Media Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 4, 2018
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5min4150

Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of the long-running High Times magazine, announced the exercise of warrants and the conversion of outstanding notes into its Class A common stock, resulting in a reduction of approximately $28.6 million of its outstanding debt obligations.

High Times had been saddled with $25.6 million worth of 12% convertible notes as a result of the acquisition back in February 2017 from Trans High Corporation (THC). THC has agreed to immediately convert the debt into shares of Common stock at $11 per share. That is the same price that the public crowdfunding investors are paying.

Adam Levin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hightimes Holding, said, “This transaction enables us to simplify our balance sheet and further our business development efforts. We are pleased to have the support of some of our largest shareholders as we take this next step in the maturation of our company. The  confidence and support of our shareholders will help us to execute on our vision of becoming a dominant player in the cannabis industry.”

In addition, Hightimes said that its senior secured lender has agreed that once the Hightimes initial public offering occurs and the listing of its common stock on an approved securities exchange happens, the lender will exercise its warrants and use the exercise price to reduce approximately $3.0 million of Hightimes Holding’s senior secured debt.  

Eleanora Kennedy, one of Hightimes Holding’s largest investors, said, “We believe in the power of the brand, and are supportive of its growth under Adam’s leadership. We are especially excited to see the huge signals of confidence coming from the creators, and financiers, that helped develop this brand into what it is today. Our expansion seeks to bridge many of the gaps left open by the legalization movement, and the continued prohibition in some states and this sign of approval doubles down on our belief that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The crowdfunding Regulation a+ offering from Hightimes Holding has raised more than $13,200,000 from over 15,000 stockholders. With a minimum investment of $99, small investors were able to participate in the offering prior to the company going public. With many cannabis companies receiving lofty valuations, the High Times offering has become an accessible investment. Only the biggest investors have been able to get in early for most of the recently public company offerings. Generally, companies prefer a much smaller group of investors putting in much more money each. 

The company said the offering will remain open until January 31, 2019, but the organization may elect to list prior to that. The closing of the offering has been extended numerous times with each deadline expiring without the shares going public.

High Times has been on an acquisition binge since it began the crowdfunding campaign. It recently acquired DOPE Magazine in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal was a combination of stock and cash. The media company also acquired CULTURE and Green Rush Daily.  Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year.

History

THC Group was founded in 1974 and publishes the monthly magazine and produces events like the Cannabis Cup. High Times Holdings was created in December of 2016 to acquire Trans-High Corporation and its subsidiaries called the THC Group in a deal valued at $70 million. The High Times Group entered into an agreement with Green Rush Daily in August 2017 and the company also owns the domain 420.com.

 


McKenna MillerMcKenna MillerNovember 20, 2018
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6min2760

Over the past few years, there has been quite a shift in how the press is “talking pot”. From Vogue covering “Cannabis Cocktails” to top business outlets covering what marijuana stocks you should invest in, the pot conversation is hitting the mainstream media very quickly.

As marijuana emerges from the black market into legal legitimacy, the conversation in the mainstream press isn’t just an exploration of pot culture anymore. Right now, the legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries netting nearly $10 billion in 2017 and is expected to hit twice that this year. As more and more public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing the drug, media is increasing their coverage to satisfy people’s need to understand the ever-green industry.

So as a PR person representing a cannabis client, how do you navigate the slowly legalizing industry?

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Understanding how to participate in the cannabis conversation comes down to knowing how to communicate to the capital markets, consumers, and regulators. PR and marketing agencies are counseling their clients on how to properly reach to a whole new consumer. For a brand that makes CBD gummies or tinctures, instead of branding themselves as just weed edibles they are positioning themselves as supplements to fight chronic pain or the new wheat grass shot to take after you workout. For companies on the ancillary side, discussing how to be successful as a business while not touching the plant is the kind of topics that are reaching aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs.

KNOW WHAT TOPICS READERS LOVE RIGHT NOW

The top topics being covered in the news range from CBD as a beauty lifestyle product, marijuana legalization legislation, and how you can profit on this industry. The cannabis consumer today isn’t just your typical stoner looking for the next strains to “knock your socks off”, they are patients, lifestyle health gurus and a wealthier, older demographic looking to invest and understand. Some of the top searches for Cannabis range from Millennials investing into pot stocks and will CBD help with anxiety. Make sure your pitch is unique to what has been covered but know what publications enjoy covering.

