Cameron Jibril Thomaz, also known as Wiz Khalifa, is my generation’s Snoop Dogg. Like Snoop, Wiz is promoting cannabis on a mainstream scale throughout his career. Snoop’s brand, however, was borne out of gangster rap, while Wiz’s image and growing empire has been about cannabis since Day 1. From his MySpace/Say Yeah days, to his U-Stream smoke sessions, to his weekly freestyle videos, Wiz has always been about our beloved plant.
Wiz embodies everything that we love about our culture: the happy-go-lucky stoner lifestyle built on freedom of self. And when you take all of that into account while recognizing how rich and successful he is, you see Wiz as proof that, contrary to popular belief, anyone can have an entire career based on cannabis and still reach unforeseen heights.
It’s time we show him the respect that his influence on cannabis culture deserves. Here are a few reasons why.
He Used Social Media to Create an Online Community for Cannabis Enthusiasts
If you were in college between 2008-2012, you definitely saw the Wiz Effect firsthand. He had a cult following before dropping his Kush & Orange Juice mixtape, but once that swept the music industry by storm, Wiz had fans everywhere supporting his entertainment company, Taylor Gang. It got to the point where Taylor Gang was no longer just his crew, but an entire community of people who were looking for someone to say, “Hey man, it’s alright to be you.” Wiz was that someone. He was different, and it really affected people everywhere. He showed us “weirdo kids” that it was completely alright to embrace our inner hippie and live life on our own terms.
Wiz’s social media presence has had a powerful influence on cannabis culture, bringing likeminded individuals together under a common cause. Reply to a Wiz tweet, or get a Wiz retweet, and you’ll have 20 people in your mentions yelling “TGOD” and all kinds of things you can relate to. I can’t tell you how many random online friends I made throughout that time. The community he was able to create has embodied everything cannabis culture is about: inclusion.
He Never Compromised His Brand to Appeal to Mainstream Media or Societal Norms
When Wiz walks the red carpet, he always rolls up (no pun intended) dressed to kill with a joint on deck, and he lights it every single time. Considering how the world is often influenced by celebrities, we need more influencers to embrace and encourage our culture publicly the way Wiz is.
We need them to come forward and stand up for cannabis. We need them to be out here saying, “Yo, I get high, and all the stigmas surrounding it are corny.” Cheech & Chong did it, Willie Nelson did it, Snoop did it, Seth Rogen is doing it, and now Wiz is the face and driving force of it.
He’s Always Innovating
At this point in his career, Wiz has taken his brand and stretched it far past music. The way he hustled Taylor Gang merch into millions of dollar is the same way he’s stretched his brand across other areas of both the cannabis and entertainment industries. Not only does he have his own line of papers, rolling trays, etc., he also his his Weed Farm iPhone game and, most importantly, his signature cannabis strain, Khalifa Kush.
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Partnering with Tryke Companies (which does business in Vegas as Reef Dispensaries), the exclusive producer of his Khalifa Kush strain, Wiz has said that he stands to make up to a half a billion dollars off the growth surrounding his strain. When the Super Duper Green Rush begins once it’s finally legal everywhere, whose blueprint do you think these big money celebrities will follow? Exactly. Khalifa’s become immensely influential in this space.
Snoop Has Passed the Torch Down to Wiz
It’s very obvious who Snoop has deemed next in line when it comes to the whole cannabis-rapper-stoner-figure game. Even since Wiz’s early days, Uncle Snoop has always been right there with the cosign. His mentorship has grown into multiple collaborations including countless songs (“Young, Wild, & Free” being one of the biggest), a movie (Mac and Devin Go To High School), and the High Road Tour they did the summer of 2016. Wiz was even one of Snoop’s first guest when GGN (Snoop’s YouTube show) was just a skeleton of what it is now. Legends don’t have to embrace the next generation. They don’t have to pick successors. But it’s very clear who Snoop has chosen to continue pushing the culture forward.
I could go on and on, but those are just a few reasons why we should respect Wiz Khalifa’s influence on cannabis culture. In honor of Wiz turning the big 3-0 this month, twist yourself a few Raw papers, light ‘em up, and let Kush & Orange Juice ride out on good time. Wiz is the man.