Let This Cannabis Brand from Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart Transport Your Mind
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 08/06/2019 | 4 Minute Read
Some things just belong together, don’t you think? Peanut butter and jelly. Thelma and Louise. The Grateful Dead and marijuana.
Okay, okay, it’s easy to enjoy the music of the Grateful Dead stone-cold sober. The band blended styles like country, rock, blues, and psychedelic rock, resulting in a sweet, nearly irresistible sound. They gained such immense popularity that their loyal fans, lovingly called Dead Heads, would travel around to see as many shows as possible.
Still, marijuana was a key element to the Grateful Dead, if not for enjoying it as a listener then certainly from the artists themselves. Mickey Hart, one of the drummers for the band, has admitted that throughout his life and career, cannabis has been an “ally, a vehicle of choice for musical exploration.” So it only makes sense that he teamed up with Left Coast Ventures to create Mind Your Head, a cannabis brand that promises to “Transport Your Mind.”
“Throughout Mickey’s life, cannabis has played an important role in inspiring creativity,” explained Ann Peltz, Vice President Marketing of Left Coast Ventures. “It tunes him into the now by inspiring intellectual curiosity and breaking free from ordinary thinking. It’s what he calls ‘cannabis-enhanced consciousness,’ and Mickey wanted to bring this to his fans through his own brand.”
This wasn’t the type of situation where Mickey’s name merely got slapped onto a new product and incorporated into its branding. Ann said his vision was an integral part of developing Mind Your Head, so the team immersed themselves in his writings, his philosophies on cannabis, and how he hoped to bring cannabis-enhanced consciousness to California.
"And herein lies what makes Mind Your Head so strikingly different from so many other cannabis brands: it wants to be cannabis. It doesn’t need disguising as something ultra-luxe or barely noticeable as a cannabis product. It’s weed, and at the heart of it all, it’s intended to inspire those who take it."
Their first product, a tin of ?-gram joints called Magic Minis, are packed with whole flower Chemdog cannabis. This particular strain has a place in Grateful Dead history, originating at the 1991 show at Deer Creek Amphitheater.
“Mickey believed it was imperative to use Chemdog in Mind Your Head’s inaugural product because of its deep lore within the Grateful Dead community,” mentioned Doug Brody, Creative Director and Principal at Brody Creative. “It also helps that he loves to smoke Chemdog when getting into the zone.”
Doug added that Chemdog is a real person who developed his following, and he took part in the launch for Mind Your Head, too.
With a storied history and sincere passion, the packaging details needed to match. “Mickey Hart has become an icon in the world of music as the drummer for the Grateful Dead and three-time GRAMMY award winner,” Ann added. “Mickey and the Grateful Dead have some of the most loyal fans in the world, so it was important that, first and foremost, the brand was authentic to Mickey and his fan base.”
By turning to some of Mickey’s artwork, as well as his writings, small details-like printing some of the drummer’s musings on the cards which divide the pre-rolls-gave consumers a personal experience, undoubtedly something diehard Dead Heads will love.
But they didn’t want Mind Your Head to rely solely on the past. “A key tenet of the brand was to ‘honor the past but invent the future,’” said Ann. “We wanted the design to have a contemporary appeal for modern creatives.”
The Magic Minis have an art-forward design that encourages exploration, and it’s intended for anyone looking for a little bit of that “outside-the-box” creative inspiration. One subject Ann and Doug consistently noticed in Mickey’s paintings was a psychopomp or a symbol which represents a guide to the other side. They utilized that on Mind Your Head—a guide to cannabis-enhanced consciousness.
“The Grateful Dead and other Fillmore-era screen-printed poster art were an influence,” Doug added. “A lot of great 60s poster work is printed in a single color, and imaginative typography and arrangements had a prominent role. Even though we worked digitally, it takes a lot of handcrafting to reference the organic quality of the vintage illustrations.”
And then there’s the tin itself, a material chosen for being naturally rich, convenient to protect the product, and easily recyclable. Of course, you might find it hard to toss this one in the recycling bin.
“This packaging is a piece of art itself,” Ann said. “Since launch, our number one inquiry from fans around the world, from Texas to France, is a request to purchase the tin since we cannot ship cannabis across state lines. They love the packaging so much they want to add it to their Mickey Hart memorabilia collections. I have never experienced such a demand for packaging in my over 15 years of consumer marketing! It truly is remarkable.”
Currently, Mind Your Head offers the Magic Minis to consumers in California, and development is already underway for new products to deliver a cannabis experience that allows consumers to transport their minds even further.
Ann also hinted at something more, something which will elevate Mind Your Head beyond just a product. “Mickey’s roots are in music,” she stated, “so it’s only natural that music will make its way into this brand to build fully immersive cannabis experiences for consumers.”