Cannabis is the New Luxury

In 2020, American rapper and businessman Jay-Z launched his cannabis brand, Monogram and it immediately caused a buzz in the media. Jay-Z has quite the reputation for launching or rebuilding premium brands successfully – in the same year, he sold half of his champagne company, Ace of Spades to LVMH’s Moët Hennessy at an undisclosed sum, although speculations put the value of the brand at more than $600 million.

So, it only made sense that if he was going into the cannabis market, it is because 1) it is profitable, and 2) it appeals to the luxury market.

Monogram is Jay-Z's luxury cannabis company
In 2020, Jay-Z officially opened the doors of his cannabis company, Monogram. Image courtesy of Justin Chung for Monogram

And he is right on both counts, although he is not the first to notice that cannabis can be termed an aspirational product and marketed as such. In 2017, when Lord Jones – also known as the Louis Vuitton of the CBD world – launched, it was as a chic luxury brand for health and wellness enthusiasts interested in cannabis and cannabinoids, not an underground, secretive operation for potheads that was the stereotypical image associated with the plant in the past.

Last year, the cannabis market was valued at an estimated USD20.5billion. It is expected to go up to USD90.4billion in the next 5 years.

The evolution of cannabis

A recreational and medicinal plant, cannabis has come a long way from the traditional ‘joint’ or ‘blunt’ to a product whose derivatives provide many benefits, including managing chronic pain in adults, epilepsy, treating acne and dandruff.

Lord Jones CBD body lotion
Luxury CBD brand Lord Jones offers a variety of CBD-derived products, including this body lotion. Image courtesy of Lord Jones

Cannabis contains at least 120 active ingredients or cannabinoids, with the most popular being cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The latter is the one that gives the euphoric or psychoactive effect. As a result, while THC-infused cannabis is beginning to gain traction among the elite class in countries where it is legal, it is CBD that is gradually dominating the health, wellness and skincare industry globally for its many benefits.

Today, CBD products range from edibles like gumdrops and teas to capsules and oils used in skincare and haircare. Lord Jones offers a range of CBD skincare products but other brands like Kiehl’s and Sunny Isle also do.

It is time for luxury brands to get high on cannabis 

The uses of cannabis are so vast that it is almost impossible for a single brand to dominate the market. And since it is a growing industry, untapped opportunities abound, especially in the luxury segment, where brand studies have proven that there is a ready and willing market.

Cannabis-infused sparkling tonic from cannabis brand Drinkcann
Cannabis can be used in just about anything from food to skincare. Image courtesy of Drinkcann via FT

Brands like Lord Jones and Jay-Z’s Monogram have proven that with the right branding and marketing, luxury brands in the health, wellness and even beauty industry can move into the world of cannabis and successfully create products that would cater to the discerning and distinctive tastes of the wealthy. The fashion industry is not even left out, as shown by MoonCloth Designs that uses hemp to create soft, luxe fabrics for some of the biggest businesses in the hospitality industry.

If the predictions about the growth and viability of the cannabis industry do end up coming to pass, then luxury brands cannot ignore it or be left out. Individuals who indulge in luxury goods will definitely gravitate towards cannabis, especially as its benefits continue to rise, and they would be on the look out for products that cater to their tastes. The earlier luxury brands start to take cannabis seriously, the better.

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