Cannabis operators with connections to the metaverse tell Benzinga that web3 should offer cannabis more opportunities than current online offerings.
From sponsoring events to buying and delivering CBD to your home using Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) blockchain, cannabis is already finding ways to connect on the decentralized web and the opportunities could grow if mass adoption of web3 technology one day comes.
More Likely Opportunities In Decentralized Digital Spaces
With the metaverse, cannabis may find something it rarely has online: brand exposure.
Cannabis and web3 participants expect the plant to be accepted in many age-gated worlds in the metaverse, more commonly than currently on web2. Rather than finding ways around ad bans, web3 offers various ways pot brands can connect with consumers, investors and buyers.
“Web3 world is another way to target a consumer, and brands who test the waters will be rewarded big,” said Brett Fink, partner at venture studio GRTR. Fink got his start launching several CPG brands, including YERB, a canned yerba mate beverage with its formulation funded by NFT sales.
Fink said web3 and its less regulated platform are changing the rules to the digital world.
“In 15 years, people will look at web3 and decentralized technology like we now look at the internet,” he noted.
With most respondents believing that the metaverse and web3 tech are here to stay, early adoption could be crucial to successful business growth via marketing, fundraising and a growing list of opportunities.
Christine De La Rosa, CEO and co-founder of The People’s Ecosystem and The People’s DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), also believes that cannabis will be freer to operate in the metaverse.
“The hopes for many cannabis founders is that we have found our place governed by the people rather than the government,” De La Rosa said, adding that The People’s DAO launched to help invest in BIPOC and women-led cannabis ventures.
De La Rosa predicts that smaller cannabis ventures will follow a similar path, fundraising without venture capital, private equity and other institutional methods.
Brand exposure opportunities appear more plentiful, with live event sponsorship and NFT collections serving as leading examples so far.
Kyle Rosner, a metaverse participant and director of media relations for cannabis firm 420interactive, said, “The highest and best of cannabis brand utilizing NFTs/Web3 will be those that create true membership and data clubs,” offering perks, like party invites and discounts.
Regulations Always A Factor
The future of the metaverse is much like federal cannabis laws: uncertain but largely optimistic.
Sources appear confident in the future, but uncertain regulatory futures cast doubts. In cannabis’s case, it leaves leading social media giants, like Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:FB), to prohibit cannabis online in web2 and web3.
Akerna Corp (NASDAQ:KERN) CEO Jessica Billingsley said Meta adheres to federal law, but not all digital worlds will do the same.
Billingsley highlighted Decentraland as a potential option that could be “less dependent on US federal law and could therefore be more open to cannabis-related content.” Decentraland uses MANA cryptocurrency backed by Ethereum blockchain, calling itself “the first-ever virtual world owned by its users.”
In September 2021, metaverse community Crypto Cannabis Club (CCC) hosted a pot-centric event on Decentraland. In February 2022, CCC announced the launch of a premium product line with DTC e-commerce brand CampNova. The venture will be backed by its NFTokers collection.
Billingsley and Habeeb Syed, senior associate attorney at law firm Vicente Sederberg said federal reform would resolve digital prohibition concerns.
“Until federal laws change, cannabis will face the same scrutiny in the metaverse and Web 3.0 as it faces online today because the same concerns exist,” Syed said.
Weed Will Get The Word Out No Matter What
The launch of CBD delivery in the metaverse may have some thinking of future THC sales. But, most see marijuana facing a much more arduous path before mass sales could ever occur.
Regulations will remain a concern at all levels for the foreseeable future. Akerna’s Billingsley said that “multiple fundamental issues need to be tackled, like how compliance can be proven, advertising regulations, and more.”
While those topics are discussed, or one day might be, some believe cannabis will find a way to get the word out no matter the regulatory landscape.
“Just like Web 2.0 there will be different and creative ways for cannabis to exist and cannabis companies to make their business known,” said Harrison Jordan, cannabis lawyer, COO of NFTMarketingPros, and an NFT collector.