MONTREAL — Canada is more advanced than the United States regarding its approach to cannabis, world-famous rapper and weed entrepreneur Snoop Dogg said Friday to a crowd of hundreds at Montreal's C2 technology conference.
The entertainer lamented that in the U.S., some states such as Colorado and California have legalized weed, while others continue to enforce a strict ban on the product. Cannabis also remains illegal under U.S. federal law.
"And in Canada, it's like — let's just make it happen!" Snoop said about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan to reform the Criminal Code and legalize recreational pot for the whole country.
Snoop, known internationally for his insatiable affection for cannabis as much as his best-selling music, has a significant presence in Canada's burgeoning marijuana industry.
Ontario-based Canopy Growth, a medical marijuana company poised to break into the recreational market, signed a partnership deal to hold the exclusive rights to use certain content and brands owned by Snoop's company, LBC Holdings. Snoop has also invested in Toronto-based Trellis, a cannabis inventory management software provider.
Snoop told the crowd the future is bright for weed.
Cannabis companies will soon join technology firms and Fortune 500 companies in size and stature, he said.
"There are companies and businesspeople who used to be silent partners and now they are loud partners," he said.
Snoop was accompanied by his business partner, Ted Chung, on stage for a discussion moderated by Suroosh Alvi, one of the founders of media company, Vice.
While the talk touched a bit on the fundamentals of the cannabis industry, it often strayed into personal anecdotes by Snoop.
The crowd learned Snoop smoked his first blunt with the late rapper Tupac Shakur, and one of his favourite strains of marijuana right now is called "bubblegum kush."
Businesswoman Martha Stewart, of home decor and cooking fame, is also one of Snoop's "homegirls."
They've collaborated for the Emmy-nominated Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, a reality television show on VH1 that's produced in part by Merry Jane, a media company the rapper co-founded with Chung.
Alvi ran out of questions with roughly 15 minutes left in their discussion, which was scheduled to run for 45 minutes.
Snoop mused he shouldn't have blown so much pot smoke in Alvi's face on the drive over to the C2 venue.
The trio opened up the talk to questions from the audience, and despite the largely light-hearted nature of the presentation, one young woman asked a serious question.
She wanted to know how Snoop feels about all the people getting rich on cannabis while people of colour remain in prison for trying to do the same thing when pot wasn't trendy.
Snoop said he wanted to speak for people who are still detained in the U.S.
"I want to be their voice," he said. "I just don't want to be making profits when they are in jail. As a black man, I've been to jail for marijuana.
"Snoop Dogg is the voice for reform — let them out!"