Tacoma has carved out a fair share of the cannabis space through Dabstars, an emerging social media giant founded by Tacoma which he describes as equal parts cannabis lifestyle brand and cannabis marketing agency. The Dabstars Facebook page serves a massive cannabis community of over 1.3 million followers and growing, boasting even more fans than professional sports team pages such as the San Jose Sharks, Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies.
“It is a very simple idea but it also went viral in it’s own way allowing us to reach the kind of numbers we have 100 percent organically,” says Tacoma. “The level of online response was enough to begin touring the cannabis circuit and we were able to develop a large on the ground following.”
Alongside their remarkable online presence, Dabstars can also be seen and heard at several major cannabis festivals and events, which is where Tacoma began to build their audience. His start came while working smaller shows in Denver for another cannabis company more established at the time. He recalls a time when their booth had a loudspeaker that nobody was using.
“I picked up the megaphone and began to joke around with the crowd as they flowed by. Suddenly, the crowd wasn’t moving anymore it — had stopped,” Tacoma explains. “It was not planned but there was a crowd there and I had to tell them something, so I started to talk about cannabis and how it had affected my life and the lives of the people that were there representing their businesses that day.”
“Something resonated with the crowd and something resonated with me. From that moment I was hooked and we continued to grow larger and larger on the ground while simultaneously blowing up on the web,” Tacoma adds.
Tacoma credits Dabstars influential social media presence to their actual presence at just about every major cannabis festival thrown in the U.S. as well as abroad. Tacoma recently uploaded footage from the 2015 world Cannabis Cup held in Jamaica for the first time.
“What I think separates us from others who have been less successful in the space is our willingness to go in the trenches and put in the miles,” he says. “We did every major cannabis event on the planet this year, from the World Cannabis Fair in Barcelona to Dabadoo Amsterdam and the new Jamaica High Times Cup.”
While Dabstars mainly thrives throughout festivals and Facebook, they also earned national attention earlier in June with a controversial YouTube video featuring Tacoma paying for his meal at a fast food drive-thru by offering dabs to the restaurant’s employees. The sensational reaction came as a surprise to Tacoma, who says he uploaded the video simply as a placeholder for their new channel.
“At that time we were not producing a lot of video content but we understood the need to maintain our name rights across all platforms. That video would have been seen by a few hundred people in a normal situation but instead it went national news.”
The clip drew a great deal of controversy, but Tacoma hopes its viral success achieves in creating more awareness about cannabis use.
“It raised the unintentional argument around whether or not being high behind the wheel is the same as being drunk behind the wheel, which is ridiculous to any seasoned cannabis user,” Tacoma says.
The notable amount of Dabstars’ social media followers are that much more impressive, considering how historically prohibitive outlets such as Facebook and Instagram are when it comes to marijuana-related posts, images and videos.
“Facebook prohibits advertising for businesses in the cannabis industry and as such, we have had to grow 100 percent organically, which is evidenced by how interactive they are with our material,” explains Tacoma. “Every one of the people following Dabstars has a significant interest in cannabis giving us access to one of the hardest to reach demographics in any industry.”
Dabstars aims to continue their social media dominance and marketing success as the U.S. continues to map out the future of cannabis law reform, as well its emerging multimillion-dollar industry. Until then, Tacoma believes the intentions of Dabstars, as well as the majority of current cannabis industry leaders, are in the right place.
“I commonly equate America to a game of monopoly that has been playing for the last two hundred years,” Tacoma says. “There is a hotel on cotton, there is a hotel on steel, and every other commodity on the board. Cannabis is a brand new space on the board and the mixed legal environment has kept the wolves at bay, so to speak.”