Cheech and Chong looking for a Canadian partner

Published on January 7, 2021 by oz. staff

Will we soon be seeing Cheech and Chong weed in Canada?

Tommy Chong tweeted Thursday morning that the half-baked comedy duo are working on planting cannabis roots in Canada, but they are struggling because of strict measures in The Cannabis Act against celebrity endorsements.

That hasn’t stopped Seth Rogen from entering the fray with Houseplant, or Snoop Dogg from branding under LBS (Leaves by Snoop)—both of whom work with Canopy Growth Corp. The Tragically Hip partnered in the creation of Up Cannabis.

Cheech and Chong do have a bit of a foothold. Their branded bongs are sold in a number of Canadian cannabis retail stores, including provincially run BC Cannabis Stores.

A Canadian himself, Chong, 82, was born in Edmonton and grew up in Calgary. He built a career in entertainment, spending time and creative energy in Vancouver—where he eventually met Cheech Marin. The duo hit mainstream success in the 1970s and 1980s with their stand-up comedy routines, studio recordings, and films. They featured the pair’s love for cannabis.

The roadblock is in the strict regulation of the legal industry.

According to the The Cannabis Act: “It is prohibited to promote cannabis by means of a testimonial or endorsement and by depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional.”

Furthermore, brands can’t engage in any form of sponsorship of a famous celebrity, athlete or performer.

Canadian cannabis marketing agency ADCANN says licensed producers have found loopholes, including partnership, ownership, and product creation by the celebrity.

However, ADCANN says there isn’t a clear payoff.

“Since the celebrities involved in these companies are heavily restricted in what they are able to communicate about their brands and products, it is questionable whether these partnerships produce a reasonable return on investment for either side,” says the agency. “There is currently no data to support that celebrity brands have more awareness among consumers or that at they are beating non-celebrity cannabis brands in sales.”

And failure to launch can hurt.

Last year, Organigram took a hit when it ran afoul of Health Canada regulations with its Trailer Park Buds brand. The company was forced to rebrand right after launching its Trailer Park Boys’ themed weed, with strain names like Two Birds Sativa and Itodasco Indica.