SHOW WHY YOUR MARIJUANA PRODUCT IS THE BEST

If you head to any legal state right now, it is a brand graveyard of weed products. From THC sodas to chocolate, everyone is looking to make a quick buck. So you put weed in beer? Why should I cover it?

As marijuana flirts with mainstream, a lot of writers are looking to give readers the truth of this trendy new product or innovative company. Be an expert on your cannabis product and brand by having your pitch include testimonies and the science behind the product, but don’t over-saturate your pitch with too much information.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE PITCHING

This is just basic PR knowledge, but knowing what that writer usually covers before blindly adding them to your pitch list is crucial in pitching cannabis. A handful of people still don’t support marijuana legalization and someone covering their support for Jeff Sessions will immediately put your pitch into spam. Unless they are vocal about it, mommy blogs and parent publications navigate their support for pot very differently. Take a few minutes to research the writer! Meltwater is a great tool to easily track that writer’s recent coverage.

KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENT WANTS

For any company working in cannabis space having an agency that understands the unique challenges that this industry brings is a good first step. However, whether you are a consumer product or a publicly traded company, it is always crucial that the PR agency understands what the marketing and sales teams goals are.

For agencies, if your client is on the B2B side, you’re going to want to strive for brand awareness among an audience reading trade publications rather than a Refinery29 gift guide.

Not all press is good press in the cannabis industry. Having a message that ties to ending the stigma of marijuana is always a good start. Nonetheless, every brand has a story to tell but what part of that story makes it stand out? There has to be more than “I grow the best cannabis” or “we are the most innovative”. Finding that and running with it will guarantee long-term success.


Video StaffVideo StaffOctober 5, 2018

3min4460

New York Comic Con features only the hottest pop culture characters. With cannabis becoming legalized in over 30 states, one would think that there would be more cannabis references in comic books. However, it remains a taboo to have cannabis in a comic book.

Some people may think that comic books are only for kids and thus, cannabis shouldn’t be featured. But there are numerous adult level comics that feature scantily clad women and most of the attendees at NYCC are adults, so it really isn’t just for children.

Weed Magic is published by Bliss on Tap publishing. The company President Brian Phillipson said he had been kicking around the idea for years and always assumed someone else would do it, but they never did. “Stoners like reading comic books, but they had no heros and no books for them,” he said. So he decided to break the taboo and publish his own.

The story is as follow: It’s 4/20 and two lovable stoners – Moe and his best friend Bunny – find themselves (and the whole city) completely dry.
When local vagabond My$tic gifts the boys a strange and exotic strain of cannabis (along with a cryptic warning), Moe and Bunny soon discover that this “magic” weed provides potent yet fleeting super-human powers of body and mind.
The love child of “Pineapple Express” and “The Greatest American Hero,” Weed Magic will delight the sober and stoned alike.  Red Eyes.  Full Bong.  Can’t Lose.

History

There have been stoner comics in the past. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers came out at the end of the 1960’s. It was created by Gilbert Sheldon and the characters were based on hippies from Sa Francisco. It spawned famous catchphrases like, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”—Freewheelin’ Franklin.

Director Kevin Smith issued a short-lived comic called Bluntman and Chronic published by Oni Press in Oregon. According to Wikipedia, “In the first issue, after encountering several comic book references, Jay and Silent Bob win the lottery and decide to become superheroes. After Bob handles most of the gadget work, the two don the names Bluntman and Chronic.” The comic was featured in the film Chasing Amy.

 

 

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 4, 2018
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3min5830

The United States largest radio broadcaster is getting into cannabis. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, iHeartMedia Inc. (IHRTQ) has entered into an agreement with High Times Holding Corp. to provide up to $10 million in advertising inventory in exchange for a five percent stake in High Times.

Under the agreement, High Times will have access to iHeartMedia’s creative services, as well as its digital and radio advertising inventory. High Times will use this access to advertise for the company’s Regulation A+ offering. The company is offering up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock with an offering price of $11.00 per share. With a goal of $50 million, High Times so far has raised $12.5 million from more than 9,000 investors.

With approximately 855 radio stations and more than 110 million listeners every week, iHeartMedia is by far one of the largest radio broadcasters in the United States. In 2017, iHeartMedia reported $6.17 billion in revenue; which makes the company’s investment in High Times seem somewhat small in comparison.

However, the deal marks a turning point for both the cannabis industry and High Times. When High Times was first launched in 1974, cannabis was illegal in all 50 U.S. states, and the general public had an overwhelmingly negative opinion of the substance.

