When longtime Hollywood collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg launched their cannabis brand Houseplant in March 2021, it could have been just another run-of-the-mill celebrity weed brand, leveraging the likeness of a high-profile pot smoker to sell a small assortment of goods — a few that contain THC and a few that don’t.
A year later, though, Houseplant seems to be the little side hustle that could, blossoming from three strains of weed and three home-goods offerings (a ceramic ashtray set, a three-album vinyl box set of music and a blocky table lighter) into a full-blown lifestyle juggernaut that includes 14 marijuana strains and enough well-designed non-weed goods to stylishly furnish a small home.
And that’s pretty much what the duo has done, outfitting a small cottage-style house just off the main drag in Hollywood (they’d prefer not to divulge the specific location, but it’s close to their production-company offices) with pieces of their ever-expanding universe of wares, which currently includes table lamps, gravity bongs, tray and grinder sets, a lighter caddy shaped like Rogen’s dog Zelda and a handful of takes on the ashtray. The space, which they’ve dubbed the Houseplant House, serves as a showcase for the home goods and a combination party pad and VIP event space.
In advance of its official unveiling last month, Goldberg and Rogen gave me a tour of the space and then sat down to talk about cannabis and creativity, their brand’s first year in the U.S. (Houseplant first launched in Canada, where both men are from, in 2019) and what lessons they’ve learned along the way. Highlights from that conversation appear below, and the full “Green Room” video can be viewed above.
On what they’ve learned over the last year
“We have new tins on the way that are a little easier to open,” Rogen says as he popped the top off a metal canister during our conversation. “That’s one thing we learned: Our tins were a little more difficult to open than people liked. … Almost every week we have calls with the dispensaries that actually sell our weed — me and Evan will Zoom with the budtenders and the people who work there and very much encourage them to give us feedback. They were very like, ‘People love the weed. They’re thrilled about it. But it’s a little harder to open than they prefer.’ And so we did that.”
On which of their creations will stand the test of time
Goldberg and Rogen singled out the Rogen-designed ceramic three-piece ashtray set that includes a deep, cup-like ashtray with a lip for resting a joint, a saucer and a bud vase. “This design of an ashtray is already weirdly linked to me and our company,” Rogen says. “I think this will be around. And it’s strange, we’ve been making movies for 15 years, and there’s not one thing in [those] movies where people are like, ‘That’s like Seth and Evan,’ but this ashtray … I think will be associated with us. And I think it is a design that holds up, that we really created.”
On whether they’re still having fun
“We’re having lots of fun,” says Goldberg, pointing to the brand’s recent brand extension into prerolls, which ended up having to be rolled by hand to meet their exacting standards. “A big goal of ours was to get to prerolled joints,” he says.
“Now coming into the world are these prerolled joints,” Rogen adds. “And it kind of shows that we can execute things and plan things simultaneously, which is a good thing to know — that you can do [that]. The fact that we’re still here is, to me, incredibly encouraging.”
I make actual things that people want in their homes. It’s a strange and lovely and new feeling.
— Seth Rogen
On the evolution of the brand
“It’s unbelievably thrilling,” Goldberg says. “It just keeps evolving. Like these prerolled joints are incredible. Then there’s beverages and there are so many other things that are obviously going to come after those things. And so we slowly but steadily are expanding. It’s fun because there’s enough time to really sink our teeth into everything step by step without [going] too fast. I like the pace it’s going at.”
“I make actual things that people want in their homes,” adds Rogen. “It’s a strange and lovely and new feeling.”
On cannabis and creativity
“We put a maybe insane amount of thought into what we’re smoking and when we’re smoking it because we love smoking weed. It helps us do our jobs. It helps us live our lives,” Goldberg says. “And if we don’t strategize correctly, it’s like going to Disneyland with a bad plan. Everything goes to hell, and everyone’s crying. You could love Disneyland but have a bad time, but if you actually put thought toward it and choose the right strain for the right moment, it makes a big difference, I think.”
On what they might have been smoking while working on the stoner classic ‘Pineapple Express’
“We didn’t live a charmed cannabis life back then,” Goldberg says, “so [it was] whatever the dealer would sell us.” He noted that the strain Northern Lights was popular at the time, which would make it a viable candidate. “There was also a Gold Champagne strain going around at the time,” Rogen adds. “And maybe Juicy Fruit too. There was a lot of Juicy Fruit.”
On being a celebrity weed brand
“Any celebrity-founded weed company has kind of a higher standard it has to live up to in every way because it’s more scrutinized,” Rogen says. “And I think that’s something that we really understand. And our weed has to be phenomenal — better than you hope it’s going to be, and our joints have to be better than you hope they’re going to be. … When you order one of our products it has to be better than you hope or else it’ll play into your fear of what this company is.”
On what the brand and the cannabis landscape will look like a year from now
“We just started to know what works and which things we like to focus on,” Goldberg says. “We’re just beginning the journey, so I say [it will look like] this house but more developed.”
“I think so too,” adds Rogen. “And hopefully the climate in America will be different then. I think we seem to be maybe inching toward federal legalization. But as long as the climate is what it is, which is this incredibly terrible and racist war on drugs being waged in half the country, it will never be where it should be.”
On the responsibility to highlight social justice issues
“‘Responsibility’ makes it seem like it’s we don’t want to, do you know what I mean?” says Rogen. “It is a part of our beliefs. It was part of the company’s structure when we created it. It was one of the things we talked a lot about. And coming from Canada to America, I think we have a slightly outsider’s perspective, a little bit on just how horrifically unjust the entire climate around weed is. And we feel like we are in a position to help and to maybe move the needle. We take that seriously.”