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Wiz Khalifa Taps Gage Growth to Expand Brand in Michigan

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By now you’ve probably heard of Wiz Khalifa’s multiple ventures into cannabis including his hand-picked hybrid and brand Khalifa Kush (KK), as well as his line of potent KKE Cannabis Oils. After launching the brand in several states in Canada and several states in the West, the rapper is setting his interests in the Midwest.

In a July 7 press release, Gage Growth Corp. (CSE: GAGE) announced its exclusive partnership agreement with the Grammy Award-winning artist Wiz Khalifa’s brand, KK. What that means is that Khalifa Kush products will be sold throughout Gage provisioning centers throughout Michigan.

The rapper explained that he only does business with companies that align with his values. “We are excited to partner with Gage for our first expansion into the Midwest, and to finally release KK to my fans in Michigan,” said Khalifa. “From day one of Khalifa Kush, we have only partnered with people we align with, who focus on customer and quality over everything, and Gage is one of the best.”

The arrangement includes a grant of license to certain intellectual property to produce and sell KK branded products in Michigan, and is of course subject to Michigan regulatory approval. KK will consult on cultivation, distribution, branding, consumer engagement and other operating responsibilities, according to the release. The initial term of the license agreement is five years on an exclusive basis, according to Gage.

“Wiz is a globally-recognized cannabis connoisseur. KK has had incredible success in other U.S. cannabis markets, establishing a brand that is synonymous with ultra-premium quality,” said Fabian Monaco, CEO of Gage. “We are confident that this partnership will allow Michigan to become a unique cannabis destination in the near future.”

Gage’s portfolio includes city and state approvals for 19 Class C cultivation licenses, three processing licenses and 14 provisioning centers throughout Michigan.

KK products have been sold in the U.S. since 2015. By moving into recently legalized cannabis markets, the company has reached success. KK sells a full product line of flower, pre-rolls, vapes, edibles and concentrates, and is available in select markets including Nevada, Arizona and Utah. 

When the rapper launched KKE Cannabis Oils, he focused more on potency than on other cannabis oil companies. The oils were produced from flower of the Sensi Star strain cultivated by Supreme Cannabis subsidiary 7 Acres in Canada.

Learn more about the upcoming Michigan launch and shop apparel on the Khalifa Kush website.

Wiz Khalifa is a Daily Smoker

Like his fellow mentor Snoop Dogg—Khalifa is all about kush on a daily basis.

“I usually smoke in the studio, like in the outside room or something like that, or in the lab while I’m recording,”Khalifa told High Times in 2016. “I’m just walking around smoking everywhere. At least I could if I wanted to—it’s just that I don’t really feel like it anymore.”

Khalifa didn’t become a star overnight. In fact, he achieved only moderate success during his early years of performing—at least until his mixtape Kush & Orange Juice propelled him into superstardom. He would earn a number one album, Blacc Hollywood, several number two albums; and two number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

Even with that level of superstardom, Khalifa has been attacked for his love of the leafy herb. In 2017, he merely pretended to take a hit off of a joint after throwing out the first pitch during the Pirates’ final home game at PNC Park in his native hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Even though Khalifa is considered a hero to most Pittsburgh residents, they attacked him on Twitter, calling him a “class act” facetiously.

Khalifa didn’t take long to immediately take advantage of legal cannabis markets in several states to sell what he loves most—weed.



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Elton John: Talent, Fame, and Substance Addiction

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“But before trying to escape the island, he warned his son not to fly too close to the sun” – Icarus

Why is that many of the most talented figures who have ever lived, have also found themselves struggling with addiction?  Elton John, like many famous musicians before him, had a life of success, musical genius, and drug addiction. John is one of the most loveable and talented pianists of our generation, and he had a crazy sunglass collection and fashion sense to match. But he was also known to struggle with cocaine, alcohol and basically any substance addiction. However, he battled through it and came through the other side. In 2022, Elton celebrated 32 years dry. But what led this phenomenal man to addiction? To understand, we must delve into his magnificent career. 

