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Cannabis Marketing in Arizona

Published on
August 31, 2022
What is cannabis marketing? In an oversaturated industry, the answer lies in using the right tools, branding, and agency support to succeed.

Meghan O'Dea has honed her skills as a writer and content strategist for over a decade. She cut her teeth writing film and music reviews and a weekly opinion column on the 20-something experience. Early success in personal essay led Meghan to earn a Master's degree in Creative Nonfiction at UT Chattanooga, during which she attended the international MFA program at City University in Hong Kong as a visiting scholar. She has served as a digital editor for Fortune Magazine and Lonely Planet and earned bylines in The Washington Post, Playboy, Bitch magazine, Yoga Journal and Subaru Drive Magazine, amongst others. Meghan began writing cannabis stories for Willamette Week, Nylon and Different Leaf while working in the travel and outdoor media industries in Portland, Oregon. In addition to covering the intersection of travel, hospitality and cannabis, Meghan's work as a travel journalist took her from Los Cabos to Yellowstone, from San Francisco to Jamaica. She has also taught composition and travel writing at the college level and guest lectured on topics such as literary citizenship, urban history and professional development at conferences and universities throughout the United States as well as Madrid, Spain.

Three media outlets I check every single day: The Cut, New York Magazine, The Washington Post

Super inspired by: Women like Isabella Bird, Uschi Obermaier and my maternal grandmother, who dared to travel the world even in eras when global adventures went against the grain.

My monthly #GrasslandsGives donation: PEN America’s Prison Writing Program

When I’m off the clock (in five words): Books. Long walks. Architecture. Mixtapes.



The Grand Canyon State legalized medical cannabis in 2010, but it took over another decade for adult-use recreational cannabis to open up, too, when voters passed Proposition 207 in November 2020. Arizona is one of the newest states in the country to go fully legal, and though sales officially started in January 2021, the dust is far from settled.

Many municipalities are still setting their own rules regarding social equity licenses and standalone recreational dispensaries, while powerful MSOs are setting up shop in one of the Southwest’s hottest markets.

In addition to legalizing medical and recreational cannabis, Arizona allows home cultivation (up to six plants for adult individuals or 12 per household), as long as the cultivation space is such that minors cannot access it and where plants are not publicly visible. A piece of legislation titled A.R.S. § 36-2850 also stipulates that Arizona medical cannabis patients can use cannabis delivery services, which state regulators have yet to open for the recreational market (as of July 2022).


In short, yes. But as in other legal states, there are cannabis advertising rules on how and where brands can reach customers. A.R.S. § 36-2859 section 36-2859 mandates that cannabis businesses must include their name and license number or registration number in all advertisements and cannot facilitate or solicit online sales or listing services of cannabis products. Any unlicensed cannabis businesses or non-cannabis businesses that advertise unregulated cannabis products or services are subject to “a civil penalty of $20,000 per violation to the smart and safe Arizona fund established by section 36-2856.”

Additionally, packaging rules lined out in Section 36-2860 restrict the manufacture or sale of “marijuana products that resemble the form of a human, animal, insect, fruit, toy or cartoon.” The section also bans “products with names that resemble or imitate food or drink brands marketed to children, or otherwise advertise marijuana or marijuana products to children.”


Because Arizona is such a new market, it’s still working out many of the details regarding advertising restrictions for cannabis brands, such as billboards. That gives relative freedom to cannabis brands that operate only within Arizona, though no one can say quite how long that dearth of limitations will last.

But for MSOs setting up in Arizona, it’s wise to continue adhering to the advertising guidelines common across numerous other legal states—particularly in respect to federal agencies like the FCC. For example, many state cannabis regulations typically have a long list of off-limits advertising channels, from television commercials to radio placements to public print ads at bus stops or the wraps on public transportation.

However, Arizona cannabis companies are permitted to activate marketing strategies on subscription-based, adult-focused media channels with a verified 70% majority of age 21+ users, including websites, print publications, podcasts, print adverts and CCTV spots in venues like bars.

Cannabis brands are also free to make use of their owned-media content marketing channels such as blogs, websites, white papers and newsletters, as well as opt-in programs like text message lists.


Arizona’s existing cap of 130 dispensary licenses has been expanded slightly since recreational went into effect, including 26 new social-equity licenses granted by lottery from a pool of over 1,000 applicants.

A large percentage of the total dispensaries in Arizona are run by MSOs based in other states, such as Cresco Labs (Illinois), Curaleaf (Massachusetts), iAnthus Capital (New York) and MedMen (California). Indeed, some MSOs have already tried to influence regulatory decisions that prevent recreational dispensaries from opening in certain municipalities unless they are part of a pre-existing medical cannabis business.

While dispensaries are limited in some of the marketing strategies other brick-and-mortar businesses might deploy, one thing that retailers can take advantage of is event marketing throughout the year.

No month is bigger for promotions than April, when Arizona dispensaries roll out a host of events, pop-ups, takeovers and 4/20 marketing specials—it is, after all, eone of the biggest days of the year for cannabis marketing and retail.


How are Arizona cannabis brands standing apart from MSOs? Many have embraced vertical integration of cultivation, manufacturing and retail to ensure consistent product quality, and are building brands that appeal to largely untapped demographics like women and premium customers.

A wave of expert ancillary services have emerged, too, including cannabis law firms, accountancies and extraction specialists. But many companies are turning to Arizona’s unique features for inspiration and a truly local approach to good weed.

Sunday Goods, for example, touts sun-grown cannabis that puts one of the Grand Canyon State’s most abundant natural resources to good use. Some capture the flavor of one of the Southwest’s most distinctive plants, like Sublime’s prickly pear edibles or Timeless’s Cactus Chiller vape carts. And Old Pal’s vintage aesthetic evokes a different kind of export: the ’70s cool of Arizonan superstar Stevie Nicks.


From Scottsdale to Sedona, from Peoria to Phoenix, from Tempe to Tucson, Arizona is full of world-class dispensaries with house cannabis brands and home-grown independent cannabis brands that take pride in the Grand Canyon State’s unique approach to legal weed.

The Flower Shop

Ahwatukee, Mesa, Phoenix

Sunday Goods

Tempe, Phoenix

Copperstate Farms

Phoenix, Snowflake, Tempe, Sun City, Scottsdale, Peoria

Old Pal

Scottsdale, North Mesa, Gilbert, Bell, Bloom, Phoenix, Sedona, Glendale


New River, Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix, Peoria, Casa Grande, Tucson

Venom Extracts

Casa Grande, Avondale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Happy Valley, Bell, Glendale, Youngtown, Chandler, Tempe, Harvest


Scottsdale, Tucson, Phoenix, Gilbert, Glendale, Youngtown, Peoria, Havasu City, Flagstaff, Mea, Show Low, Green Valley, Avondale, Gudalupe, Casa Grande, Chandler, Cottonwood, Taylor, Apache Junction, Tolleson, Norte Mesa

Nature’s Medicines

Glendale, Happy Valley, Phoenix, Show Low, Tolleson



Harvest Health & Recreation

Avondale, Casa Grande, Chandler, Cottonwood, Glendale, Guadalupe, Lake Havasu, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson

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