Something's not right in California when a venerable celebrity brand decides to leave the state while continuing to do business elsewhere.
That's the news out of San Francisco, where Jerry Garcia - the namesake for the Garcia Hand Picked cannabis line - was born.
Garcia Hand Picked's parent company Holistic Industries stated in an email to SFGate:
“We're taking a pause in California. We want to ensure CA consumers have the highest quality flower for the long term, so we are in the process of choosing a new local partner for cultivation, production, sales and distribution of Garcia Hand Picked in CA."
Don't blame Garcia Hand Picked, says Solful's Eli Melrod: “We start from a place of skepticism because we’ve seen a lot of celebrity brands launch in cannabis that are really just basically a celebrity name on a product that is marked up. We really appreciated the approach that the Garcia Hand Picked team took to sourcing. They worked with a lot of great legacy farmers in the Emerald Triangle.”
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It's been an uphill battle for cannabis businesses to survive in California due to an overabundance of supply, demand eaten up by illicit operators and taxes and fees that hamper legal licensees.
Also in January, Jay-Z's Monogram brand started undergoing a restructuring by The Parent Company and Canada's Cronos Group decided to shut down Kristen Bell's Happy Dance CBD skincare line to "reduce U.S. operating expenses."
At Bloomberg, Kevin Simauchi writes, "So while celebrity-backed brands have generated a lot of press, most haven’t become top sellers in the highly fragmented and still-nascent cannabis market." He points to two celebrity cannabis brand successes: Martha Stewart CBD and Tyson 2.0.
TRP's Daniel Firtel tells Simauchi: "A rapper or some sort of musician or celebrity, they’ll put out a strain and then it’ll kind of get launched and there’s a little bit of hype, but then there’s really not the follow-up. [That’s] because they don’t have the infrastructure, the team and, really, the level of commitment that is necessary in cannabis.”
However, that wasn't the case with Garcia Hand Picked, which continues to be sold in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Oregon.