Silent Bob Is Now a Legitimate Ganjapreneur
Life really does imitate art. In his 1994 indie film Clerks, writer-director Kevin Smith introduced the characters Jay and Silent Bob -- two guys who spent all day peddling weed outside a New Jersey Quick Stop. Smith himself played Silent Bob; his childhood pal Jason Mewes played Jay. The characters would return in many of Smith’s movies…and now, 25 years and a different regulatory environment later, the duo are getting their own legal cannabis brand, Jay and Silent Bob’s Private Stash. Manufacturing-and-distribution company Chemesis International is to thank for it: The company initially approached Smith, who was more than enthusiastic to finally become a real-life ganjapreneur.
You’re a famous weed enthusiast. Why name the brand after your characters, instead of yourself?
Honestly, I could have probably gone with Kevin Smith, because that name is synonymous with this space. But Jay and Silent Bob get to be us, and [Mewes and I] do everything together. His wife runs our business. So there was never a moment where I was like, “Get out. Weed’s mine!” Like every good stoner, you should share as often as you can.
As a storyteller, did you build a storyline around the brand?
Yes; it’s woven in. They call that “synergy” in the business. The weed hit the streets in January, we start shooting our movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot in early March, and then it’s out at the end of this year. It makes fun of sequels and reboots by being both at the same time.
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A lot of celebrities put their names on products, but they’re not that involved in the business. Are you?
This is an incredible business because it’s not like you just make it here and you’re done. In every state, you’ve got to find a different flower if you’re going to sell it there, because you can’t take the California weed over to Colorado and vice versa. It’s this amazing job where people tell you, “We need you to smoke all this weed and tell us what you think.” Then you get to do it again and again. So quality control is very easily part of the job. But the marketing stuff was something that took my breath away. The team at Chemesis came up with these little pre-rolled joints that go into a little container and look like something you’d get at Quick Stop. That was right up my alley. I would buy that even if I weren’t a stoner.
[Playing the characters at the Quick Stop] was something we did, like, 25 years ago, hoping that it would turn into something. It’s nice to know that a quarter of a century later, it worked. And now we live in this weird, wonderful world where it can go beyond the screen. We literally sell weed in real life.
What do you make of the new gentrification of cannabis?
I don’t have a garage-band fan mentality, where it’s like, This was ours first! Now everyone else is just a poser. Come on! If you came late to the game, it doesn’t matter -- you’re here now, so enjoy it. Same with weed. It works for everybody, and it has a positive effect. I’d rather see it go deeper into the suburbs and see soccer moms smoking weed. I don’t mind sharing space at the stoner table with people who are way above my station in life now, because I know they’re getting probably something as positive out of it as I am. Gentrify away, I say. It would be a much better world.