By Jamila Pomeroy
Canadian cannabis laws may have been loosened but Cannabis marketing restrictions are super tight.
As the billion dollar industry explodes across this country, immense creativity is being expended to get bud brand name recognition from companies desperate to market new products when any form of advertising and promotion is basically not allowed.
While celebrity-endorsed cannabis is illegal in Canada, companies are finding legal loopholes to work with big names in other ways. These entertainers – among others – have partnered with big canna in ways not technically involving high profile endorsement. Whether it’s through buying shares or holding executive positions, they’re finding ways to extend their personal empires into the green stuff.
The Tragically Hip
“We are happy to announce that we have become partners with one of Canada’s newest, soon to be public, licensed producers of medicinal marijuana,” said The Tragically Hip when they announced their partnership with Newstrike WHEN?. Up Cannabis Inc. is the product of that partnership, focusing on uniting quality adult-use cannabis products with the power of music. The Tragically Hip have been longtime supporters of legalization and hope for this to extend their advocacy of safe use through investments and creative collaboration. Up Cannabis Inc. strains are grown in Ontario, like the band, making use of what is expected to be Canada’s premier growing region.
It won’t come as a surprise as, second to Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg has been the most weed-identified cannabis advocate of the celebrity world. The 45-year-old rapper and entrepreneur brings his line, Leafs By Snoop, into Canada in partnership with Tweed. The company offers three strains in their newfound Canadian market: Sunset, Ocean View, and Palm Tree CBD. Expanding into the tech side of the industry, he has recently invested a reported $2 million UD into Trellis, a Toronto-based software company that provides management tools for businesses in the cannabis industry.
America’s favourite lifestyle authority and convicted felon, Martha Stewart, announced her partnership with Canopy Growth in February. It may not surprise those familiar with her close relationship with canna-preneur Snoop Dogg, it’s a big leap from her gingham and good times image. . Her collaboration with Canopy includes the Sequential Brand Group, a cannabis themed fashion and lifestyle brand. We can expect to see developments this summer, like expansion into hemp-derived CBD products for animals as well as cannabis research.
Whoopi Goldberg and award-winning edibles maker Maya Elisabeth launched Whoopi & Maya in 2016. As one of the fastest growing cannabis companies in California, the dynamic duo have expanded from their initial offering of medical cannabis products, formulated to provide relief for women experiencing menstrual cramps, into a dynamic line including tinctures, bath soaks, body balms and edibles.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new Cannabis line, Houseplant, launched in March 2019. The recreational cannabis company made its debut alongside Canopy Growth. Rogen and Goldbergs’s company partners include the California-based United Talent Agency. The company has somehow found a way to get around Canada’s strict packaging laws, with its fiesta orange packaging, which fits perfectly with the company’s retro branding.
It make not contain pyrotechnics, facepaint, or platform boots, but Invictus does have the rock and roll power of Gene Simmons. Known for living a sober life, Simmons is taking a less hands-on-product role as “chief evangelist,” leaving the cannabis logistics to other members of his team. The company, which operates cannabis businesses in Canada, has Simmons responsible for “providing marketing counsel, serving as a spokesperson in the media, public appearances and participation in the company’s annual general meeting and investor meetings.”
Ghost Face Killa
Dennis Coles (aka Ghostface Killah) of the Wu-Tang Clan and founder of the record label Starks Enterprises, launched Wu-Goo alongside Killa Priest. The brand features a 70 per cent THC hash oil and was released in alliance with vape pen company Dynamite Stix. Other products include vape cartridges, disposable pens, pre-rolled joints and edibles.