Sitting in his home in Los Angeles just after noon on a Monday, with a bright shaft of sunlight filling the room, Seth Rogen lights a joint.
“I don’t make any illusions as to how weed fits into my life,” says Rogen. “I’m a person who smokes weed all day, every day.”
For some people, a joint in the middle of the day would derail focus and productivity, but the 39-year-old Rogen describes marijuana as an essential tool to his everyday functioning—like eyeglasses or shoes. (His father told the New York Times that the “miracle of marijuana” helped his son deal with attention-deficit disorder.)
Cannabis has been a constant co-star for the actor, screenwriter, director and producer known for hits like Superbad and Pineapple Express, but pot is also a business partner as Rogen, his childhood best friend and writing partner Evan Goldberg co-founded the Canadian cannabis brand Houseplant in 2019.
Audiences have been laughing with Rogen for 20 years as he’s played nearly 100 roles in film and television where he is either getting high, about to het high or helping someone else get high. But with Houseplant, he’s proving that he’s taking weed seriously as a business venture and as a platform for criminal justice reform. Rogen says it’s now time for Americans to take cannabis more seriously, too.
“It really bothers me that people downplay its importance and downplay how meaningful it is to some people’s lives,” says Rogen. “There’s always been lies that have been told to control weed, it’ll make you go crazy, it’ll make you lazy, it’ll do this and do that. Right now, I think the biggest lie is that it’s just not important and there are more important things to be talking about.”
Rogen says cannabis is deserving of a reckoning as a relevant topic worthy of a national discussion. And it’s certainly getting that now as 18 states have legalized adult-use, 37 allow medical use, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, introduced a draft federal legalization bill, and the industry is slated to grow into a $100 billion industry by 2030. Stoner jokers no longer seem able to contain an industry with annual sales that will soon rival coffee.
“Over the last couple years, I’ve spent as much time working on this company as I have on films. It’s as exciting as anything I’ve ever worked on.”
“It’s important because the entire reason it’s illegal is based in racism and we’re all living with the lies of racist men from 100 years ago,” says Rogen. “Truthfully, there is no reason that weed is illegal other than to control minority populations.”
Rogen hits his joint, rolled with Diablo Wind, a sativa strain with 26% THC, and continues: “It is a huge part of American society and culture,” he continues. “It’s a huge thing and it’s disappointing how slow the country has been to evolve.”
While there are seemingly an endless number of celebrity-backed weed brands, some are clearly leveraging a famous face to sell bud while other celebrities are involved in the companies. Rogen falls into the latter camp.
“Over the last couple years, I’ve spent as much time working on this company as I have on my films,” says Rogen. “It’s a direct reflection of mine and my partner’s creative sensibilities, and it’s come from a lifetime of putting thought into weed and, and loving weed. It’s as exciting as anything I’ve ever worked on.”
Last week, Houseplant announced that it was ending its partnership with Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth after three years and will focus on expanding its footprint in the U.S. Houseplant’s products will stop being sold north of the border by the end of September. Houseplant CEO and cofounder Mikey Muir, who is Goldberg’s cousin, says the company plans to relaunch in the Canadian market at some point but its attention for now will be on the U.S. market.
Today, Houseplant only sells cannabis in California, where it launched sales in March 2020. Its menu of products includes seven strains—all of which Rogen has tested himself. Houseplant will launch pre-rolled joints and a THC-infused seltzer in the coming months. And soon, the company will look to expand to other states with an eye on Nevada, Illinois, Michigan and New York.
Houseplant is still a startup. It has two distinct businesses—Houseplant, which sells cannabis, and Housegoods, which sells pottery, ash trays and lighters, designed by Rogen. (He throws clay in his garage studio and makes impressive pieces.) Both sides of the business each bring in revenue in the seven figures, but under $10 million.
Rogen says legalization is inevitable but still part of him seems to bristle at the fact that his schtick is being adopted by an ever expanding roster of characters who don’t love weed as much as he does. The philosopher jester even takes a swing at Charles Koch, the billionaire philosopher king of the libertarian movement who recently announced that he will be spending $25 million by the end of next year to support marijuana legalization.
“I’m sure if I were to sit down with the worst people on the planet, maybe we’d find out we both like pizza or something,” says Rogen. “It’s always disappointing when you find your interests are aligned with someone you find to be despicable. But it’s showing the collapse of the lies and is an indicator that it’s impossible to move forward in a way that you consider to be remotely based on facts or reality and not think weed should be legal.”
Rogen’s goal with Houseplant’s products is refreshingly simple in an industry awash with brands pushing pot as a cure-all wellness product. He says he wants to sell some of the best stuff out there. “When I say it’s actually the weed that I smoke all day, and night, it’s true,” says Rogen. Houseplant doesn’t grow its own, but rather curates bud from small batch, high-end indoor growers across California.
Some of Hollywood’s elite have purchased his home goods, including Charlize Theron, while Lena Waithe, the creator of Showtime series The Chi, has purchased Rogen’s cannabis. When asked what sells better, his company’s flower or pottery, he doesn’t hesitate.
“Weed is better, for sure,” says Rogen. “Honestly, no one would buy a vase if you could go to jail for it.”
As for his reputation being intertwined with cannabis, Rogen, who smoked a joint with Conan O’Brien during one of talk show host’s last episodes before retiring, says he’s proud.
“It’s something I’ve always championed and something that I’m very happy to be associated with—it’s something that is an intrinsic part of my life, my day-to-day functionality,” says Rogen. “Of all the things to be tied to, I’m fucking thrilled that it’s weed.”