Martha Stewart, the domestic diva who brought us hemp yarn is now partnering with Canada's Canopy Growth Corp. to develop new products containing cannabidiol (CBD).
First to come, she said, will be a "sensible product for pets." Neither Stewart nor Canopy Growth is saying if that would be a dog or cat treat, an infused pet food, or some other product. They also aren't saying when and where the products will go on sale, partly because they still face regulatory hurdles. Even Canada, which legalized marijuana on Oct. 17, 2018, is still working out the rules for CBD-infused foods.
Stewart's tie-in with Canopy may not be a surprise to her fans. In 2015, she baked brownies on “The Martha Stewart Show” with marijuana aficionado Snoop Dogg, and hinted that Snoop could add a little weed if he wanted to.
The next year, Stewart and Snoop began hosting the VH1 talk show “Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party.” Marijuana is often part of the banter. When they made sushi with smoked eel, for example, Stewart noted that the smoker would seem familiar to Snoop.
Bruce Linton, Canopy Growth's founder, chairman and co-CEO, said the company has been producing Snoop's Colorado-based Leafs by Snoop cannabis line — which includes THC-infused gummies and chocolate bars — for more than three years. Snoop has even performed on the company's lawn in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Linton said.
Linton said Snoops office facilitated an introduction to Stewart, who visited Canopy Growth's headquarters in fall 2018. He said Stewart asked many questions and liked the company's science-driven approach.
“She had to be sure we were competent because her reputation is of great value,” Linton told The Associated Press.
Linton said Stewart lends important credibility to the company as it helps pave the path to legal cannabis globally. It's not yet clear how her name will be used. Rules on celebrity endorsements and branding differ between Canada and the U.S., Linton said.
Kelly O'Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter, said there's not much risk to Stewart. If her reputation was going to take a blow, it would have happened when she partnered with Snoop Dogg. Instead, he said, that partnership has helped her look more youthful, relaxed and connected.
“She's already taken a walk on the wild side,” he said.
Stewart could also help Canopy Growth and the larger cannabis industry reach new audiences, says Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, the CEO of New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm. In a study last fall, New Frontier found that the fastest-growing group of cannabis users is older women whose kids are grown, not the tie-dyed hippies of old. They want brands they can trust with nice packaging — which is Stewart's expertise.
“She is nailing it. This is her audience,” Aguirre de Carcer said. “This is an underserved demographic that is growing very fast and is willing to pay.”
Stewart was unavailable for comment Feb. 28, 2019, according to a spokeswoman for Sequential Brands Group, Inc., which licenses Stewart's products.
— Dee-Ann Durbin