Actor Jaleel White, perhaps best known as Steve Urkel from Family Matters, is launching his own personal cannabis brand to celebrate the link between Purple Urkle weed and the character it is named for.
White’s new brand ItsPurpl, developed in partnership with 710 Labs, will offer several variants of the popular Purple Urkle strain. To start, the company will be selling eighths of flower, vape pens with proprietary live resin pods, and 710's unique Noodle Doinks - hand-rolled joints using real fusilli noodles as the crutch. Eventually, the company also hopes to put edibles on the plate.
Purple Urkle strains started appearing on the black market in the early 2000s, and have grown in popularity ever since. Of course, companies have marketed Purple Urkle products using pictures or illustrations of White in his role as Urkel – but without the actor's consent. Now, after shutting down several attempts to exploit his image, White is ready to officially enter the cannabis space on his own terms.
“Friends and family always thought it was funny to send me bootlegged pics of myself featured on cannabis products in dispensaries across the country,” White told Forbes. “At first it was flattering but then it became frustrating seeing and hearing about Purple Urkle in the cannabis marketplace. The thing that always stood out to me was there [was] no clear brand leader for fire purple weed. It made no sense to me [that] no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?”
Many celebrities actively seek out partnerships with weed companies, but this particular collaboration actually happened more organically. 710 Labs founder Brad Melshenker told Forbes that he met White on a flight, and their conversation naturally turned to weed.
“710 has never been a brand that pursued celebrity deals or endorsements as our agenda has always been quality above all else,” he explained. “But over the years Jaleel and I became friends and organically our conversations developed into a project. He was on a journey to find the real Purple Urkel from back in the early 2000’s.”
Melshenker and White spent a year trying to track down the best possible Purple Urkle variants. Eventually, the team settled on Stefan, a cross between Purple Urkle and The White culitvars, as well as several of the hardiest phenotypes of Purple Urkle.
ItsPurpl products will launch in California's booming adult-use market this 4/20 (of course), but White and 710 hope to expand their market to other states, and even internationally. “I want every state in the union, to keep it all the way real,” said White to Forbes. “I envision product releases in Canada and Europe one day in the future. 'One day' has a funny way of happening a lot faster than we imagine.”