In what would most definitely be an interesting episode of Family Matters, actor Jaleel White is getting into the cannabis business. Famous for his role as Steve Urkel in the '80s and '90s sitcom, White's new cannabis line with 710 Labs, called ItsPurpl, features variants of the popular cannabis strain Purple Urkle. Set to launch on April 20, 2021, the brand will be on dispensary shelves in California to start and will potentially grow to more marketplaces in the future.
White told Forbes that it made sense for him to take ownership of the business lane. "The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed," he said. "It made no sense to me, that no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?"
White and 710 Labs founder Brad Melshenker met on a flight and connected over their passion for cannabis. Melshenker said that although 710 does not pursue celebrity deals or endorsements, the company's agenda "has always been quality above all else." He added that "over the years," he and White became friends "organically" and developed the project together. "He was on a journey to find the real Purple Urkel from back in the early 2000s. Not only that, he wanted to find the most flavorful purple cultivars and had been collecting seeds with his friend Sean over the years just for this purpose."
"To smoke the end result from such a quality pod has been surreal," White said. "I feel a little bit like Willy Wonka, the flavor came out so similar to grape candy."
The ItsPurpl packaging shows an ombre-purple Steve Urkel character on a sleek black background. A limited-edition series of merchandise that includes a waffle maker will also be available.
“We only do collaborations that come from the heart, so this one made sense and we were determined to help Jaleel make it happen,” Melshenker said. “It took a year for us to find winners like Stefan (The White x Purple Urkle) and one pheno of the Purple Urkel that was up to our ‘keeper’ standards. Hunting for certain traits and genetics is time-consuming and challenging but it was worth it when it all came together in the end and the vision was realized.”0comments
White says that he was tired of seeing "bootlegged" photos of himself featured on cannabis products in all kinds of dispensaries across the country. "At first it was flattering but then it became frustrating seeing and hearing about Purple Urkle in the cannabis marketplace. The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed," he said, adding that the product testing part of the process was memorable indeed.
"When the Mendo Purps x Zkittlez sample pods were ready to be smoked, I took home like a whole box of 40 or so filled pods. I got five pods in and I had to call my boy, Sean, I was fading. He smoked every single one in my garage that night and I took notes, which numbered plants were our faves," White said. "I can’t keep up with his tolerance. But needless to say that was one funny ass night in my garage."