Marijuana Mad Men: Meet Grow Room, the country's first MMJ marketing company

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Grow Room just went public as a wholly owned subsidiary of the nine-year-old, twelve-person Denver firm Volume Public Relations. But the venture has been in the works for nearly a year, says Elizabeth Robinson, the firm's president and CEO. Part of the impetus for the undertaking turns out to have been a conversation about medical-marijuana marketing I had last December with Robinson, who also founded VolumePR. At the time, Robinson was testing the MMJ waters, trying to decide whether she wanted her company to get involved in the hot-button subject. Following some exhaustive research, she decided to dive right in.

"After immersing myself in the industry, I decided our goal is to have, first and foremost, a firm that is focused exclusively on medical marijuana agencies, from packaged-good manufacturers to service providers to wellness centers," she says.

The result is an operation that does a lot more than fire off press releases. Grow Room's promotional materials suggest the firm opts for the blitzkrieg approach to brand development, from print and online advertising campaigns to promotional marketing schemes and business development plans. Robinson says the company already has two "cornerstone clients," one of which is the MMJ vocational school Greenway University, as well as 10 other smaller customers. It's also apparently already landed clients on CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Grow Room is looking to work with new customers in Colorado and beyond -- as long as those customers represent a good fit. "We want to make sure the right businesses are the ones that stay in business," says Robinson. "And the ones giving the industry a bad name and are just pot shops, those need to go out of business. We want to create a more harsh competitive climate where the businesses doing things right emerge as the industry leaders."

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner