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Strategic Bliss: The 13 Strategies from ‘The 33 Strategies of War’ for Cannabis Entrepreneurs.

In the context of the cannabis industry, Robert Greene’s ‘The 33 Strategies of War’ lies a treasure trove of insights that resonate powerfully with offering invaluable strategies for cannabis entrepreneurs navigating this complex market. For a cannabis entrepreneur to truly thrive, flexibility, creativity, and a profound understanding of the market become indispensable through successfully implementing these strategies to the unique challenges and opportunities within the cannabis industry. Therefore, the following are carefully chosen strategies that hold the potential to significantly benefit entrepreneurs seeking success within the intricate complexities of the cannabis industry.

Photo credit: Rafael Rex Felisilda |

1. Strategy 1: Separate Yourself from Your Competitors (The Polarity Strategy)

The Polarity Strategy involves navigating complexities, seizing opportunities, and creating a well-rounded approach to business. This strategy encourages a dynamic and adaptable mindset that embraces the diversity inherent in the cannabis market between yourself and your competitors ensuring your unique cannabis brand stands out. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Distinct Branding and Positioning: Develop a cannabis brand identity that sets you apart from others. Your branding should communicate a clear message and evoke emotions that differentiate your cannabis business from others in the industry. Create a unique position in the industry.
  • Bold Marketing and Messaging: Develop marketing campaigns emphasizing what makes your cannabis business unique. craft messages that highlight your distinct qualities and the benefits customers gain by choosing your products or services. 
  • Specialized Niche Focus: Rather than catering to a broad audience, consider specializing in a niche. Become the go-to expert or provider for a specific segment of the cannabis market. This specialization creates a clear polarity and attracts customers looking for precisely what you offer.
  • Innovate Consistently: Continuously innovate your products, services, or business processes. Introduce features or elements that competitors lack, creating a polarized perception in the market. Strive to be the first or the best in delivering innovative solutions.

2. Strategy 4: Fight to the End When Cornered (The Death-Ground Strategy)

The Death-Ground Strategy involves turning challenges into opportunities, fighting strategically in adverse conditions, and using difficulties as a catalyst for innovation and growth. This mindset can empower cannabis entrepreneurs to thrive even in the face of industry uncertainties and challenges. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Competing Against Larger Players: Cannabis entrepreneurs, especially those operating in regions where large players dominate, can use the Death-Ground Strategy to their advantage. Instead of being intimidated, fight strategically by focusing on niche markets, unique product offerings, or personalized customer experiences that large corporations might overlook.  
  • Branding in Stigmatized Markets: In regions where cannabis still carries a stigma, consider it your “death-ground” for branding. Fight against negative perceptions by promoting responsible use and education, and highlighting the positive aspects of cannabis. This strategic approach can contribute to changing public opinion. 
  • Navigating Unpredictable Environments: The cannabis industry is inherently unpredictable. Use this uncertainty as your “death-ground” by cultivating agility and resilience. Build a company culture that thrives on adaptability and is ready to face challenges head-on.
  • Motivation from Financial Constraints: When faced with financial constraints, see it as your “death ground.” Fight by optimizing your resources, cutting unnecessary costs, and finding alternative funding sources. Strive for financial resilience and sustainability even in challenging economic environments.

3. Strategy 6: Muddy the Soil to Confuse Your Competition (The Controlled-Chaos Strategy)

The Controlled-Chaos Strategy involves creating a controlled environment of unpredictability to keep your competitors off balance. This strategic chaos serves as a tool to disrupt competitors’ expectations, maintain consumer interest, and position your brand as dynamic and innovative in the ever-evolving cannabis industry. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Product Line Diversification: Introduce a diverse range of products in a calculated manner. Muddy the soil by offering different strains, consumption methods, and ancillary products. This controlled chaos makes it challenging for competitors to predict your next move, keeping them on their toes. 
  • Limited Product Releases: Implement surprise limited product releases by creating anticipation and excitement by occasionally introducing products without prior announcement. This controlled chaos strategy builds a sense of urgency among consumers and adds an element of surprise to your brand. 
  • Being Able to Pivot: Structure your business model to be adaptable by being willing to pivot and explore different avenues, whether its retail partnerships, subscription models, or unique collaborations. This flexibility creates controlled chaos, making it harder for competitors to anticipate your strategic moves.
  • Strategic Marketing Ambiguity: Engage in marketing campaigns that generate curiosity and ambiguity. Create teasers, mysterious product launches, or unconventional marketing tactics. This Controlled-Chaos Strategy can intrigue consumers and competitors alike, fostering an environment of unpredictability. 
Photo credit: Anne Nygard |

