Cannabis and the future of celebrity endorsements

Published Jun 4, 2023 01:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / Matthew Moloney 

Cannabis culture has become mainstream, reflecting the growing acceptance of both legalization and consumption. As a result, we’ve seen celebrity endorsements become a popular trend, with many famous individuals suddenly deciding that it’s time to be open, transparent, and vocal about their personal use.

Some are actively advocating for its benefits while the majority have either signed contracts to advertise for big brands or created their own in hopes of making money by playing a bigger role in the industry. Either way, celebrity participation in this growing space has become prevalent, but should we expect to see this trend continue in the future?

It’s a tricky question that’s been raised by everyone from concerned advocates to competitive cannabis companies and curious consumers. Here, we’ll cover five factors that could determine the answer.

1. Public perception

Reason for an increase – One of the biggest things fueling celebrity endorsements of brands today is how we the people view cannabis. Most see cannabis in a positive light, and as more states and countries legalize it for medical or recreational use, the stigma is fading slowly but surely fading away. That’s why so many celebrities have chosen to leverage their platforms to promote and endorse the industry.

Reason for a decrease – If the public continues to perceive cannabis as a good thing, it only makes sense for more famous people to endorse its use. However, if society's opinions shift to a more negative stance, despite all of the progress we’ve made, fewer celebrities will align themselves with the movement, because they’ll be afraid to take a risk that may cost them fans.

2. Legal and regulatory adjustments

Reason for an increase – As cannabis laws evolve and more countries legalize its use, legal and regulatory constraints surrounding celebrity involvement in marketing and advertising might loosen up which would create even more opportunities for them to openly endorse brands without fear of potential repercussions.

Reason for a decrease – On the other hand if legal and regulatory frameworks change in a way that’s more restrictive, celebrities may face bigger challenges when it comes to endorsing cannabis brands. Legal uncertainty and risks would probably discourage celebrities from associating their public image and reputation with cannabis, potentially limiting their involvement in the future.

3. Consumer belief in the authenticity and credibility of celebrity endorsements

Reason for an increase – Many celebrities in particular those who use and genuinely believe in the benefits the plant offers feel more comfortable with aligning themselves with cannabis brands, which is good because authenticity plays a big role in any endorsements success. If consumers continue to trust these recommendations, they’ll be a powerful tool for the cannabis industry in the future.


Reason for a decrease – However if people perceive these endorsements as nothing more than a result of financial gain and disingenuous, it could damage the reputation and image of both celebrities and cannabis brands. So if too many famous faces hop onto this trend now, consumers may shy away from the products they suggest in the future, and as a result, cannabis companies may no longer be willing to establish these collaborations.

4. Market competition and saturation

Reason for an increase – The cannabis market is a fast-paced and competitive space, with many brands vying for the same consumer base, and in a crowded landscape celebrity endorsement can make it easier for some players to stand out. Boosting visibility, attracting new customers, and establishing loyalty are all key to any cannabis company's success, but it only works if there aren’t too many brands utilizing the same technique.

Reason for a decrease – As we’ve already seen, it doesn’t take too long for the market to be flooded with celebrity-recommended or owned cannabis brands, and with each new endorsement the positive impact on sales diminishes. For that reason, we may see brands take a different approach, to differentiate themselves from the competition.

5. Ethical considerations

Reason for an increase – As the cannabis industry grows, so too does consumer awareness surrounding ethical practices and social responsibility. If celebrities are selective, only aligning with reputable brands that are eco-friendly and actively committed to solving important social issues, it could lead to an increase in endorsements in the future.

Reason for a decrease – However, if the cannabis industry becomes too controversial due to unethical practices or standards, celebrities may eventually become less willing to associate themselves with companies in this space.

Various factors will determine the future of celebrity endorsements, including public opinion, legal and regulatory restrictions, authenticity, competition, and ethical considerations. As this dynamic landscape evolves, the industries associated with the rich and famous will always be a reflection of the changes in attitudes, values, and laws.

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