Few things in life are more harmonious than Snoop Dogg and cannabis.
In recent years, however, the iconic rapper's love for marijuana has evolved from recreational fun to professional endeavors.
In late 2015, Snoop, along with media entrepreneur, Ted Chung, announced the creation of MERRY JANE, a cannabis-centric media company backed by strategist Guy Oseary and Casa Verde Capital. Under the banner of a marijuana leaf, the company hopes to serve a community they believe is all about inclusion.
“As more and more states legalize cannabis, we want to showcase that cannabis culture is totally inclusive,” said Jim Baudino, vice president of business development at MERRY JANE. “Over 70 percent of millennials favor marijuana legalization, and we want to continue to inform people that cannabis is the thread that ties this generation together. It’s something we want to celebrate.”
Because recreational cannabis use is still illegal in many states, finding a balance between content that entertains, informs and dispels old stereotypes is something the site is working to perfect. In addition to written content, MERRY JANE produces seven different original series, including Highly Productive (which aims to refute the myth of the lazy stoner by profiling well-established cannabis users) and GGN (a talk show hosted by Snoop Dogg himself).
“Staying relevant is obviously the goal, and providing content that engages the audience and educates them is what we’re aiming for,” said Baudino. “If someone who doesn’t use cannabis visits the site to watch Snoop Dogg talk about otters and stays to read about health benefits or politics, then the content is doing its job. We want to educate consumers by doing it in a way that’s consistent with their lifestyle.”
Despite its growing popularity around the world today, negative beliefs surrounding cannabis use prevail, and those opinions are something MERRY JANE is keenly aware of. For Baudino, joining MERRY JANE meant not only taking on his role of vice president of business development, but also as an educator.
“When I made the decision to join the company, I had to educate not only myself, but everyone close to me about the history of cannabis and the benefits of the plant," said Baudino. “I urge people to do the research before they make those stereotypical comments or create those negative perceptions of what may have been portrayed as stoner culture in the past.”
Though the company’s audience is global, California's looming vote on a bill that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis (Adult Use Marijuana Act or AUMA) offers MERRY JANE a perfect chance to cover news for readers who live in states where cannabis use is still illegal.
“Everyone around the world will be watching to see what happens with the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA) this election," said Baudino. "We feel like we need to help inform young voters on what exactly is going on.”
This summer, MERRY JANE will sponsor The High Road, a 33-city tour featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, with the goal of ramping up the site's awareness. Even as the Playa Vista-based startup continues to grow its community, the focus on creating awareness stays the same.
"Every person you take the time to educate represents one step closer to legalization," said Baudino. "Every child with epilepsy that can have their symptoms relieved with the help of cannabis — that’s what makes it worthwhile.
Photos via Facebook
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