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Celebrities embrace commercial cannabis opportunities

Houseplant has been in high demand

When Seth Rogen’s website for cannabis and related paraphernalia opened to shoppers in Los Angeles last month, it crashed almost instantly from a surge in demand.

“We expected a lot of interest and admiration and traffic, but I would say the reality totally surpassed what our expectations were in a very positive way,” Houseplant Chief Executive Michael Mohr said.

Founded in 2019 by Rogen, Mohr, screenwriter Evan Goldberg, and producers Alex Mcatee and James Weaver, Chino Hills-based S49 Ventures, which does business as Houseplant, was exclusively offered to consumers in Canada until its Los Angeles debut on March 11. The website sells indica and sativa strains packaged in pink and orange tins, as well as ceramic ashtrays, lighters and vinyl records.

Rogen hails from Canada, but Mohr said the company’s plan from the get-go was to eventually enter the U.S. market through Los Angeles.

Now Houseplant is moving beyond ecommerce. The company announced last week that three of its cannabis strains will be sold at dispensaries on Melrose Avenue, as well as in Westwood, downtown’s Arts District and Studio City, along with 13 other California locations, starting April 15.

“This is just the beginning,” Rogen said in a video announcement from his Twitter account. “This is honestly my life’s work, and I’ve never been more excited about anything.”

Andrew De-Angelo of Andrew DeAngelo Consulting said celebrity investment in the cannabis industry is blossoming.

Goop Inc. Chief Executive Gwyneth Paltrow has called cannabis a “hero ingredient of the future” of wellness and in 2020 made an investment in Cann, a cannabis-infused beverage company based in Venice.

In February, former National Basketball Association player Chris Webber partnered with New York-based JW Asset Management to launch a $100 million private equity cannabis fund to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs. That same month, Ice Cube announced a partnership with Caviar Gold on a new line of cannabis products called “Fryday Kush.”

At Belushi’s Farm in southern Oregon, actor Jim Belushi grows marijuana plants on 93 acres along the Rogue River. A handful of strains, along with a few products made from his crop and labeled under various brand names — including “The Blues Brothers”— are sold in Oregon, Colorado and Illinois.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Ethan McDowell on Los Angeles Business Journal

Published: April 19, 2021

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