Marijuana, weed, THC, cannabis, and the exceedingly popular phrase used amongst millennials – loud, are just a few of the many names associated with the pungent plant that has transcended culture and built brand empires.
Whether it’s Martha Stewart’s Snoop Dogg-assisted moniker, “America’s Cool Weed Grandma”, or the bevy of tastemakers and entertainers getting their feel for the cannabis industry, the weed business is remunerative in every sense of the word. Moreover, in terms of influence, no other genre has advocated, embraced or voiced support for the sticky-icky more than the hip-hop community and rappers. In other words, many of your favorite lyricist are bonafide stoners – and that’s okay.
From Dr. Dre’s debut studio album release, The Chronic, to Mike Tyson’s stylized licensing and branding company, Tyson Ranch, the historical context behind weed and rap’s intimate relationship is connatural.
Weed consumption isn’t just a form of clout-based rhetoric used to paten stats, it’s a lifestyle.
In fact, the plethora of rappers known to boast their entrepreneurial endeavors as street-pharmacist, long before it was a legal venture, is insane. The Wiz Khalifa’s and Curren$y’s of the world are notoriously known for blending drug induced euphoria with cultural-inspiring prose that has essentially raised a generation.
When it’s all said and done, the connection between weed and rap is significant and genre-defying.
While cannabranding has presented the opportunity for some of the music industry’s biggest names to partake in the leafy economic boom, there is still a big discrepancy between consumerism and out-right ownership. There’s nothing wrong with distributing through pre-existing brands (Medical Marijuana Corp, Terra Tech Corp, Viola Brand etc.), but nothing beats being the captain of your own ship, steering towards industry dominance.
In an effort to champion the international counterculture holiday, April 20 or 4/20, the following list details the who’s who and other bellwethers of authority that have developed a fondness for cannabis-themed enterprise.
Meet Berner, the mastermind behind GSC’s flourishing empire
From checking IDs at the age of 18 while working front desk at a Bay Area dispensary, to carving out his own cannabis empire, the story of Gilbert ‘Berner’ Milam Jr. is one imbued with foresight and strategic alignment. The Taylor Gang affiliate is heralded as a linchpin of innovation when it comes to the cannabiz.
Wiz Khalifa, long-time friend and collaborator, was one of the mainstream influences behind Berner’s rampant success as a businessman. After introducing Wiz to Cookies, the ever-so-popular strain, the brand expanded and eventually would become a household name.
Several dispensaries later, in addition to a trendy fashion line, the lasting legacy of Berner’s impact in a rapidly growing industry is awe-inspiring. He’s easily considered a cannabis tycoon.
Snoop Dogg gives pot a tech facelift
The Doggfather, alias and title of Snoop Dogg’s second studio album, is considered a pioneer of pot-friendly discourse and marijuana advocacy. Uncle Snoop’s floral foray can best be attributed to his signature line of medical and recreational cannabis-related products, branded under the name Leafs by Snoop.
Despite an ongoing legal battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team for an alleged trademark violation, Snoop Dogg is revered by many for his long-lived contributions to music. Months after tackling entrepreneurship, another endeavor was in the works, but this time around it was tech related.
During 2015, Merry Jane, a pro-hemp media platform, was introduced as a hub of information for n00b’s and seasoned smokers alike.
The Game becomes first celebrity to own a dispensary
Celebrity-branded strains are often a hit or miss, but when you’re in the game of taking chances, you only fail when you don’t try. Widely-known for his multi-platinum recording status and the discernible LA tat plastered on his face, The Game is credited as the first celebrity to possess his own dispensary by partnering with Vertical, one of the nation’s leading canna-companies.
Frankly speaking, he doesn’t grow the herb on a farm somewhere in California’s plush landscape, but there’s no flaw in his stratagem, the check still clears. Trees by Game is a consortium, supported by a lifestyle brand and other cannabis-infused products.
Jim Jones crosses over to cannabis space with celebrity jeweler Alex Todd
After influencing the sound that has defined an era through flex-rap and moneyed prose, Jim Jones, an original member of the Diplomats (Dipset) collective, crossed over to the cannabis space with some assistance from celebrity jeweler Alex Todd. Todd is well-versed in crafting high-end pieces for some of entertainment’s biggest names like Rihanna, Kevin Hart and Jay-Z.
