updated 4:45 PM UTC, Dec 10, 2016

Whoopi Goldberg Founds Marijuana Firm For Women

( 4UMF NEWS ) Whoopi Goldberg Founds Marijuana Firm For Women:

Whoopi Goldberg is lending her name and financial backing to a new line of medical marijuana products designed specifically for women.

Goldberg, who has been public about her own marijuana use, is one of a handful of Hollywood celebrities jumping into the marijuana marketplace. Bob Marley’s family has partnered with a cannabis company to produce Marley Natural products, and Snoop Dogg backs Leafs by Snoop. Goldberg said her “Whoopi & Maya” company received financial backing from three friends and family members, and she will serve as chairwoman.

“I want to go nice and slow with this. I don’t want this to be a joke to people. It’s not a joke to women,” Goldberg told USA TODAY. The company she’s co-founded offers four products: a balm, a tincture, sipping chocolate, and a bath soak. All are infused with marijuana and aim to reduce the pain and cramps from periods. Pricing has not yet been set.

The products sold under the “Whoopi & Maya brand” will be available only in California to people with their medical marijuana cards. Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the products today is unavailable elsewhere.

The marijuana industry is one of the country’s fastest growing industries, increasing annually by 31%, with a national market worth $5.7 billion, say the two research firms.

By launching in California, Goldberg and partner Maya Elisabeth are entering one of the world’s largest marijuana marketplaces, with California producing $2.7 billion in sales last year, according to the cannabis-focused data firms New Frontier and ArcView Market Research.

California voters this fall are widely expected to pass a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana. In many cases, medical and recreational products are identical; the only difference is whether a user needs a doctor’s recommendation.

California lawmakers this summer approved series of measures formalizing the state’s medical marijuana system. Those measures lay the groundwork for a legal recreational system, and could potentially give anyone offering medical marijuana products a leg up in selling recreational products if they’re legalized this fall.

“Success at the ballot box would massively increase California’s total legal market share,” Troy Dayton, CEO of The ArcView Group, said in a statement.

Elisabeth said she and Goldberg believe their niche — if you can call 50% of the population a niche, she laughs — is ripe for success. She said women have for generations been herbal healers, and she believes the company’s marijuana products are no different.

There’s very little scientific research available about the benefits of medical marijuana use, largely because the federal government has sharply restricted it. Researchers only now are starting to conduct sophisticated trials about its potential benefits for PTSD and seizure sufferers. England’s Queen Victoria is widely believed to have used a similar tincture to relieve her own cramps, Elisabeth said.

“I’m excited for people to feel comfortable using cannabis,” said Elisabeth, a founder of the all-female Northern California edible marijuana products cooperative Om Edibles.

Marijuana is rapidly becoming a big, semi-legal business across the country, with $5.7 billion in sales last year and tens of thousands of people working and paying taxes as they cultivate, package and sell cannabis. USA TODAY

Goldberg said smoking pot or drinking marijuana-infused tea has helped control her own cramps and pain, and she currently uses a “vape” pen filled with marijuana oil to combat glaucoma headaches. She said she’s not interested in creating a recreational cannabis company to sell joints to people who just want to get high. Goldberg came up with the idea for the company with a friend, and found Elisabeth to partner with.

Goldberg said that at her age, 60, she’s willing to take the risk of violating federal law because she believes so strongly in the company’s mission.

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