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Elton John

Elton John sits comfortably next to the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis and the Rolling Stones when looking at the magnitude of his career. To put it into perspective, he is one of the top three ranking artists in the history of American charts. Elton John, a well-spoken, reserved and humble man to his friends, but when he takes to the stage – he’s electric. He may be 75 years old, but he still sings, he plays piano and composes as good as Bethoven. Elton John came from a humble background, and was a working class lad. When speaking about his adopted sons and bringing them up, he said:

“​​’I came from a very working class background where I had to work for everything I got, and I want to instil those same values in them”

You can see that Elton has taken this grassroots, hardened work ethic with him throughout his life and career. His name was once Reginanld Kenneth Dwight, and he was born in 1947 in Middlesex, England. However, after an amazing musical career, he is now known as Sir Elton Hercules John. For most fans, he is known as Elton. Elton John. Few people took to the piano like he did. He had an ear for it, a talent many would dream of having. Cheat Sheet writes:

“He had an innate ability to pick up tunes after hearing them. His impressive piano skills earned him a spot in the youth program at the Royal Academy of Music in London when he was 11 years old. John took piano lessons at the school for the next four years until he decided to pursue music full time.”

With a love and adoration for the rhythm and blues of the 60s, John began playing this kind of music. However, it wasn’t until he met Bernie Taupin that Elton became who he is today.

Bernie Taupin & Elton John

It was around this time that he met Bernie Taupin, a songwriter who would change his life forever, Taupin and John would go on to work together for 53 years and counting, writing over 400 songs. Together they won 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, with 30 US top 40 hits. Not only that, they sold more than 225 million records worldwide and hold the record for the largest selling song ever – Candle in the Wind written in 1997. They sold more than 33 million copies of that single. Their specific process was quite incredible and is portrayed well in the recent film Rocketman. Taupin would write the lyrics, and Elton would compose. Unlike other great musicians, they wouldn’t really communicate or discuss. They’d leave each other to their individual role in the cog of the machine of song making. Biography writes:

“Their writing relationship… was basically Elton putting Bernie’s lyrics in front of him and virtually auto-composing. From 1967 they developed this incredible remote working relationship where they would never sit in the same room and write together…Elton and Bernie were always writing separately. And there is something about that process that gave them a critical distance.”

Together the pair wrote a list of incredible, well-known anthems. These included: rocket man, honky cat, crocodile rock, tiny dancer, candle in the wind, goodbye yellow brick road, your song and many others. 

The Fame

The fame came thick and fast for the two musical stars. Like many musicians before them and after them, the popularity for their incredible music was something neither of them could ever have predicted. Their schedule increased, the limelight grew bigger and the drugs and alcohol most definitely became more accessible. For Elton John, those substances were a must, for Taupin – he tried to avoid. Taupin was known to have a far more rock n roll background, and preferred to stay out of the limelight. In short, he liked being the song writer, away from the flamboyance of the stage. In contrast to that, Elton John was shy and reserved offstage but loved the glamour and confidence he experienced on it. It was this dichotomy that caused Elton to need substances to fuel his onstage persona

“Offstage he was reserved and says he was shy, so he turned to cocaine in an effort to overcome what he thought he lacked. Over 16 years throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s he experienced life through a drug-fueled haze”

Elton John is far from the only musician who has turned to substances to handle the sheer insanity of fame, and we will most definitely not be the last. However, he is one of the lucky few that has been able to stop himself and stay clean. Unfortunately the likes of Jim Morrison, Billie Holiday, Jimmi Hendirx, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehosue were not so fortunate. 

Elton John admitted that the unrelenting schedule and demands of music led him to using cocaine, alcohol and other substances to numb himself. But why does fame cause so many individuals to turn to drugs? Psych Alive writes on the issues of fame and how something that in the beginning can seem so appealing, can easily turn to a life of loneliness and isolation.

“The unfortunate truth, however, is that for each and every celebrity, the fame machine can only churn for so long. As a former famous child star revealed, “I’ve been addicted to almost every substance known to man at one point or another, and the most addicting of them all is fame.”

Elton John & Addiction

As situations worsened, Elton John has admitted that he came very close to death. Much like many before him and after him, Elton knew that his relationship with drugs was becoming life threatening. He says his routine was very unhealthy, admitting that he would smoke cannabis, drink copious amounts of alcohol and stay up on a coke-fuelled binge for night after night. At this time, his relationship with Taupin was worsening, and they even broke up for a few years. The beautiful duo was over. This was partly caused by Elton John’s self-sabotaging life. 

“I mean, I would have an epileptic seizure and turn blue, and people would find me on the floor and put me to bed, and then 40 minutes later I’d be snorting another line.”

