Which Celebrities Are Cashing in on the Marijuana Industry?

By May Wilkerson 10/15/15

More and more celebrities are lining up to cash in on the booming marijuana industry.

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What do Melissa Etheridge, Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen all have in common? They’re all investing their money in Big Marijuana. As marijuana becomes legal in a growing number of states, more and more celebrities are lining up to cash in on the boom.

The list of celebs who have backed pot-related businesses includes some obvious candidates, like Snoop Dogg, actor Seth Rogen, and country musician Willie Nelson, all of whom have turned their appreciation of pot into their personal own brands. “A lot of the celebrities that have invested so far, this has been their hobby for a long time,” said Chris Walsh, the managing editor at Marijuana Business Daily. “Many are tied to cannabis on a personal level.”

Also to no one’s surprise, Bob Marley’s family has invested in a brand of weed named after the famous reggae singer. “There’s this very close link with the Marley family and cannabis,” said Tahira Rehmatullah, general manager at Marley Naturals. “It’s part of their heritage and culture.”

Some celebs have political reasons to get involved. Elizabeth Hogan, vice president of brand and communications at Willie Nelson’s marijuana business Willie’s Reserve, said the musician was drawn to the industry because of his strong opposition to marijuana criminalization. “For him, cannabis is a big lightning rod issue for that personal freedom,” she said.

But Calvin Broadus, the rapper known as Snoop Dogg, remains king of the cannabis industry. Earlier this year, Snoop founded weed-oriented venture capital fund, Casa Verde Capital (Spanish for green house). He intends to raise $25 million in funding to help marijuana start-ups, and he’s already invested in a pot delivery business called Eaze and an upcoming cannabis news site named Merry Jane, which he co-founded with Seth Rogen.

Some celebs, like Melissa Etheridge, have shown an interest in medical marijuana for personal reasons. The singer, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and received medical marijuana treatment, is helping develop a line of pot-infused wines.

The lucrative industry has also attracted some less-predictable celebs, like former pop star Nick Lachey, former talk-show host Montel Williams, and the NFL’s current linebacker Frostee Rucker. Cheryl Shuman, spokeswoman for Eaze and founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, said many more undisclosed celebrities have expressed interest in getting involved in the industry.

For these folks, the appeal of the industry may be financially motivated, since there is some serious money to be made in pot. “This is the biggest investment opportunity in our lifetime,” said Shuman. “Much bigger than the dot-com boom ever was.” A study from Marijuana Business Daily estimated that medical and recreational marijuana sales will reach $3.1 billion this year, nearly doubling since 2013 sales. Sales are expected to double again by 2018.

Likewise, celeb endorsements are good news for the pot business, since they’re likely to boost sales. Always wanted to smoke up with Willie Nelson? You probably won’t be able to. But at least you can buy his weed. “So many people talk about smoking with Willie being on their bucket list,” said Hogan, but his brand of marijuana “makes that possible in another way.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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