Cannabis Of The Rich And Famous: Celebrities Glam Up The Cannabis Market

Forbes [December 10, 2018]

One sure sign that the cannabis industry in the U.S. is gaining steam — the rush of celebrities hoping to get in on the ground floor.

It’s probably no surprise that Tommy Chong, one half of the world’s most famous cannabis-loving duo, launched a line of medicinal cannabis products. But joining Chong in the increasingly crowded world of celebrity cannabis are the likes of Joe Montana, Whoopie Goldberg and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The marriage of celebrities and cannabis companies benefits both parties. Celebs offer products immediate name recognition and a built-in fan — and potential customer — base. That name recognition and a celebrity’s own branding are priceless in an increasingly crowded marketplace. The celebs also quickly convey to consumers an idea of what the cannabis brand stands for. Paltrow, for example, is associating her Goop lifestyle publication with high-end Med Men retail stores. Willie Nelson, on the other hand, has one of the top-selling flower lines with Willie’s Reserve, for people who still like to roll their own joints.

And while cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, which makes banking incredibly difficult, celebrity investors can offer companies a big cash injection. For example, Law & Order creator Dick Wolf was an early investor in DigiPath, an independent marijuana-testing lab, and Goldberg gave her name and money to her line of medical cannabis products, called Whoopi & Maya Synergy.

Cannabis branding is growing quickly. According to a study by BDS Analytics, one Oregon brand saw its sales surge 19,179% between 2016 and 2017. Washington state has 1,083 cannabis brands producing 45,000 unique products according to BDS Analytics.

It’s all part of the cannabis transition from the rolled “weed” of, say, the Grateful Dead, to today’s sleekly packaged and sophisticatedly marketed beverages and other edibles, lotions and creams and personal hygiene products, including tampons.

Nick Kovacevich

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