Canopy Growth buys more celebrity loyalty with Drake deal

The Canadian icon is the latest in a long line of celebrities under the Canopy Growth umbrella – but what does he know about cannabis?

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The worst-kept secret in the weed industry was formally announced on Thursday. Drake is getting into the pot game and teaming up with Canopy Growth to launch More Life Growth.

The deal was all but confirmed by the hip-hop press earlier in the week. They were the first to report that one of Drake’s companies, Dream Crew IP, had registered the More Life brand in the U.S. and Canada to sell cannabis and cannabis swag. Drake had bouquets of flowers with cryptic messages delivered to a handful of radio stations and press outlets to keep rumours swirling.

The terms of the venture were outlined in a press statement. Canopy has forked over quite a bit for the 6ix God. The deal includes a 60-40 split in control of More Life and ownership of an entire 50,000 square foot growing facility in Scarborough.

“The idea of being able to build something special in an industry that is ever-growing has been inspiring,” said Drake, in a statement. “More Life, and More Blessing.”

Essentially, Canopy gifted Drake a cannabis company, staff and all. Canopy will carry the costs while Drake enjoys the bulk of company control. These are deeply generous terms that, if you read the cannabis leaves, show how badly Canopy wanted (needed?) a celebrity boost.

Canopy’s interim president Mark Zekulin offered a rather stock endorsement of the deal.

Drake, he said, “is uniquely positioned to bring his innovative eye to the recreational cannabis industry.”

Drake has a flair for marketing. He may also know something about whiskey – his Virginia Black brand has received middling reviews. But he has zero experience in the cannabis industry.

Any expectations that Drake can grow any premium bud should be tempered. He’s only the latest in a long line of celebrities under the Canopy Growth umbrella. Seth Rogen, Snoop Dogg, and Martha Stewart all have their own Canopy brands. The formula smells basically the same – get Canopy to grow weed, slap a fancy label on it, and call it a day.

None of the weed that Canopy grows for Seth Rogen or Snoop has played to particularly good reviews. But then again, that’s not what Canopy is paying for. Celebrity brands are a convenient way around Canadian advertising rules. Licensed Producers may not be able to get celebrity endorsements, but they can certainly sell their brands.

If Drake was looking to make a splash with an innovative new partnership, it’s hard to see how this deal is it.

For the time being, however, it seems to be accomplishing what it set out to do. Investors are jazzed about all the “brand synergies” and “content opportunities.”

“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know Drake,” said one investor to Bloomberg. “[His] authenticity is unlike any other of a celebrity we’ve seen today,” added another.

That may be true, but what are the odds that can be turned into customers?









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