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Thailand’s First Official Cannabis Store Belongs to California Rapper Berner

Bethan Rose

by Bethan Rose

September 21, 2022 08:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Thailand’s First Official Cannabis Store Belongs to California Rapper Berner

Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr., American rap artist and founder/CEO of the cannabis brands Cookies and VIBES Papers, is celebrating the launch of his new Cookies store in Thailand. Gilbert, whose stage name is Berner, described the Southeast Asian nation’s first cannabis store opening as “a huge step into the global market.”

Berner, who has released more than 40 albums and has made his mark on Billboard’s “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums” chart, took to his Instagram account to express his enthusiasm: “I wonder if anyone from different parts of Asia will fly in?,” he wrote on his official Instagram page. “We’ve been working on this for almost 2 years. The first store in Asia, pretty wild.”

At the tender age of 18, the San Francisco resident kicked off his cannabis career checking customer ID cards at a Bay Area cannabis club. Since this time, the 38-year-old has built one of the country’s most well-known marijuana lifestyle brands.

“From the earliest days in a San Francisco garage to global growth, our goal has remained the same: authenticity and innovative genetics. Our control of the entire experience from start to finish, seed to sale, sets us apart,” said Berner. “We take pride in our in-house cultivation, global varieties, and a full lineup of strain-specific products.”

Cookies’ Foray Into Thailand’s Legal Marijuana Market

Back in 2018, Thailand became the first Asian country to permit medically prescribed cannabis. Then, in June of this year, the Kingdom decriminalized cannabis for adult-use purposes. Thanks to the new law, Thai residents can legally cultivate the plant for personal consumption. 

As a way of kick-starting the home-growing cannabis culture in Thailand, the Thai government provided residents with 1 million cannabis plants. After acknowledging the money-making opportunities in Thailand—the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce predicts that the combined hemp and cannabis markets will generate 43 billion baht ($1.2 billion) by 2025—Berner decided to introduce his brand to the Southeast Asian country’s market.

One of Cookies’ exclusive distribution partners for its Southeast Asian business ventures, Las Vegas-headquartered Audacious AUSA AUSAF, also recently teamed up with Thai food manufacturer Golden Triangle Health to produce private-label products. 

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“Cookies was named one of America’s Hottest Brands of 2021 by AdAge; the first cannabis brand to ever receive this accolade,” reads a statement published by the company, which sells a diverse selection of tinctures, gel caps, and vapes. Even more impressive is the fact that Cookies was the only cannabis company to be chosen for the title.

Berner’s Cannabis Empire Continues to Grow

It’s not just the Cookies brand that Berner is proud to be a part of. The young musician, who is also signed to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Entertainment, has also founded or co-founded a number of businesses, including:

  • 1212 Ventures
  • Bern One Entertainment music label
  • Hemp2o Water
  • Lemonnade
  • Weedmaps
  • Vibes
  • Santa Cruz Shredders
  • Social Club

Greenlane Holdings, Inc. GNLN sold its stake in Berner’s premium rolling papers brand VIBES Holdings LLC on July 19 for $5.3 million in cash with the primary goal of catapulting the company to higher realms of success. VIBES also sells specialty vaporization products and child-resistant packaging.

“We are very excited to complete this strategic transition. As a brand builder, we feel that VIBES is just scratching the surface and its future trajectory is extremely compelling,” stated Berner. “We appreciate everything Greenlane has done as a partner to get VIBES to this level, and we look forward to leveraging their distribution expertise and vast customer network in the future as we continue to make VIBES a staple product on shelves around the globe.”

Berner’s cannabis-related victories are well-earned, with the rapper being actively involved in various facets of the industry, including cannabis conference appearances. Earlier this year, Berner partook in the Miami Benzinga Capital Cannabis Conference, which ran from April 20-21 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Florida.

“I like to be a part of cool things and am humbled to be included in this conference. Cannabis is setting the table for Psychedelics and I’m excited to talk about two important topics that I feel extremely passionate about,” he was quoted as saying at the event.

Beyond Thailand, Cookies boasts a wide range of dispensaries and lounges with a total of 40 storefronts in four countries. For more information about the Cookies cannabis brand, visit its website.

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