4. Strategy 7: Raise the Morale of Your Followers (The Morale Strategies)

By applying Morale Strategies, you can create a work environment that inspires and uplifts your teams. High morale among employees contributes to increased productivity, innovation, and a positive organizational culture, ultimately leading to success in the competitive cannabis industry. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Shared Vision and Purpose: Clearly articulate a shared vision and purpose for your cannabis business by helping your team understand the larger mission and the positive impact it can have on individuals and the industry. A unified purpose boosts morale. 
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of your team members by regularly recognizing individual and collective achievements celebrating both small and big successes. Feeling valued and appreciated, fosters a positive work environment boosting team morale.
  • Professional Development: Demonstrate a commitment to the professional growth of your team by providing training, mentorship, and opportunities for skill development. This investment in your employees’ growth enhances their morale and loyalty. 
  • Team-Building Activities: Organize team-building activities and events. These could be recreational activities, workshops, or social events that foster camaraderie among team members. Strong interpersonal connections positively impact morale.

5. Strategy 12: Build the Master Plan (The Grand Strategy)

The Grand Strategy involves understanding the dynamics of the industry to achieve long-term objectives through master planning for your cannabis business. Develop a comprehensive business strategy, define your long-term vision, set achievable goals, and align your operations with the overarching mission. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Market Research Mastery: Gain a deep understanding of the dynamics of the cannabis market. Conduct thorough market research to identify trends, consumer preferences, and potential disruptions. By controlling the dynamic through knowledge, you can position your business strategically for long-term success. Recognize that regulatory changes are part of the dynamic in the cannabis industry. Develop a regulatory intelligence system to anticipate changes and adapt your business model accordingly by staying ahead of regulatory shifts, you control the impact on your operations.
  • Adaptability to Regulatory Changes: Recognize that regulatory changes are part of the dynamic in the cannabis industry. Develop a regulatory intelligence system to anticipate changes and adapt your business model accordingly by staying ahead of regulatory shifts, you control the impact on your operations. 
  • Brand Resilience in Market Fluctuations: Develop a brand that withstands market fluctuations by controlling the dynamic by building resilience into your brand strategy. This involves diversifying product offerings, targeting multiple demographics, and creating a brand that adapts to changing consumer preferences.

6. Strategy 13: Gather Information to Corner the Industry (The Intelligence Strategy)

The Intelligence Strategy involves acquiring comprehensive information to gain a strategic advantage by positioning your brand as a well-informed, adaptable, and strategically nimble player in the industry. This approach ensures that business decisions are grounded in a deep understanding of the market, competitors, and the evolving dynamics of the cannabis landscape. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Competitor and Consumer Market Trends: Systematically gather intelligence on competitors and consumers. Analyze competitor strengths, weaknesses, market positioning, product offerings, customer feedback, consumer preferences, behaviors, and demands of your target audience. This intelligence informs product development, marketing strategies, customer engagement initiatives, and opportunities to outperform competitors. 
  • Legal and Regulatory Awareness: Invest in legal intelligence by staying informed about changes in cannabis laws, licensing requirements, and compliance standards by regularly updating your knowledge about the constant changes in the cannabis landscape. This proactive approach ensures that your business operates within legal boundaries to comply with regulations, minimizing risks, and avoiding potential legal challenges.
  • SWOT Analysis: Perform a comprehensive strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis of your cannabis business. Identify your competitive advantages, areas for improvement, potential market opportunities, and potential challenges. This analysis will guide your strategic planning and resource allocation.


