New Celebrities Launch Cannabis Brands, Help Normalize Industry

Friday, March 03, 2017

California is expected to become the largest recreational marijuana market in the country, so it’s not surprising that a number of celebrities are jumping on the marijuana bandwagon and creating their own cannabis brands.

Industry experts say that by investing in cannabis celebrities like Willie Nelson, Whoopi Goldberg, Wiz Khalifa, and billionaire Richard Branson are helping promote broader social acceptance of marijuana. Heck, even Martha Stewart is pro-marijuana–she’s teamed up with rapper and marijuana icon Snoop Dogg to create Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. And, yes, Snoop Dogg does have his own weed line.

Cheryl Shuman, the founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, said that celebrities are “helping to legitimize marijuana. Marijuana is fast becoming cool and glamorous.”

Two of the late reggae singer Bob Marley’s children are taking advantage of the marijuana boom, each helming separate marijuana businesses. Marley’s oldest daughter, Cedella Marley, launched Marley Natural in 2014. Damian, Marley’s youngest son, opened Stony Hill, a dispensary in Colorado, and recently purchased a 77,00-square-foot prison in Coalinga, in California’s Central Valley, with the intention of turning it into a marijuana grow farm.

Singer Melissa Etheridge has somehow managed to bridge the alcohol vs. cannabis divide, producing a line of cannabis-infused wine. Some big names in the beer and spirits industry are alarmed at the growth of the marijuana, worrying that the growing industry could cut into their profits as more people choose to consume marijuana rather than alcohol.

Regulators in the state hope to start issuing the first recreational licenses to growers and dispensaries by early 2018. Californians approved recreational cannabis sales in last year’s election. Businesses with existing medical marijuana licenses are likely to be among the first to receive recreational permits.

The financial services firm, Cowen and Co., estimates that the recreational marijuana market could grow from $6 billion to $50 billion in the next decade.