How Snoop Dogg Is Becoming a Marijuana Media Mogul
BuzzFeed reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis on Merry Jane's show, Highly Productive
Courtesy Merry Jane
Housed in a nondescript brick building in West Los Angeles, there’s a revolution brewing in marijuana media.
And Snoop Dogg is at the helm.
In late 2015, with the help of media entrepreneur Ted Chung, the hip-hop star launched Merry Jane, an entertainment company that creates pot-centric editorial and videos extolling the positive benefits of cannabis. Other big-name partners on board include Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, who haven’t been shy about their love of pot.
“We’re doing stories about cannabis taking a new role in pop culture,” Merry Jane editor-in-chief Noah Rubin says. “It’s about bringing to light that cannabis has been an integral component of ideas and innovation in our society. It’s a mainstream voice for cannabis.”
Merry Jane shares its Playa Vista office building with Snoop’s music team, Stampede Management, and their sister company, Cashmere Agency, a marketing and creative firm. One of Merry Jane's flagship streaming shows is Highly Productive, which has drawn coverage from major media outlets as diverse as Vogue, ESPN and Fast Company. The show is shot on location and at Snoop Dogg’s Inglewood production facility, the Compound. When needed, YouTube also provides Merry Jane with access to its nearby production facilities.
“Snoop really wanted to bring to the cannabis culture the class and sophistication it deserves,” Merry Jane senior in-house producer Georgette Angelos says. “The beautiful thing about what we’re doing is that everyone who brings us content ideas, it’s always about destigmatization.”
The show counters the image of cannabis users as losers who risk spending the most productive years of their careers in a pot-induced slacker haze. Instead, Highly Productive introduces audiences to successful smokers like Amanda Chicago Lewis, BuzzFeed’s national reporter covering drugs and drug policy.
BuzzFeed reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis on Merry Jane's show Highly Productive
Courtesy Merry Jane
Highly Productive shows a scene of Lewis covering the Los Angeles Citizens Task Force for Medical Cannabis Regulation. Another scene involves a trip to get a pre-rolled joint at La Brea Collective, which Lewis calls “one of the best weed dispensaries in L.A.” Later Lewis sits on a curb, smoking a joint and contemplating her career, saying that she strives to create “a safe and fair industry.” She also reflects on how marijuana affects her creative process. “Writing while high is good for a very particular kind of writing,” Lewis says in the episode.
Another episode focuses on Tony Magee, the founder of Petaluma beer maker Lagunitas Brewing Company. As CEO of a large company, Magee isn’t afraid to admit that he is a regular toker, especially during the quiet moments at first light.
“I wake and bake every morning,” Magee tells Highly Productive.
Magee founded the craft brewery in the 1990s, built its signature IPA beer into a highly desirable brand and then sold a 50 percent stake to Heineken in 2015. The successful businessman also recounts the virtues of smoking marijuana.
“People think that drugs make you more creative. They don’t,” Magee says. “But if you get it just right, you know, it helps you listen. It’s like that little spot between will and willingness. If I’m trying to think of what the business needs to do next, you gotta listen. At least that’s my approach.”
Seth Rogen and Snoop Dogg during a shoot for Merry Jane's show, GGN
Courtesy Merry Jane
Highly Productive is just the first in a line of offerings available at Merry Jane’s website and YouTube channel. Another Merry Jane program is the humorous Snoop Dogg–hosted talk show GGN, which recently featured his company partner-in-crime, Seth Rogen.
Rogen and Dogg have polished off a joint when Dogg asks Rogen what award he’d like to win. After a second, Rogen says he’s already been given the highest honor possible.
“I’ve won High Times’ Stoner of the Year award twice,” Rogen says. Dogg laughs and responds, “I’ve won it back-to-back.”
It’s just a little toke of Merry Jane’s humor.
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