Netflix & Cannabis

Cannabis-Centered New Show

On August 25, 2017, Netflix premiered its new show, “Disjointed.” Created by Chuck Lorre of “The Big Bang Theory” and David Javerbaum of “The Daily Show,” and starring a hilarious Kathy Bates, this 10-episode first season is a look inside a medical marijuana dispensary called Ruth’s Alternative Caring.

The show is alternately silly and deep, fun and frivolous. Ruth is a lifelong cannabis activist and attorney who adores her only son, though thinks he is a sellout for going to get an MBA. You see the stereotypical stoner kids, the PTSD-afflicted security guard, and a very funny plant cultivator.

With the continued legalization of marijuana in the United States and around the world, it makes sense that we’re seeing marijuana in a different way. Gone are the days of marijuana being only represented by dopey kids or hapless sidekicks. Cannabis-centered shows are going to become more common, and whether you liked Disjointed or not, it is breaking new ground for average TV audiences.

New Shows, New Strains of Marijuana

In a savvy business move, Netflix contracted with West Hollywood, CA-based marijuana dispensary Alternative Health Herbal Services to develop 12 new strains of cannabis based on 10 of their shows, starting with “Disjointed.”

To promote the new show, AHHS opened up a pop-up shop the weekend of the show’s premiere to sell the new marijuana strains. The pop-up shop sold about 27 pounds of marijuana over the 3 days it was open.

According to Ad Week, Carrot, the creative agency behind this idea, began working with AHHS about 6 months ago, giving them the information about the streaming shows they want represented by these strains of cannabis. They gave descriptions for each show and worked with AHHS to pair each show with a corresponding strain.

Indica strains were paired with lighter, sillier shows and sativa strains were chosen for darker, more aggressive shows. Carrot also worked on the packaging and branding.

Here is the breakdown from Variety:

  • The Omega Strain, Eve’s Bush, and the Rutherford B. Haze are the 3 strains inspired by “Disjointed.”
  • “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” gave rise to the Camp Firewood strain, “a very chill indica.”
  • “Bojack Horseman” can be viewed while partaking in Prickly Muffin. “When you smoke this, it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day.”
  • “Arrested Development” inspired Banana Stand Kush, recommended for a “big yellow joint.”
  • “Chelsea” birthed Vodkush, for the “advanced botanist.”
  • Peyotea 73, an “uplifting sativa hybrid,” was created to go with “Grace and Frankie.”
  • Sassafrass OG, with “the power of one thousand pug snorts,” is inspired by “Lady Dynamite.”
  • Baka Bile, “to really ramp up your appetite,” is for “Santa Clarita Diet.”
  • Poussey Riot strain, “for kicking it with somebody, talking, making mad stupid jokes” is of course paired with “Orange Is The New Black.”
  • Moon 13 is “not too strong, so you can ‘keep your sanity, no robot friends required,’” for “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

They picked some great shows to work with!

Promotional Purposes Only

This whole partnership is fun and interesting, and while it is not the first time this has ever been thought of, it is likely the most successful. In 2014, Kevin Smith tried something similar with his new movie.

Kevin Smith wrote and directed “Tusk,” a comedy horror movie based from his podcast. IMDb describes it as “A brash and arrogant podcaster gets more than he bargained for when he travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse…who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses.”

Smith partnered with Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary Buds & Roses to develop and sell 2 strains named for the movie.This partnership wasn’t as widely advertised or reported on as Netflix’s new move, and the dispensary did good business and benefitted from the press surrounding it. The results were considered mixed.

As an important note, Netflix itself did NOT sell the marijuana, nor are they profiting at all from any sales of the new strains. This was done for creative and promotional services, and AHHS specifically is profiting from sales and publicity.

Netflix is #314 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list, and having such a large and influential organization engage with the cannabis industry is fantastic. They are taking a public stance on marijuana and helping remove the long-held stigma of marijuana.

This goes to show how quickly times are changing in the US and around the world. TV shows like “Cheers” centered around bars as a gathering place and “Disjointed” is showing marijuana dispensaries in that light as well. Cannabis legalization, usage, and knowledge are becoming the new normal.

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