The Most Vocal Celebrity Cannabis Supporters: Impact on The Industry
Whilst the cannabis market grows at an exceptional rate, consumers are beginning to see more and more familiar faces popping up to endorse the plant. Historically, celebrities who were vocal about their cannabis use were predominantly from the creative arts scene. This continued a damaging association between cannabis and recreation, excess and hedonism. However, in recent years community has seen a different sort take to the cannabis stage.
Celebrity endorsements have existed for hundreds of years, but it’s only since certain states relaxed their cannabis laws that customers have seen such behavior in the cannabis world. Previous to these legal changes, everyone might have expected Snoop Dogg to feel comfortable enough to set up his own cannabis business – but would we have foreseen him joining ranks with Martha Stewart to do so?
However, after decades of anti-cannabis propaganda and negative media attention, this is no small task for celebrities to popularize the industry again. Keep reading to find out how celebrities make people trust the weed once more!
Who came first?
Legalization of cannabis allows celebrities become involved in the capitalization of cannabis.
The increasingly decriminalized/legal nature of cannabis has allowed for various celebrities to step out of the shadows. Household, friendly and trustworthy names such as Martha Stewart’s are helping to re-normalize consumption and readdress society’s perspective of those who use both recreationally and medicinally.
Cannabis is reputedly second only to corn in US agriculture now, and nobody expects it to stop increasing in value and popularity as laws continue to relax. California legalized medicinal cannabis in the mid 1990s, but recreational use didn’t come until 2012 in Colorado and Washington. As the recreational use wave began to build was when celebrities began to invest in their own marijuana enterprises.
- Marley Natural
Founded in 2014, the family of music legend and renowned cannabis enthusiast Bob Marley joined forces with a cannabis investment company to create “Marley Natural”. As with any celebrity endorsement, there was some controversy. Jamaican fans of Marley’s music and ethos were concerned about the capitalization of cannabis. Marley Natural is a multi-million-dollar company, with a range of cannabis flower and oils claimed to have been grown specifically for use in the Marley Natural range.
- Tommy Chong
Tommy Chong was amongst the first to join in with the celebrity cannabis scene, and rightfully so given that he’s crafted his entire career around his consumption. He’s got his fingers in many cannabis pies, his business ventures ranging from de-odorizing wipes to a dispensary Green Card. But he hasn’t stopped there. At well over seventy years old, he’s also worked with Dark Horse Genetics to launch his very own strain of cannabis!
- Willie Nelson
Another famous lifelong supporter of the weed, Willie Nelson, was quick to launch his Willie’s Reserve business venture in 2015. His brand is built around the singer himself, and under its parent company is another multi-million-dollar success to hang from Nelson’s belt. Unlike other cannabis companies, Willie’s Reserve operates something of a hybrid model with regard to distribution. Most often you will find cannabis companies attached to a parent company, who holds the license to grow. Willie’s Reserve operate from this structure in some states, but they operate their own distribution centers in Washington, Colorado, and California.
Current Celebrity Cannabis Endorsements and Enterprises
Legalization allowed people start their business in different states.
Of course, many more celebrities aside from those above have entered the world of cannabis since the legalization movement began to take a hold on governments. The start-up costs of launching cannabis enterprises are high in most cities and states, with licenses, insurances and taxes to cover before you sell a single thing. As a result, those who already have a lot of money have found it easier to set up their own businesses than the common business newbie.
- Seth Rogen
Rogen and his long-term friend and collaborator Goldberg set up Houseplant with Canopy Growth, a grower based in Ontario. Seth Rogen is quite the leap from rock star and Rasta, but it could be said he shares some qualities with Tommy Chong. Both men have made their money primarily through comedy, but Rogen differs in that his comedy was never marijuana oriented. Chong could have always been expected to set up business in the industry as soon as he could, but Rogen’s decision is a marker for greater change. It’s not just the lifelong, pot-obsessed stoners who are cashing in on cannabis profits, but more normal and acceptable people too.
- Roseanne Barr
It could have been said, once upon a time, that the cannabis industry was one dominated by men. You could even confirm that statement here, given the first four mentions of celebrity cannabis entrepreneurs are all male. But Roseanne Barr has shaken that up with her own investment in a dispensary in Santa Ana. She’s never been afraid to talk about her support for cannabis, though. When she ran for president, her slogan was “Yes, we cannabis!” And she’s not the only woman putting her money into cannabis. The following names are also among cannapreneurs:
- Whoopi Goldberg has dabbled in the cannabis market
- Melissa Etheridge has been given the all clear from Santa Cruz officials to run her cannabis business from Etheridge Farms
- Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is different to all of the celebrities so far mentioned because he doesn’t actually consume marijuana himself. This is met with mixed reactions from cannabis supporters and activists. Some are impressed that despite not being a consumer, he has the foresight to invest in a worthwhile and beneficial plant. Others fear that he is capitalizing on the plant, and a sign for worse to come. Whichever you believe, no one can deny that the man has done a lot of good for changing general perceptions on cannabis. Well known for having never ‘gotten high’, that someone like Gene Simmons can actively support and fight for the decriminalization of cannabis is proof that the world really is changing.
- Gwyneth Paltrow
The actress has long been a supporter of cannabis decriminalization, but in 2018 made the jump into expanding her Goop brand to include cannabis products. It’s encouraging to see more and more women venture into the cannabis business. Usually represented by males, the industry has certainly been missing out on a rewarding market by not engaging with the possibility of feminine cannabis marketing. Paltrow, and others like her, are setting the tone for the future of cannabis business – and they’re ensuring that this isn’t just an opportunity for men to enjoy.
Who’ll be next to enter into the cannabis business?
There are a lot of celebrities who only plan to start their business in the cannabis industry.
So far, there has been a mention only about the celebrities that have already involved themselves in the cannabis market – but what about those who haven’t got started yet? There are a great many famous faces who have repeatedly stated their support for the growing industry, and we can expect them, too, to soon embrace the possibility of making money from their passion. As cannabis decriminalization goes global, celebrities from Europe, Asia and the rest of the world will join the ranks of those already capitalizing on the plant. Here are some suggestions as to who might be next!
- Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has long been a proud consumer of cannabis and cannabis products, and has been quoted on several occasions gushing her praise and appreciation of the plant. Recently, she’s given her backing and endorsement to a new cannabis café opening in West Hollywood, so it’s only a matter of time before she expands further into the business. We can already picture the Miley Cyrus branded cannabis products – but some question whether it would be appropriate for a star who has/had such a young fan-base to promote and endorse marijuana.
- Elon Musk
Elon Musk made headlines not too long ago by sharing some marijuana live on air in an interview with Joe Rogan. Many called him out for his blatant disregard of the law, questioning why Elon Musk should not be jailed for his actions when thousands of civilians are imprisoned for possession and consumption across the world each week. Musk has always been supportive of cannabis, and with his business track record, perhaps he will move towards producing his own crops?
- Barack Obama
Barack Obama was very open about his past drug usage in the book he released not too long ago, and has been quoted in interviews to be in support of cannabis decriminalization and regulation. It would surely turn the US upside down if an ex-President was to set up a marijuana farm? Perhaps some open involvement from government officials is what is needed to finally solidify people’s access to the versatile and beneficial cannabis plant? Across the pond in the UK, government officials have been getting involved with cannabis enterprises for several years – but all whilst the plant remains illegal. This has led to confusion and calls of hypocrisy towards the government that continues to criminalize users whilst allowing itself to profiteer off of the same thing. Open admissions from those in power of their involvement is exactly what the industry needs.
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