Seth Rogen’s Cannabis Brand Wants to Mentor Pot Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Seth Rogen’s Cannabis Brand Wants to Mentor Pot Startups
Image courtesy of Houseplant

Houseplant, the Los Angeles-based cannabis brand launched by actor and comedian Seth Rogen, is trying to make good on its socially responsible mission with its second annual In-House mentorship program.

This is the first time that Houseplant has opened up its mentorship program to the public; last year’s beta-test of the In-House program was invite-only and had only two participants. The program is open to anyone trying to join the supply chain for legalized pot and has received over 500 applications since mid-March, “which [has] exceeded our expectations,” according to Houseplant Chief Consumer Officer Melissa Greenberg. (The deadline for applications is May 1.)

The mentorship doesn’t come with any funding, but it does offer access to Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Rogen’s long-time screenwriting partner and Houseplant co-founder. The mentorship allows participants to tap into resources like Houseplant’s network of industry advisors, with the goal of helping mentees in developing, marketing and selling their products.

The first time around, Houseplant helped its mentees with “preparation for their brand and retail launches, [including] advising on social media best practices, reviewing media and marketing plans, creating process documentation, and providing financial planning templates for future use,” Greenberg told dot.LA in an email. “Additionally, we used our platform to highlight the entrepreneurs to help drive foot traffic and awareness about their businesses once they launched.”

Houseplant In-House participant Moises Estrada growing cannabis.Image from Houseplant

One participant in last year’s program was Moises Estrada, a cannabis grower born and raised in East Hollywood who runs Downtown-based pot brand Itty Bitties. Estrada was granted a social equity license for his business from the city of Los Angeles in 2020—part of the city’s plan to give people from communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs the chance to earn a living in the legal cannabis market. Estrada said that without the city offering him a shot at a license, he would never have been able to launch a cannabis business and work with In-House.

“These social equity licenses have been a total blessing,” Estrada told dot.LA. “I’m in a much better place than I was four years ago when I began this journey.”

He added that the Houseplant team was “very accessible” and gave him valuable insights into how to handle local regulations. “I know cannabis and cultivating very well, but this program helped me think about how to ramp up the business side of things,” Estrada said.

Launched in March 2021, Houseplant sells pot to a handful of dispensaries in Los Angeles and elsewhere across California, as well as home goods—including artfully-crafted yet expensive ashtrays and vases based on original designs by Rogen—in all 50 states. Houseplant CEO Michael Mohr told dot.LA that the merchandise is a legal way of reaching the national market, even in states where consumers can’t buy its weed.

Rogen has been an outspoken advocate for cannabis legalization and repairing communities impacted by the war on drugs. Houseplant works with Black Lives Matter, the Marijuana Policy Project and Cannabis Amnesty to advance these goals; Greenberg said the company provides funding to those organizations and also amplifies their goals by having Rogen, Greenberg or Mohr participate in their events.

Rogen wasn’t available for comment.

Mohr told dot.LA that Houseplant’s goal is to prepare cannabis founders for when the drug eventually becomes legal across the country. “Legalization in the United States is inevitable,” Mohr said. “The momentum is there, public sentiment and desire is there—it will happen.”

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If Angelenos Don’t Seize the Curb, They Risk Losing Sidewalk Dining

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Connie Llanos, Jordan Justus and Gene Oh
Justin Janes, Vizeos Media

Three years ago, Los Angeles went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, cities like L.A. are struggling to hold on to pandemic-era transportation and infrastructure changes, like sidewalk dining and slow streets, while managing escalating demand for curb space from rideshare and delivery.

At Curbivore, a conference dedicated to “commerce at the curb” held earlier this month in downtown Los Angeles, the topic was “Grading on a Curb: The State of our Streets & Cities in 2023,” a panel moderated by Drew Grant, editorial director for dot.LA.

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Plug In South LA Accelerator Launches 4th Cohort to Double Down On Black and Latinx Communities

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Plug In South LA Accelerator Launches 4th Cohort to Double Down On Black and Latinx Communities
Provided by Plug In

Last week, Plug In, a South LA accelerator program, announced the launch of its fourth cohort. The deadline to apply is March 24 and the program will begin in April and end mid-July.

