Writing for the Legal Cannabis Industry: Turn Passion for the Plant and the Written Word into Profit
Book Review by Ryan Clark – April 20, 2022
Author: Anne-Marie E. Fischer M.Ed.
AMFM Creative Media Ltd, 2021
ISBN – 9798702329659
Available on Amazon
“Legalize it and I will advertise it.”
So you want to be a freelance cannabis writer? Anne-Marie Fischer’s new book, Writing for the Legal Cannabis Industry, offers every would-be cannabis writer a perfect training manual. Far from a stuffy self-help book, Fischer, a self described “witchy woman,” stirs a cauldron of success with fun anecdotes, cautionary advice and other smokey ingredients.
Cannabis has come of age as a multibillion dollar industry. High functioning stoners can finally have a lucrative and fulfilling career doing what they love… but cannabis is more than just a commodity; this plant is for the people. “I have poured my heart and soul into it” Fischer writes, “with hopes that you, too, can one day make a full-time job out of your passions (and yes, make that six-figure salary too!)”.
In Writing for the Legal Cannabis Industry, Fischer carefully addresses the counterculture origins of cannabis, acknowledging its black market roots with a fond respect, however, she is quick to emphasize compliance and respect for the governing structures. While the multitude of rules outlined by the Canadian Cannabis Act pose many challenges to writers, Fischer offers a number of helpful suggestions. For example, the Act prohibits the use of medical advice when advertising cannabis. To manage this, Fischer suggests using non absolute “helpful modifiers” as a way to avoid using prohibited wording. For example, try saying “may help” instead of “cure” or “treat”.
Fischer begins by outlining a set of succinct learning outcomes she expects you’ll get out of reading her book, the ultimate goal of which is to show a would-be cannabis writer how to start and maintain a successful freelance writing business. To that end, she includes personal and professional efficacy, thoughtful research and personal goal development.
Fischer goes on to describe “5 Tools that are a Cannabis Writer’s Best Friend” (page 90), one of which is bullet journaling. She encourages the use of bullet journaling as a way for writers to stay organized and on topic. She writes: “Bullet journaling is a way to use your planner for maximum organization of life and work” (page 91). I am personally a believer in daytimers as the best remedy for poor short-term memory, something a cannabis connoisseur is all too familiar with. As the saying goes: “The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory” (Chinese proverb).
While there is definitely a lot that can be written for and about cannabis, Fischer points out that the cannabis industry is still a niche area. Sometimes inspiration wanes. To help with this, she presents a number of techniques for getting over writers’ block, including writing exercises intended to help shift a writer’s perspective. Try writing your own eulogy. Does your hometown have a mysterious urban legend? Write about that! As Fischer says, “it’s so important as a writer that I don’t lose my passion for the written word” (page 75).
Social Media is incredibly important for cannabis writers but writing about cannabis on social media can feel like walking a red carpet of eggshells. “Instagram is BY FAR my most used platform,” Fischer writes. “Twitter is a tricky beast. Facebook and Instagram can be assholes” (page 86). As Fischer points out, and as we’ve all likely experienced at some point in our lives, it’s easy to get into hot water on social media, but this is especially true when writing about cannabis. What you’ll find is that most of these platforms have a selective enforcement approach to what they deem ‘inappropriate content.’ Be prepared for a shadow ban at any time, keep your tags 19+ and don’t feed the trolls (unless it’s an edible). Despite these pitfalls, Fischer notes that approximately 80% of her business comes from social media, making it one of the most important tools for growing your business.
Fischer smoothly transitions from social media as a promotional tool to the importance of one-to-one interactions for landing a gig. We’re all quite accustomed to remote work and learning now but remember, phone calls and site visits still go a long way. Fischer always recommends you have a “discovery call” with your clients to ensure you are both on the same page.
Hunter Thompson famously coined the rally cry “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” But you don’t need to be a gonzo journalist to write about weed. Just pick up a copy of Writing for the Legal Cannabis Industry. Drink lots of water and pace yourself… It’s a short, sensible trip.
About the Reviewer – Ryan Clark
Ryan Clark is the General Manager of Dreamers Creative Writing. He holds an Advertising and Communications diploma from Mohawk College, was an event coordinator and board member of the poetry collective Open Minds Respect Events and edited Big B Publishing, a construction newspaper in Southern Ontario. He currently produces electronic music at a studio in Oakville called Musicboxx, performs as a multimedia DJ (rc420.com) and produces virtual reality content (causmoeffect.com).
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