Cocaine is a stimulant, and gives the user the feelings of awakeness, confidence and energy. For Elton John’s lifestyle this worked perfectly. The issue was, this drug is very addictive and can easily lead to health issues if overused. However, in 1990, Elton John reached rock bottom and decided to put his career to the side and focus on recovery.

Elton John’s Recovery

It takes a lot of drive, will-power and emotional support to recover from addiction. Overcoming any habit can be one of the hardest things to do. But with over 30 years of no substance use, it is clear now in 2022 – at the ripe age of 75 – that Elton John had the strength to go through with it. Speaking for Variety magazine, Elton John highlighted his advice for anyone out there also struggling with addiction:

“My best advice to people who are facing those difficult early days of sobriety is to get humble. Make recovery your absolute priority over everything else. Don’t go back to work too soon. Take the time you need to learn and heal. I don’t think I would still be sober today if I hadn’t taken that whole year off and thrown myself into my program of recovery.

As you can see, Elton realised that there was a version of himself that existed outside of fame and outside of his musical success. And this person was also called Elton John, and this person deserved to live. He realised, unlike many other unfortunate musicians, that this version of himself had to come first – even before the flamboyant, confident stage magician that the world loved. The world is thankful that Elton is still around and still performing today. In fact, he’s been almost retiring for the last 5 years but he keeps on going. 

Conclusion

Elton John is only one of the many many musicians and famous figures who have turned to substance abuse to deal with the sheer insanity of fame. What can once seem so full of glitz and glamour, can easily turn someone into an addict. However, Elton John’s incredible musical career should not be overshadowed by this. He was one of the most talented pianists and composers to ever live and when he took to the stage he was memorable. But it goes to show, even the best can be driven to substances.

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Which Actors Smoke the Most Cannabis?

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Acting can be hard… Ignoring the fame, money, luxury it affords, it can still be an exceptionally tiring job so sometimes an actor will just want to sit back and relax after a hard day on set. What better way to unwind than enjoying the relaxing prowess of cannabis. Cannabis has been shown to reduce anxiety and even reduce performance nerves, so it’s a natural fit with the high stress world of being an actor.

In this article we’ll have a look at some of the famous faces who have shown the most love for that special herb, campaigning for legalisation or just promoting the benefits of cannabis use. Some, you may have guessed… *cough* Seth Rogan, but others are a little more obscure. But, one thing uniting everyone on our list is their understanding of cannabis and its component compounds’ myriad benefits. So, join us as we walk down Hollywood Boulevard and see some of the stars who we’ve found out use cannabis.

Celebrities, and artists in general, have always had a symbiotic relationship with weed. So, it’s no surprise that to this day, there are numerous actors who are very open about their love for cannabis. For more articles like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products, remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Seth Rogen

Where better to start than the man who’s made a career from movies centred around cannabis and stoners in general. With films such as Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, Rogen doesn’t shy away from using cannabis on screen, portraying the classic, even iconic, image of his stoner character. Rogen’s career started with a small appearance in Donnie Darko, before he became much more recognisable, appearing in the films listed above as well as writing and starring in the hit movie Superbad. Rogen is one of the most famous celebrity cannabis users around.

In an interview with the Irish Times he was quoted as saying: “I drink my coffee as I smoke my joint, and I continue smoking weed until I go to sleep. I often will wake up in the middle of the night and have a few hits of a joint if I’m not sleeping well”. Rogen doesn’t drink and it may be that part of his reason is because he gets so much joy from cannabis, he doesn’t need anything else. Seth Rogen has even started his own cannabis company called Houseplant. Houseplant specialises in cannabis based items, including bespoke ashtrays as well as tailored strands of cannabis. He also seems to enjoy being associated with cannabis, saying:

“I’m honoured to be associated with weed, honestly. Sometimes people expect me to try to wiggle out from under being a very famous stoner. But I’m as proud of it as anything.” Rogen has smoked weed on Television, with talk show host Conan O’Brien and has always advocated cannabis’s calming effects. I think it’s pretty clear that Seth Rogen is a rather strong campaigner for a greater awareness of the benefits of cannabis and clearly earns a place on our list.

