This week a San Francisco startup, Marvina, launched its subscription delivery service for medical marijuana. For $95, $175, or $325 a month, San Franciscans who are qualified under California’s Compassionate Use Act can receive 7, 14, or 28 “top-shelf” grams of cannabis, tastefully packaged and delivered to their doors by an employee of a medical-marijuana dispensary.
“Co-founder Dane Pieri came up with the idea because he was intimidated and overwhelmed by the cannabis dispensaries,” writes reporter Zara Stone in OZY.* “‘It’s like when you’re in the grocery store at the wine aisle; we didn’t know what to do,’ he told OZY. He thought he’d create a service where choice wasn’t in the equation.”
And the name? Here’s the story on the Marvina About page:
What does Marvina mean?
Nothing. Well actually its [sic] a nod to Malvina Reynolds, one of our favorite songwriters. Her song Little Boxes was also the theme song of one of our favorite TV shows, Weeds. (Ok, when we talk about Weeds we really mean seasons 1-3 because the other seasons really don't compare to those first three. If you're a fan of the show you know what we mean.)
“Weeds,” of course, was Showtime’s long-running series about a housewife named Nancy (which also happens to be the name of Malvina Reynolds’s daughter) who starts selling marijuana after her husband’s premature death leaves her family in dire straits. The name of the fictional community in which Nancy lives, Agrestic, has been adopted by a marijuana dispensary in Corvallis, Oregon.
Marvina is an elegant portmanteau**—mar from marijuana and vina from Malvina—that stands out amid the ticky-tacky clutter of similar-sounding names in this area (see my post on 420 names). The Malvina Reynolds connection has extra resonance for a service that delivers its product in “little boxes.”
Speaking of weedy names, I’m headed to Portland, Oregon, for the next several days to attend the annual meeting of the American Name Society and sister organizations. On Saturday afternoon I’ll be giving a talk at ANS titled “Velvet Elvis at the Mary Mart: The New Normal Nomenclature of Legal Cannabis.” I hope to see some of you at my session – or maybe at the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year vote Friday afternoon.
* Sorry, I don’t know how OZY got its name. Look on their works, ye mighty, and despair?
** The company’s writing style, as we’ve seen, is less elegant.