Whoopi Goldberg, award-winning comedian, actress and co-host of The View, announced in an interview with “Vanity Fair” magazine that she is starting her own medical marijuana company for women suffering from menstrual cramps.
In starting this business, Goldberg becomes one of only a handful of Hollywood celebrities to jump into the increasingly lucrative world of legalized marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Company For Women
Other celebrities who have ventured into the legal marijuana business include singer Bob Marley’s family, producing Marley Natural products, Snoop Dogg (a proud smoker) who backs Leafs by Snoop and country singer Willie Nelson (also a proud smoker) who is developing Willie’s Reserve, a “premium cannabis lifestyle brand.”
Goldberg told USA TODAY that her new medical marijuana company received financial backing from three friends and family members, and that she will serve as chairwoman.
“I want to go nice and slow with this. I don’t want this to be a joke to people. It’s not a joke to women,” the “Sister Act” star said.
The new company, Maya & Whoopi, will offer four products: A balm, a tincture, sipping chocolate, and a bath soak. All are infused with marijuana and aim to reduce the pain and cramps from periods.
Goldberg emphasized to “Vanity Fair” that her products are intended to be medicinal. “I have grown granddaughters who have severe cramps, so I said this is what I want to work on,” she stated.
Whoopi & Maya cannabis products will only be available in California to people who have medical marijuana cards. At least five marijuana dispensaries around the state will stock the products on shelves within the next several weeks.
The Whoopi & Maya products won’t be available elsewhere because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
A Boost to Legal Marijuana Businesses Nationally
Goldberg’s decision to append her name to marijuana products is a significant boost to legal marijuana businesses in the country. That’s because she is one of the most mainstream names to date who isn’t necessarily associated with drug culture to venture into the legalized marijuana business.
Also, Goldberg is one of a few people of color who have actually taken the plunge in this burgeoning industry. Out of over 3,000 legal marijuana dispensaries in the U.S., fewer than three dozen (or one percent) of them are owned by African-Americans, according to a report by BuzzFeed.
Part of the reason why there are so few legal marijuana businesses in the country is because it’s difficult to obtain bank loans to start a marijuana business. Banks consider these businesses a risky venture. There is also paranoia about embracing an industry that is still perceived as criminal in many areas.
The more religiously conservative members of the Black community, for example, still perceive marijuana as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances. Reports of Black Americans being disproportionately arrested for possessing marijuana in the “war on drugs” hasn’t encouraged the Black community to embrace the marijuana industry either.
However, Goldberg venturing into a medical marijuana company for women helps shed some of the stigma associated with marijuana, and also adds some much needed credibility to the legalized marijuana industry as a whole.
The number of companies involved in legal marijuana (recreational and medicinal uses combined) is slowly growing.
With the slow but steady growth of the marijuana industry nationally, more business opportunities are opening up for savvy entrepreneurs (or “ganjapreneurs,” as they are sometimes called.)
Business Opportunities in the Legalized Marijuana Industry
According to data from ProCon.org, 23 states and the District of Columbia now allow doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana. And in just the last five years, eleven states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana with more states currently considering similar measures.
Michael Zaytsev, co-founder of High NY, a New York City cannabis meetup group focused on empowering cannabis entrepreneurs through networking and knowledge, says emerging business opportunities in the legalized marijuana industry are plenty.
“There are countless opportunities in this industry for entrepreneurs — tourism, compliance, education, branding, software, hardware, biotech and more,” he says.
A report by marijuana analysis and investment firms ArcView Group and New Frontier, concurs and predicts $6.7 billion in legal marijuana product sales in 2016, up from $5.4 billion legal marijuana product sales nationwide in 2015. Business growth opportunities and legal pot sales are expected to remain strong.
Whoopi Goldberg Photo via Shutterstock