A dear friend and reader recently asked me if I felt it was 'safe' to trust educational marketing campaigns. "There's always something going on in Portland, but I can't shake the feeling that it's bogus if a brand hosts it. Am I dubiously paranoid?"

Boy, oh boy, do I wish I had a satisfying answer!

On the one hand, we can not deny that bias is a prominent factor. This is further agitated by the fact that not all brands are up to speed on the latest research. Look at how many product lines are still depending on the dated Indica & Sativa binary.

However, there are true blue advocates out there going above and beyond the call of duty. Besides, if you have a tried and trusted brand name, why not leverage that credibility to make a difference!?

I can understand the immediate hesitation, and it's always best practice to do your fact-checking. But if we think too hard, we find ourselves in a catch 22. Cannabis experts own cannabis companies, and they go to great lengths to get there. If they can't provide education about the plant, then who will? These are people who have spent years of their lives and a considerable amount of money to enter the industry. Once they achieve their goal, you can bet your hat that they are going to take every opportunity they can to indulge in a teachable moment. If you think about it, packages, parties, and promotional content are prime real estate. This kind of marketing puts essential information directly into the hands of the consumer.

As we learned a in our first blog The Most Common Myths And Misconceptions Of Cannabis Avocacy. Advocacy is all about raising awareness around a problem, identifying a solution to that problem, and gathering the community around that cause. Educational marketing campaigns can be an excellent way to get the right message to the people who are most likely to be motivated into action. They can also make learning exciting! So today, we're going to celebrate three of our favorite companies who are elevating the community by taking educational marketing campaigns to new heights.

1) CBD Certified
East Fork Cultivars is among Oregon's most trusted cannabis brands. More importantly, they are also tireless advocates for the cause. As a top-notch farm on a mission to "produce CBD-rich cannabis with a resolute commitment to environmental and social responsibility," they knew that they could leverage their platform to make a meaningful difference.

To raise awareness about the medicinal qualities of CBD and empower social change, they poured their energy and focus into developing CBD Certified; a one-hour budtender training designed to catch everyone up to speed on the latest science. Not only does this function as a useful marketing tool for their brand, but it provides an opportunity for professional growth and ensures that front line employees are better able to support their customers with accurate information. To date, they have trained over 75 retail locations who serve hundreds if not thousands of customers every day. That is a huge impact!

But the best part is that they have done their research. In addition to bringing their own knowledge as expert cultivators to the table, they sought support from some of the most inspiring minds in the industry, fact-checked all of their data against reputable sources, and went out of their way to ensure accuracy. That is a sign of a company who genuinely cares about getting the right information, to the right people, at the right time.

2) Smart Cannabis
If you're the kind of nerd that surfs the internet for cannabis education (*and we have a hunch that you are*), it's a safe bet that you've already heard of Farma. This Portland Oregon dispensary is, somehow, already legendary for their dedication to cannabis science. As you can imagine, we were jumping for joy last spring when we heard about Smart Cannabis: A series of talks about truth powered by Farma + Habu Health. Thanks to the efforts of this powerhouse advocacy duo, the people of Oregon had the opportunity to learn about cannabis genetics, social responsibility, sustainability, and even rub elbows with the likes of Martin Lee! A series such as this is a great way to share information about cannabis with the general public, but it's also a brand interaction that guests are not soon to forget.

3) Grow Sisters
If the fact that The Grow Sisters are "Two sisters, 15 years apart in age, brought back together to share their story from Humboldt County’s first permitted cannabis farm" were not inspiring enough, they stole our hearts with the Sister, Grow Your Own campaign " in which one newby cultivator will be mentored in the art and science of sustainable, regenerative and organic outdoor cannabis cultivation. From sprout to harvest." Each month, the sisters create two educational videos documenting the process while highlighting a sponsored brand. It's an educational marketing quadruple whammy! Not only does this act as a clever marketing tool for the Grow Sisters brand, support the continued growth of one lucky female cultivator, and provide a useful platform for their favorite collaborators, but it also benefits the general public in a huge way. You can check out their YouTube channel here.

Excellent educational marketing will reach beyond the immediate product or service to enact a paradigm shift on a broader scale. While it is true that some companies are not quite in a position to educate the public about the intricacies of cannabis science, there are many out there who are finding unique ways to share their experience and knowledge. Although we will always advocate for taking a little extra time to fact check your takeaway, we say go on out there and get smart! Heck, attend as many cannabis education events as you can! Just be sure to consider how what you are being taught is going to contribute to the bigger picture. If it educates, empowers, and uplifts the public as a whole, it's worth your time and support!