We’re taking a minor break from focusing on fake and counterfeit cartridges, to focus on the wild world of cannabis brands run by people who really have no business being near this industry. We’re going to cover a fairly controversial figure whom you’ve probably heard of before, but for once, we will attempt to put all the bizarre threads in one place.
September 2018 : Ignite Cannabis Co. launches in California
We have the press release right here, which declares that it’s the “World’s First Super-Premium Cannabis Lifestyle Brand.” If that phrase appears to have several contradictions in it, sit tight. The same press release, penned by the company itself, feels it necessary to inform us that the founder is “often known for his lavish lifestyle and the beautiful women that accompany him.” It also tells us “not everyone can live the lifestyle of” the founder, and that said founder has recently “shifted his focus to sex and partying and was very successful in his endeavors.”
Thanks. That was a little bit more information than we needed to know about the launch of a cannabis brand in California, but yay for him I guess.
The founder in question is Dan Bilzerian, and the deeper you dig into his mystique, the more you question the concept of “lifestyle brands.” The company Ignite dabbles in a little bit of everything: Nicotine, CBD, beverages, cannabis in flower and cartridge form, and of course apparel. The CBD products are most widely distributed, at dispensaries in both northern and southern California plus Nevada. The company itself is a direct subsidiary of Ignite International Brands, Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It went publicly traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange in the last two years.
So far, so typical, except for that creepy press release. So what’s the big deal with Ignite?
Ignite’s rocky financial waters
First, Forbes reports that an auditor has concluded that Ignite International Brands, Ltd. posted $67 million (Canadian) in losses in 2019. The Canadian dollars translate to USD as about $50 million. The author alleges that so far, all offerings of this company’s retail products appear to be vaporware. However, $43 million of that spent money seems to have gone for marketing and promotion alone, a lot of which revolves heavily around photos of Dan Bilzerian absolutely drowning in hired models…
Dan Bilzerian also bills himself as an Instagram personality, with excess so over-the-top that GQ collected a list of ridiculous Instagram posts we won’t repost here because we have sponsors. They include more of Dan being buried in women, a quad bike destroyed in a pool, a goat in Dan’s bed, an armored tank crushing a car, a model with Dan’s name sharpied on her butt, and more photos to demonstrate how Dan Bilzerian is really, really straight and lives a studly lifestyle.
Regarding the goat thing, Bilzerian uses that goat’s head logo everywhere, including in portraits in his mansion. It seems to be a branding motif, as occult as it may appear.
Ganjapreneur comes straight out to allege that Dan Bilzerian is accused of partying away his company funding. Furthermore, the former executive veep of Ignite was allegedly fired for bringing unusual spending to the attention of the company board, including a $75K paintball field, a $40K rock-climbing wall, a $60K Star Wars gun set, $50K on a bed frame, and $15K on a ping pong table.
Just days ago, USAHerald reports that Dan B. has fallen strangely silent regarding his business practices, where normally he’d be an outspoken social media personality. Seeking Alpha deems Ignite International as “falling apart” and “an extremely unhealthy financial position.”
Recently CannMart Inc. tore up their business deal with Ignite International Brands Ltd. Formerly the company had acted as the distributor for Ignite’s products in Canada. So, contrary to Forbes’ skepticism, some product has apparently been produced.
Dan Bilzerian and legal troubles
Beside the point of the company’s issues, Bilzerian himself seems to leave a wake of controversy everywhere he goes. There is the alleged incident where he supposedly kicked a woman in the face at a nightclub in Miami, the alleged 2014 incident where he tossed a naked porn star off the roof causing her injuries, the time he got arrested at LAX in 2014 for alleged possession of bomb-making materials, and the web of allegations as to the nature of Dan’s trust-fund fortune from his father, whom is convicted of securities violations fraud.
Like I said up top: this is an attempt to put all the bizarre threads in one place. This may be an impossible feat. For instance, right in the press releases Dan B. feels it necessary to mention his Navy service, but Military Wiki claims that he only trained for Navy Seals but did not graduate after several attempts.
The actual Ignite products?
Despite the Ignite website pointing us to all these shops, we at DabConnection haven’t seen their products in Nevada or California dispensaries either. Perhaps only the CBD line has launched? Here’s a few box shots we can scrounge up:
Even the preroll, on the packaging where you’d normally expect to find a strain name, it just says “goat.” We’re as baffled as you.
What was the point of all this?
Ignite Cannabis Co. is another company in the growing trend of “lifestyle brands” in cannabis and hemp. Whenever we do track down one of these brands, we usually find it doesn’t live up to the hype at all. This teaches us a lesson not just from a consumer perspective, but as an industry, business, and culture as well. Do we want brands like these speaking for us all?
Thanks to the long hard struggle to end cannabis prohibition, we have to partly think of ourselves as a community. We have to think of the sacrifice others have made to give us what freedom we do have now. The cannabis industry is still in its infancy, and states which have yet to legalize look to the states which already have as an example. What we’re saying is, we have to start paying attention to the image and optics of the cannabis industry, if we wish our progress to continue.
That’s all we’re saying this time, just a sobering look at one company.
Readers, anybody out there actually found an Ignite product?
Was it attached to a hired model at the time? Did it smell like goat? Was it run over by a tank? Smack us with your jive here in the comments or our forum.