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson is another iconic actor who has a fond relationship with cannabis. Famed for playing a number of characters with calming southern drawls (see Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri or Zombieland) he is always a welcome and friendly presence on screen. His relationship with cannabis is well documented and he is often keen to highlight the issues in laws restructuring cannabis’s use. In an interview with the Evening Standard, whilst Harrelson was in a play, he said: “There’s a level of hypocrisy that exists within governments about it, and I have to call bullshit when I see it.

Tobacco and alcohol and various pharmaceuticals are all much more addictive than pot. If they’re going to be hardcore about banning things, I say spread it out across the board” His activism for legalising cannabis is widely known and he was even arrested in Kentucky for planting hemp seeds, a rather symbolic act to highlight the hypocrisies in the state’s then laws on cannabis. Though he did give up smoking cannabis for a little while in 2017, reports are that he has been brought back to the green side by none other than Willie Nelson who Woody went to see at a show before lighting up with him backstage. It seems Woody has some friends in high places.  

Lady Gaga 

Lady Gaga (real name Stephanie Germanotta) started her career as a singer, with hugely successful hits including poker face and paparazzi, but recently has shown that her talents extend to the silver screen. With a phenomenal performance in A Star is Born, which led to her first Academy Award, she has most recently been seen in the latest Versace film. Lady Gaga is also a cannabis advocate, using the drug as a way of relieving the chronic pain she suffered from an operation.

In an article she once told the Daily Mail of her love of cannabis ‘I take a puff and I’m me when I was 17 again in my white gogo boots looking for a job and there’s something quite creative and liberating about that.’ Her medical use of cannabis for her chronic pain may have gone a little too far though, with her reaching a stage where she would smoke ‘15-20’ joints a day to deal with the after effects of a hip operation. She now has a much more stable relationship with cannabis.

Jack Nicholson 

actors smoke

Perhaps a surprise addition to our list, but Jack Nicholson, one of the world’s leading and most iconic actors is a well known cannabis user. Most famous for his iconic roles in films such as: A Few Good Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and of course The Shining, and being the only actor to have been nominated for an oscar across the past 5 decades, he was also known for his party lifestyle and candidness about drugs, cannabis being one that he used often. After the allegations about Roman Polanski came out, Nicholson was found with a stash of cannabis stored in his bedroom.

Cannabis was his drug of choice for years: “I still love to get high, I’d say, about four days a week. I think that’s about average for an American,” he said in an interview from the 1980’s. It also seems that he understands cannabis’ medical uses as well, not only using it for recreational purposes. Recently he was interviewed by the Daily Mail and said about cannabis: ‘I don’t tend to say this publicly, but we can see it’s a curative thing.’ Perhaps this is Nicholson’s nod to the many benefits that cannabis and its component cannabinoids offer users.  

Sarah Silverman 

actors cannabis

After Seth Rogen, there aren’t many actors who are as vocal about their cannabis use as Sarah Silverman. Perhaps more famous for her comedy shows, but still well known for film appearances (School of Rock, Wreck it Ralph and Bad Santa) Sarah Silverman has become a key spokesperson when it comes to cannabis use and legalisation. She has often spoken openly about how she uses cannabis to help her sleep and sometimes write comedy, saying on a podcast ‘“Sometimes at night I’ll smoke a little pot before bed and I’ll think of a great idea for a joke, but then in the morning I realize it’s not a complete thought in any way.

I think George Carlin said `write stoned and edit sober’ or something.” Teaming up with Seth Rogen, they started the campaign ‘Cannabis in Common” a movement urging governors across the United States to think seriously about the legalisation of cannabis. She is a very important voice when it comes to raising the awareness of the benefits of legalising cannabis across the entire USA. 

Jack Black

actors smoke

Jack Black is a household name, with movies that have made all generations laugh: School of Rock, Kung Fu Panda and Tropic Thunder to name a few. Did you know he was a cannabis enthusiast? He’s shown the public that he knows his way around a pipe in his brilliant interview on Getting Doug with High. He has long been an advocate for cannabis legalisation, even being on the Marijuana Policy Project’s VIP advisory board, a group with the sole aim of cannabis legalisation. He has a special relationship with cannabis, seemingly understanding its medical benefits too. 

In an interview with Marijuana Venture about cannabis’s medical uses he was very enthusiastic: “Of course! It’s an effective painkiller, a proven sleep aid, appetite stimulator and glaucoma destroyer … and it can induce deep, powerful belly laughter — the best medicine!” All ideas that we strongly get behind and find it encouraging that a celebrity of Jack Blacks Caliber is able to speak openly about in public interviews. 

