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Are Celebrities With Legal Cannabis Brands Helpful or Harmful?

The emerging cannabis industry attracts high-profile celebrities. Are they genuinely dedicated to producing quality products or just after the green?

Jason SanderJason Sander · Feb. 5, 2021 · 6 min read
Are Celebrities With Legal Cannabis Brands Helpful or Harmful?

High-profile celebrities who invest in legal cannabis have become fairly commonplace in recent years. Are these celebrities helpful or harmful to the cause of cannabis policy reform and the industry?

At this point, it’s almost more accurate to ask which celebrities don’t have CBD companies rather than which ones do. However, it’s not as simple as attaching a famous face to a brand. Starting and running a successful cannabis business takes business acumen, a great team around a brand, and staying power.

Anyone with deep pockets can start a company in emerging markets. Becoming and remaining a success takes much more than that. And even though there are the usual suspects you’d think of in cannabis, there is one main area in which celebrities can help further the legal space - more on that later.

Leveraging an Influencer - Nothing New Under the Sun

There is a reason why modern-day consumers have become leery of trusting brands that have famous faces attached to them. Celebrity brand ambassadors are not unique to the legal cannabis space, nor are they anything new. A large percentage of marketing and advertising has had some kind of influential figure associated with them for decades now.

Whether in movies, music, or sports, celebrities are utilized for their familiarity consumers have with them in almost every industry today. But because the cannabis space is emerging and getting a lot of attention in recent years, more scrutiny is placed on a celebrity endorsement or famous brand ambassadors.


The Usual “Suspects”

There are plenty of celebrities who have a well-documented love for cannabis, so it makes sense that they would want to start their brand. If these celebs love cannabis as much as regular consumers do, it should stand to reason that they’d want to put out the best possible product. Here are some of the usual suspects with their cannabis brands.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop’s love for cannabis and his success in the hip-hop game has led him to be the co-founder of the investment fund Casa Verde Capital. Snoop, aka Calvin Broadus, and his associates recently secured $100 million for their second fund.

Seth Rogan

Canadian-born actor and comedy writer Seth Rogan has been behind some majorly successful flicks surrounding cannabis. There have been questions as to whether Pineapple Express was a cultivar before he released the movie in 2008. Rogan launched a Canadian cannabis brand called House Plant with his long-time collaborator Evan Goldberg in 2019.

Willie Nelson

The country music star Willie Nelson has also never been a stranger to public displays of his love for cannabis. Willie makes a cameo in our favorite scene from the classic flick Half Baked. Willie and his team launched Willie’s Reserve in 2015, with a focus on quality flower from well-known cultivars.

Thanks to their choices of utilizing popular genetics and cultivars like Sour Diesel and The Hulk, Willie’s team managed to produce some quality flower - even if their prices are disliked by consumers. And for the red-headed stranger to launch a successful cannabis brand while pushing 90 years old, we would be lying if we said we weren't at least a little impressed.

The Marley Family

The late great Jamaican star Bob Marley is thought of by many to have brought reggae music to its highest point of popularity. Marley is the father of 12 children, who launched Marley Naturals with his estate in 2014. His daughter Cedella called the brand the first world cannabis company.

Cheech and Chong

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are OG cannabis connoisseurs from decades ago, starting in arguably the first-ever cannabis flicks. Chong’s brand, Tommy Chong Cannabis, calls themselves >“one of the first multi-territory Celebrity Cannabis brands”. The brand debuted in California and has since expanded into every legal state, according to their website.

At this point, it seems as though Willie’s brand is the only one in the U.S. that has achieved significant sales, at least according to 2019 numbers. That could change as we get more earnings information from 2020, as cannabis products are likely to see an expansion. This industry expansion is due to big wins with policy reform at election time in 2020, record sales for March and April 2020 - thanks to cannabis being deemed essential.

Bad Actors?

But for all of the Snoops, Chongs, and Wilie’s of the cannabis world with their hearts seemingly in the right place, there are some possibly bad actors. One example of this is Kylie Jenner, who was promoting the CBD-infused detox tea called Happy Teas in 2019. While Kylie Jenner likely isn’t an investor in Happy Teas, the company’s sales likely saw a significant increase thanks to her promoting it to her millions of social media followers. Detox teas haven’t exactly gotten the best press in recent history, and there’s currently little or no evidence that CBD in tea would be effective at all. This is because CBD is water-soluble, which caused some savvy consumers to raise some eyebrows about her endorsement of the Happy Teas brand and whether she was genuine.

And then there’s the lifelong sober member of KISS Gene Simmons. Simmons was announced as a keynote speaker at the 2018 New Green Frontier conference. Simmons has been open about the fact that he never drinks, and has never consumed cannabis. While his reason for his stance to never consume - for his mother - is thoughtful, Simmons doesn’t seem like the best fit for the cannabis industry. He must have thought so too because he quickly decided to make his exit.

Are some celebrities leveraging their influential status to get customers thinking products are of higher quality than they are? Are celebrity cannabis brands to blame for potentially destroying “mom and pop” growers, or is this criticism lacking depth? We’ll let you decide.

Listen Up, We’ve Got A Story to Tell

For all of the potential negativity surrounding celebs in cannabis, some of the best, most positive things are the stories they tell. Humans are social creatures, and we respond to heartwarming and positive stories.

Jim Belushi

One such seemingly positive story is that of actor Jim Belushi. According to Belushi’s own words on his website, he believes deeply in the medicinal properties of cannabis medicine and its ability to heal communities and our world.

Jim uses Blues Brothers branding to promote his cannabis brand, and LiveNation produced a documentary about him as an entrepreneur. Jim got some criticism for the documentary series called Growing Belushi, with some thinking it’s just an advertisement. However, there is evidence that Jim’s brother John would be alive today if he would have consumed cannabis instead of opioids and other hard drugs. John died of an opioid overdose in the 1980s.

Joe Rogan

Another example of a celebrity telling a positive cannabis story is Joe Rogan. Rogan is arguably the most successful podcaster in history. Rogan has had CBD sponsors for his show but has never started his brand, or invested in any companies. Rogan has been very open about how cannabis helps him in his daily life, his pro-legalization stance, and has debated many anti-cannabis guests on his show over the years.

Rogan has done a great deal to further the normalization of cannabis consumption and acceptance of legalization.

Montel Williams

Former talk show host Montel Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997 and has also been very public about how consuming cannabis changed his life for the better. Williams started a line of CBD products and has been a major advocate for veterans and patients gaining much-needed access to the plant.

A celebrity who is genuine and authentic about releasing quality cannabis products can help a brand build its customer base and community. Cannabis consumers are increasingly savvy about what’s high-quality and what isn’t, so the only way these celebrities will stay in business with legal cannabis is to make high-quality products. The bad ones will eventually be sniffed out.

HashDash - Supporting the Cannabis Consumer in An Involving Industry

We hope you found value in our content about celebrities in cannabis. Check back to our blog often, because we post fresh content every week! Connect with us on social media: @hashdash.com on all platforms. We’ve got a ton of awesome cannabis-related content planned for 2021, and that’s not even to mention launching our matching platform. HashDash is building a community and helping to educate the cannabis consumer of the future.

Here at HashDash, we are compiling an entire information database that will continue to answer your questions regarding all things cannabis, as well as where to find the best dispensaries, cultivars, and products in your area. Be sure to sign up for HashDash if you haven’t already to discover your cannabis matches. As always, thanks for reading, and happy consuming!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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