How Seth Rogen and Ricky Williams are aiming to reach hashish; ‘Folks view (Rogen) as an authority’

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NFL player Ricky Williams and film actor and writer Seth Rogen pursue new endeavors in the cannabis space as celebrities use their fame to start marijuana-themed businesses, with mixed results so far.

Entertainment and sports stars have routinely flexed their entrepreneurial muscles in response to the legal cannabis business in newer states like New York and New Jersey. The prospect of federal legalization remains an option in the future.

Some high-profile companies, like boxer Mike Tyson’s cannabis resort Tyson Ranch, have much more to grow beyond an initial commercial. Marley Natural, a brand named after legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, has never seen a big surge since its debut in 2016.

See also: Cannabis edible maker Wana Brands plans to promote more charitable causes after an upfront $ 298 million from Canopy Growth

Others have made much more progress. The marijuana and clothing line Cookies from rapper / entrepreneur Berner or cannabis brands Viola from NBA veterans Allen Iverson and Al Harrington continue to generate positive feedback in the industry.

Some stars simply invest in cannabis companies. Rapper and business mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter supports TPCO Holding Corp. GRAMF, -2.32% (The Parent Company), as well as cannabis startups like the payment company Flowhub. Rapper Snoop Dog founded Casa Verde as a venture capital firm focused on cannabis.

With cannabis-themed films like Neighbors and Pineapple Express fueling his reputation as a lovable and prolific stoner, actor Seth Rogen caused a sensation at the launch of Houseplant in the US this year. In June, Rogen even had the pleasure of smoking a joint on stage with Conan O’Brien in one of the talk show host’s final episodes.

Shortly thereafter, Houseplant and Canopy Growth CGC, -0.85% WEED, -0.42% ended their three-year alliance for products in the Canadian market, as Rogen wanted to expand its presence in the US

Michael “Mikey” Mohr, co-founder and CEO of Houseplant, said the company doesn’t consider itself a celebrity brand as it isn’t about slapping Rogen’s name on someone else’s product.

“Many celebrities have dealt with cannabis,” Mohr told MarketWatch. “Net-Net-it is bringing more exposure to the business, but most of them will be a flash in the pan. This is not an endorsement. We are a data driven company. We make decisions based on our team’s experience with the product. “

Houseplant had been self-funded from its inception through March this year when it took debt from individuals without funding from venture capital or private equity firms, including executives in the consumer goods sector, Mohr said. He declined to name investors, but said the company does not need a “shortcut” to finance and does not need to enter public markets for the time being.

Since cannabis is still nationwide illegal, Houseplant has sent a number of ashtrays to all 50 states (see photo) to promote its name in the US, even where cannabis remains illegal.

Houseplant

In California, Houseplant plans to partner with a network of growers to launch a range of pre-rolled joints. The company will compete against at least one other line of celebrities, namely Jay-Z’s high-end cannabis brand Monogram.

“We use Seth’s audience, but the real secret – similar to Al Harrington and Alan Iverson’s viola brand – is that we have people looking for the experience and equipment they need to excel. Seth figured out how cannabis worked for him and he was never shy. People see him as an authority. “

“The joints [from Houseplant] are based on the joints that Seth Rogen rolled for himself, ”says Mohr. “He spent years and years becoming the largest joint roller in the world. We feel like there is a whole market for great flowers with the perfect pre-roll. We don’t have the feeling that it exists today. “

Overall, Mohr said that after decades of prohibition, cannabis remains “scary” for many people. Personal computers also stimulated consumers when they mass-produced in the 1970s and 1980s, but Apple’s Steve Jobs helped make technology more accessible and fun. Houseplant hopes to do the same.

See also: This is how the startup KindTap bypasses the credit card ban for cannabis payments – MarketWatch

Meanwhile, Ricky Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and an excellent NFL player who was known for using marijuana before it became legal, has introduced Highsman as his cannabis brand. Its line of products, produced by outside growers under the supervision of Williams, includes pregame, halftime and postgame products.

Eric Hammond, CEO of Highsman, said the company is seeking $ 1.5 million in seed capital but has so far been funded by private investors. After Highsman launched its first round of seeds, Highsman plans to seek private investors for a Series A round of ventures next year.

Ricky Williams will continue to be “closely involved” in curating cannabis from a network of outside cannabis growers to select strains for his line of products, Hammond said.

Hammond previously worked at cannabis paraphernalia retailer Greenlane Holdings GNLN, -0.80%,
who announced a line of Cookies CBD and other products with Rapper Berner in 2019.

In California, cannabis brands from legal pharmacies compete with the unregulated end-of-life market that underestimates state-sanctioned cannabis sales without the cost of sales tax or quality standards for legal marijuana. But Cookies still managed to become a successful brand.

“Cookies escaped the West Coast curse party because it authentically suits Berner,” said Hammond. “We see Ricky as an equally authentic figure and sport crosses all boundaries. He got hold of his guns before it was cool to do, and people realize that. ”

Consumers look to a brand for authenticity and persistence, not just a famous person with their name on a product, he said.

“Culture still wins,” said Hammond. “You have to be culturally relevant.”

At the last review, cannabis was legalized for either adult or medicinal use in 37 states, with the market size estimated at $ 16 billion in 2020 and up about 26% per year by 2026, according to IMARC Group estimates Year will grow.

More information on cannabis challenges: Bank of America closes the bank account of an FDA-approved cannabis research company – MarketWatch

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