“Don’t go crazy, here’s an invitation. … Maybe people still want something to take the edge off.”
The insinuation is that you must have sniffed stockingsful of Santaphetamines for an especially white Christmas, and are regularly tipsier than Andy Cohen crooning “Auld Lang Syne.”
In reality, or at least as I see it from the viewpoint of my couch, any amount of alcohol intake can be exhausting, and it can be refreshing if not necessary to occasionally dry out—whether you’re a daily drinker sneaking nips between work shifts who needs to rest your organs or a weekend savage distancing yourself from a regrettable Friday fandango.
But what about High January? That sounds refreshing and fun.
Several dispensaries are helping people elevate their dry month without dampening the revitalization that comes with sobriety. Berkshire Roots is really leaning in, and throughout January “will be highlighting products, occasions, and need states to encourage people to explore the benefits and effects of cannabis as an alternative to a drinking occasion.”
“We see an opportunity during this global cultural moment to position cannabis as an option, and invite people to explore the benefits,” said Kathryn Sattler, CMO of Berkshire Roots. “Data in key age groups of 21-54 shows that cannabis is either the number one or number two replacement for alcohol during Dry January. So when everyone is talking #DryJanuary, we’ll be talking #HighJanuary. Our month-long campaign will kick off with a small request: invite cannabis to happy hour,” she said.
She continued, “The campaign will start with focusing on the most easily substitutable items beverages, and then continue to highlight new and existing products through this ‘invite challenge’—invite cannabis to your book club night, invite cannabis to your pickleball league, invite cannabis to your Netflix and chill nights—essentially anywhere where alcohol is accepted, let’s extend that accepting attitude to cannabis.”
Sattler worked for more than 25 years at Anheuser-Busch in marketing and innovation. In that environment, Dry January wasn’t the most welcome annual event, still they did as much as possible to ride the wave.
“I’ve been on the other side,” she told Talking Joints Memo. Sattler gave us some history of the pseudo-event, which turns roughly 10 years old in the US this year but was launched by the group Alcohol Concern in the UK in 2012. “It’s one of those things where [Budweiser] would always go [with] a healthy lifestyle [campaign] or put forward our [non-alcoholic] Bud Zero.”
With cannabis, she said, the approach is much different—hence the Berkshire Roots #HighJanuary campaign. “The [World Health Organization] says no amount of alcohol is good, but a medical professional can prescribe you cannabis,” Sattler said. “There is no scenario where a medical professional prescribes you alcohol. We have this whole conversation backwards about what’s safe and familiar and what’s scary.”
In order to spin that discussion toward green, Sattler said her company’s invitation initiative is aimed at “a whole generation of people who think drugs are bad and are really resistant to [cannabis].” “Don’t go crazy,” she said, “here’s an invitation. … Maybe people still want something to take the edge off.”
They’re “starting with some of the most easily substitutable products—beverages.” “Maybe we get some of those people in the dispensary and asking questions,” Sattler said. From there, she added, “We just started carrying Melt [infused ice cubes], and then we’re going to get into edibles. But the campaign is meant to go for the entire month.”
“You can do Dry January,” Sattler said, “but you can also do High January.”
If you have a Dry or High January event, sighting, or idea for us to add, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.