Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg add cannabis beverages to their Houseplant portfolio

Their creative partnership dates back to when they were 13-year-old Vancouver schoolboys

Seth-Rogen-Evan-Goldberg

Houseplant's new grapefruit-flavoured cannabis-infused sparkling water is just the latest in a long line of collaborations between Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.

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“I could talk about weed for literally 10 hours straight,” Seth Rogen says. Then he laughs, of course. There’s no mistaking Rogen’s laugh for anyone else’s. It’s loud, it’s boisterous, and it’s ever-present. Life itself seems to genuinely amuse the man.

Rogen doesn’t actually have 10 hours to talk about weed today, though. Joined on a Zoom call by his Houseplant business partner, Evan Goldberg, and the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, Haneen Davies, Rogen has about 30 minutes to extoll the virtues of Houseplant’s newest offering, a grapefruit-flavoured cannabis beverage, to a handful of journalists across Canada.

This isn’t Rogen and Goldberg’s first joint venture. As the official story goes, their creative partnership dates back to when they were 13-year-old Vancouver schoolboys. That’s when they conceived of their first screenplay, which would eventually become the hit 2007 feature Superbad. Since then the duo has given the world such films as Knocked Up, This Is the End, and An American Pickle. In 2011, Rogen and Goldberg founded their own production company, Point Grey Pictures, named after their high school.

Branching out with Houseplant

Last year, the enterprising pair launched a cannabis brand, Houseplant, which rolled out its first beverages earlier this year. Available in two citrus flavours—lemon and grapefruit, the drinks are sparkling water infused 2.5 mg of sativa-dominant THC.

Houseplant Grapefruit is a big seller, especially in British Columbia. That doesn’t surprise Rogen. He says the canned beverages are a non-intimidating alternative for canna-curious individuals. Specifically, those who are put off by the idea of smoking a joint. Not to mention those who might not be able to tell one end of a vape pen from the other.

“I imagine in B.C. there are people who are friends with people who smoke a lot of weed, who themselves want to partake in some way but just haven’t found the right way for them,” he says. “And I think what’s exciting about our drink, from feedback I’ve been getting, is that it’s both a good entry point and something that experienced users seem to enjoy.”

Houseplant’s cannabis-infused sparkling water is available in grapefruit and lemon flavours.

A brand with an agenda

Giving the uninitiated entry points into the world of weed is only one part of Houseplant’s agenda. And, make no mistake about it, the brand most certainly does have an agenda.

Rogen and Goldberg conceived of Houseplant as a way to elevate the status of cannabis in the marketplace. That includes making it aesthetically appealing. The brand’s visual identity features soothing blocks of solid colour and simple but pleasing typography. Some of its packaging is designed to resemble books and vintage VHS cassettes. Even the most style-conscious consumer won’t think twice about leaving Houseplant’s products out in plain sight.

“We would always joke that it’s something that you would generally hide under your coffee table,” Rogen says. “And maybe it could be something that you display on your shelf instead. And that just spoke to the overall desire we had to treat weed with reverence—not like some sort of inferior product in any way, shape, or form, but something that we truly believe is one of the best products available.”

Destigmatizing cannabis use

As part of its mission to destigmatize, even normalize, cannabis use, Houseplant supports organizations working to reform marijuana laws and expunge convictions for minor cannabis-related offences.

“Weed should have never been illegal in the first place,” Rogen argues.” It only was illegal for racially motivated and racist reasons—to control minority populations. That’s the only reason it was ever illegal. And we can’t pretend that we are in an industry that has not lived in that shadow for a long time. I think if there’s one problem I have with Canada’s language around its legalization, it’s that it’s treating it as though it’s a concession. And it should not be. It should never have been illegal in the first place, and this is a righting of wrongs, not a concession to some illicit market, you know.”

Adds Goldberg: “We’re very proud that Canada legalized it. But it’s been done in a way where there are financial barriers to entry and everything’s very difficult for people who aren’t giant corporations. There’s a lot of work in Canada that still needs to be done.”

Making life more livable

That work is necessary because, as Rogen argues, cannabis isn’t a vice. It is, he contends, something he uses to make life in these crazy times more livable.

“Weed has been, I would say, an integral part of our day-to-day lives for the last 20 years,” he says. “It’s something that I personally have always felt very passionate about talking about, and trying to erase as much of the stigma associated with it as humanly possible.

“As I became someone with more notoriety, I was always very happy to talk about how I did not think being a successful, functional, emotionally available member of society and being someone who smokes weed all day every day were mutually exclusive,” Rogen concludes—with a hearty laugh, of course.

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