Folio Weed: Celebrity Skins

Words by Shelton Hull

 

Much of the explosive growth that initially characterized the country’s cannabis market has certainly cooled off a bit, but that’s inevitable in any industry. Better a slow, consistent burn than a white-hot, inconsistent flame. Still, though, the industry continues to grow, here and elsewhere, and a big factor in that growth has been the involvement of celebrities. As we’ve seen with the liquor industry, celebrities have been enthusiastic about lending their names and images to the product in exchange for a steady, reliable source of pocket money, and who can blame them? Likewise, in a market that’s so famously saturated and intensely competitive, getting a celebrity involved is a surefire way to draw fresh eyes to your product, and it provides the kind of mainstream advertising that money just can’t buy.

In most cases, the star in question is probably not directly, intimately involved in producing the goods, but you can be sure that most are taking a very active role in the quality control aspect. And we, as consumers, will embrace anything that stands out from the pack, and there is no better way of doing that than to put a famous face on the label. Now, the vertical integration that is necessary to legally dispense in Florida has prevented any real celebrity involvement with any of the dispensaries available to us, so far, but it would seem inevitable that one of these firms will eventually get into the endorsement game. Until then, we can only discuss products that cannot be legally obtained here for now. 

If legalization finally happens in 2024, then you can be sure that all of these people will be ready to work this market, from day one, in addition to many others who aren’t in the business yet but soon will be. For the time being, cannabisseurs will have to just wait until their next vacation in one of the 21 states where logic has already prevailed. (Virginia is the closest, in case you were wondering.) Here’s your shopping list!

The No. 1 celebrity in the cannabis industry today is probably “Iron” Mike Tyson, who has made cannabis a key part of his remarkable post-retirement transformation into one of the most beloved men in America. Would anyone have imagined this, even 20 years ago? Hell no, not even him. By Tyson’s account, marijuana saved his life and probably a few other people’s lives, by extension. He’s even partnered with old enemy Evander Holyfield to market a line of gummies shaped like Holyfield’s ear, which Tyson famously bit off in June 1997. Watching these two men, who damn near killed each other in the ring, bonding over edibles is positively adorable, and their dynamic is even sweeter than the actual candy. 

He’s hardly alone, though. A full exploration of this topic would easily fill up half this issue, which even I will admit would be a total waste of space. A partial list of prominent pot profiteers, past and present, would include Jim Belushi, Kristen Bell, Berner, Justin Bieber, B-Real, 2 Chainz, Tommy Chong, David Crosby (R.I.P.) Terrell Davis, Snoop Dogg, Melissa Etheridge, Jane Fonda, Ron Funches, The Game, Trixie Garcia (daughter of Jerry), Ghostface, Whoopi Goldberg, GRONK, Chelsea Handler, Mickey Hart, Kate Hudson, Ice Cube, Jim Jones, Kourtney Kardashian, Wiz Khalifa, John Legend, Jenny Lewis, Cheech Marin, Method Man, Willie Nelson, Master P, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Payton, Paul Pierce, Megan Rapinoe, Seth Rogen, Run The Jewels, Carlos Santana, Martha Stewart, Bella Thorne, Lil Wayne, Jaleel “Steve Urkel” White, Montel Williams, Ricky Williams, Rebel Wilson and Jay-Z. There are even products featuring the likenesses of dead icons like Dennis Hopper, Jam Master Jay and, of course, Bob Marley (who has two sons, each running their own brands too). Every name is a story, in and of itself, but that’s not why we’re here today. As you may already know, I’m a big fan of professional wrestling, and I will happily jump at any opportunity to force my fandom on you, the readers. And so it goes with this month’s column, which was inspired by the greatest pro wrestler to ever walk the earth, one Richard Morgan Fliehr, aka Ric Flair. The “Nature Boy” is a natural fit for this market, since you could easily fill a shipping container with all the weed that fans have smoked while watching his matches over the past 50 years. His product line, “Ric Flair Drip.” is named after his 2017 collab with Offset and Metro Boomin, the song that cemented his position as a semi-ironic icon of Black culture.

Flair is hardly the only wrestling legend to get into the ganja game. Folks like “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash and Sean “Val Venis” Morley have their own products in circulation, as well as Rob Van Dam, whose affable stoner character (which is NOT a character), has been a fixture in wrestling for almost 30 years now. Frankly, given the kinds of vices employed by previous generations of wrestlers and the dozens of deaths that followed, it’s great to see so many positive outcomes in the business, and the easing of cannabis regulations has a big factor in that.

 

About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected].