This article was published on New York Times
By Liam Stack
Whoopi Goldberg became the latest celebrity to enter the increasingly lucrative world of legalized marijuana on Wednesday when she announced that she would launch a line of cannabis-infused products aimed at women.
Ms. Goldberg, a comedian and daytime talk show host, partnered with a Northern California-based producer of marijuana edibles to form a company that will offer products designed to alleviate menstrual pain, like cannabis-infused chocolate, tincture, cream and bath salt.
“This was all inspired by my own experience from a lifetime of difficult periods and the fact that cannabis was literally the only thing that gave me relief,” Ms. Goldberg, a longtime proponent of marijuana legalization, said in a statement.
The brand, “Whoopi & Maya,” created with the marijuana entrepreneur Maya Elisabeth, will be available only in California for now.
The legal marijuana industry may be young, but its path to celebrity endorsement is already well-tread, as several connoisseurs have rushed to cash in on a boom time.
The country singer Willie Nelson, a proud smoker, teamed up with a New York-based private equity firm in September to develop Willie’s Reserve, styled as “a premium cannabis lifestyle brand,” to be sold in Colorado and Washington State, where its recreational use is legal.
The rock star Melissa Etheridge was among the earliest to get into the act, endorsing a line of marijuana-infused wines in 2014. She told VICE in aninterview that year that the vintners behind it were “ganjapreneurs” who were “on the front line of this thing.”
The market for legal marijuana products has seen explosive growth in recent years as the drug has become legal in more states. The recreational use of marijuana is legal in four states plus Washington, D.C., and its medical use is permitted in 19 more.
A report by two marijuana analysis and investment firms, the ArcView Group and New Frontier, estimated that $5.4 billion worth of legal marijuana products were sold nationwide in 2015, up from $4.6 billion the year before. They predicted $6.7 billion in legal sales in 2016.
In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Ms. Goldberg emphasized that her products were intended to be medicinal. She may have alleviated menstrual pain in the past by lighting up a joint, but that is not what her new company is all about.
“For me, I feel like if you don’t want to get high high, this is a product specifically just to get rid of discomfort,” she told the magazine. “Smoking a joint is fine, but most people can’t smoke a joint and go to work.”