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MARIJUANA

Are Celebrity Chefs the Next Wave in Marijuana Branding?

Celebrities have been quick to seize the branding opportunities offered by the $2.7 billion legal marijuana industry. But up to now, most of the celebrity branding deals have involved maverick musicians like Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and other rappers. (See TLL‘s live chart of celebrities that have lent their names to a marijuana brand.)

But a new kind of celebrity is now getting into the game: the celebrity chef. An award-winning pastry chef, cookbook author and restaurant purveyor from Chicago named Mindy Segal blazed the trail by partnering with cultivator Cresco Labs on a line of upscale marijuana-infused pastries, chocolate bars and drink mixes. What makes the deal unique is that Segal doesn’t merely lend her name to the products; she does the actual baking using the cannabis and THX extracts supplied by Cresco.

The products are currently available only in medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois. As required by state law, only patients with a valid prescription for a covered condition can buy them. But Cresco is also looking to distribute the line in other states, including California, Arizona and Nevada where medical marijuana is legal, as well as Colorado and Washington where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use. (See TLL‘s LAWSCAPE map depicting the legal status of marijuana in all 50 states.)

“Having someone with Mindy’s name brand and credibility enter the cannabis industry says a lot about where this industry is headed,” notes Cresco founder Charles Bachtell.

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