Seth Rogen Wants to Get You High
The Growth of a Nation
Beside me, Ali laid out her spread of weed paraphernalia on the tattered blanket we fished out of her car. It, along with the car and us, reeked of stale smoke and had green crumbs netted in its threads. Even the smell of mud, bug spray, and freshwater couldn’t mask that skunk.
“This stuff is so good, Seth Rogen would endorse it.” She laughed, filling her small bubbler and passing it to me. “Greens for the lady.”
We smoked. Got high. Watched the water lap against the rocks and joked about the days when weed would be legal and we didn’t have to hide it, didn’t have to wait hours for our dealer to text us back with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. There on the banks of the river with no name, we could dream of a day when people like Seth Rogen, Snoop Dogg, and other successful stoners ruled the world.
Now that day has come, and I’m not so sure my feelings are still the same when it comes to a celebrity—especially one like Seth Rogen—owning a weed company.
Like the rocks that studded the water bed, celebrities and high named individuals getting into the cannabis industry means great change, disruption.
Let’s Camp Out on the Topic
On December 6, 2012, Washington State became the first state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. It was a momentous moment for stoners everywhere, not just where I lived. Because if Washington could make weed a successful industry, then the rest of the states would follow.
It’s nothing new that the minds of the people who run our country sway to the green. Money that is. In the first year of stores being open, Washington raked in $65 million in tax revenue alone and a total of over $260 million in sales. The most recent report on earnings has my state at $395 million in sales during 2019.
Since the pandemic sent a lot of people home and kept them there for long periods of time, many didn’t have anything to do besides get high and watch reruns of Tiger King while doomscrolling. That coupled with the fact that people were spending less on going out, meant that more people have excess money to spend. Because of this, 2020 is expected to see a major jump in weed revenue across the country since now over 10 states have legalized cannabis.
Along with the average American being quarantined in their home, the rich of the world were able to capitalize and make a pretty penny off of the chaos of Covid-19. With the extra cash flow, many celebrities and titans of industry began working harder and faster on their dreams.
One of those individuals being the world’s favorite stoner, Seth Rogen.
Rogen’s been a stoner forever. I don’t really know of a time when he wasn’t talking about weed, playing a stoner, or being a stoner on camera in real life. It’s his brand really. He’s the actor who wants to get you high. In 2019, he actually started doing just that, getting people high by open up his own weed company.
If you’re an investor, then you know of Canopy Growth Corp, the Canadian-based cannabis company. Recently it’s seen a lot of growth because of their partnership with Rogen who opened up his weed company Houseplant first in Canada back in 2019. After a successful run there, Rogen decided to make his long-time dream of owning a weed store in America a reality.
Rogen isn’t the first celebrity to mix his on-screen brand with his real-life business. Cheech and Chong, stoners of a different era, are also stepping into the recreational weed industry. Cheech and Chong dispensaries, unlike Seth Rogen’s weed company, will be spread out across America and not just available in California when they open.
However, when Rogen announced the opening of his cannabis store Houseplant on social media, it actually broke the internet. Or at least, it crashed his store’s site because of the heavy traffic it received.
Over 4 million views are registered on the announcement video on Twitter alone and another 3 million on the Instagram announcement. It shows a very stoned and happy Seth Rogen sitting behind a gorgeous nug resting on top of a Houseplant weed accessory. If even half of the people who watched, liked or commented on the video flock to his shop or order off his site, Rogen’s pot store will take in more than the whole of Washington state alone.
That’s quite a fork in the river for small retailers.
Designer Drugs, Designer Lives, and the Ones Forgotten
Seth Rogen’s weed company Houseplant is catering to a very specific type of stoner. The new-new stoners who will drop thousands on weed for house parties, business trips, weddings, graduation parties, promotion announcements, and more.
These people want to live the designer social media life that’s spent in the haze of brand names, vape blooms, and the glittery lights. Seth Rogen and Houseplant can deliver that. With the aesthetically pleasing and simple design of their products and a face like Rogen’s onboard, Houseplant is set to change the way celebrities, consumers, and America interacts with cannabis.
While the elite are going to rush to keep up with the incoming boom in the industry that Rogen’s Houseplant and the after-pandemic economic upturn will bring, the ones who, like me and my friend Ali, smoked before it was legal but unlike us were caught, prosecuted, and placed in an unjust system that is aimed to tarnish and stunt their lives will wait behind bars. They wait to be released for what is now making celebrities, entrepreneurs, and the government that put them away rich.
Not only is Seth Rogen’s weed company Houseplant going to box out the small cannabis retailers and become an in-demand designer drug and item, but it is also going to steal attention away from the real issues of weed legalization. Currently, roughly 2 million people sit behind bars in this country. Of that number, 1 out of 5 people are being held for drug charges and 50% of all drug charges are related to cannabis.
Even though cannabis is legal and people like Seth Rogen can open up pot stores, people are still suffering. And every day that we get closer to the designer drug future where you can get your weed and weed accessories from the same person who you watch on TV or cheer for in a stadium, those caught before this time are left behind.
Before the legalization of weed, when sitting on a blanket in the setting sun with fresh green also meant that you could go to jail, smoking weed was a collective bugger off to the government and authority. It was a way of saying: “I do what I want because it feels right for me.” Those days have trickled away, gone to rest among the dry leaves of the past.
But we can still grow a better future.
As the night came to greet Ali and me all those summers ago, we lit up one last time—the river and trees our only witnesses. Back then, it was better that way. Uploading videos of yourself smoking weed or doing anything with the green plant only meant that you were a poser, uncool.
It’s different now. Now is the world where videos of celebrities and their famous kin higher than the Devil’s peak crash the internet, they drive the market and shape the future while stubbing out the past.
You or I don’t have to forget, though. None of us do. The world is designed to make the average citizen forget about those who are incarcerated. It’s why prisons are built in the sticks, miles away from anyone but the trees and rivers. If they are built in the city or populated places, they are made to look invisible.
But they are not invisible. The people held within are not invisible. They are our neighbors, our family, our friends, our community. They exist within our smoking circle. With so many eyes on the industry and on Seth Rogen and his weed company, it is a perfect time to bring up the release of those who are serving time for *cough*anything*cough* nonviolent weed crimes.
If the government and Seth Rogen can make money off of it, then people shouldn’t be suffering for it.
Ways to Demand Change
Aigner Loren Wilson is a queer Black SFWA, HWA, and Codex writer. Her work has appeared in Tordotcom, Terraform, Rue Morgue, and more. She is a past recipient of the Otherwise Fellowship award and writes for Discover Pods, Tor Nightfire, and more.