Celebrity-endorsed cannabis brands are selling way more weed than traditional unendorsed brands, according to a market analysis by MJBizDaily and Headset.
Athletes, musicians, and actors have rarely been shy about sharing their love of the leaf with the public. And as soon as US states started legalizing adult-use cannabis, celebs jumped at the chance to launch lucrative partnerships with legal weed firms. But is a celebrity endorsement really enough to convince a customer to pick one product over another? Seattle-based cannabis analytics firm Headset decided to find out.
Headset compared first-quarter sales figures from nearly two dozen celebrity-endorsed brands with data from over 1,300 California brands that don't have celebrity connections. Analysts estimated that the average unendorsed brand sold $26,591 worth of product every month during the first quarter of 2023. Ten of the most popular celebrity lines blew way past that average, bringing in anywhere from 2 to 30 times as much cash per month.
“It’s 2023, and influence is king,” Drew Punjabi, brand manager of 22Red, the cannabis brand founded by Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down, explained to MJBizDaily. “Celebrities have that equity with their fans and followers. In an industry where physical in-person retail sales are still paramount, it’s a huge advantage to be able to pull hundreds of people to a dispensary for a meet-and-greet or event tied to product promotions or new drops.”
With that in mind, it's no surprise that the biggest-selling brand is the one with the most celebrity backing. Cann Social Tonics, a low-dose infused beverage maker, has collected endorsements from Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebel Wilson, NBA player Baron Davis, and many more. This high-profile backing has helped Cann become the biggest-selling California cannabis brand so far this year. The company is racking up over $750,000 in monthly sales, about 30 times as much as the average non-endorsed brand.
“From my perspective, a number of celebrity-affiliated brands have been able to find success relative to the typical California cannabis brand,” said Headset data analyst Mitchell Laferla to MJBizDaily.
Seth Rogan's popular Houseplant brand is in second place this year, with over $377,000 in average monthly sales. Mike Tyson's Tyson 2.0 line is in third place with about $291,000 in monthly sales and Wiz Khalifa's KKE is fourth with almost $210,000. Bella Thorne's Forbidden Flowers brand, WWE legend Ric Flair's self-titled Drip line, NFL star Ricky Williams' Highsman brand, and Method Man's TICAL are all in the top 10 as well.
Some iconic California musicians have also helped boost their brands above average, too. Carlos Santana's Mirayo brand is number 5 on Headset's top-selling list this year, raking in nearly $135,000 in monthly sales. Garcia Hand Picked, founded by the family of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia, hit the number 7 spot with over $80,000 in monthly sales. But even with their high placement on the list, Garcia may still pull out of California’s highly competitive market.