More on Celebrities in Cannabis
From fashion to food, celebrity sells. Believed to have influence that captures attention and moves products off the shelves, celebrity endorsements and branding are known to significantly increase sales. But, what about in cannabis? While we all wait for federal legalization, industry veterans remain split on the influence of celebrities in cannabis. From monumental lawsuits to plant-touching ventures, the following celebrities are lending their names and influence, to the regulated cannabis game. From Justin Bieber cannabis to the Clint Eastwood cannabis battle, here’s what you need to know about famous people cannabis brands.
We would be remiss to not begin this post with Canadian-born Justin Drew Bieber’s, latest venture. The crooner behind last summer’s hit, “Peaches”, recently launched a pre-roll collaboration with California-based cannabis company, Palms. In an October interview with Vogue magazine, the Biebs shared that he is, “a fan of Palms and what they are doing by making cannabis approachable.” According to the pop star, “weed was something that I felt people tried to make me feel bad for enjoying”, but not anymore. Now, Justin Bieber is open about cannabis and mental health, saying that he has found cannabis products beneficial to his “human experience.” Peaches pre-rolls will come in .5 gram ready to puff pre-rolled joints, boast a range of citrus flavor profiles, and to top it off, a portion of each sale will go to California non-profits, Last Prisoner Project and Veteran’s Walk and Talk.
Singer Melissa Etheridge founded two holistic cannabis lifestyle brands, both focused on health and wellbeing and each targeting underrepresented demographic, middle-aged women. The seeds for both Etheridge Botanicals, an organic cannabis line, and Etheridge Organics, an organic CBD line, were planted after a 2004 breast cancer diagnosis left the singer battling painful chemotherapy sessions. During this time she relied heavily upon cannabis products to soothe the unrelenting physical and mental pain of cancer. For Melissa Ethridge, the cannabis business is a personal one.
Ethridge Botanicals cannabis products are designed for Morning, Noon, and Night representing Sativa, Hybrid, and Indica, and Ethridge Organics has a host of pesticide-free CBD products. The singer says that it’s not any easier for them than it is for other boutique cannabis brands, and blames larger Canadian corporations for, “coming in and buying up” all the American companies as the cause.
Infamous nineties rapper, Kimberly Denise Jones, aka, Lil’ Kim, is also staking a claim in the regulated cannabis industry. Expected to launch in 2022, Lil’ Kim shared that she’s been working on her brand, Aphrodisiac, for “2 1/2 to 3 years now.” Aphrodisiac is both a fitting and poetic name for one of the most salacious and sexual rappers of the time. In partnership with Superbad Inc. and Campnova, Lil’ Kim plans to first introduce Aphrodisiac in the California cannabis market, followed by similar launches in Michigan, New Jersey, and the rapper’s home state of New York.
Celebs in Cannabis Byway of Court Proceedings
Notable celebrities entering cannabis under more unfortunate terms are infamous “Million Dollar Baby” and “Dirty Harry” actor, Clint Eastwood, comedian and famous shit-starter, Sasha Cohan, and infamous west coast rapper, Master P. Each of these celebrities found themselves in costly legal battles in one form or another.
Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood is riding high after winning a $6.1 million dollar judgment against a Lithuanian CBD company claiming the iconic movie star endorsed their products. The judgement came after Mr. Eastwood’s attorneys filed two separate suits against Mediatonas UAB asserting that the company published fabricated interviews of the star praising their products with numerous hyperlinks to purchase. Eastwood won rather quickly since neither the company or a legal representative responded to the summons.
Sacha Baron Cohen
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Borat” actor and creator is also suing a company over name and likeness used. The comedic star known to ruffle feathers in his movies says that Solar Therapeutics committed copyright infringement, false advertising, and misappropriation of his right of publicity on a billboard over a Massachusetts interstate which showed his famous character, “Borat”, giving a thumbs up and exclaiming, “It’s Nice!”. According to his lawyer, Mr. Cohen claims to have never used cannabis, and that no amount of money would lead him to endorse the substance. As of July 2021, the case is ongoing and the billboard in question has been removed. Read excerpts from the court filing here.
From rapping to hosting a popular show on Nickelodeon, Master P. has had his share of successes in the entertainment industry. However, another endeavor close to his heart hasn’t gone so well. According to TMZ, Master P. sued Privateer Holdings back in 2017 over claims the private equity firm breached the contract and committed fraud on a deal to produce and distribute the entertainer’s brand, Master P’s Trees. The proceedings dragged on for a few years before settling out of court. Since the settlement in July, 2020, Master P and family members have launched Limitless, a cannabis brand targeting U.S veterans using cannabis to find healing post-military.
The jury is still out on whether celebrities in cannabis are helping, hurting, or simply capitalizing on regulated cannabis. As we inch closer to full federal legalization, we can expect more celebs to exit the cannabis closet, with some deciding to leverage their names by entering the space. As long as the quality and social responsibility are there, it may be easier to embrace rather than to shun them.
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