Jay-Z’s Cannabis Brand ‘Monogram’ is Disastrous for Weed Culture
Jay-Z announced this week that he’s launching a luxury brand of cannabis called Monogram. The brand is excepted to charge $50 for a hand-rolled joint by “highly trained artisans”. Monogram was launched in December 2020 and is available in California.
The product line includes four strains – No. 88, No. 96, No. 70 and No. 01 – in “light”, “heavy”, and “medium” varieties. The site’s menu includes $50 pre-rolls, $40 for 2 grams of flower, and a 4-pack of 0.4-gram “loosies” which will set you back $40.
The site humbly claims, “Monogram marks a new chapter in cannabis defined by dignity, care, and consistency. It is a collective effort to bring you the best, and a humble pursuit to discover what the best truly means”. To which I say, “What a bunch of bull sh*t!”
As Hova “humbly” moves his cannabis brand forward, he’s teamed up with money-man, Michael Aurebach. Aurebach is the founder and chairman of Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp (OTC: $SBVCF). In November, SCAP acquired Monogram and Caliva cannabis brands. They are now backing Jay-Z’s future branding efforts by naming him Chief Visionary Officer of the merged company, The Parent Company.
Apparently, Jay-Z will receive approximately 5 million shares, with a current market value over $50 million, when the deal closes.
While Monogram might seem like the next level for the cannabis industry, it might actually be the antithesis of cannabis culture. Celebrity brands are nothing new in the cannabis industry. However, the monopolization and marketing blitz put on by companies with deep pockets like Monogram really skews the narrative of the culture.
The website of the company makes some bold claims about “dignity”, “care” and “consistency” and claims to be the ones to define what “the best truly means”. This rings hollow for the many independent cultivators and distributors across the country who have laid the foundation for legal cannabis. Marketing as “the best” doesn’t actually make you the best at anything and is insulting to those who have put in the work.
The Truth About Monogram
When you have financial backing you can scream louder. You can make wild claims. And there will be a segment of the people who believe you. Or at least they will believe because Jay-Z is telling them Monogram is the best cannabis.
The goal of Monogram is obvious – leverage Jay-Z’s influence to make consumers believe they are receiving a higher brand of cannabis, and to make people feel they are better for doing so. Essentially this creates a caste system based on luxury weed brands and separating people based on their level of boujie-ness.
Let’s face it, this is the same concept of why people drive BMW’s and Rolls Royce, buy expensive Cognac, and hop on their yachts in the summer. They want to appear they are better than the average joe. In the case of luxury weed, they want to show they are a more thoughtful and sophisticated weed connoisseur than all you lowly stoners.
But That’s Not What Weed Culture is About
I hope all high-end weed brands fail. Weed isn’t something for Silicon Valley billionaires to impress people at parties. Weed isn’t meant to be a divider of the social stratosphere. It’s not an elitist tool to be wielded in the same way as a Mercedes-Maybach, or even snobby-ass Napa Valley reds.
Weed has always brought people together. Cannabis breaks down barriers, connects worlds, unites diverse people, and creates friends. The cannabis culture doesn’t give a f@ck how rich you are, or how much money you’re willing to waste on a pre-roll that you can for a 1/4 of the price. It’s deeper than that. The counter-culture of cannabis is about unity, and these luxury cannabis brands make a mockery of all that has been built on the road to Federal legalization.
Moreover, cannabis is medicine for many. Alcohol has plenty of luxury brands of spirits but cannabis doesn’t deserve to be marketed the same way. Weed has many proven medical benefits for consumers. The separation of cannabis brands into false tiers of quality risks exploiting many looking to treat their ailments.
The War on Drugs
We’ve talked before about the injustices of the War on Drugs. To Jay-Z’s credit, he is giving a small portion of the company’s net income to assist Black and minority-owned cannabis businesses (wait, so if the firm doesn’t make any money do they give anything?).
However, there are still plenty of victims from the War on Drugs sitting in 6 x 8 concrete cells for the same quantities of cannabis that Jova is now over-charging for. While Jay-Z has done a lot for prison reform, is this move into luxury weed consistent with his other messages of equality? In my opinion, no.
Jay-Z is a hustler. You have to respect the hustle. But make no mistake, he deserves to be called out when he is inconsistent. And Monogram cannabis is a perfect example of division and hubris that are infecting the cultural norms.
Influencer culture must go. The counter-culture needs to stand up. We need to say, “No, we aren’tt paying $50 for you bullsh!t pre-roll”. In the words of the infamous diss track Ether, “F-ck Jay-Z”.