Founded in 2016, the celebrity marijuana company Whoopi & Maya has closed its doors. The company has stoppped selling, manufacturing and marketing its products that were geared to women due to a split between the principles, co-founder and board member Rick Cusick tells CelebStoner.
"The company is ceasing operations immediately," he says. "It's with deep regret that we can no longer provide services to patients."
A rift had developed between Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth that was irreconcilable. When this happened several months ago, Cusick and others tried to resolve the problem and thought they had reached an agreement. But on Friday, January 31, Goldberg submitted her resignation to the board. The divorce was final.
Rick Cusick: "The company is ceasing operations immediately. It's with deep regret that we can no longer provide services to patients."
One of the first celebrity cannabis brands, Whoopi & Maya created a niche for women to deal with menstrual discomfort. The company's four products - Soak, Relax, Rub and Savor - were created for patients the same year adult use was passed in California. Whoopi & Maya products were available in California and Colorado.
Cusick says the difficult rollout of adult-use regulations in California starting in 2018 was problematic. "This didn't happen in a vacuum," he notes. "The California market changed dramatically with the over-21 law. It was frustrating for us."
After 18 years working in the advertising and editorial departments at High Times, Cusick and other employees left to form Whoopi & Maya in 2016. "I'm enormously proud of the company," he says. "I apologize to all the patients and the people who started it."
The small staff has been laid off.
About Goldberg, he says: "Whoopi is a very dynamic person. She was very hands on. She was great to work with until the end."
Goldberg has said she also uses cannabis for glaucoma. But she decided to focus the company on women's needs. "I have grown granddaughters who have severe cramps, so I said this is what I want to work on," she explained in 2016.
Goldberg, of course, stays busy as the host of The View. Elisabeth has her own company, Om Edibles, based in California. Cusick, who like Goldberg lives in New Jersey, is editor and publisher of The Drug Test News and a NORML board member. It was Cusick who introduced Elisabeth to Goldberg.
At the Whoopi & Maya website, the following message was posted:
"To our wonderful customers and those it may concern... We're deeply saddened to tell you that Whoopi & Maya will no longer continue operation. In 2016, we launched with an urgent mission: to offer safe, natural relief for period pain through the miracle of medical cannabis. We proved there's a market for this medicine and it's been our joy to offer this miraculous relief to our treasured customers. It has been our privilege to serve the community. Though we've all come a long way, there's far more to be achieved. This is simply the end of a single chapter in a larger story, one that we invite you to continue."
Goldberg told the New York Post about the split-up:
“It is with deep regret and sadness I am announcing that I have withdrawn as a board member, manager and member of Whoopi & Maya. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to moving ahead with other projects in the market.”
“This was a truly special opportunity that I will be forever grateful for. We got to help a lot of women with our products and hopefully, someday we can make them accessible again. No regrets whatsoever, only gratitude and forward momentum. I wish everybody in the partnership only the best.”