America’s Best Drug Dealers Are A-List Celebrities

Over the past two decades, Americans have proved willing to do lots of things at Marth Stewart’s behest. They will decoupage. They will make their own holiday wreaths. They will boil pastas and tomatoes in the same pot, at the same time. Perhaps most important for Stewart, they will buy things with her name on them like bedding, cookware and magazines. Soon they might even buy Martha Stewart-branded weed.
Stewart is poised to conquer cannabis as the next frontier of domestic comfort. In February, she announced that she had become an advisor to the Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth, and now she is developing her own range of products, starting with a line of dog treats made with cannabidiol, or CBD.
Stewart’s announcement landed her among a small but growing group of celebrities who have seen dollar signs in the nascent market for legal weed in North America. Drake wants to sell you weed grown locally in his native Toronto. Football stars like Rob Gronkowski and Ricky Williams offers cannabinoid products to ease your aches and pains. As the legal weed market floods with corporations vying to be the coca-cola of cannabis, cannabis are betting that celebrities might be a shortcut to mainstream success.
Unsurprisingly, Snoop Digg is responsible for all of this. The legendary rapper began cultivating his association with cannabis long before efforts to decriminalize it gained traction in America. He’s seen his public persona evolve on a similar arc with weed itself, once a menace to public order and polite society, now considered by many to be harmless and funny parties. In 2015, Snoop launched his first line of cannabis with the American company Live Well, in Colorado. He called it Leafs by Snoop.
Before Stewart’s announcement in February, the major celebrities who had signed up to start weed brands were mostly the ones you’d expect: Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, Damian Marley, and several rappers following in Snoop’s footsteps, including Wiz Khalifa and Ghostface Killah. Those celebrities comes from subcultures where the penchant for smoke were never controversial. The real money, though is likely to be made in selling to broader audiences, whose attention is trickier for weed brands to capture.
While most major North American cannabis companies have now implemented similar strategies, Canopy has had the most success with A-list celebrities. In recent months it has announced Drake’a aforementioned cannabis brand, MoreLife, as well as a similar collaboration with Seth Rogen. Those arrangements aren’t just endorsements, but partnerships, which are more lucrative in the long term for celebrities, because they involve control over branding and include profit-sharing instead of just a lump-sum payday.

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