Seth Rogen on his potting business: “Most people can include weed in their lives” cannabis

Seth Rogen is known for being an actor, writer, producer and cannabis lover. So much so that with friends and investors, including Evan Goldberg and Mikey Moore, he started a company in 2019 called Houseplant, which not only distributes cannabis products through retailers in California, but also sells custom home accessories from cannabis, from ashtrays to table lighters, with some of the items designed by Rogen himself.

Eighteen states have legalized cannabis for adult use, but it is still considered illegal under federal law in half the country. So what is it like to start and grow a business where its main product is still largely banned? Both Rogen and Moore – who is the company’s CEO – shared their thoughts with me recently. Some of their answers have been edited.

Where did the idea for the home goods business come from?

ROGEN: As a person who smokes a lot of weed, I started collecting antique ashtrays and lighters, table lighters and things like that, things that were from an era where smoking wasn’t stigmatized the way it was because they were made for cigarettes. And indeed that is where much of the thought process comes from. Smoking was a fad that drew many great minds to the things around him, ashtrays and things like that. Then people realized that smoking cigarettes was very unhealthy and these things went out of style. Now with the growth of weeds, there seems to be a new place for these things. I started collecting them, and then we started thinking about how we could create our own, newer versions of the kinds of things I was somehow reassigning, things specifically made for people with my lifestyle.

What would you say to people who don’t want to buy an ashtray on a cannabis site, for example?

ROGEN: Why should it be worse to go to a cannabis place than to go to a restaurant that serves alcohol? It doesn’t have to be like you don’t go to Applebee because they have beer. I want to live in a world where someone lives in the reality that there is no reason not to go to a cannabis site to buy an ashtray. I think this stigmatization of weed and the idea that this is an illegal thing that is somehow more dangerous than most accepted American and Canadian activities, such as drinking, is exactly what we are working against.

Rogen’s collection of retro ashtrays and lighters inspired some of his company’s products. Photo: Sam Melcher

Have you had entrepreneurial experience before is this new and what did you learn?

ROGEN: I’ve found that it’s not incredibly different from making movies in many ways, and making movies is entrepreneurial. I think the reason people like our movies is that we’re good at what we are in our products. And with our houseplant products, we’re really pursuing exactly the same thing. I think that when you keep one of our products, you can tell a lot about us. You can say what we like, what we don’t like, what we are interested in and what we are not interested in. I’ve learned that while we make products like movies, some of us know they’re going to be big hits and we can invest a lot more in them. Some of them were like maybe people will like that, who knows? If you do Neighbors, you’re like, yes, it will work. If you’re doing The Disaster Artist, it’s a little weirder, so who knows? It’s a similar philosophy with our products, but if nothing else, and just like many of our movies, we’re pleasantly surprised at how many people respond to them.

The houseplant includes a social message with the Marijuana and Cannabis Policy Project without a cell, and the lives of blacks matter. As a businessman, are you worried about not alienating your customers because of your obvious social position?

ROGEN: I urge them not to buy our products. I think weed is a political thing in America right now, and if you pretend it isn’t, it’s a political position where you take a position of denying reality and ignoring the real political climate we live in right now and don’t want to do. this ..

In general, I am not afraid of losing our customers because they have their say and that we are true to what we believe. I haven’t seen much evidence that people don’t actually see things or trade things if they don’t like the person who runs them, if they actually want something, you know. I think the fear is that people are not expressing their opinion with the consequences that this could harm your business. I don’t know if it’s really true.

What are some of the challenges in starting and running a cannabis company?

MOHR: Many people do not realize that this is a $ 25 billion industry, and unfortunately the regulatory and legislative climate is not in line with public sentiment. As a result, the constraints that continue to exist make the management of a cannabis company much more challenging. This is an incredible challenge for small businesses and equity holders who go into space and think they have this great opportunity in front of them, which they do, but then they have to deal with money, pay all that extra money for security and then to transport cash around their country. And although it is still illegal at the federal level, the federal government still taxes it, and the tax code makes it incredibly burdensome for companies in our area.

What advice do you have for those who want to enter an industry that is controversial, such as the cannabis industry?

MOHR: If you plan to switch to cannabis or any new industry like it, make sure you do it for the right reasons, not just because you want to make an extra buck. You will earn a lot more extra money by doing something you are passionate about and believe in. The cannabis industry is a thriving industry that has many, many different aspects. So there are completely different areas where people can get involved in the cannabis space, from growing to marketing to developing products.

Where do you see yourself and the industry in five to seven years?

MOHR: The unpleasant reality is that the overall cannabis reform is not right here, on our doorstep.

ROGEN: I’m not sure. If you asked me five years ago where we would be, I would not say where we are now, I will tell you so much. We live in unpredictable times. I hope we live in a world where people contextualize grass, the way it should be contextualized in their lives. I hope weed drinks are sold in bars and restaurants. I hope the grass is federally legal. I hope people understand that there is no reason not to. And I hope that people are slowly realizing that the things they have been told about this are not true, and that most people, if not all, can somehow incorporate weed into their lives, which would be positive. Be it for sleep or relaxation or CBD for muscle pain and things like that. It has anti-inflammatory effects, I think it’s something that has huge potential to help a huge number of people and I hope there is an opportunity to do that.

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