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Celebrity Smokesmen

Sports stars and musicians become weed entrepreneurs


A couple of weeks ago, this column took a brief look at some of the celebrities who’ve been rushing to get themselves fixed up in the reefer biz, and this week we shall return to that subject. Why not? It does seem to be a source of nearly unlimited potency (not unlike some of these newer strains, but that’s another subject). Whether we’re talking about medical or recreational use, the legalization of pot is now one of the very few sure-fire bets in electoral politics today. With the national cannabisseur caucus growing by the hundreds every day, investing in the industry may be some of the easiest money to be made this side of political consulting.

It seems like every week there are new reports of celebrities either buying into marijuana companies or starting their own. Sometimes you see the name and think, “Well, that’s a bit unexpected.” But other times, it makes perfect sense, as in the case of former NBA forward Lamar Odom, whose life offers stark evidence that, as intoxicants go, you can do a whole lot worse than weed. You may recall that Odom was briefly a Kardashian spouse, which is enough to send anyone off in search of the strongest mind-altering substances available.

Odom’s drug problems go back way further, and led him to the brink of death four years ago when he suffered a cocaine-induced heart attack during a marathon $75,000 slump-busting session at the infamous Bunny Ranch (whose owner, the perennially greasy Dennis Hof, died in similar fashion last year). Odom was lucky, though, and has beaten back his demons with the help of weed. Last year, he launched Rich Soil Organic in California. The project is a joint venture between Odom and Camp Green, which grows organically with no pesticides or other chemicals added. His brand has expanded from weed itself to the highly lucrative paraphernalia market. Given their eponym’s personal history, Odom Vape Pens are the obvious choice for anyone wishing to be irie and ironic at the same time.

Another seemingly odd entrant into this brave new world is Mike Tyson, whose background needs no recitation here. The Nintendo Punch-Out star was recently photographed toking a foot-long joint with B-Real from Cypress Hill. I guess his legendary cardio is still on point. Tyson and his business partners bought a massive patch of land in–of course–California. Part of the plot will be used for growing cannabis; the rest will be set aside to develop a luxury weed-themed resort. For some reason, Tyson’s business plan makes me think of the television series Fantasy Island, which was before  your time, but surely this must be the most obvious reality-show idea ever. That young knockout kid has already got his 40 acres, but he won’t need a mule, because it’s legal. Fab.

Last, but not least, is The Man: Mr. Willie Hugh Nelson. Still sprightly as he approaches his 86th birthday, the legendary singer-songwriter is an industry pioneer, having already released his own “Willie’s Reserve” line of weed, edibles and accessories. Culturally, he has gone further than practically everyone in normalizing mainstream perceptions of pot-smokers.

His latest venture is his own brand of CBD-infused coffee beans, aptly named “Willie’s Remedy”–because you’ll need the hot beverage in the morning if you’re gonna party with that dude. With Juan Valdez recently deceased, the commercial possibilities are obvious.


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