experts who spoke with Marijuana Business Magazine, business owners trying to come up with names for MJ companies need to:

And, remember, working with a marketing/branding firm could be money well spent.

For an even deeper dive, check out a case study on creating a company name.

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