Jaleel White, actor and multi-hyphenator creative, enters the cannabis industry with a new line … [+]
Yes, he did.
Actor Jaleel White, famous for his cultural touchstone role as Steve Urkel in Family Matters, enters the cannabis industry. Through a partnership with 710 Labs, White’s new cannabis line called ItsPurpl offers variants of the popular Purple Urkle cannabis strain. The market launch is planned for April 20, 2021. The brand will initially be available on California pharmacy shelves and potentially grow into more marketplaces in the future.
“What has always struck me is that there is no clear brand leader for fire purple weeds,” says Jaleel White. “It made no sense to me that no major company had claimed this lead. So why not me?”
How did this collaboration with celebrities come about? Through friendship. Brad Melshenker, founder of 710 Labs, met White on a flight and the duo bonded over their passion for cannabis. “710 has never been a brand that chases celebrity deals or endorsements as our agenda has always been quality above all else,” says Melshenker. “We tend to let the product speak for itself. But over the years Jaleel and I became friends and our conversations organically grew into a project. He was on a journey in the early 2000s to find the real Purple Urkel from back then. In addition, he wanted to find the tastiest purple varieties and had been collecting seeds with his friend Sean over the years just for that purpose. “
ItsPurple x 710 Labs cannabis offerings from left to right: Vape Pen with pod, eighth note and joint … [+]
710 Labs x ItsPurple
The Purple Urkle strain range is sold as eighth vape pens with rosin pods developed by 710 Labs, as well as Noodle Doinks, a fat, hand-rolled joint that uses a fusilli noodle as a crutch.
“Smoking the end result of such a quality pod was surreal,” says White. “I feel a bit like Willy Wonka, the taste was similar to that of grape candy.” ItsPurple branding shows an ombre-purple Steve Urkel character on sleek black packaging. A limited series of goods with a waffle iron will also be available. Users can sign up for product notifications through the ItsPurple website.
“Jaleel is a big fan of the Noodle Doinks and the Live Resin Pods, ”says Melshenker. “The Noodle Doinks will be available in three flavors by Purple Urkle and Stefan, and the Live Resin Pods will be available in Mendo Purps x Zkittlez, which, by the way, is probably my favorite taste so far. It’s a no-nonsense candy flavor with a Big League Chew flair on the exhale. “
“We only work together from the bottom of our hearts so this made sense and we were determined to help Jaleel make that happen,” says Melshenker. “It took us a year to find winners like Stefan (The White x Purple Urkle) and a phenomenon of the Purple Urkel that met our keeper standards. The hunt 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. “
I spoke to White to learn more about what it felt like to see his legendary character as a cannabis strain immortalized, how long he wanted to be in the industry, and what cannabis does to inspire his creativity.
One eighth of ItsPurpl cannabis, from actor Jaleel White as a tribute to his Family Matters character … [+]
710 Labs x ItsPurple
How long have you wanted to enter the cannabis room?
Jaleel White: It was really years. At least more than five. Friends and family always found it funny sending me fake pictures of myself depicted on cannabis products in pharmacies across the country. A childhood friend from second grade is the person I blame for getting things right. Since at least 2016, a new businessman came every few months with ideas that felt the legacy of the Urkel character to be very exploitative and money-oriented. My buddy Sean would shut them down like a protective big brother. Only one other thing that has taught me more patience than this launch process and that is raising my daughter Samaya.
Has it been surreal over the years, especially the last decade, to see Purple Urkle cannabis strains flock to weed markets across the country?
It was flattering at first, but then it got frustrating to see and hear Purple Urkle in the cannabis market. What I always noticed was that there was no clear brand leader for fire purple weeds. It made no sense to me that no major company had claimed this trail. So why not me
How long has this idea been in progress?
It’s hard to say how long I’ve been considering the idea of itsPurpl in years. I’m just glad I didn’t take advantage of any of the earlier opportunities because this process with 710 Labs has felt fun and organic from the moment we really started last spring 2020. And this whole company really helped me feel productive during the pandemic.
Tell me about this strain, the growing process: were you growing?
I have a strain called Stefan, Purple Urkle x The White. Then there is the classic Purple Urkle. Purple Urkle is neither an easy plant to grow nor a large yield. I visited the Oakland facility throughout the pheno-hunting process and learned to use my nose the way a winemaker relies on their sense of taste.
Cannabis Testing: How Many Joints / Shells Have You Smoked For Product Testing In Research And Development?
When the Mendo Purps x Skittlez sample pans were ready to be smoked, I took them home with me like a whole box of about forty filled pods. Got five pods and had to call my boy Sean, I faded. He smoked every single one in my garage that night and I made notes of which numbered plants were our favorites. I can’t keep up with his tolerance. But of course it was a fun night in the ass in my garage.
The limited edition waffle iron with the ItsPurple logo for edible production at home.
710 Labs x ItsPurple
Creativity and cannabis – have you otherwise consumed, traded or written for creative purposes?
I actually prefer not to smoke when I play. A lot of acting is about timing and you don’t want anything to interfere with that. But when it comes to writing, that’s a whole different story. A good puff of smoke with some naturally funny cats can just be that creative spark that you didn’t know you all needed. Plus, a good noodle button before a fantastic meal makes everything taste so much better. Music is also greatly improved for me through cannabis use. Songs just slow down and you can hear every nuance.
It’s on sale in California to get started, right? Are you planning a future where Purple Urkle enters other marketplaces? Where did you fix your eyes next: Colorado, New York anywhere down the line?
Yes, California first. New York has always shown me a lot of love so hopefully it won’t be too long for ItsPurpl products to hit the Big Apple. I want every state in the Union to keep everything real. I envision product releases one day in Canada and Europe. “One Day” has a fun way of happening a lot faster than we imagine.
What products can consumers expect in the Purple Urkle line? Vape pen pod, cannabis, noodle joints?
Eight glasses of the real Purple Urkle were a must, right outside the gate. Noodle dinks are my personal favorite. Everyone I share them with in my inner circle freaks out about the Rotini pasta filter. It’s so unusual that you’ve seen a joint so hand-rolled that the pasta filter keeps leading to conversation. The Live Resin Pods are still so underrated. My boy Sean and I got our hands on some Mendo Purps x Skittlez seeds almost a year ago. We treated these seeds like gold nuggets in Sean’s freezer until 710 stuck them in the ground. Smoking the end result of such a quality pod was surreal. I feel a bit like Willy Wonka, the taste came out like grape drops. Edibles are definitely a claim. But we have to crawl before we can walk.
The noodle doinks, special hand-rolled joints with Purple Urkle variants, from 710 Labs x … [+]
710 Labs x ItsPurple