Evan Nison is the founder and president of leading cannabis PR firm NisonCo. Evan is the youngest member of the NORML Board of Directors and sits on the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
You started in college as an advocate in drug policy laws; what inspired this advocacy?
One of my main motivations has been to help people change preconceived attitudes about misunderstood matters and bring them into the mainstream. My drug policy advocacy was inspired by the motivation to challenge attitudes about taboo topics. I’ve also been an advocate for other once-taboo topics like Death with Dignity.
You then launched some businesses that had the same mission as your advocacy; what were some of these businesses?
As a provider of cannabis PR, marketing, and SEO services since the start of adult-use cannabis, NisonCo has been able to be a part of the normalization of cannabis. Doing that as part of my job is something I’m definitely grateful for. I also started a smoke shop with someone who went to prison for cannabis and have tried to do as much re-entry hiring as possible in any company I’m involved in.
You have a personal underlying top-level mission statement that guides your career path, could you share what this is?
NisonCo endeavors to ethically influence society’s attitudes about emerging spaces like cannabis, psychedelics, cryptocurrency, and green energy. We tell stories about newly forming industries. We can effectively deliver PR, marketing, and SEO services to these clients.
Could you share the genesis story of NisonCo?
In all honesty, NisonCo was a happy accident. I was hired to provide PR services while lobbying for cannabis reform, and it went really well. Word of mouth started spreading, and my list of cannabis PR clients grew. As a result, my business quickly snowballed into the thriving PR, marketing, and SEO company that exists today.
What are some of the services that are offered at NisonCo?
NisonCo is a full-service PR, marketing, and SEO agency with content writing services. We also lobby to change cannabis laws and influence policy to craft as sustainable, ethical, and equitable an industry as possible.
What are some of the unique challenges for being a PR firm representing cannabis companies?
The cannabis industry is relatively new and it is experiencing growing pains. This industry is unpredictable and building a business in this environment is challenging. NisonCo experiences these challenges along with our clients. We enjoy creatively meeting these challenges in partnership with them.
Could you share some advice for individuals that are considering launching a business in the cannabis space?
Consider establishing an ancillary business before pursuing a licensed business. Experience with an ancillary business will help you understand the unique challenges facing the plant-touching businesses, and you will be in a better position to face them.
If you pursue a cannabis license, consider waiting until after the first round of licenses is awarded. The first round is messy and expensive, so save your energy and capital for the second round.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about NisonCo?
Cannabis is a unique industry: it was born of a social movement. NisonCo has proudly supported the cannabis reform movement for a decade. We are committed to changing attitudes and laws concerning cannabis and are firm believers that no one should spend time behind bars for possessing a plant that most can purchase legally.