Everyone is getting into cannabis, including your favourite celebrities. Any superstar with a history of loving weed has hopped on the bandwagon to build up their own 420 brands. And it’s not just American celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong — Canadians are trying their hand at cannabis branding and endorsements too. But are these celebrity cannabis brands worth all the buzz?
Do Celebrity Cannabis Brands Pay Off for Retailers?
Should you also get on board with celebrity-branded cannabis as a retailer? Celebrity appeal does a lot for a brand. First, it instantly does all the heavy lifting associated with brand awareness.
As soon as your customers pick up a product launched by Seth Rogan, they already know what it stands for. It’s also more likely that they’ll have heard of the product or even ask for it. All simply because they’ve listened to one of their favourite celebs talking about it.
But interestingly, as Canada’s cannabis market has proven more competitive than people expected, some of these much-hyped brands have never taken off. One of the biggest is Trailer Park Buds. There hasn’t been any movement since its initial launch in 2018. Their website is now defunct, and it’s not clear where fans can grab some of their grass.
Surprisingly, only a few relevant star-studded cannabis brands available to Canadians are up and running — and worth the money.
As with any new product, you’ll want to do your research. Before stocking the shelves with a celebrity-endorsed pre-roll or topical, try it out for yourself. Is the product just banking on the appeal of the name attached to it? Or is it well worth the hype?
What Canadian Celebrities Have Launched Cannabis Companies?
Although some brands haven’t taken off in the way we all expected, that isn’t to say there aren’t any Canadian celebrity-backed products available.
Launched by Seth Rogan, Houseplant is a cannabis and housewares company. It currently sells cannabis and related products in California, and elsewhere it has focused more on cannabis-friendly house decor.
Houseplant’s housewares, some of which have been styled by Rogan himself, are stylish, modern, and a dramatic departure from typical stoner decor. Think desk lamps with an incorporated ashtray, vases with matching ashtray, and even curated vinyl records with a stoner-friendly tracklist.
Rogan has a history among millennials as a stoner-actor extraordinaire, but this brand shows he has grown with us all. This is cannabis culture but elevated.
In 2021, Drake’s partnership with Canopy Growth ended after two years of working together. Immediately, Drake launched into his new relationship with Noah “40” Shebib. Shebib is a longtime musical collaborator but also co-owns Bullrider.
Bullrider’s flagship cannabis store on Selby Road in Toronto. It promises “a one-of-a-kind cannabis retail experience.” On their roster of Bullrider-branded products are Peach Crescendo (flower), Wedding cake (flower), Afghani Bullrider (flower), and Wedding Cake Gio (Vape cart).
According to the press release, Drake joined his longtime friend “40” to not only take on a partnership role but to become a strategic adviser role in spreading their message across North America.
Drake stated, “I’ve always viewed 40 as the expert when it comes to cannabis so I’m very excited to invest, partner and contribute to setting a new standard for a premium cannabis experience.”
Newstrike and Up Cannabis
Early in legalisation, Up Cannabis joined forces with beloved Canadian band The Tragically Hip. They have since produced several limited-run cannabis strains inspired by the band’s legacy. Newstrike Brands Ltd. is a publicly traded cannabis company listed as TSX:V-HIP.
In 2018, this celebrity cannabis brand announced the launch of several tragically Hip-inspired strains: Eldorado (from Fully Completely), Morning Moon (We Are the Same), Grace (“Grace Too” from Day for Night), Gems (“The Last of the Unplucked Gems”), and 50MC (Mission Cap) (Fully Completely).
The parent company, Newstrike, has traditionally produced medical cannabis products but launched Up Cannabis, hoping to break into the recreational market. In 2019, this business collaboration also announced it would be opening up a retail location in Kingston, Ontario.
The Financial Post quoted Jay Wilgar, chief executive of Newstrike and Up Cannabis, saying, “Up Cannabis’ ties to Kingston run deep as the hometown of our partners, The Tragically Hip, with many special milestones in our company’s history taking place there… We’re excited to see the stars aligning for both our brands as the Ontario retail marketplace takes shape.”
Time To Stock Your Shelves with Celebrity Cannabis Brands
While Canadians still may be waiting to try Trailer Park Buds, other celebrity brands in this country have had better staying power. This far into Canada’s legal cannabis journey, it’s apparent that not everyone is cut out to own a slice of the green pie”
Celebrities must have extensive cannabis knowledge and a bit of business acumen. Otherwise they won’t survive in Canada’s ultra-competitive marketplace.
If you are in charge of ordering inventory for your own store, don’t rely on the power of a celebrity’s name alone. Instead, do your own research and determine if that super-hyped product is worth the money for you and your customers.