Celebrities cashing in on cannabis
Nike has Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Pepsi has Beyonce. Marijuana has…Snoop Dogg? Wait, what?
That’s right, Snoop Dogg is only one of several big names who are putting their celebrity status behind the quickly growing marijuana movement – otherwise known as the “green rush.”
As more and more states legalize the sale of marijuana in some way, shape, or form, innovative entrepreneurs are jumping at the chance to cash in. They are not alone. Seeing the potential of this growing industry, several celebrities are collecting green to promote green. How can product owners stand out from their competitors? Put a big name behind their product.
Whether it be product endorsements, or their own pot-related brands, here are 7 celebrities that are getting in on the ground floor:
1. Bob Marley
While Bob Marley may no longer be with his, his love of weed (A.K.A. “Kaya”) still is. In 2014, the legendary reggae musician’s family teamed up with pot-focused venture capital firm Privateer Holdings to announce Marley Natural – a series of cannabis strains inspired by Marley. Marley-branded pot may be available to customers some time this year, in areas where marijuana is legally available in some form.
According to Fortune.com, Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor and co-founder of PayPal, has invested “multi-millions” of dollars to a $75 million funding round for Privateer.
2. Bethenny Frankel
From reality television, to her Skinnygirl line of low-calorie alcoholic drinks, to marijuana. Frankel, who sold her Skinnygirl line to Beam Inc. for more than $100 million in 2011, is again partnering with Beam to develop a line of marijuana that will be engineered to cut out the munchies.
3. Melissa Etheridge
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has been a vocal proponent of the medical benefits of marijuana, which she used to help her battle breast cancer. Etheridge understands the opportunity. “A huge business and a huge market,” she told Bloomberg. Etheridge wants to create a product for pot enthusiasts who want to feel the effects of marijuana without having to smoke it. She is developing her own cannabis-infused wine.
4. Wiz Khalifa
Khalifa told talk show host Chelsea Handler that he has “lined up a marijuana sponsorship through a San Francisco-based medical dispensary that sells the Khalifa Kush cannabis strain.” According to Khalifa, his agreement ensures that he gets all his legal marijuana for free. Nice perk, Wiz.
5. Kevin Smith
Marketing is another reason for celebrities to join the “rush.” A24, the distributor for Smith’s horror movie, Tusk, formed a partnership with a Los Angeles medical dispensary to create two branded cannabis strains named for the movie: Mr. Tusk and White Walrus. This is one instance where it’s preferable to have your movie go up in smoke.
6. Snoop Dogg
Snoop claims that he once smoked pot in a White House bathroom. Is it any surprise that he’s in this to win it? He has already teamed up with vaporizer company, Genco Science, to create his own vaporizer products – The Double G Series. For approximately $85, customers can buy a Snoop Dogg-branded vaporizer with a roadmap design of Snoop’s hometown.
To quote Etheridge’s hit song, he’s “not the only one.” Lil Wayne’s Bogey Cigars line targets marijuana users, and Rapper The Game has also designed a vaporizer. Fo’ shizzle.
7. Tommy Chong
He’s played the stereotypical stoner in many successful films and comedic albums. He’s served time in prison for selling drug paraphernalia online. And now he’s selling Tommy Chong’s Smoke Swipe, a line of dry clothing wipes designed to eliminate the smell of weed from smokers’ clothes. Chong is also reportedly developing his own branded cannabis strain, as well as other exploring other potential branding opportunities with longtime comedy partner Cheech Marin.