7. Strategy 21: Budding Diplomatic Ties in the Industry (The Diplomatic-War Strategy)

The Diplomatic-War Strategy involves building a network of alliances through diplomacy to achieve your objectives without direct conflict. This strategy can be used to foster industry relationships, and shared success, overcome challenges, increase influence, and achieve mutual success. Here’s how this strategy can be applied: 

  • Industry Collaborations: Establish collaborations with other cannabis businesses, suppliers, or industry influencers. This could involve joint ventures, co-branding initiatives, or shared marketing campaigns. By pooling resources and expertise, you can create mutually beneficial opportunities. 
  • Government Relations: Establish positive relationships with government officials, regulators, and policymakers by engaging in constructive dialogue to contribute to the formulation of favorable regulations. A diplomatic approach can help shape the regulatory landscape and ensure your business operates in a conducive environment. 
  • Cross-Industry Collaborations: Look beyond the cannabis industry for potential collaborations by partnering with businesses in related fields such as wellness, lifestyle, or technology. Cross-industry collaborations can bring fresh perspectives, diverse audiences, and innovative ideas to your cannabis business. 
  • Strategic Alliances for Market Expansion: Explore strategic alliances with businesses in adjacent markets or regions. This can be particularly beneficial for expansion into new territories where local expertise is crucial by leveraging the strengths of local partners to navigate regulatory landscapes and consumer preferences effectively.
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8. Strategy 24: Make the Ordinary Seem Extraordinary (The Ordinary-Extraordinary Strategy)

The Ordinary-Extraordinary Strategy involves presenting your offerings in a way that captures attention and creates a perception of uniqueness. This strategy allows businesses to break through the noise in the cannabis industry and create a lasting impression of extraordinariness in the minds of consumers. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Product Packaging and Presentation: Invest in aesthetically pleasing and innovative packaging. The visual appeal of your products can transform the ordinary into something extraordinary. Consider eco-friendly packaging, distinctive designs, and unique presentation to make your products stand out on dispensary shelves. 
  • Customer Engagement Initiatives: Implement customer engagement strategies that go beyond standard practices. Personalized messages, loyalty programs, and surprise perks make customers feel valued. Going the extra mile in customer relations transforms an ordinary transaction into an extraordinary relationship. 
  • Educational Content and Thought Leadership: Position your brand as a thought leader in the cannabis space by sharing valuable insights, educational content, and industry analyses. By offering knowledge and expertise, you elevate your
  • Social Media Content Campaigns: Feature story highlights that showcase the extraordinary aspects of the brand and products through behind-the-scenes glimpses, customer testimonials, key milestones, creative uses, and artistic interpretations. Sharing this curated content on social platforms amplifies the ordinary use of your products and creates a narrative that transforms day-to-day operations into an extraordinary journey.

9. Strategy 25: Take the High Ground and Baffle Your Competiton (The Righteous Strategy)

The Righteous Strategy involves establishing a positive and morally upright image for your brand. This approach not only attracts consumers who value social responsibility but also helps navigate the evolving cannabis industry with integrity and a commitment to righteousness by leveraging a perception of moral high ground to gain an advantage. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Transparency in Operations: Embrace transparency in your business operations by communicating your cultivation practices, product ingredients, sourcing methods, quality assurance and testing, fiar-employment practices, education initiatives, and inclusive marketing campaigns. By being open about your processes, you build trust with consumers and can be perceived as a righteous commitment to honesty. 
  • Legalization Advocacy: Advocate for cannabis legalization by aligning with the broader movement for cannabis acceptance. By positioning your brand as an advocate for legalization, you not only contribute to positive social change but also gain the support of consumers who share these values. 
  • Responsible Use Education: Educate your customers about responsible cannabis use by providing guidelines on dosage, potential effects, and responsible consumption. This educational approach positions your brand as one that cares about the well-being of its customers. Implement community engagement programs by supporting local causes, charities, or community events. By actively participating in and contributing to the betterment of your local community, you build a positive image of your brand as one that is righteous and socially responsible.
  • Community Engagement Programs: Implement community engagement programs by supporting local causes, charities, or community events. By actively participating in and contributing to the betterment of your local community, you build a positive image of your brand as one that is righteous and socially responsible.

10. Strategy 27: Turning Leaves Over through Alliances (The Alliance Strategy)

The Alliance Strategy can be used to build a network of allies that strengthens your position in the industry. These strategic partnerships not only offer immediate advantages but also contribute to the long-term sustainability, growth of businesses, and shared success. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Identify Complementary Businesses: Seek out businesses within and outside the cannabis industry that complement your offerings. This could include suppliers, distributors, or businesses in related sectors. Form alliances with those whose strengths align with your weaknesses, creating a symbiotic relationship.
  • Industry Networking Events: Actively participate in cannabis industry events, conferences, and networking functions. Identify potential allies, including other entrepreneurs, influencers, and key players. Forge alliances based on shared goals, values, or mutual interests that can strengthen your collective position.
  • Cross -Promotion with Compatible Brands: Collaborate with brands that share a similar target audience but offer non-competing products or services. Engage in cross-promotional activities to expand your reach. This alliance strategy can lead to mutual benefits by tapping into each other’s customer bases.
  • Joint Marketing Initiatives: Launch joint marketing campaigns with allied businesses. This could include co-sponsored events, shared content creation, or joint advertising efforts. By pooling resources and expertise, you amplify the impact of your marketing strategies.
Photo credit: Felix Mittermeier |