While Plug In got its start by helping South LA’s tech ecosystem, the company is not limiting the talent pool to local companies. Instead, Plug In is widening its reach by allowing startups from across the nation to participate. The 12-week program is focused on finding founders in the health care, digital media, edtech, climate and sustainability sectors.

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How the 'Thrift Haul' Boosted Secondhand Ecommerce Platforms

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
How the 'Thrift Haul' Boosted Secondhand Ecommerce Platforms
Evan Xie

If you can believe it, it’s been more than a decade since rapper Macklemore extolled the virtues of thrift shopping in a viral music video. But while scouring the ranks of vintage clothing stores looking for the ultimate come-up may have waned in popularity since 2012, the online version of this activity is apparently thriving.

According to a new trend story from CNBC, interest in “reselling” platforms like Etsy-owned Depop and Poshmark has exploded in the years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. In an article that spends a frankly surprising amount of time focused on sellers receiving death threats before concluding that they’re “not the norm,” the network cites the usual belt-tightening ecommerce suspects – housebound individuals doing more of their shopping online coupled with inflation woes and recession fears – as the causes behind the uptick.

As for data, there’s a survey from Depop themselves, finding that 53% of respondents in the UK are more inclined to shop secondhand as living costs continue to rise. Additional research from Advance Market Analytics confirms the trend, citing not just increased demand for cheap clothes but the pressing need for a sustainable alternative to recycling clothing materials at its core.

The major popularity of “thrift haul” videos across social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok has also boosted the visibility of vintage clothes shopping and hunting for buried treasures. Teenage TikToker Jacklyn Wells scores millions of views on her thrift haul videos, only to get routinely mass-accused of greed for ratching up the Depop resell prices for her coolest finds and discoveries. Nonetheless, viral clips like Wells’ have helped to embed secondhand shopping apps more generally within online fashion culture. Fashion and beauty magazine Hunger now features a regular list of the hottest items on the re-sale market, with a focus on how to use them to recreate hot runway looks.

As with a lot of consumer and technology trends, the sudden surge of interest in second-hand clothing retailers was only partly organic. According to The Drum, ecommerce apps Vinted, eBay, and Depop have collectively spent around $120 million on advertising throughout the last few years, promoting the recent vintage shopping boom and helping to normalize second-hand shopping. This includes conventional advertising, of course, but also deals with online influencers to post content like “thrift haul” videos, along with shoutouts for where to track down the best finds.

Reselling platforms have naturally responded to the increase in visibility with new features (as well as a predictable hike in transaction fees). Poshmark recently introduced livestreamed “Posh Shows” during which sellers can host auctions or provide deeper insight into their inventory. Depop, meanwhile, has introduced a “Make Offer” option to fully integrate the bartering and negotiation process into the app, rather than forcing buyers and sellers to text or Direct Message one another elsewhere. (The platform formerly had a comments section on product pages, but shut this option down after finding that it led to arguments, and wasn’t particularly helpful in making purchase decisions.)

Now that it’s clear there’s money to be made in online thrift stores, larger and more established brands and retailers are also pushing their way into the space. H&M and Target have both partnered with online thrift store ThredUp on featured collections of previously-worn clothing. A new “curated” resale collection from Tommy Hilfiger – featuring minorly damaged items that were returned to its retail stores – was developed and promoted through a partnership with Depop, which has also teamed with Kellogg’s on a line of Pop-Tarts-inspired wear. J.Crew is even bringing back its classic ‘80s Rollneck Sweater in a nod to the renewed interest in all things vintage.

Still, with any surge of popularity and visibility, there must also come an accompanying backlash. In a sharp editorial this week for Arizona University’s Daily Wildcat, thrift shopping enthusiast Luke Lawson makes the case that sites like Depop are “gentrifying fashion,” stripping communities of local thrift stores that provide a valuable public service, particularly for members of low-income communities. As well, UK tabloids are routinely filled with secondhand shopping horror stories these days, another evidence point as to their increased visibility among British consumers specifically, not to mention the general dangers of buying personal items from strangers you met over the internet.