Everybody’s getting in to the swing (or grow) of things these days. Celebrities from Wiz Khalifa to the venerable Snoop Dogg have released, or are releasing, new strains of cannabis, or cannabis-related products in a marketing flurry focused on the cannabis industry. As always, MassRoots likes to be on the cusp of your relevant cannabis news, so here’s the breakdown.
Last April, Willie Nelson stated that he intends to launch his own personal cannabis strain, called Willie’s Reserve, which will be sold in Colorado and Washington, of course. Willie and Merle Haggard’s music video release on the same day was a duet entitled “It’s All Going to Pot”; the video features both of them smoking joints in the recording studio. Check out the video below:
The Cannabist reported the announcement at South by Southwest, noting that Michael Bowman (Willie Nelson’s spokesperson) expects the storefronts to be “anti-Walmart” and launch in 2016. Bowman indicated that Willie’s Reserve will be “reflective of his passion…and envelope what his personal morals and convictions are”, and was developed by Willie’s family in response to the war on drugs and environmental and social issues. Willie Nelson’s stores will carry his product and those of other entrepreneurs “who meet quality standards.” Bowman also compared Willie’s new stores to Whole Foods, indicating that the mission statement will be about Nelson’s core beliefs.
Lil’ Debbie was a part of the Bay Area’s White Girl Mob, until she says she and V-Nasty were kicked out of the all-female rap group started by Kreayshawn. Along with her new album California Sweetheart, Lil’ Debbie has launched a marijuana strain with Kush Collective on La Brea in Los Angeles.
She debuted her edibles like “CAKES” at Blazer’s Cup in December. Currently the line is only available in California. She has major plans to continue to build her brand within the cannabis space.
A few days ago, Wiz Khalifa announced a new partnership with Colorado’s own RiverRock Cannabis for an exclusive cannabis product line. (Yeah, he sang that super sad song “See You Again” that made us all cry like babies during the Paul Walker Fast & Furious montage.) In the midst of his Grammy nominations and the release of Khalifa on iTunes, the Wiz said he hopes to “end cannabis prohibition nationwide” in a public statement. Citing his outspokenness and dedication, RiverRock noted that its staff “really got along with Wiz and his team.” The release of Khalifa’s new line of regulated cannabis is scheduled for 4/20, and Khalifa Kush from San Fran’s Cookie Co. 415 will form the basis of the new strain. Cannabis flower and concentrates will be included in Khalifa’s new Colorado-based line, but Khalifa Kush fans may be disappointed: due to differing state cannabis laws, Cookie Co. 415 kept its mother plant clones, and RiverRock recreated a “phenotype of OG Kush.” RiverRock chief legal officer Norton Arbelaez related the start from seed as “a very arduous process”, with Khalifa making trips to Colorado to make the Chemdawg-Lemon cross more lemony and piney tasting. According to Arbelaez, Khalifa is said to prefer a relaxing but energizing high; he has a few Colorado shows scheduled to coincide with the new line’s release.
In November 2015, venerable rapper Snoop Dogg began selling marijuana flower and cannabis products in Colorado, making him the first multiplatinum-selling music celebrity to have a self-branded, commercialized line of cannabis products, according to The Cannabist. The line is called “Leafs by Snoop”, and began its lucrative run in Colorado. LivWell (owned by Beyond Broadway) will grow and manufacture all flowers, edibles, and concentrates associated with Snoop’s line. A friend of mine got a free birthday sample from a local dispensary – he described the strawberries n’ cream chocolate as “delicious and awesome”, but wished that Colorado would approve more than 100 mg for recreational cannabis edibles. Snoop’s products include peanut butter gems; fruit-flavored gummies, chews, and drops; six chocolate bar flavors; Northern Lights and Cali Kush wax; Purple Bush and Lemon Pie shatter; two strains of indica, and one strain of sativa, just for some balance. There are currently 19 dispensaries selling Leafs by Snoop in Colorado.
Tommy Chong, the man who brought stoner scenarios into mainstream media and continues to support and drive the cannabis legalization movement, has invented the safe and non-toxic Smoke Swipe, which promises to remove the smell of smoke from any small, enclosed space or clothing, according to Chongswipes.com. Chong’s recent brush with cancer, and his remission (which he credits partially to a “strict regimen of help oil”, according to Leafly.com), has encouraged him to release pre-rolled cones imprinted with his signature smiling face, as a well as a strain called Chong Star which is grown only at Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, Colorado. Chong’s Choice has recently become available as a lab tested, high-potency flower, along with marijuana-infused breath drops, packaged pre-rolls, vape cartridges, and CBD products at other dispensaries in Colorado.
According to Dominique Zonyee of TheBoombox.com, Dizzy Wright’s albums released on Hopsin’s Funk Volume label include Smokeout Conversations and The Growing Process. Well, we’d be a bit surprised if he didn’t release some kind of cannabis-associated product, and according to Boombox, he is. His rhymes are described as peace-promoting, mature, and lyrically conscious, all of which went into creating his first weed strain, called Dizzy OG. Wright stated that he wants to open his first dispensary in Las Vegas and “build off of that.” In an interview with HotNewWhipHop.com, Dizzy said his favorite strains are OG Kush and a strain of Bubba Kush he says has been growing in Las Vegas “for like 20 years.” So you can expect Dizzy OG to be a little like that.
A year ago this month, Cypress Hill’s MC B-Real won third place in the San Bernardino Cannabis Cup for Best Sativa Flower with his strain Dr. Greenthumb’s Tangie. At the time, Jake Browne of The Cannabist likened it to an “orchard flush with citrus Cuties […] hit by the spray of a skunk a few days prior.” In the same month, B-Real wanted to start a medical marijuana dispensary based in Orange County, California. His application (and five others) won out of 636 applicants in the O.C., and he called his new shop Dr. GreenThumb’s. B-Real stated that he wanted the dispensary to be “an experience” and “eye candy” as well. According to Yelp, Dr. GreenThumb’s dispensary has now closed, but its Facebook website is still up for Moncton, California. B-Real TV is a great source for B-Real’s strain reviews, some of which may actually be B-Real’s.
Bob Marley’s Legacy
Bob Marley’s legacy and descendants have been busy lately; they have a line of fantastic musical gear (from booming bass speakers encased in wood to slick headphones), and they have just announced the launch of Marley Natural, which was released on what would have been Bob Marley’s 71st just over a month ago. Everybody loves Bob, but the IBTimes noted that Marley Natural’s “heirloom Jamaican cannabis” is actually grown at “unnamed Northern California” farms due to obvious cannabis travel restrictions.
What does the future look like for celebrity cannabis strains? An angel investor named Sam Znaimer believes that with no national legal market, “we are going to see the evolution of bottom-up, locally branded products.” The difficulties of branding in each state and the inability to transfer cannabis products across state lines further complicates the process. For now, local celebrities and a few celebrity brands in Colorado and Washington are the only major success stories, and that’s okay. With more and more legalization campaigns carrying the vote, though, Znaimer may have to reconsider his position.