THE NEW / OLD FACE OF WEED BERNER/SNOOP

Berner is a special guest for the Saturday program at the New West Summit, the first-ever cannabis industry conference to zero in on trends in technology, media, and finance.

The intersection of cannabis and music is more exciting than ever — with celebrity branded strains from artists like Wiz Khalifa, B-Real and Willie Nelson, to Snoop Dogg’s new media portal Merry Jane.

By contrast, Berner’s marijuana marketing projects already gross more than $10 million annually, he states.

They include a line of branded medical cannabis dispensaries; the Cookies Clothing urban streetwear line with flagship retail shop on Haight St.; the Hemp20 vitamin drink; and partnerships with RAW papers and Santa Cruz Shredder accessories.

“This documentary series portrays the real culture and stories driving the legalization movement across the world – and especially in our backyard,” said Berner. “As a San Francisco and Northern California native, it’s only right that I debut “Marijuana Mania” at the New West Summit to some of the most influential players in cannabis today sitting here as my hometown crowd.”

Berner’s said he used crowdsourcing and a lean startup approach to rapidly produce the high-quality series. Future episodes take Berner to hotbeds of global cannabis culture, including Spain, and Jamaica.

Berner is a lifelong storyteller, with 14 music albums. He’s signed to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang, and has tracks music with Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, B-Real of Cypress Hill. He released a new EP with Cam’ron Nov. 10.

During his New West Summit talk, he’ll advocate respecting and including the once-underground industry members, hands-on CEO involvement, and a focus on business fundamentals.

The first annual, two-day, New West Summit includes 20 panels, 36 exhibitors, 60 panelists, and 1,000 CEOs, and founders from cannabis, tech, media and finance — all mixing at their West Coast epicenter, downtown San Francisco.

New West Summit is a production of New West Ventures’ Dean Arbit (TruMedia) and Jim McAlpine (The 420 Games, Snowbomb). Arbit said, “San Francisco is the global epicenter of cannabis culture, technology, media and finance, and this screening is a real crystallization of what’s going on.”

The Summit’s “Intersection of Cannabis+Music” panel Saturday at 12 p.m. will feature Will Bronson, Active Management’s manager for Berner, Run The Jewels, Killer Mike and Kool John, as well as SF musician Christopher Willits.

Drone cam footage of the Cookies garden illustrates the massive size of the plants.

San Francisco is feeling the Bern is more ways than one this November.

Billboard Top 10 Hip-Hop star and marijuana business mogul, Berner, debuts a documentary film on the origin of the blockbuster cannabis strain ‘Cookies’ to a live crowd of 1,000 technologists, venture capitalists, media and cannabis entrepreneurs November 21 in downtown San Francisco.

Berner is shopping an Anthony Bourdain-style cannabis travelog series called “Marijuana Mania”, to CEOs from tech, venture capital, media and cannabis at the New West Summit at the Parc 55 hotel next week. Smell the Truth is a media sponsor of New West.

In the film, Berner travels to rural California, links up with the creators of Girl Scout Cookies, tours farms, harvests amazing cannabis, and pollinates a new hybrid.

The footage contains never-before-seen interviews with the horticulturalists behind the million-dollar, blockbuster strain and brand. After the Saturday screening, Berner sits for a 15-minute Q&A on the Future of Branding, the rise of Cookies.

Snoop can’t technically own the Leafs By Snoop brand, because he’s not a Colorado resident.

“Since I’ve been at the forefront of this movement for over 20 years now, I’m a master of marijuana,” Snoop said. “So naturally, my people can trust that I picked out the finest, freshest products in the game. Let’s medicate, elevate and put it in the air.”

The Leafs By Snoop bud offerings include eight strains of marijuana flower — Cali Kush, Northern Lights, Blueberry Dream and others — sold as pre-packaged eighths, quarters and ounces. The same eight strains are available as concentrates, both wax and shatter. And the Leafs By Snoop edibles line includes six different chocolate bar flavors, four types of cannabis drops, two gummies flavors, four fruit chews options and what Snoop calls “peanut butter gems.”

“Leafs By Snoop is truly the first mainstream cannabis brand in the world and proud to be a pioneer,” Snoop said. “LBS is blazing a trail for the industry.”

Monday’s Leafs By Snoop launch party was full of local and national media, LivWell VIPs as well as a few other industry players. A couple bags of Popeye’s Chicken arrived at the house and were taken downstairs to the green room about a half-hour before Snoop took the stage, triggering chuckles amid the crowd. But when Snoop came upstairs to greet the house party a few minutes later, he spoke for a few minutes — on his activism and his love of Colorado — and introduced a promotional video (embedded below), which showed off the Leafs By Snoop brand.

Rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg packs bowls of his new Leafs By Snoop marijuana flower for VIPs at the new cannabis brand's extravagant launch party on Nov. 9 in Colorado. (Leafs By Snoop)
Rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg packs bowls of his new Leafs By Snoop marijuana flower for VIPs at the new cannabis brand’s extravagant launch party on Nov. 9 in Colorado. (Leafs By Snoop)

Then Snoop led around 30 people into a curtained-off room, where he packed and lit bowls for the curious. Empty boxes of the Leafs By Snoop edibles and concentrates were displayed on the table with the cannabis flower. Three young women in Leafs By Snoop tank tops expertly rolled blunts for the MC — and for the crowd.

A young woman asked Snoop if she could light a bowl for him, and the rapper obliged — and after he took a deep hit, he did a little dance to the delight of the crowd. Snoop stayed in the product room, seemingly happily serving up the product to anyone out for a hit, for 15-20 minutes — longer than anyone expected — and then he retreated downstairs, only to emerge 20 minutes later to take a couple photos and then take the decks as DJ Snoopadelic.

Snoopadelic’s truncated DJ set — in a suburban Denver home with fewer than 50-60 people in the living area — included tracks from Prince, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Rihanna and James Brown. The pinnacle of his set came in the form of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” where Snoop rapped his own rhymes that famously start the song. When Dre’s lyrics took over, Snoop danced along — playing along with the small audience’s fantasy of seeing a Snoop Dogg show in a large suburban home belonging to a legal weed czar.

The Leafs By Snoop deal is a substantial one for LivWell, which has suffered some significant hits to its reputation in the last 15 months. In August 2014, LivWell was sued by multiple plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit that alleged the company distributed marijuana-infused chocolates — instead of the non-infused chocolates it intended to give away as samples — to visitors at that year’s Denver County Fair. That lawsuit was settled in June.

A LivWell employee inspects marijuana plants on Aug. 13 at a facility in Denver. LivWell operates one of the largest growhouses in the country. (Denver Post file)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s