More than four decades later, the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the United States, with corporate giants like Constellation Beverages and iHeartMedia making significant investments within the industry.

In addition to the Regulation A+ Offering, High Times is expected to list its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market by the end of October or early November. In preparation for the listing the company’s stock on the Nasdaq, High Times has been on an acquisition spree; including Green Rush Daily and Culture Magazine. Most recently, the company acquired Dope Media for $11.2 million.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 4, 2018
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4min4030

With adult use cannabis sales set to become legal in Canada later this month, the world of cannabis media is starting to heat up. Most recently, High Times announced that it would acquire DOPE Media for $11.2 million and the cannabis lifestyle platform PRØHBTD announced that it secured roughly $12 million in investment. As entrepreneurs and investors alike are looking for ways to corner this emerging market, one cannabis publication hoping to get a piece of this investor action is The Fresh Toast.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, The Fresh Toast (TFT) was founded by JJ McKay, a lifelong entrepreneur, and publisher with a background in company building and consumer marketing. Supporting TFT is a team of experienced journalists and executives, including TFT President Eric Snow.

JJ McKay, Founder of Fresh Toast

Billed as a lifestyle website with a side of cannabis, TFT aims to become one of the most trusted voices in the cannabis by appealing to the majority of cannabis users who don’t fall into the stereotypical stoner/counter-culture mindset.

To that end, TFT produces content for the curious and casual cannabis user, with articles ranging from hard cannabis news to everyday pop culture. So far, the strategy seems to be working. The Fresh Toast has 3 identified streams of income with the directory being the primary followed by advertising and data.  Currently, it ranks as the number three trafficked directory site and has emerged as one of the top six digital cannabis websites.

Since launching in 2016, TFT has secured syndication partnerships with 1,800 daily newspapers and regional television stations, inked a syndication deal with Men’s Health Magazine, and became the first cannabis publication to run beer and wine advertisements.

Earlier this year, TFT formed an exclusive media partnership with Skipta, a social network of specialized online medical communities for verified healthcare professionals, to provide information on cannabinoid medicine to over 800,000 medical professionals throughout the United States.

In terms of audience, approximately 1.8 million people visit TFT every month, with roughly a quarter of visitors going to the site daily. Demographically speaking, 45% of site visitors are women, and 75% of all traffic comes from those under the age of 50.

Hoping to build off of their success, TFT is seeking to raise $2.5 million in a Series A Seed Round and is offering 900,000 incentive compensation units, which will be converted into stock options upon the closing of Series A.

Already TFT has attracted several high-profile investors and supporters, including former Seattle Times President, Carolyn Kelly; Dan Nordstrom; former EVP/ President Alaska Air Group, Glenn Johnson; John Hudak, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution; and even a former U.S. Surgeon General.

Once equity funding is secured, TFT expects to become profitable within a year. The end goal for TFT is a 2021 transition event just as the cannabis market in states like Florida and California start to mature. With fundraising still ongoing, interested investors may contact jj@thefreshtoast.com for more information.

Full Disclosure: Fresh Toast reprints the Marijuana Money weekly video from Green Market Report.


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerOctober 3, 2018
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5min2790

PRØworks brings new leadership that brings “cannabis from the black market to the supermarket”

PRØHBTD, which markets itself as the “premier online destination for modern cannabis enthusiasts” has just announced a new consulting arm PRØworks, that brings a heap of experience from the mainstream CPG and entertainment worlds to the table.

PRØHBTD has been recognized for producing digital and online content and representing over 60 of the cannabis industry’s most recognizable brands like Defonce.

“Our company’s mission is to bring cannabis from the black market to the supermarket,” said PRØHBTD CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer, “This requires enterprise-ready capabilities that business leaders can engage with to help them understand the complex and challenging world of cannabis”

This new arm of their company brings four notable executives to the consulting team of PRØworks, creating a wrap-around consulting strategy for brands they work with.

Craig Binkley, a veteran of Coca-Cola with a strong portfolio of global work will help companies understand the cannabis consumer, product, and market to inform and support their strategic initiatives. He specializes in transformational marketing that will undoubtedly bring an asset to PRØHBTD clients as they navigate how to reach the modern cannabis consumer among strict marketing regulations.

Leading PRØHBTD’s finance team and strategic mergers and acquisitions initiatives are Frank Carrère, former SVP of corporate development at 21st Century Fox and CFO/COO at Fun Technologies. His experience in scaling businesses has contributed to a 20x exit for its investors through a Canadian public listing and is motivated to bring this to PRØHBTD.

