As marijuana legalization and acceptance has grown in the United States, so has demand for cannabis-inspired products. Now influencer Kevin Blatt is launching a new cannabis brand called “Cannabis Club,” which focuses on getting medicinal benefits from smoking weed. It’s the first of its kind to merge both worlds together
Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez, a gaming celebrity and entrepreneur, is launching Pine Park, a premium cannabis and hemp brand, this weekend. Rodriguez is the first well-known gaming influencer to join the cannabis sector on a professional level, capitalizing on what he sees as a demographic convergence between cannabis and gaming.
Rodriguez is bringing two often-overlooked mediums — gaming and cannabis — together with Pine Park, which might serve as a remarkable test case for how the two worlds could work when united. “In my upbringing, there was this stereotype that if you used pot, you’re a stoner and a slacker.” “However, there’s a whole scientific study surrounding how cannabis may genuinely assist you,” said Max Rudsten, CRO of WOVN, a third-party cannabis distributor that works with Pine Park. “Gaming, as a genre, may have had that stigma: if you game, you’re a slacker, or whatever.” However, you must know what you’re doing and be focused, which cannabis may give for that sort of athlete.”
Rodriguez is one of the most well-known figures in the world of esports. He has over 1 million Twitter followers and a large network of industry contacts as the longstanding owner and CEO of the enormously successful esports group OpTic Gaming. He’s also a long-time pot user, having started when he was 17 years old in 1997. With marijuana legalization spreading throughout the nation, Rodriguez thought it was a no-brainer to invest in the industry. He said, “Originally, I had gone with a tequila brand.” “However, after I began researching and realized the prospects, I said to myself, ‘There’s no reason why I shouldn’t take a risk on this.’”
Rodriguez teamed with OpenNest Labs, a brand studio that advises and assists cannabis startups, to verify he was doing everything correctly. Rodriguez is supplying the majority of the cash for the endeavor, while OpenNest is in charge of operations with Rodriguez’s assistance. Pine Park now offers six marijuana strains, including Chem Driver (Rodriguez’s personal favorite) and Blueberry Haze, with hopes to expand into CBD goods and clothing in the future.
According to OpenNest CEO Max Goldstein, “it’s essentially simply copying the OpTic concept into cannabis.” “He’s made esports about entertainment, as well as the community, involvement, and personalities that surround it. Pine Park will have a similar roster of artists as we get it out the door, however instead of esports, it will be predominantly focused on cannabis, building out that business and going deep on Twitter and YouTube. Neither of those platforms has almost any cannabis penetration.”
In recent years, cultural perceptions around marijuana have shifted. “Everyone’s opinion of cannabis has changed,” said Sarah Seale, CEO of cannabis consulting firm Seale & Garland. “It used to be illegal; you had to keep it hidden from your parents and society. It’s becoming more socially acceptable, and it’s being discussed by people of all ages. So, yes, I can see a convergence coming from the gaming community — in fact, I believe it already exists.”
The timing seems to be extremely advantageous. The esports audience is maturing towards the target demographic for cannabis usage as marijuana becomes more popular. The conditions surrounding Pine Park, according to Goldstein, are a “perfect storm.” “H3CZ’s audience is of legal drinking age,” he said. “When we look at some of these demographics, they’ve been following him for ten years, yet they’re in their twenties and thirties.” I believe there is a misconception that esports is mostly a young-teenage-boy genre, but this is not the case.”
Rodriguez’s tweet announcing his involvement into the cannabis industry went viral in April, generating over 6 million impressions in less than a day. He stated, “It’s the most impressions I’ve ever had on any tweet.”
Rodriguez emphasized the medicinal qualities of marijuana as an alternative to Adderall or Xanax, both of which are frequently misused at the top levels of the competitive gaming industry, despite its recreational usage. “We’re introducing a CBD ointment for knuckles and hands, which is essentially a hand lotion, to help you recuperate over the night,” he explained. “When you go to the doctor, it’s either Big Pharma this or Big Pharma that, with all of these negative side effects.” So I believe that even this alternative is a tenfold improvement over what physicians prescribe at times.”
Despite the fact that Rodriguez is the first gaming influencer to launch his own cannabis company, he and his team expect that others will follow in his footsteps. He remarked, “A lot of my classmates reached out to me.” “They either wanted to seek for my assistance in going to market in the future, or they were all investors.”
Rodriguez, on the other hand, isn’t enamored of the gaming-cannabis nexus. Instead, he wants to be a resource for those members of the gaming and esports communities who are interested in learning more about cannabis. Rodriguez and OpenNest intend to develop a framework for other gaming influencers to follow as the overlap between the gaming and cannabis communities grows. “I’m learning all I can to assist other individuals in the field learn from my mistakes,” he stated.