As someone who has been closely following the weed space since the day it was hinted at that a weed space may exist, one of the things that has long irked me as a missed opportunity has been the absence of ‘celebrity brands’.
Sure, Canopy has a licensing deal with Snoop Dogg, and Organigram tagged the Trailer Park Boys, and Tommy Chong is out there somewhere, but where’s the true celebrity push? Where’s the Seth Rogen/James Franco outfit, or the Hunter S. Thompson estate-owned grow, and where are the companies where a celebrity actually takes an ownership stake – and relentlessly pushes the brand to a wide audience, rather than just allowing their name to be used?
A relatively new cannabis play has emerged that has found a rich vein of mainstream PR that threatens to roll out product awareness to a whole new level, because it hasn’t just licensed the name of a celebrity, it’s literally that celebrity’s business. He started it. He owns it. And everywhere he finds himself in front of a microphone, or a social media account, he talks about it.
That’s Damian Marley, AKA Jr. Gong, AKA the opening act for Jay-Z, AKA the man behind Stony Hill (STNY.OTC).
Here’s a sample of his Twitter feed:
— Damian Marley (@damianmarley) October 16, 2017
The less reggae focused among you may right now be saying, “Who?”, though you probably recognize the surname.
Catch up. The youngest son of musical legend and marijuana god Bob Marley sold out Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom a month ago and reportedly destroyed.
He collaborated with hip hop giant Jay-Z on the track “Bam” this year, and ran as his support act in a stadium tour of the United States.
His new album, his first in 12 years and which goes by the same name as his company, opened at No. 2 on the Billboard reggae charts this week.
Stony Hill is the first legit celeb-run weed play you can invest in, and right now is the time to think about whether that’s a good move for you.
With his new album just launched, with his having been in front of hundreds of thousands of new fans, and with his weed company just having exploded into the consciousness with an LA launch party that was covered by mainstream media, it’s a good time to be in STNY.
Oh, did I mention Marley is a director of the company and it’s largest shareholder?
Yeah, he’s all in.
On the back of this PR blitz, short seller interest (which can be a diabolical thing on the OTC) in STNY dropped by 45% last week. It’s not a highly traded stock just yet, but when the shorters get out of the way, that means action is expected.
The company isn’t a marketing ploy. It’s not something that was tossed together to exploit an album release. Marley talked about what he was planning with Vice and Billboard exactly a year ago. His first dispensary in Colorado opened around the same time, a short walk from the Denver Broncos’ football stadium.
But what is it?
Damian Marley’s Stony Hill Corp. is a diversified company focused on multiple areas of the cannabis, hemp and CBD industry […] focused on select investment, branding, real estate, and partnership opportunities in the recreational, health and wellness, nutraceutical, and media industries.
Okay, so that’s fairly broad. What does it actually do? Let’s ask the New York Times:
The group, led by Adam Levin, the founder of the investment firm Oreva Capital, bought a controlling interest at a price that values the magazine at $70 million, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. In a news release, the new ownership group said it planned to expand the publication’s audience and its events business.
“I think most would agree it was not executing business at max potential under the legacy framework established by the founders,” Mr. Levin, who will become chief executive of High Times Holding Co., said in a statement. “We are going to build on the strong base they created to bring High Times from the authority in the counterculture movement to a modern media enterprise.”
The magazine, which in January moved its headquarters to Los Angeles, had previously been owned by the New York-based Trans High Corp.
Mr. Marley, a reggae artist like his father, noted that he had started reading High Times in high school. “It is now an honor to be a part of the High Times legacy that I’ve been a fan of for so many years,” he said in a statement.
So the Marley name isn’t the only well known icon involved in this outfit – now you’ve got High Times, the preeminent media brand in all of cannabis for decades, rolling into the deal.
Let’s go back further; take it way Billboard Magazine:
Marley’s entry into the dispensary game marks the first time a major music artist has opened a pot retail space. “I didn’t know in my lifetime I’d be opening a dispensary,” Marley tells Billboard. “We’ve always been advocates of legalizing marijuana and we always had the hope in our lifetime that we’d be involved in something like this, but I didn’t predict this would happen.”
Marley, 38, is the late Bob Marley‘s youngest son and personally helped develop and test the dispensary’s namesake and signature, Stony Hill, which is also the name of his fourth album due out next year. The name has a special place in Marley’s life.
Let’s go deeper. The company has a stake in High Times. It licenses the Stony Hill brand to CBD product manufacturers/retailers. It has a stake in Cannabi-Tech, an Israeli testing lab. And it has a small stake in a cultivation tech company called Precision Cultivation Systems.
That’s the snacks. Let’s get to dinner.
— Damian Marley (@damianmarley) October 25, 2017
The company bought a line of CBD products developed by mCig for US $1.1 million, giving them instant access to the marketplace for the Marley ‘Stony Hill’ brand and the Vita CBD brand they acquired.
Licensing agreements are also out there, with licenses in Colorado and Oregon so far on the books, with entities that seek to use the Stony Hill brand.
None of this has amounted to revenues of a substantial nature – yet. But revenue hasn’t been the point to this date. What this company is doing is making little nibbles here and there, spending no money to operate, but building a portfolio of assets that offer very low risk with high upside.
The High Times sale was a monster, and that this outfit got a piece of it was a nice play. The valuation of that asset was higher than many had seen for a magazine recently, but there are many who think they got a steal, with the industry going where it is.
It’s early days. This is not a steaming red hot weed money beast just yet. Trading is light and the buzz has yet to be monetized, but while other companies are paying some cousin of Bob Marley for the right to use the surname to sell cookies, this is Marley’s actual son steering the ship. He’s the boss. He can not only bring other celebs forward, command mainstream media, and enjoy the benefits of having named his hit album after his company, but – hey – go back to that video up top of this article and look at how many plays it’s had.
I’ll save you the effort.
Go ahead and ask ‘who’ again. I dare you.
Stony Hill trades under the ticker STNY on the OTC.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Stony Hill is an Equity.Guru marketing client.
NB: BEVERLY HILLS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / March 7, 2018 / Stony Hill Corp. (OTCQB: STNY), a diversified cannabinoid therapeutics company focused on the medical, bioceutical, and pet health industries, announced today that it will change its name to Applied BioSciences Corp., to better reflect the focus and resources of the Company.