Seeing green: Celebrities selling marijuana
Hollywood has long been addicted to a good marijuana joke. And now that pot is legal for recreational use in nine states (with more on the horizon), some celebrities are laughing all the way to the bank.
And who better than Tommy Chong to be one of the first so-called "ganjapreneurs"?
It's a natural fit given he gladly let his career go "up in smoke." He and his partner Cheech Marin practically invented the stoner comedy.
Tracy asked, "How much of what you have in this life is due to [marijuana]?"
"Everything!" Chong replied. "All the movies, all the records, my nice house in the Palisades. My Tesla. You look at me, I'm a high school dropout. But marijuana, really, it's been responsible for everything."
Includingfor selling glass bongs on the internet.
But now he's legit – selling a line of organically-grown cannabis called Chong's Choice. And as the face of the brand, well, he has to make sure it's good.
"I'm the tester," he said. "I'm the guy that smells it, feels it, puts it in my pipe and smoke it. … Quality control all the way!"
When asked if it's hard to find high-quality plants, Chong laughed, "Only if you're really high!"
Chong's Choice is for sale in six states, and as with any other product, name recognition matters.
Tracy asked, "Do you think somebody who walks into a store like this for the first time and sees your name on something says, 'Okay, I know him. I trust this'?"
"Absolutely. Absolutely," Chong replied. "Especially with me, you know, they know the movies, they know me from all sorts of, like, 'Dancing with the Stars,' for instance? I'm quite sure that, subliminally, a lot of those old guys are goin', 'Geez, I better start smokin' some pot, too!'"
From fashion to fragrance, to beverages both hard and soft, celebrity sells. And with marijuana sales expected to reach $8-10 billion by the end of this year, and projected to double to $20 billion by 2022, more celebs are investing money and lending their names to get a foothold in this growing market.
Chris Walsh, founding editor of Marijuana Business Daily (yes, there is such a thing), said, "This was an industry in the shadows. It was all around on the black market for many decades. It kind of rose up very quickly. A lot of people were shocked by how fast it materialized.
"You get someone who's not as familiar with marijuana – maybe they're a tourist, maybe they're a local, they haven't done it since college – and they go into a store and there are 50 jars with different strains, and they're all named something different."
He says celebrities such as Chong, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog and even Whoopi Goldberg are helping marijuana go mainstream.
Continue reading at CBSNews.com.