Truth or Perception? Dissecting Advertising, Consumer Behaviour, Regulatory and Research Tech in Legal Cannabis 

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* You must be 19-21+ years of age to attend this virtual event based on your jurisdiction. 

** Access the Cannabis Act here

MRIA Event: Truth or Perception? Dissecting advertising,  consumer behaviour, regulatory and research tech in legal cannabis 

Sponsors:  Green Port RetailHigh Yield Insights, , Quirk's Media

Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2021.

Time: 9 am – 1 pm EST

What: A 4-hour seminar with keynote presentations and panel discussions in a Zoom-style environment


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Download the Programme Booklet Here:

Truth or Perception.pdf

What does the Cannabis economy teach us about how to research consumer behaviour as it evolves and break into new markets? The fast-growing global cannabis trade has not been without its share of paradoxes, outliers and dichotomies. From an illegal drug to essential service industry in a quick sweep of time since legalization, the cannabis industry remains hotly debated with competing marketing research stats, and perceptions of limited data skewing the image of a “boom or bust”, niche, exclusivist, or even artificial industry. 

In North America, legal cannabis research remains central to understanding how to navigate a fast-growing industry where lines are often blurred between:

  • current market size and projected market size (not all markets have equal data or access to data, so how are researchers calculating the market size of an industry where the demand and supply are often mismatched?);

  • online consumption and offline consumption (with legal electronic retail still not being able to catch up with the illegal online retail market); 

  • information versus promotion (regulatory hurdles, the distinction between marketing activities from research, low product or category knowledge and high levels of misinformation );

  • technologies versus data management platforms (does research tech enabled cannabis truly translate to better data governance and profitability?) 

In a major pandemic, the complexities of this category are harder to crack, but the projected impact of this industry cannot be ignored by researchers and decision-makers for the jobs it creates and the entrepreneurship and innovation it spawns as new legal products enter the market to attempt to displace the looming illicit market. Attendees of this seminar will come away with insights about how researchers can break into new markets using learnings from this fast-paced, culturally-divergent industry. 


9 am - MRIA Welcome

9:05 am - 11:30 am - Session 1 Keynotes – Consumer Insights, Brands, and Data Literacy

How have consumer shifts in the new normal opened opportunities or created challenges for brands and companies in the cannabis space? What research methods have been more effective at earmarking or profiling cannabis users?

Pat Pellegrini, Ph.D., Vividata, "Cannabis consumer habits and opinions amidst a pandemic."

Alexandra Curley and Mike Luce, High Yield Insights, "Lessons from a mature market. Leveraging robust panel data to yield fresh insights on established and emerging CBD consumer trends."

Vivianne Wilson, GreenPort Retail, "Retail Growth in the Pandemic: Online/Offline Customer Experiences."

Steve DeAngelo, ("Father of the Legal Cannabis Industry"), Radio Free Cannabis, Last Prisoner Project. "Tracing user-journeys, Americana, COVID-impact and brand memorability."

11:30 am - 12:30 pm – Session 3 - More Innovation or Better Regulation? 

What are the research implications if cannabis advertising were to become legal? How are we going to break the information versus misinformation gaps in an industry where legal product knowledge and awareness is low? What are the research communication and marketing challenges? What does this mean for opinion researchers and governments? Join this group of fabulous five panelists in a moderated discussion.

Codie Sanchez, Entourage Effect Capital

Jean Lepine, Blackshire Capital

Terry Donnelly, Hill Street Beverage Co. 

Martha Bajec, HCD Research

Lisa Buffo, Cannabis Marketing Association

12: 30 pm - 1 pm - Session 4 – Effective Technologies and Data Platforms 

How are analytics, data management and research tech creating an unprecedented mix of interdependent participants and fostering competitive collaboration in cannabis? What does this mean for the future of business intelligence?  

Mo Dastagir, Cresco Labs, "Understand the predictability: No need for reinvention in cannabis."

Michelle Arbus, Strainprint, "Collaboration + Innovation: Data-backed Product Formulations.

Donald Williams, "Reading the future of cannabis business intelligence dashboards."

There will be Q & A at the end of each session. 

1:00 pm - 1:05 pm MRIA Conclusion / Vote of thanks 

Sponsors: Green Port Retail, HighYield Insights, Quirk's Media

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