Asked about the path that led to her anointment as a bona fide cannabis media maven, 420Media founder Kerri Accardi has an origin story at the ready.
“I left New York on December 10, 2013, on a mission to educate the world about cannabis after my Aunt Kathy died,” she recalled, discussing the start of a journey that took her from cannabis tours in Seattle to video shoots in the Virgin Islands. “I learned how to grow it, I went to dispensaries, I sat down with lawyers and lobbyists – all to showcase this plant for the miracle she is.”
Camera crews were present for many of her travels – and the results will be available for public consumption come May 1, when Cannected formally launches across a range of streaming services, including Apple TV and Roku. The Cannected app will become available for download on – wait for it – 4/20, complete with a reveal of the Eric David-designed logo on the Nasdaq Times Square megascreen.
It’s as much a media/marketing play as a consumer-oriented one, with an early preview priming the pump for would-be advertisers. That said, Accardi and her team of creators and collaborators, including former NFL player Marv Washington and Heather Manus (better known as “Nurse Heather”), are both sincere and serious about educating the public about the health benefits of cannabis.
In other words: Save your “stoner channel” jibes until you’ve tuned in. “It’s education, but it’s also entertainment,” Accardi said. “By nature, we’re educators. And we work with cool people who, by nature, are very entertaining.”
The programming slate includes Washington’s “5th Quarter,” which explores the intersection of sports and cannabis, and Nurse Heather’s “Nurse Talk,” a provider-guided examination of the many uses of medical cannabis. According to Accardi, future programming could include “business series, game shows, politics shows, even a TMZ-like show on the gossip of the industry.”
For her part, Nurse Heather welcomes the opportunity to have a broader discussion about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the effects cannabis has on the human body. “Education is really what needs to happen,” she stressed. “When you start to talk about cannabis, it creates all kind of different stigmas and thoughts and feelings… I’m an ECS evangelical and I’m here to preach this information because I didn’t learn about it in nursing school. I want to help other healthcare providers understand the importance of it.”
There’s a pronounced marketing component to Cannected, of course, with 420Media stating on its website that it “specialize[s] in cannabis, hemp and CBD content creation, marketing and advertising!” The agency has enjoyed more than a few successes in that regard: It engineered the creation and placement of a pro-cannabis PSA that aired on a CBS affiliate in the Virgin Islands during Super Bowl LIII.
Accardi’s longer-term goals are ambitious. “I want us to be known as the reliable source of information about cannabis education and entertainment. Just like people know Netflix, they should know Cannected,” she said. At the same time, it’s clear that Cannected and her cannabis advocacy remain very much a passion project for her.
“I’m just a warrior who lost her best friend,” Accardi said. “When this information gets out there, so many people are going to heal and help themselves.”