This article was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.
Celebrities and cannabis go together like Snoop Dogg and weed memes. Who will shake things up in the world of cannabis going into 2022? Cannabis & Tech Today spoke with a few notable personalities over the past year and these are 7 celebs you’ll want to keep an eye on.
Record Producer, Actor, DJ, legendary MC, and longtime cannabis advocate. Redman has worked cannabis into his art and his lifestyle and is now helping others medicate safely through his work with the FEC-approved National Cannabis Party. Redman’s passion for cannabis drove him to become a licensed patient consultant at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California.
“I’m fascinated at how far we’ve come with this plant from me just smoking it for recreational use. I just knew it was it for me back then when I first started smoking. I can’t just say I was smoking it and I knew it was going to be legalized one day, or that I knew it was going to be at this level, because no one knew it was going to be at this level, a billion dollar industry. But I can honestly say that when guys like us started smoking it and when we started putting it on the frontline, like Richard Lee and all the other great ones who put it on the frontline … we was on track.”
“Overall, I felt that I made a great choice in my life by dealing with this marijuana plant, because marijuana brings people together. Through the music, while everyone was talking about being a gangster … we just stuck to the talk of marijuana, what it brings, the [fun] it brings.”
CEO of Simply Pure Dispensary and the first African American woman to own a dispensary in Colorado. Her accolades include serving as a Navy veteran, a former political manager, a former member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee, and now a cannabis entrepreneur. James uses her years of experience in the cannabis industry to offer advice to women entrepreneurs.
“Women are always taught, you know, don’t promote yourself, don’t get big on yourself, but the rest of the world does. And I think a lot of times, we don’t get positions, or we don’t get funded, or we don’t get the salary that we wanted because we play so that people don’t feel bad around us. If you graduated from Harvard, girl, talk about that! Use words like ‘was in charge of,’ the power words behind it instead of ‘I was a team member.’ We have got to really put more force behind what it is that we do.”
An influential rapper with 16 albums under his belt, Berner has become a household name not just through his music, but also through his cannabis empire. Berner is the founder and CEO of international cannabis brand COOKIES, which frequently collaborates with well-known musicians and produces unique, award-winning strains.
“You see a lot of artists coming out now with herb and they don’t have any real lineage on what they’re releasing. What’s the strain? The reason my eyes look the way they do is I’m in a crazy hunt right now. We’re smoking through 30 different jars, trying to select the next flavor for our menu.”
“And so, a lot of work goes into it and I think that if music and cannabis are paired right, it can be powerful. But if it’s just like, ‘Hey, I’m an artist and I’m going to rap about some weed, put my name on it.’ It’s not so powerful. Music brings people together.”
“Cannabis brings people together. You make music with purpose and we breed cannabis with purpose. So it’s like, if we’re all putting our hearts in it, I work with people that put their heart in their shit. You know what I mean? So that’s the way I work.”
Co-founder of the Last Prisoner Project (LPP), a nonprofit organization fighting to free every prisoner from the war on drugs. DeAngelo also co-founded Harborside, a vertically integrated legal cannabis company in California. Here, he reflects on what he’s learned from current social justice activists fighting for change in the present climate.
“What’s happened in the last couple of years with these activists is, I’ve realized how much we have in common and how much my privilege has protected me in that same trade where everybody else did not have that protection.”
“It really opened my mind. We always had this commitment to freeing our brothers and sisters in prison. It didn’t matter what color your skin is, we always had that commitment. But, what I’ve learned from these activists is, it’s not enough to have commitment.”
“You have to have law, the power of law behind some of this. Until it is mandated that we create equity, until it is mandated that we create ownership, our work is not done. That’s why, not just with Last Prisoner Project, but I donate a certain amount of my time to social equity too, because [we have a] moral imperative. I really feel it in every cell of my being — that moral imperative.”
Australian comedian, actor, and the creative mind behind the cult-classic television show Wilfred, which depicts a man’s unusual friendship with his dog, Wilfred (played by Gann). His cannabis company was inspired by his television character.
Here, Gann explains the reasoning behind his marketing campaign, which involved a series of videos showcasing Wilfred on a voyage through space, acting as a cannabis “Johnny Appleseed,” planting cannabis seeds on a faraway planet.
“I’ve been an ancient astronaut theorist for many years, it’s been a very big passion of mine. One of the things I’ve found in my love of cannabis and love of ancient astronaut theory was I discovered this African tribe called the Dogon tribe … and their telling of the history of humanity was that we were brought here and designed and created, and that these extraterrestrials came from the Sirius star system and they brought cannabis to Earth as a gift for humanity to evolve their consciousness.”
American football player and winner of the Heisman trophy when he was just 21-years-old.
He is arguably one of the best football players of our time. Due to the physical pain and mental pressure that came with decades of intense training and playing, Williams sought relief in medical marijuana at a time when the general public’s opinion of the plant was still quite conservative.
“It’s interesting, the stigma was such that people assumed that I was a partier or a lazy pothead, but the truth is, cannabis helped me to heal. At the time, I didn’t understand this. There weren’t that many people talking about medicinal marijuana, but I had a sense that consuming cannabis was really contributing to my life. On the football field, it helped me to recover.”
“There’s something physically, emotionally, mentally, and in some ways, even spiritually. Because [being] a professional athlete, especially a professional football player, is quite difficult. But the truth is, all of us in our lives go through things. I don’t know if it’s human nature or what, but it seems like the only way that we truly grow, evolve, and transform is by going through some traumatic crisis or experience.”
“I started to realize while in football, that if I’m going to put my body in this kind of intensity, I need to also think about healing in that same level of intensity. After practice, I would go home and my body was hurting, and my ritual of rolling a joint and smoking a joint or two at night really helped my body to recover, but more importantly, it helped my mind and my spirit to recover.”
Award-winning journalist, public speaker, institutional investor, advocate, and now managing director and partner at Entourage Effect Capital. Sanchez has shared her insights on CNBC, Fox, CNN, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fortune. In this excerpt, she shares her knowledge about impact investing, which is the act of investing in a company that promotes positive environmental or social benefits.
“I think the cannabis industry, by and large, is an impact investment. I mean, the cannabis industry is each month bringing on about 10,000 new jobs. It’s one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the U.S. The cannabis industry also has a ton of environmental components to it, like bioremediation with hemp, the ability to do recycling.”
“There’s a little bit of a global plastics supply shock right now. Hemp can be used in some instances instead of plastic, so I think there’s actually a lot of reasons to invest in cannabis as an impact investment … I typically think if there’s a big problem to solve, such as bioremediation, a problem with toxicity in farmlands. Or opioids, people becoming too addicted. Or people wanting to change from alcohol to something a little bit healthier for them without the hangover or calories — those are big problems, and when you solve a big problem, you can usually get a big payout. So from that perspective, why wouldn’t you want to have an impact investment in your portfolio?”