‘Steve Urkel’ actor launches cannabis brand on 4/20

Jaleel White, the actor best known for playing Steve Urkel on the 1990s sitcom Family Matters, has launched his own cannabis brand – on the day enthusiasts around the globe enjoy a toke.

White announced he is partnering with 710 Labs on the new line, itsPurpl, on a new website to promote the product.

The products launched in California on 20 April, apparently in a nod to the occasion of 4/20, an annual event in celebration of cannabis.

The line of products includes variants of the popular strain of the drug, Purple Urkle.

“The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed,” White told Forbes last week. “It made no sense to me, that no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?”

The 44-year-old actor explained that the collaboration had come about after people continually signposted him to cannabis products with his character’s face on.

“For over 20 years, friends and family have sent me photos of my TV character self plastered across a wide range of cannabis products,” he said.

White added: “The best part: everyone always thinks they’re the first… ‘Dude have you seen this? You have your own weed!’”

The actor said that he met his partner for the line on a flight to Oakland in 2018.

“From eighth jars to rolling trays to rap song mentions, Purple Urkle and I have lived apart like fraternal twins separated at birth,” he wrote.

White said it has been challenging and rewarding to “burrow into an industry not known for diversity or inclusion.”

“Anyone who knows me personally as Jaleel White, knows I am an ardent seeker of curated adventures, big laughs, and excellent food. All three of these interests are enormously enhanced by top shelf cannabis,” he said.

“Lovers of purple cannabis can be equally adroit in our discussion worthy appreciation for purple hues, smells and flavours.”

The founder of 710 Labs, Brad Melshenker, told Forbes that the brand only does “collaborations that come from the heart,” adding: “this one made sense and we were determined to help Jaleel make it happen.”

The brand told the magazine it took them a year to find strains to match their high 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,” Mr Melshenker said.

A number of celebrities have begun stepping into the growing cannabis industry in recent years, from CBD products to personalised strains, at the same time that states make moves to legalise the drug for recreational use.

Just over one-third of US states have now officially legalised recreational marijuana following the passing of new legislation in New Mexico last week.

Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Seth Rogen, Jay-Z, Martha Stewart, and Drake all feature on a growing list of high-profile figures to have a stake in products derived from cannabis.

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