Cannabis companies want customers to buy more marijuana. Obviously. To help them realize that goal, Colorado-based digital advertising company Mad Displays built a next-generation media network for the cannabis industry.
Founder Alexa Elliot, a former L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy and serial entrepreneur who’s become a thought leader in the cannabis industry and appeared in Rolling Stone and on CNBC, ABC World News, and MSNBC's Pot Barons, started the company to create a better link between medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners.
Dispensary owners can use Mad Displays to access real-time analytics about patients’ shopping behavior while capturing personal information important for businesses. The display system is tailored to sell more products, but Mad Displays doesn’t cost dispensary owners anything. Mad Displays is offering its service throughout Colorado, Nevada, and California.
MERRY JANE recently spoke with Elliot to discuss the cannabis industry, how Mad Displays is improving businesses, and the impact her law enforcement experience has on her views and career.
MERRY JANE: How did you join the marijuana industry?
Alexa Elliot: I had been in real estate in Denver for 23 years. I was buying and selling houses for a business attorney who had a customer who wanted me to evaluate his business, which turned out to be seven marijuana dispensaries. Through this client, I was put in contact with dispensary owners.
I got into the industry from the auxiliary side, doing banking and compliance with Integrated Compliance Solutions (ICS) for two-and-a-half years, and in doing so I decided to create my own brand, Passion Bud, which focuses on cannabis-based sexual enhancement products.
I wanted to create a high-end presentation for these products, and that marks the start of Mad Displays. My experience in banking and compliance led me to believe that such a product would be great for dispensary owners to capture customer information, especially on the recreational side of things, where customer IDs are not required. So, that is what we do: a fully automated network in the industry designed to bring in big advertisers and help legitimize the marijuana industry.
Our interactive display can run multimedia ads and educate people—perfect for a medical dispensary waiting room as patients browse products. You can also get coupons, and it can be used to help budtenders with their jobs. We want to increase the bottom line for owners so they have more income. In general, displays increase sales 10 percent.
Press materials say Mad Displays is gamifying the dispensary experience. How so?
We create a fully interactive experience, and the screen can display concerts, videos—Snoop Dogg can even do a concert with which people interact, for instance. It’s gamified in that if someone touches the screen, they can interact with the platform.
How does your past in law enforcement affect your view of cannabis today?
I’m proud to be in this industry. I never thought marijuana should be a Schedule I drug, and I’m not risking my life. [Laughs.] It was a big change, of course. I believe my law enforcement background helps me with the compliance element and hopefully helps me contribute to the industry in a positive way.
As a former Deputy Sheriff, I see how cannabis helps everyone, medically and recreationally. We do see less crime now that it’s legal here in Colorado. When you are selling product on the black market, it’s not regulated. Everything out here is tested, it’s regulated. There are no pesticides, so it’s not harmful. When there is no Marijuana Enforcement Division in place, you get pesticides in product and people get headaches. Legalization helps stop the street drug dealers that will up-sell to crack, meth, and whatnot. Legalization really helps law enforcement because it cuts crime and instills regulation.