The marijuana industry never had room for professional design while stuck in the criminal sector. For decades, goofy stoner iconography, such as pot-leaf decals and so much tie-dye, were the de facto brand of marijuana in the popular imagination. Product packaging was limited to cellophane baggies and the tools of commerce (head shops, guys on bicycles) operating discreetly.
But in the wake of Colorado’s historic decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use, states are lining up—and so are designers, entrepreneurs, architects, and advertisers. An estimated $2.34 billion worth of legal weed will be sold in 2014. The pot industry is poised to grow faster than the smartphone industry. We’re at the cusp of a gold rush to commercialize the plant and create products for emerging marijuana markets like health care and luxury accessories. We’re seeing the emergence of everything from diamond-encrusted vaporizers to cannabis-infused pet food. For designers and branding professionals, landing a marijuana account may become as coveted as landing a liquor or car account.
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