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PHOTO ESSAY

The beautiful packages of pot

Maggie Shannon for Quartz
It’s what’s on the outside that counts.

It turns out that the oldest dealer cliche, that weed sells itself, comes with an asterisk: In fact, illegal pot sells itself. Once high-quality product can be grown openly, at minimal risk, marijuana becomes just another crop vulnerable to the same marketing trap as breakfast cereal, with every company trying to put its own branding on a roughly similar commodity.

The market has begun to segment into brands, each with its own demographic target—professional women, perhaps, or retiring baby boomers who are looking for relief from the indignities of aging. Regulations, meanwhile, prohibit cannabis companies from using traditional advertising avenues such as television commercials or billboard advertising. So the biggest chance products have for standing out is in the store itself, a mission that has resulted in some of the most stand-out packaging in retail.


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