These days, it seems like every celebrity has an afterthought — a product or line of products meant to enhance their brand beyond their normal sources of income.
In the past, celebrities have been involved in food or clothing, but in recent years owning a personal brand of cannabis has become a hot sign of fame.
Mike Tyson, Martha Stewart and Bella Thorne are just some of the celebrities promoting their own cannabis brands, and there are plenty of others trying to start cannabis-related businesses.
Heck, the celebs don’t even have to live. The estates of Jerry Garcia and George Harrison are both licensed for cannabis products and paraphernalia.
There’s even a California delivery service called Camp Nova that specializes in celebrity and influencer weed brands.
Since 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, while medical marijuana is legal in 37 states and DC, it’s a time of burgeoning growth for celebrities looking to enter the sativa space.
“It helps a celebrity’s image to participate in an emerging industry with deep cultural ties,” says Dan Wilson, e.dictator of Visit Hollyweeda news site about California cannabis, HuffPost told.
Wilson said musicians are the celebrity demographics most likely to benefit from a cannabis connection”because weed and music have had a natural affinity for decades.”
“In fact, no genre of music has talked about weed more directly than hip-hop, so we see a lot of people from the rap game doing collabs with cannabis brands in California. The fans love it, it’s a perfect match.”
“Celebrities who want to use cannabis should have a story about their relationship with weed.”
– Dan Wilson, editor of Visit Hollyweed
Sports/Entertainment Agent Klint Briney also thinks retired professional athletes could benefit from a pot profile.
“I mean, who doesn’t know pain like a Peyton Manning or Serena Williams, for example? Pain is the number one health condition, affecting more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined,” Briney told HuffPost.
Sydney Banta, of the cannabis marketing company HighHopes.co, thinks the growth of well-known brands will likely come from people in the culinary space.
“Foods and beverages are categories that have just scratched the surface, and these categories have a large untapped market,” Banta told HuffPost. “Not everyone smokes, but everyone eats and drinks. In other words, if Rachel Ray released a line of cannabis treats, I’d bet you’d discover a whole new group of cannabis-curious consumers.”
According to Food52.com, comedian Cheech Marin is a celebrity taking advantage of the connection between food and cannabis with Muncheechos, a restaurant concept dedicated to stoner-centered cuisine.
But tailoring specific cannabis strains to a celebrity’s public image is something that hasn’t been done much yet.
A writer for Pacific San Diego noted in 2020 that weed from Tyson Ranch, Mike Tyson’s previous cannabis brand, produced a high that made people talkative, but didn’t “pack a punch.”
In addition, the high associated with comedian Tommy Chong’s brand was more cerebral and not the “giggling weed” hoped for, the reporter said.
Banta said celebrity-inspired strains can be successful if applied strategically.
“This approach makes the celebrity’s connection and partnership with the brand feel real to consumers rather than an attempt to grab money,” she said. “In addition, it can be a great way to further attract, capture and convert that celebrity’s fans and followers into cannabis brand customers.”
“If Rachel Ray were to release a line of cannabis treats, I’d bet you’d discover a whole new group of cannabis-curious consumers.”
– Sydney Banta, HighHopes.co
However, Wilson said it “isn’t practical to be so limited as to offer only one ‘experience’ for your cannabis brand.” He argued that it’s more common for a celeb to create a curated collection of strains and tell customers, “I’ve tried a few strains and these were my favorite, these are the ones I like and I think you’ll like them.” you’ll like it too.”
Still, he said a celebrity could take the approach of identifying themselves with a particular species if they handle it carefully and deliberately.
“For example, by selecting species based on an experience that matches their personality and then always offering that same species,” he said. “For that, they have to have a consistent cultivation operation.”
Carlos Dew of LA-based cannabis company Superbad said that when his company teamed up with rapper Lil’ Kim on her new cannabis brand, Aphrodisiak, they were working on multiple strains — but the first, Hardcore, was purposely created to reflect her sexy personality.
The pleasing hip-hop legend had its challenges. Dew said they came up with five strains for Lil Kim to try before choosing Hardcore.
“No, she didn’t try them all at once,” Dew said. “That is not possible.”
Obviously, the cannabis connection can contribute to a celebrity’s bank account, but not every celebrity should jump into the cannabis world and make a lot of money, Wilson said.
“Celebrities who want to use cannabis should have a story about their relationship with weed,” Wilson said. “Ideally, they have spoken openly about marijuana in the work/art they are known for or have advocated legalization as a public figure. Without this connection, it seems purely opportunistic.”
That’s in line with the views of former Disney Channel star Bella Thorne, who owns the Forbidden Flowers brand. She takes her role as a cannabis celebrity seriously.
“Cannabis is very important to me and part of my lifestyle,” she told HuffPost in 2021. “It just took a long time to get it fully operational because there are a lot of moving parts. I also had to do a lot of research on where I wanted to grow the cannabis, what I wanted the strands to taste like, what I wanted the brand to represent and the aesthetics.”
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