Cannabis and the Metaverse

The Metaverse is a hot topic right now. In November, Facebook announced that they were changing their name to Meta and have pledged that they will invest $10 million in R&D to create their own virtual world.  In December, rapper Snoop Dog tweeted that he had bought himself a plot of land where he eventually built a mansion as a means to engage with his fans more easily.

With Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence being on everyone’s minds these days, it’s no surprise that cannabis retailers have started figuring out ways in which they can capitalize off the Metaverse as well.

But what is the Metaverse, and how are cannabis companies using it to bolster their businesses and expand their landscapes?

What Is The Metaverse

Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” to describe the virtual environment in which his character, Hiro Protagonist, shops, socializes, and defeats real-world foes through his avatar, in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”. This idea of the Metaverse isn’t a brand-new concept.

In terms of technical definitions, the Metaverse is a virtual place in which residents – through their avatars – can interact with a computer-generated environment as well as other users. The online game Second Life, which first emerged in 2003, is a metaverse, which is a watered-down concept of the Metaverse that the world is talking about today.

Players create their avatars and then wander through the different parts of the Metaverse where they can interact with other avatars, AI, and even shop for real-world products that can be delivered to their door. 

Last Christmas, Lil Nas X used an avatar in the game Roblox to hold a virtual concert. This is one aspect of the Metaverse.

Cannabis And The Metaverse

But how can cannabis retailers capitalize off the growing interest? Well, some of them have already entered the Metaverse, despite the fact that it’s still a brand new and evolving landscape.

One of the first cannabis companies to open a virtual CBD store was Higher Life CBD, which opened its virtual store in mid-December. Higher Life CBD’s Metaverse store provides clients with a gamified, digital, fun shopping experience that, unlike other retailers so far, results in an actual product being delivered right to your door in all 50 states. Higher Life CBD opened their metaverse store in the virtual world Cryptovoxels (one of many virtual worlds ). You can check out their shop on Cryptovoxels here.

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Higher Life CBD isn’t the only cannabis retailer getting in, however. Just this month, Australian cannabis company Creso Pharma paid out a whopping $450,000 to buy a plot of virtual land next to Snoop Dog’s mansion in the virtual world The Sandbox, on which they will build a complete replica of their brick-and-mortar cannabis cultivation facility.

Their plan is to allow virtual visitors to take a walk through their facility so they can see how their plants are cultivated, and learn about new strains. Eventually, they hope to open up to selling cannabis. capitalizing off of all of Snoop’s visitors and concert-goers. 

What Are The Risks Of Selling Cannabis In The Metaverse

While the idea of jumping into this new retail landscape is an exciting one, state-licensed cannabis companies have to be a little careful. Though the idea is that it will be a blockchain-based decentralized virtual environment in which people own platforms and apps rather than a central gatekeeper, that doesn’t mean that retailers won’t need to follow state-by-state age restriction and marketing regulations. 

According to MJBizDaily, despite the Metaverse being decentralized, cannabis retailers will still be held to rules and regulations under their state laws, “For example, do your state regulations restrict online marketing and advertising? Do they bar marketing and advertising crossing state lines? Do they require evidence that a certain percentage of the target audience is 21 or older?”

MJBizDaily also recommends taking a look at the ToS and EULAs of each individual virtual world since there are still restrictions on the sale of cannabis due to the plant still being illegal on a federal level.

 


 

The idea of cannabis retailers being able to sell their wares is definitely an intriguing concept. The pandemic has forced retailers to search for new and innovative ways to get their products out to the masses, and the Metaverse has great potential to do just that. However, it’s important to know the risks involved before jumping the gun and buying a parcel of virtual land on which to build your virtual cannabis empire.

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