With over 20 years’ worth of experience in cannabis consumption, the pair of innovators modeled their business venture after a traditional business ideology, quality control. Todd’s aptitude for precision and details blended with Jones’ passion for high-flying – no lie, resulting in the Saucey Farms and Extracts partnership under the brand CAPO, gleaned from Jones’ nickname.
Started off with a oz, now 2 Chainz peddles product with GAS Cannabis Co.
When high-performance is the standard, look no further than GAS Cannabis Co., 2 Chainz’ floral line. The Georgia-native is very knowledgeable in the realm of branding, especially considering the fact that he relaunched his career in music, transitioning from Tity Boi to platinum-selling recording artist and ‘Most Expensivist’ host, 2 Chainz.
The T.R.U general partnered with the Green Street Agency (Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka Flame, Rae Sremmurd) to outsource his own strain of gas-themed pot – Octane 87, Octane 89 and Octane 93. Simply put, the quality of product is ‘Good a** s***’.
Xzibit has now entered the chat, and he comes bearing pre-rolls
Established in 2015, Brass Knuckles OG is a hybrid of premium quality cannabis oil products founded by rapper and actor Xzibit. The former Pimp My Ride host rose to prominence in the mushrooming industry of pot through pre-rolls and vape-friendly products (pens and cartridges). X’s claim to fame in the cannabiz is backed by his own cultivar, Napalm OG, coined after the title of his seventh studio album, and cannabis-charged LOL Taffy – an edible extract.
Let’s B-Real here, cannabinoids matter
Renowned Cypress Hill frontman, B-Real, launched Dr. Greenthumb’s Dispensary back in August of 2018.
Named after the rapper’s alter-ego and Cypress Hill’s 1998 hit single, Dr. Greenthumb specializes in pot-themed products, accessories, merchandise and apparel. The ganjapreneur is often referenced as being one of the indigenous pariahs of cannabis culture. In terms of community outreach, B-Real’s legal venture hopes to “shape the communities of tomorrow with an eye towards social equity and economic development”, as mentioned via Forbes.
With a laudable approach on promoting civic engagement through a community-oriented frame of mind, the Greenthumb imprint has become the new paradigm for lifestyle brands in the reefer business.
Weezy F Baby and the ‘F’ is for flower power
Lil Wayne, rap mogul and pot pundit, aims to provide consumers with “the best high of their lives”. With the launch of GKUA Ultra Premium, Wayne has managed to induce a notion of ecstasy through his love for weed.
Easily regarded as one of music’s most influential talents of all time, Weezy’s fixation with chronic has now received a fitting conversion into a pursuit of profit. With curating a premium line of products, purity is the weapon of choice used to sway supporters in favor of the rapper’s one-stop pot shop.
While serving as the ambassador for Bumbu XO, an 18-year aged rum with Panamanian ties, and spearheading a cannabis crusade that values creativity and artistic pursuits, it’s evident Future’s iconic chorus in Lil Wayne’s platinum hit single ‘Love Me’ bares truth in regard to lifestyle, he really is on that good kush and alcohol.
The 6 God takes a 60 percent stake in marijuana joint venture deal
More Life Growth Co. is Drake’s licensed pot business launched late 2019. After striking a partnership with Canopy Growth, North America’s first publicly-traded cannabis company, Drizzy’s primary focus in newfound ownership was conceptualized around promoting “wellness, discovery and overall personal growth”.
Drake owns 60% of the company outright, leaving Canopy to divvy up the remaining 40%.
The ‘Drake Effect’ is like music’s holy grail, a viable endorsement proven to catalyze virality. While this opinionated phenomenon is backed by supportive data and superfans, for the sake of business, let’s hope his rumored Midas touch ability is proven to be true.
It’s the ROC, but it’s also creative direction and social justice reform
Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter – creative director, entrepreneur, philanthropist, Beyoncé Knowles’ husband and occasional wordsmith – is the current chief brand strategist for Caliva, a burgeoning California-based cannabis company.
Moreover, Jay Z’s role in the business is multifaceted, as his position also details involvement with outreach programs centered on creating opportunities for communities plagued by the War on Drugs and mass incarceration.
With hundreds of dispensaries in their arsenal, and a wide-ranging collection of products for sell (cannabis flower, vaporizers, pre-rolls and topical lotions), Caliva is showing all signs of being a cultural change agent – combating criminal justice reform while concurrently fostering a relationship with the industry giants.