×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

In the Cannabis Business, Not All Star Strains Are Created Equal

With the cannabis green rush in full swing, many celebrities are jumping into the fray with their own brands, including such well-known stoners as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong.

But as it turns out, not all star strains are created equal, so we assembled a trio of crack experts to put the product to the test, including longtime activist and dispensary owner Dina Browner (aka Dr. Dina), whose Alternative Herbal Health Services was one of the first to open in West Hollywood and served as the model for Netflix’s “Disjointed”; YouTube star Thomas Araujo, better known as Dope as Yola to his hundreds of thousands of followers; and Kenny Morrison, a longtime cannabis activist with his own thriving edible business, the Venice Cookie Co., known as VCC Brands.

Browner, who runs three dispensaries, was arguably among the first to spark the celebrity strain craze when she named certain flavors of flower after her pals, including Snoop Dogg and the cast of “Sons of Anarchy” (SAMCRO OG).

Still, and somewhat ironically, celebrity brands have had a rough time getting into Los Angeles dispensaries. A well-publicized venture such as Nelson’s Willie’s Reserve is available in only a few retail locations, mostly outside the immediate L.A. area; Snoop Dogg’s Leafs by Snoop blend can be bought in Colorado and Canada, but not yet in California. Seth Rogen’s Houseplant is available in Canada, but not in the U.S.

It doesn’t help that “in the industry, there’s almost a stigma against a celebrity weed brand,” says Morrison. “Look at alcohol. When celebrities like George Clooney or P. Diddy own a tequila or vodka brand, they don’t put their names on it.”

“There’s a difference between craft growers and commercial cannabis, and the latter is what most often appears as a celebrity brand,” notes Browner. “When you think of the people frequenting dispensaries these days, it’s not the Willie Nelson crowd per se.”

Araujo contends that celebrity weed is aimed at “amateurs” who don’t know any better.

Could it be so? Has marketing won out over quality in the recreational marijuana wars? We endeavored to find out and gathered a group of cannabis connoisseurs to sample products by Tommy Chong, System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian, The Game, Jenny Lewis and Bob Marley.

More Biz

  • Tarale Wulff Weinstein trial

    Ex-Waitress Testifies Harvey Weinstein Held Her Down and Raped Her

    A former cocktail waitress wept on the witness stand on Wednesday as she told jurors that Harvey Weinstein pinned her down and raped her in 2005. Tarale Wulff said she thought she was going to an audition. But when she arrived at Weinstein’s office, she was directed to get into a waiting car, which took [...]

  • Pamela Wasserstein CES

    Listen: Pam Wasserstein Brings Her New York State of Mind to Vox Media

    Merging New York Media with Vox Media wasn’t a deal Pam Wasserstein felt she had to make. But she’s glad she did. Now that the New York Media CEO-turned-Vox president is a few months into driving strategy for the combined businesses, Wasserstein is happy to report that her hunch that Vox and New York would [...]

  • John Stankey

    AT&T's John Stankey: TNT, TBS to Boost Unscripted Volume as WarnerMedia Invests in HBO Max

    The march to the launch of HBO Max in May is driving changes across WarnerMedia. John Stankey, AT&T chief operating officer and WarnerMedia chairman, told investors on Wednesday that cable powerhouses TNT and TBS will lean into more unscripted programming as WarnerMedia steers its investment in high-end scripted programming to the nascent subscription streaming platform. [...]

  • Passengers wait to depart for China

    Entertainment Stocks Tumble in Hong Kong as True Cost of Wuhan Virus Emerges

    UPDATED: The Hong Kong stock market tumbled by nearly 3% as it reopened on Wednesday. This was the first opportunity for local equities to be traded since the Chinese New Year holidays and the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, central China. There were steep falls for some of the companies most [...]

  • Ben Smith Buzzfeed

    Ben Smith Stepping Down as BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief to Join New York Times

    BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith is leaving the company to join The New York Times as its media columnist, stepping into the role once held by the late David Carr. Smith announced the news today to staff at BuzzFeed minutes before it broke publicly via NBC’s Dylan Byers. His last day will be in March, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content