Glenn Frese is working with PRØHBTD to help brands build digital and physical marketing programs to connect cannabis brands to global audiences. He brings experience as a former executive at Sony, Maker Studios, and Disney where he has overseen digital and traditional marketing, social media, and direct to consumer initiatives. Frese will oversee all aspects of consumer and B2B marketing, social media, content marketing, events, strategy and lead generation for PRØHBTD and its PRØworks clients.

Stepping into the role of Executive Producer at PRØHBTD is Gary Bryman, who will produce on-demand videos through the PRØworks division called RØCKET. He brings over 20 years of Hollywood production experience, successfully executing of creative content including content for Disney, Universal, MTV, ABC, NBC, Netflix, and ads for Super Bowl XXXVII.

In June, PRØHBTD announced plans to go public in Canada after raising $12 million through fundraising, following acquiring seed funding totaling $4 million. The company planned to invest their funds into content creation and staffing, which includes this new announcement of hiring these notable executives to represent PRØworks and the PRØHBTD brand.

“We are honored to have these fantastic new folks join us in our journey as we continue to accelerate the mainstreaming of cannabis through audience, content, and products,” says Sutton-Shearer.

Content from PRØHBTD is syndicated across 15 different networks, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, Android TV, Dailymotion, allowing cannabis brands to reach 100 million consumers.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtSeptember 25, 2018
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7min14710

Longtime cannabis publication High Times has acquired print magazine Dope Media in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal is a combination of stock and cash. High Times has been building a portfolio of cannabis titles including Green Rush Daily and Culture.

“DOPE is a very strategic acquisition for our portfolio offering key complementary assets to our existing platforms and opening the opportunity for economies of scale to improve the performance of all our entire publication group,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times. The statement also noted that Dope holds its largest Dope Cup events in Seattle and Portland and the company sees this as an additive event to the existing Cannabis Cup events where High Times earns a majority of its revenue.

High Times said that there would be no staff changes at this time. DOPE’s CEO, George Jage, founders Dave Tran, James Zachondi, and Evan Carter will all remain. Jage, was once the President of Marijuana Business Daily and the driving force behind Marijuana Business Conference [MJBizCon], has received numerous distinctions for his work including the Nevada Entrepreneur of the Year award from In Business Magazine, Jerry Valen Award of Distinction “Hospitality & Convention Executive of the Year” and most recently was on the cover of Trade Show Executive in May 2017 following receiving the award for the Fastest Growing Tradeshow in the U.S. for two consecutive years.

“This is the perfect marriage of two like-minded businesses. As the largest cannabis consumer media company, High Times offers immense visibility across the country, and globe, like no one else in the space,” said George Jage, CEO of DOPE Magazine. “Utilizing their expertise we will be able to rapidly expand our footprint across the country and offer state-specific advertising solutions at a speed that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year. He is now the Co-founder of a blockchain news site call Blockler.

Crowdfunding

Just a week ago High Times said that it had received subscriptions and funds in excess of $5,000,000 from investors which enabled it to complete the $5 million financial milestone in its proposed maximum $50.0 million Regulation A+ offering of up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock at an offering price of $11.00 per share.  High Times also decided to extend its deadline for investing in the company to October 31, 2018.

Levin said the company had received support and purchases from over 6,000 investors. With 6,000 investors only bringing in $5 million, many of these investors must be on the small side. The company did not provide clarification on the average amount invested.

High Times never did close on its deal with Origo Capital. If you’ll recall, Origo Acquisition Corp. (OACQ) filed to change its name to High Times Media on December 29, 2017, and convert from a Cayman Islands company to a Nevada corporation and change its symbol. Origo merged with High Times Holding Corp., the publisher of High Times Magazine in July of 2017. Following the merger, the company has applied to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol HITM. Its been months since the two companies announced a merger, but it has yet to close. The deal deadline continues to be extended. Levin has said it could still happen.

Leafly Ousts CEO

Separately GeekWire reported that cannabis review website Leafly ousted its CEO Chris Jeffrey, who wasn’t even in the position for a year. Privateer Holdings that owns Leafly issued this statement to Geekwire,

“This morning the Board of Directors of Leafly removed Chris Jeffrey from his role as Chief Executive Officer. The Board made the decision to replace Mr. Jeffrey as CEO after careful consideration due to concerns about his management of the company. The Board has full confidence in Leafly’s senior leadership team and has initiated a search for a new CEO. Out of respect for CJ and the contributions he has made to Leafly, we are not going to go into detail about the circumstances surrounding his departure.

