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Insta King, Dan Bilzerian tries to dominate the cannabis market in the U.K.

Dan Bilzerian

Image Source: Instagram

The Instagram star, Dan Bilzerian boasts of a wealthy lifestyle with multiple businesses running successfully that fuel his passions and interests. Popularly known for his lavish lifestyle and girlfriends, he is quite a sensation on the Internet with a following of more than 27.5 million followers on Instagram. 

The wealthy, muscular and perma tanner American has been dubbed the King of Instagram for showcasing his life that is filled to the brim with extravagant parties, yachts, fast cars, adventure sports and guns while constantly surrounded by a posse of near-naked, attractive women. Currently, he is in the UK trying to enter the nascent cannabis market with his brand Ignite. 

The company is already well-established in the US and Canada, selling vaping liquids and e-cigs, lip balms and edible drops which contain a hemp extract known as cannabidiol or CBD. The US federal government legalized the compound in December 2018 under the Farm Bill Act by removing it from the list of Controlled Substances. Since then CBD has been trending product in the consumer market with companies rushing to try and exploit of what is envisioned to become a booming commercial market in the coming years. 

While recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in most parts of the world, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound which means it can’t get the user high. It is legal to sell CBD in the UK, given that companies do not market their products with claims about medical benefits and it contains no more than 0.2% of THC, the compound which gets people high. 

Industry experts evaluate Ignite’s current value at around £90m which implies that it has a great potential to dominate a market that is still at an early stage. But the firm’s success has filled Carly Barton, a campaigner for people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, with dread. She even pulled out of a conference after discovering that Bilzerian was speaking at it. 

Barton comes with a strong opinion saying that the industry is at its initial stage and people now have the freedom to shape the foundational layer on which the coming generations or brands would work. But to let people walk in with a parade of girls around products seems an inappropriate manner to market products or grow as a business, especially with a delicate substance as the CBD. 

The major form of marketing for Ignite is done via Bilzerian’s personal social media feeds where he promotes his brand’s products. His feed entails posts which evoke a bygone era of the 1960s, where women didn’t have the right to equality, freedom or be liberal as they do now. To see a massive following of 27.5 million people despite the intimidating pictures and videos is quite surprising. Not many people support Bilzerian’s notions and ideologies. 

Just like some famous superhero characters, Bilzerian lives alone in a palatial mansion, maintains a clean shaved body throughout the year to boast his bulky muscles and takes regular stem cell injections to treat his sports injuries. 

However, contradicting to his online image, he is surprisingly low key with a subtle tone of language. His calm features were quite visible at the extravagant launch party of Ignite. Reported to have cost £500,000, the party was majorly dominated by young, beautiful women taking rounds among industry workers. 

Bilzerian is relatively open when it comes to his style of promoting products or even his lifestyle. The young ladies are a part of an arrangement that he makes no secret of. In 2018, he ran a nationwide U.S. competition offering $100,000 year-long contracts to 10 women who would go on to represent the brand. 

Bilzerian says that he hires models for marketing his products. To him it is an important thing to have attractive women who are appealing to most men on the marketing platform. His former girlfriend has now become Ignite’s leading sales person. He argues that leveraging the beauty of young women to attract men is the right kind of advertising for his brand, especially for his  social media following that consists of an overwhelming majority of males aged between 18 to 35.

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Bilzerian seems to be less forthcoming on whether his particular vision of masculinity and manhood is the ideal one. Instead he argues that he doesn’t pressurize anyone to do anything for him, it’s up to individual people to take the job or to buy the product. 

Currently, there are no regulatory reforms or frameworks that can control and stabilize the cannabis industry, says the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC). According to CMC, the CBD market in the U.K. is currently valued at £300m a year. It is estimated to skyrocket to £1bn by 2025.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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