Influential Entrepreneurs of Legal Cannabis Industry
Here’s is a list of influential cannapreneurs making radical shifts in the industry
As cannabis use becomes increasingly legal and socially accepted in North America, celebrities are cashing in on this blooming new industry. In the past, they either consumed cannabis away from the public eye or did so publicly, as an affront to existing laws.
Many celebrities have not only proudly admitted their use of the plant, but they have also established businesses that not only give society their take on legal cannabis but also making a cult following sharing similar beliefs.
A surprising number of pop culture icons are developing, branding, and marketing cannabis brands.
The celebrities in this article are staking a foothold in the green economy by selling products and proactively using their personal brands to add perceived value to these goods. In other words, celebrity cannapreneurs are making their love for the leaf public in a way that reflects and influences a radical shift in how we perceive cannabis use and the diversification of products generated by the green economy:
- Celebrities’ public association with cannabis and prominent roles in cannabis-focused businesses communicate a belief that being pro-cannabis can positively impact one’s professional persona;
- The existence of celebrity cannapreneurs also reveals how diversified the product landscape has become. Consumers today can choose from a large variety of products and the range of branding reveals a staggering diversity of predilections, aspirations, and desires.
There is probably no celebrity more iconically associated with marijuana than Snoop Dogg, so it makes sense that he was one of the earliest big names to throw their hat into the cannabis market.
Since October 2016 Snoop has been in a partnership with the Canadian cannabis giant, Canopy Growth. Working with Tweed Marijuana Inc—a smaller subsidiary of Canopy—they've developed a product line under the Leafs by Snoop brand label, in an attempt to leverage the rapper's well-publicized love affair with the plant.
He converted to the Rastafari religion in 2012, adopting the name “Snoop Lion” and releasing an album and film (both titled Reincarnated) describing the experience.
Leafs by Snoop focuses on selling a “California cool” ethos through flower, oil, and edibles. Its packaging was designed by the branding firm Pentagram. According to founder Snoop Dogg, “Leafs By Snoop is truly the first mainstream cannabis brand in the world and proud to be a pioneer.”
Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist. Etheridge decided to become a cannapreneur because of a lack of representation of middle-aged women in the cannabis industry and her personal experience with medical marijuana. Etheridge says she discovered the healing power of marijuana during painful chemotherapy sessions after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Etheridge Farms, 47 acres in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, is not yet up-and-running, but the musician plans on putting her name on her products which will include flower, edibles and cannabis-infused lavender cream.
Cameron Jibril Thomaz (a.k.a. Wiz Khalifa) is an American rapper, singer-songwriter and actor. In 2006, he released his debut album, Show and Prove, and was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 2007.
Khalifa is also a cannapreneur with his own line of merchandize, app and cannabis strain. On his website, he sells the 420 Collection, cannabis-themed merchandise; his “simulation game” Weed Farm, available for download on iTunes and Google Play, teaches players how to plant, grow and harvest cannabis; and in 2016 he launched the strain Khalifa Kush.
Willie Nelson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist best known for his albums Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978) that made him one of the most recognized artists in country music. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. In 2015 he founded Willie’s Reserve, a Washington-based firm focused on transmitting Nelson's image of cannabis to actual marijuana products. The firm is one of the first celebrity-sponsored cannabis production companies, and emphasizes its relationship with producers, offering website users the option to “meet the farmers” and receive profiles of each producing farm.
Mike Tyson is a famous heavyweight champ who is considered one of the most famous boxers. He owns a cannabis farm and resort located around 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
He announced publicly last year that he has been building a 40-acre cannabis farm called ‘Tyson Ranch’. In his Tyson Ranch, he has also opened a school that teaches people how to grow and how to invest in cannabis.
Seth Rogen may be a little late to enter the cannabis game, but he made a big play earlier this year when he announced the launch of a new cannabis company called Houseplant.
Co-founded with his longtime filmmaking partner, Evan Goldberg, the brand's first product is expected to be released in early April and will be called the Houseplant Sativa. Following its' release, the company plans to develop a Houseplant Hybrid and Houseplant Indica strain, before eventually moving on to pre-rolled joints and gels.
Rather than cultivate the plant themselves, Houseplant will instead be sourcing the cannabis they sell from Canopy Growth, which also owns a minority stake in the company.
"Houseplant is a passion we've brought to life through drive and dedication. Every decision we've made for the business reflects the years of education, first-hand experience and respect we have for cannabis." – Seth Rogen
There are many influential people in this industry which we might have missed. Hence, we will try to keep this list updated.
Image source: Flickr