Conclusion

A Hollywood walk of fame through the cannabis users who ‘light up’ the big screen. Some of these actors may have been expected, some surprising but all highlight how popular cannabis is within some of the acting circles. What may be most visible is that all of these celebrities have been quite outspoken about their support for the complete legalisation of cannabis and also of its uses beyond recreational use. Perhaps, with this visible support from celebrities, public opinion and eventually political opinions of cannabis will shift, making it more accessible and legal for everyone. 

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Rachel Wolfson: Influencer Profiler

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Many comedians have worked cannabis into their professional personas—some even make it their entire persona—but few have incorporated it as flawlessly as Rachel Wolfson. While she’s hilarious and not above using the leafy green goodness as a punch line, cannabis also goes much deeper with her. But it wasn’t always this way. 

“I was first really introduced to weed when I was 19, because growing up with such a strict family—my parents were politicians and defense attorneys—they used all these scare tactics and said I would literally die if I smoked weed,” Wolfson said. “Then I was living in Vermont, in college, and a boyfriend of mine literally laughed when I told him that. Then I started to realize like, ‘Okay, pretty much everyone knows that no one has ever died from smoking weed.’” 

Still, even after wrapping her mind around that realization, there was still subconscious fear and shame around using cannabis. But even that began to lift, as Wolfson researched NORML and cannabis advocacy and realized how much good work there was to do. Now she also uses cannabis for medical purposes in lieu of taking multiple pharmaceuticals. To this day, she is open and honest about using cannabis to help cope with depression and anxiety. 

Similarly, it took Wolfson a while to land on her career as a comedian. 

“I spent my 20s in and out of working corporate and restaurant jobs,” she explained. “I took marketing gigs on the side, and I just kind of hustled, working wherever I could. Then I started working at a corporate comedy company, and at this point, I taught myself Photoshop so I could gain a new skill to help at my comedy job, and at this point, I was in the marketing side of comedy.”

From there, she started the Wolfie Memes Instagram account, and she realized she could be funny as a meme creator. After that, she wanted to be at the forefront of the comedy scene, not behind the scenes doing marketing. But she was still a little hesitant about jumping into the spotlight. 

“With Wolfie Memes, I would get DMs, and people would talk to me as if I’m a dude, like, ‘Yeah, bro,’ implying they thought I was a guy, and I didn’t correct them,” Wolfson said. “And I wasn’t ready to come out of the green closet, per se, because my parents and my family always made it seem like there was a risk, like it could affect their jobs.”

Wolfson
Photo by Emily Eizen

Wolfson on Perseverance

Still, she heard comedy calling, and eventually ended up trying stand-up, where she couldn’t hide the fact that she was a woman or stay in the green closet. But the rush of performing and making people laugh ended up being enough to make her stay in the limelight and gain confidence in her art. 

“I had grown a small following, but at that point, I hadn’t gone onstage,” Wolfson explained. “It wasn’t until I started coming into my own, going to open mics and starting my first podcast and then just growing a following and kind of building a name for myself with stand-up, and not just the memes. That’s kind of when everything came together, when I was able to combine all those skills and my story into something I care about.”

Wolfson
By Emily Eizen

Now, even through the COVID pandemic, Wolfson’s been creating. She’s working on a new podcast, looking forward to live comedy coming back and planning to continue to focus on activism as well.

“There’s work that needs to be done, and I’m so aware of that,” she said. “I’m always constantly thinking like, ‘Okay, how can I give back. I want to uplift these voices, and I think, especially in cannabis, they are underrepresented. My advocacy rests within using my humor to spread the message of access, and also uplifting other people by sharing their content.” 

It’s also important to Wolfson to provide a space for women in cannabis and comedy. 

“I can prove that cannabis humor is funny, and that it doesn’t matter if I’m a guy or a girl,” she said. “Women can be funny; we can smoke weed. We don’t just use cannabis as a fetish. There are a lot of medical reasons why cannabis is important to women specifically, and there are things cannabis treats that men will never go through, like menstruation or having a baby. I want to keep proving that women belong in cannabis and in comedy.” 

instagram.com/wolfiecomedy

Read this story originally published in High Times July 2021 Issue in our archive.





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