Up in Smoke: Celebrities, athletes score in the cannabis business

It used to be that Snoop Dogg was the only public figure who smoked weed (marijuana, cannabis) out in the open. That was back when it was still illegal to possess it, let alone partake in it.

Times have changed. It’s now legal to consume weed in most states, some even for pleasure. Most are allowing it for so-called “medical” uses. According to Flowhub, 12 percent of Americans have been identified as current users.

That’s led to many high-profile people – such as movie and TV stars and professional athletes – to not only indulge but also to invest in the business of harvesting weed and manufacturing it in various forms besides smoking products.

Two of the first to invest include actress/TV personality Whoopi Goldberg and talk show host Montel Williams, who both tout its medical benefits. Actor Jim Belushi not only indulges, he has his own brand, and he also grows it on a 93-acre farm in Oregon.

Belushi told Rolling Stone: “I’ve done an in-depth study to learn the heart of the plant. You have to grow it to know it. I’ve studied the values, the science, the medicine, the agriculture, and the context of the pathway to healing that cannabis offers. This is personal for me and so many others around the world. Danny Aykroyd always said, ‘You know, if your brother John was a pothead, he’d still be alive today.’ Everyone is dealing with traumas and honoring this plant is a pathway to healing — to reverse stigma, to unite people.”

Some medical experts even say cannabis can replace opioids for relieving pain, and it’s been established that it helps those afflicted with glaucoma.

Jay Z is a major stakeholder in a cannabis product called Monogram, based in California. It’s considered a “luxury” brand, reflected in its price points starting at $50.  Of course Snoop Dogg has his own brand called Leafs by Snoop. That’s been available in Colorado since 2015. Bob Marley and Tommy Chong, both associated with weed before its trend of legalization, have their own brand as well.

Rapper The Game is in it to win it. His brand is called Trees by Game. According to Rolling Stone, the brand raked in $1 million in revenue it its first year. Trees by Game’s product line goes beyond weed itself, and includes clothing, rolling trays and pre-rolls. Another rapper in it is Wiz Khalifa with his Kush Enterprises Oil. Lil Wayne and Method Man have developed products, and on the pop/rock side, so has Carlos Santana and Melissa Etheridge, and of course Willie Nelson.

Image Urkel, the cornball character on the former hit TV show “Family Matters” getting high. Seems actor Jaleel White is into weed with his own brand called itsPurpl. “The thing that always stood out to me- there was no clear brand leader for fire purple weed,” White told Forbes.  “It made no sense to me no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?” Products will include live-resin THC vape pods, “Noodle Doinks,” which are pre-rolls with fusilli pasta filters, and eighths of flower — and yes, Purple Urkel is one of the strains.

In the sports world, NBA superstar Kevin Durant has teamed up with Weedmaps. According to Cannibis Now, under the multiyear agreement, Durant and his financial enterprise Thirty Five Ventures will work to break down the negative stereotypes associated with cannabis while elevating the conversation around the plant’s potential for athlete wellness and recovery.
“I think it’s far past time to address the stigmas around cannabis that still exist in the sports world as well as globally,” Durant told ESPN. “This partnership is going to help us continue to normalize those conversations, as well as create content, events and a lot more through our Boardroom media network. This is just the beginning for us.”

Other athletes (and former athletes) playing to score in the cannabis arena include Joe Montana, Ricky Williams, Calvin Johnson, Al Harrington and… Gabby Douglas (gold-winning Olympic gymnast). Douglas is one of the few female entrepreneurs in the cannabis business, reports Her brand is Motive, which pitches itself as a cannabis brand by athletes and for athletes. Specializing in CBD, the brand offers topicals, edibles, tinctures and more that aim to improve recovery and relaxation after intensive training sessions. What’s more, Motive has a line of products specially formulated for pets to help four-legged friends rest and repair after a workout, too.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Forbes estimates the cannabis industry is now worth more than $17 billion. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

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