11. Strategy 29: Plant Seeds in the Ground and Grow (The Fait-Accompli Strategy)

The Fait-Accompli Strategy involves taking small steps by staying low-key and growing strategically through a lack of unawareness from your competition by building your cannabis business making it challenging for competitors to stand against you. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Secure Key Distribution Channels: Establish and secure key distribution channels early on by forming strategic partnerships with dispensaries, online platforms, and retail outlets. By solidifying your presence in crucial distribution channels, you create a situation where your products are readily available to consumers. 
  • Create Exclusive Strains and Products: Develop and cultivate exclusive cannabis strains and unique products by offering something distinctive that competitors lack, you create a unique selling proposition that becomes a “planting seeds on the ground” approach. This exclusivity can be challenging for your competition to replicate quickly. 
  • Know Compliance and Regulatory Laws: Ensure that your cannabis business operates within the legal framework and meets all regulatory standards. This commitment becomes a fundamental aspect of your business that is challenging for competitors to match quickly. 
  • Build a Loyal Customer Base: Focus on building a loyal customer base by implementing customer loyalty programs, engaging in personalized marketing, and providing exceptional customer service. Your loyal customer base will become a stronghold that is challenging for competitors to break, creating a favorable situation for your business.

12. Strategy 30: Bury Your Messages in the Weeds (Communication Strategies)

Communication Strategies involve the deliberate and strategic management of information to achieve specific objectives. Strategic communication is not just about what you say but how you say it and mastering this art can contribute significantly to business success. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Narrative Building: Share stories that resonate with your audience, highlighting the journey of your business, the people behind it, and the positive impact you aim to make. A strong narrative creates an emotional connection with consumers. 
  • Two-Way Communication: Actively engage with your audience through social media, surveys, and feedback mechanisms. This not only strengthens your connection with consumers but also provides valuable insights for continuous improvement. 
  • Strategic Silence: Know when to remain silent strategically in certain situations, withholding immediate responses can be more effective. This intentional silence allows you to assess the situation, gather information, and respond in a more measured and strategic manner. 
  • Consistent Branding: Maintain consistency in branding and messaging from your logo to your tagline, and ensure that your brand identity is consistent across all communication channels. Consistency builds recognition and trust among consumers.

13. Strategy 33: Cultivate Opportunities (The Chain Reaction Strategy)

The Chain Reaction Strategy implies creating a ripple effect of positive developments, staying ahead of the curve, and positioning your cannabis business for sustained success in the industry. Here’s how this strategy can be applied:

  • Community and Social Initiatives: Cultivate community engagement by sponsoring or initiating social responsibility initiatives related to cannabis education, sustainability, or community well-being. Positive community involvement can create a chain reaction, fostering goodwill and enhancing your brand’s reputation.
  • Continuous Learning and Skill Development: Cultivate a culture of continuous learning, skill enhancement, and adaptability within your organization. This proactive approach can trigger a chain reaction of improved efficiency, innovation, and employee satisfaction. Stay ahead of compliance requirements, engage with regulators, and actively shape industry regulations. Proactive can create a positive chain reaction, demonstrating your commitment to compliance and responsible business practices.
  • Proactive Engagement with Regulatory Changes: Stay ahead of compliance requirements, engage with regulators, and actively shape industry regulations. Proactive can create a positive chain reaction, demonstrating your commitment to compliance and responsible business practices.


Robert Greene’s ‘The 33 Strategies of War’ serves as an indispensable guide for cannabis entrepreneurs seeking not just success but mastery within the complex cannabis industry. It becomes evident that the path to triumph involves a delicate dance between strategic thinking, adaptability, and a profound awareness of the industry’s nuances with these selected strategies. With this knowledge in hand, cannabis entrepreneurs can navigate the complexities of the market, anticipate challenges, and seize opportunities with calculated precision. The cannabis industry is not only about survival, but mastering the art of strategic warfare with Robert Greene’s strategies provides a blueprint model for achieving just that.

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