Are celebrity brands the future of the cannabis industry?
What do ex-House Speaker John Boehner, singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart all have in common?
While this may seem like the beginning of a joke, all three belong to a rapidly expanding group of celebrities and public figures who are joining the cannabis industry. Celebrities and the entertainment groups that represent and manage them are quickly realizing the potential of the cannabis space.
Each of the aforementioned celebs has taken a different path to the cannabis industry and represent a unique part of the marketplace. John Boehner, who spent years in politics opposing marijuana legalization, was brought onto the board of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States, just a few years after suddenly retiring in the middle of his term in 2015.
Melissa Etheridge, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and used medical cannabis to manage her symptoms, turned her cannabis activism into a cannabis brand when she released a whole line of products known as Etheridge Farms. She’s best known for her cannabis-infused wine. And Martha Stewart, also known as Snoop Dogg’s best friend, was tapped by the Canadian marijuana giant Canopy Growth earlier this year as an adviser “to help develop products derived from cannabis for people and animals.”
Other celebrities who have jumped into the cannabis industry include: marijuana icons like Willie Nelson and Bob Marley (his estate, at least); famous stoners like Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen; lifestyle gurus likeGwyneth Paltrow who are promoting CBD; and, television tie-ins for shows like Trailer Park Boys, a Canadian comedy show that partnered with OrganiGram to release “Trailer Park Buds,” a line of flower, pre-rolls, and blended products.
On the one hand, the rush of celebrities to the cannabis space show how cannabis is now accepted in the mainstream and how lucrative the industry can be. In the U.S., 62% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, Worldwide, the legal cannabis industry topped $12 billion dollars, and it’s only expected to grow as more states and countries consider legalization.