Leafly is experiencing rapid growth with more than 150 employees on the ground in 5 countries and 7 states. The health of Leafly’s business and the strength of the company’s team are stronger than ever before. Leafy has positive momentum and we have never been more excited about the global growth prospects in front of the company.”

Leafly has been receiving a lot of attention as its fellow Privateer company Tilray (TLRY) has taken the cannabis stock market by storm. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azur has said she believes that Tilray’s access to Leafly’s data will help the company stay on top of consumer trends.

Leafly hasn’t been able to deliver as big of a footprint as its competitor WeedMaps, but then Leafly has chosen to not work with unlicensed operators. Jeffery cut back on headcount when he came to the company and boosted engineers to improve the company’s technology.


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerSeptember 17, 2018
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4min3370

Chris Russo is asking for the help of the cannabis community to finish Lady Buds, a documentary following California 6 women in the cannabis industry for over a year as they transition from the grey to legal markets.

Calling them “modern-day superheroes”, the film follows Karyn Wagner, who supports farmers in Humboldt County; Felicia Carbajal, a restorative justice advocate for minorities; Chiah Rodriques, a second-generation cannabis farmer; Sue Taylor, who is opening a dispensary for seniors; and long-time cannabis culture participants The Bud Sisters.

Each woman has unique struggles, from their social justice quest to hold industry officials accountable, to getting farmers’ products to the legal market, to facing licensing issues while opening a dispensary.

“I had a panic attack,” says Chiah Rodriques of the new regulations for legal cannabis in Calfornia. “To have the threat of the looming industry, the tsunami wave coming, we’re all feeling trepidatious and nervous about it,” she explains as she prepares to move into legal markets.  

The profiles of each woman offer a “personal portrait” into the struggles, and triumphs, of this new era of legalization in California.

Kickstarter Campaign

The Kickstarter campaign comes after recognizing that resources to finish production of Lady Buds have run dry, with Russo describing the project as “mostly self-funded on sweat and credit cards”.

“We can change hearts and minds around cannabis healing through the power of film,” says Russo in her Kickstarter campaign, “I have reached a point where I can’t bring this film to completion on my own, which is why I’m turning to you and the community at large for support on Kickstarter.”

“Lady Buds is not just my film — it’s OUR film,” says Russo.

The film promises to be filled with twists and turns when some truths about the legalization process come to the surface.

Why should the cannabis community rally around Lady Buds?

“Because you support women’s films, you care about social justice, and you care about cannabis as medicine,” says Russo, “You’re helping expose the truth about legalization.”

So far, the Kickstarter campaign has reached half of it’s $50,000 goal.

Donate to the campaign here, where you can get incentives for your donation from credit in the film, to a consultation with Russo, or be invited to the Lady Buds wrap party: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ladybuds/lady-buds-the-definitive-documentary-on-women-in-w/description


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 9, 2018
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5min85300

The longest-running marijuana media company High Times is launching an unfiltered “over-the-top” online streaming-video product called High Times TV. The channel is live now on tv.hightimes.com and available as an app for iOS, Apple TV, Android and Roku.

HTTV  was created in order to give a home to the best cannabis-related videos across the internet. In turn, creators and fans will get a much-needed resource to find entertainment and information that continues to come under fire from traditional outlets that have tried to restrict content featuring marijuana. You may recall that recently, YouTube began deleting Spanish language cannabis related channels. 

With a heavy focus on the end user, High Times partnered with Unreel to help develop HTTV apps. The platform has been integrated with Unreel’s digital ad networks – including Roku and Google Ad Manager – in an effort to create new monetization opportunities for creators in the space. Notable talent already using the platform include CustomGrow420, StrainCentral, Ruffhouse Studios, High Rise TV, Stoner Mom, The Green Market Report and That High Couple with new content from Now This Weed, Doug Benson’s ‘Getting Doug with High’ and more coming soon.

“While High Times has built a powerful subscriber base across print, digital and social media, it’s not enough to just produce content for those platforms,” said High Times CEO Adam Levin. “The huge demand for mobile-friendly premium video includes a real hunger for the cannabis-related content that social-media sites are all too often blocking. High Times’ new channel intends to satisfy that hunger, ensuring that we can reach our loyal audience wherever they may be, on whatever platform they use. It’s another way to serve our fans.”

