October 23, 2020
Forbes by Lindsey Bartlett
The cannabis industry welcomes another legendary rapper to its ranks.
Jay-Z, a 22-time Grammy award winner whose full name is Shawn Carter, announced today that he is launching Monogram, a cannabis brand made in partnership with the California brand Caliva. Jay-Z has served as Chief Brand Strategist for Caliva since July of 2019. Monogram marks the rapper’s inaugural foray into the cannabis marketplace with his own brand.
The cultivation room for Monogram, Jay-Z's new cannabis brand.
The brand will launch with another innovation: its own e-commerce platform dedicated exclusively to its singular product line. The cannabis line Monogram to be available in California, to start, and distributed through Caliva’s channels as well as through Monogram’s e-commerce platform. Caliva has three dispensary storefronts in California: Caliva in San Jose, Deli by Caliva also in San Jose, and Deli by Caliva in Bellflower, Los Angeles. Caliva recently launched a program with organizations Chrysalis and Success Centers, aiming to help mentor and offer resources to social equity applicants in California and beyond.
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“We are incredibly excited about Mr. Carter introducing MONOGRAM to the world,” says Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley. “When we partnered with Mr. Carter in 2019, it was our shared mission to create products that would redefine our category. We’ve worked over the past year to bring Mr. Carter's vision to life and are looking forward to sharing more in the weeks to come.”
The motto found on the Monogram website: “Redefining standards, redefining growth.” Mysteries yet to unfold include when the brand will extend beyond the California marketplace, as well as the exact strains and products that consumers will be able to try once it hits the market.
Photos from the brand include flower as well as pre-rolled joints, hinting to product offerings, but an exact product list has not yet been made public. The brand takes a craft approach as the flower is grown in “small batch,” its website explains. The growing process also includes, “extended humidity control, post-harvest care, trimming and flushing that guarantees our finished product is the best in can be.”
Caliva representatives say this is the “maiden brand” from Jay-Z, so consumers can may see more brands come online from Mr. Carter in the future.
Cannabis from Monogram pictured, hinting to both pre-rolls as well as flower in the brand's initial ... [+]MONOGRAM
Jay-Z is the latest rapper to venture onto cannabis shelves, but he is not alone.
Having your own marijuana brand is the trend-du-jour of artists who have supported cannabis legalization. They have all to some degree, through their lyrics and songs, worked to normalize the plant throughout their careers. The most well-known include Berner’s coveted brand Cookies, born in 2012 as a streetwear clothing line, and now evolved into an international lifestyle and cannabis brand; Snoop Dogg’s Leafs by Snoop founded in Colorado in 2015; B-Real, rapper of the group Cypress Hill, has a dispensary storefront and brand Dr. Greenthumb in Los Angeles, opened in 2019; Raekwon of the legendary group the Wu Tang Klan launched CitizenGrown just this year; and more. Consumers can even purchase hemp/CBD prerolls in a brand called Shaboink by Post Malone, and Drake has hinted to a Canadian cannabis brand called More Life on the horizon.
The cannabis marketplace awaits to see how Monogram will fit in to the mix, and what fans of Jay-Z can expect from its craft approach. Jay-Z has not replied to requests for comment at the time of this writing.