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high times for snoop’s online cannabis start-up


Image via James St. John

Image via James St. John

Snoop Dogg and business partner, Ted Chung, have announced a new online project called Merry Jane.

Launching in October, the website will be a portal for all things cannabis. It is tipped to feature interactive elements such as a dispensary-mapping service and consumer guides. It will also host media content, including the series Deflowered, an interview show in which we enjoy guests’ life stories while they enjoy a few spliffs. The first episode, featuring two former marines discussing alternative medicine, is available here.

At TechCrunch Disrupt, the conference in San Francisco where the website was officially announced, Snoop proclaimed the project as a ‘premier media platform at the intersection of cannabis and pop culture’.

‘After watching where the cannabis industry is headed, I wanted to create a platform that will take this movement further by creating a destination where people could find fresh content,’ he continues, ‘Merry Jane is a game-changing platform for pop culture. It’s a new frontier y’all!’

Curious web surfers can sign up to receive early access to the site, which is allowing 420 users access per day.

The start-up is believed to have cost around $25 million, with backers ranging from Seth Rogen, to venture capital firm Casa Verde. Casa Verde, I should note, translates to ‘green house’ and its founding member is, coincidentally, Snoop himself.

As the legalisation of marijuana slowly spreads across the US and South America, this new project is at the forefront of the commercialization of cannabis. Snoop Dogg, who is at the point of his career where he can, among many many other things, appear on The Price is Right with no discernible impact to his image, stands to become one of the first successful cannabis entrepreneurs.

The state of Colorado recently reported that their marijuana revenue has already doubled from the previous year, reaching a whooping $73.5 million dollars – and its only September. Smoking weed has moved from the smoky dorms of 90s movies and music videos, to an industry that ranges from tourism to leisure, and of course, medicine.

The possibilities for this new industry have been jumped on by creative small businesses. You can now stay in marijuana-friendly bud’n’breakfasts in either Denver or Seattle, confident in the knowledge that the free breakfasts will satisfy your munchies. Or, if you don’t feel like moving, you can contact one of the enterprising start-ups offering to courier a bag to your door.

And in Australia? Although the Australian Drug Foundation estimates that nearly 35% of us have lit up at some point in our lives, it doesn’t look like there’ll be an Australian branch of Merry Jane any time soon.

Until then, we can tide ourselves over with the website’s namesake love song to Cannabis sativa.

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