Through a standalone, ad-supported web channel, High Times will aggregate and curate the best of that content in one place, providing a one-stop shop for fans and brands alike to connect with the best of Cannabis creative content. High Times TV will feature such content as cultivation and extraction lessons, comedy shorts, behind-the-scenes exclusives from High Times’ Cannabis Cup events, and vlogs from some of the industry’s most notable influencers

“Even in 2018, the truth about cannabis use is being silenced by major platforms,” said Joshua Young, founder of StrainCentral. “Social Media doesn’t want us to exist and propaganda is ruining society’s views on a harmless plant. Just as High Times has done since the 70’s, we’re here to provide a voice for the unspoken, and to champion this gift of the earth.”

“HTTV allows society to see actual insight into cannabis use and its users, and provides us creators with the means to keep up the fight,” said Young. “In a time where YouTube is demonetizing, and Instagram is purging our pages, High Times is a safe space.”

High Times recently launched a crowd funding campaign as it continues its plans to become a publicly traded company. Initial indications were that the company was met with a positive response from retail investors eager to get in early on a cannabis IPO.

 


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7min3470

Part 4 of 8 of the 2018 Cannabis Trends: Welcome to Hollyweed

Another emerging trend in the cannabis industry is the growing level of comfort between Hollywood and cannabis. Although it’s no secret that many Hollywood stars have been known to indulge in cannabis use from time to time, most have been reluctant to publicly open up about their affinity for cannabis. But now that recreational cannabis is legal in California, it seems like every celebrity with even a modicum of fame is rushing to cash in on the legal cannabis industry.

Before recreational cannabis became legal in California, there were already a handful of daring celebrities that launched their own cannabis brands.

As an ardent medical cannabis advocate, Montel Williams was one of the first celebrities to dive feet first into the cannabis industry. In 2016, Williams launched the medical cannabis lifestyle brand Lentiv; which sells hemp-based CBD supplements and cannabis oils.

Melissa Etheridge was also one of the first celebrities out of the gate; in 2014 she released her own brand of cannabis wine called Know Label. Although marketed as a wine, Know Label is technically classified as a tincture as current California law forbids the selling of products that mix alcohol and cannabis.

To the surprise of no one, Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong launched their own cannabis brands; Leafs by Snoop and Chong’s Choice.

As legalization spread throughout the country, becoming more of a question of when than if, more celebrities have come out of the woodwork. Willie Nelson has Willie’s Reserve, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop recently teamed up with the cannabis dispensary chain MedMen, and Whoopi Goldberg has Whoopi & Maya.

Not every cannabis loving celebrity wants to start their own brand, however, some just want to consume it. For those famous folk, a whole host of high-end luxury cannabis brands have started to take Hollywood by storm.

To start, the boutique hotel group Standard International has teamed up with the edibles maker Lord Jones to open a retail cannabis shop in the lobby of the Standard Hollywood, located on Sunset Boulevard. Once open, the shop will be stocked with high end cannabis products; both edible and smokeable.

During this year’s Academy Awards, the artisanal cannabis distributor Flow Kana became the first cannabis brand to hand out cannabis gift bags at the awards ceremony. Each bag contained several pre-rolled joints and jars of cannabis.

While stoner comedies have been a staple of Hollywood for decades, the same cannot be said of television; that is, until the last couple of years. The web series High Maintenance, which centers on a cannabis delivery man in New York, was picked up by HBO in 2016 and has been met with rave reviews.

Similarly, the streaming giant Netflix has already produced two cannabis-centered television shows, Disjointed and Cooking on High. Although neither show has been met with particularly favorable reviews, the fact that its subject matter is no longer controversial demonstrates the far reaching mainstream appeal of cannabis.

For all intents and purposes, cannabis has gone mainstream in Hollywood. In the short-term future, look for more celebrities entering into the cannabis industry, either with their own brand or as a partner with an existing company. Most of these brands will either fail commercially or simply fail to distinguish themselves; although the brands that lean into the luxury market will have a better chance of survival. Expect to see more awards shows and elite events embrace cannabis and don’t be surprised when joints become as common as a glass of champagne.

In the long-term, however, expect to see cannabis become boring. With more celebrities coming out about their cannabis use, more television shows about cannabis being produced, and more cultural institutions generally embracing cannabis; smoking a joint will no longer be seen as cool or edgy or anything other than normal.

You can download the 2018 Cannabis Trend Report for free by clicking here.



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