When Olivia Mannix, 31, launched Cannabrand, a cannabis-focused marketing agency seven years ago in Denver, she feared she was committing professional suicide. “I remember thinking I’m never going to do anything again,” she recalled. “No one will take me seriously but now it’s incredible to see how far the industry has come.”
Since then, Cannabrand has been on the marketing forefront of the legal cannabis landscape. The agency has spearheaded advertising campaigns for high-profile cannabis brands that include Caliva and Papa & Barkley, and picked up industry laurels from top trades PRWeek and AdWeek.
Recently, Mannix set her sights on another emerging industry with the launch of Psilocybrand, a marketing and PR practice focused on psychedelics. Because psychedelics are still not legal in this country, with possession of psilocybin (otherwise known as “mushrooms” to aficionados) decriminalized in only three jurisdictions—Oakland and Santa Cruz, California in California and Denver, as of 2019—Mannix acknowledges her U. S. client base is limited. To make up for this shortfall, Mannix said she is working with companies that are public on the Canadian market. Among her clients are medical-based companies Greenstar Biosciences Corp and Mydecine Innovations Group.
(Interestingly, most psychedelics are currently illegal to possess, obtain or produce in Canada; however, according to Mark Haden, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies Canada, which promotes scientific research and education supporting the beneficial uses of psychedelic medicines, the law regarding psychedelics is a proverbial grey area. For instance, as Haden explained, many individuals are selling mushrooms openly on the internet, with one storefront in Vancouver, British Columbia, selling them upon request. He also added that some police departments, particularly the one in Vancouver, “historically stated they would not enforce cannabis law, and this may apply to mushrooms.” Haden further noted that the country’s federal government recently allowed six individuals with terminal cancer to possess psilocybin mushrooms via “a special access program”).