Whoopi & Maya Medicinal Cannabis, founded in 2016 with massive celebrity cannabis splash, has closed its doors after having successfully created some of the best women’s health products on the market.
Between Whoopi’s celebrity and outspoken support of cannabis and the award-winning edibles maker Maya Elisabeth, whose Om Edibles won ten High Times Cannabis Cup awards, many thought the match was made in heaven.
After only the first year, Whoopi & Maya’s products, which included Soak, Relax, Rub and Savor, were available in over 300 dispensaries, making it one of the fastest growing brands in California.
State legislatures have never considered female menstrual cramps to be a medical condition that would qualify it for medical marijuana - a decision with which most women would take issue.
Rick Cusick, co-founder and board member of Whoopi & Maya, told the Weed Blog that when disagreements between Whoopi Goldberg and her business partner Maya Elizabeth peaked, he and others involved tried to resolve the situation for the good of the company.
On Friday January 31, 2020 Goldberg submitted her resignation to the board.
"Whoopi and Maya wanted a divorce," Cusick said. "We tried our best to keep it together but ultimately that wasn't possible. On Friday, the divorce became final."
Cusick explained that despite Whoopi & Maya’s advantages in California, the company constantly had to navigate the complex regulatory landscapes in both the Golden State and in other states where they hoped to expand. He laid part of the blame on the complicated rollout of adult-use cannabis in California as of January 2018.
"This didn't happen in a vacuum," he noted. "We were always a medical company operating under the California medical law. When the over-21 law kicked in, suddenly we were subject to a whole new set of regulations. You change your products and your packaging to adhere to the new regs and then they tweak them. It didn't just happen to us. It happened to everyone,” said Cusick, former associate publisher at High Times magazine.
“Two of our products were knocked off the shelves because of the changes in the law. The California market changed dramatically with the over-21 law. And it was very frustrating for us."
Goldberg, though open about using cannabis for her glaucoma, had decided to focus on women's health needs. "I have grown granddaughters who have severe cramps, so I said this is what I want to work on," Whoopi told Vanity Fair in an interview in 2016 when the company was about to launch.
Co-host on ABC’s popular talk show, The View, Whoopi said she wanted to create a product for women that was discreet, provided relief, and wouldn’t keep women and teens stuck at home in pain.
“For me, I feel like if you don’t want to get high high, this is a product specifically just to get rid of discomfort,” Whoopi said. “Smoking a joint is fine, but most people can’t smoke a joint and go to work.”
Millions of women will miss Whoopi & Maya’s products, no doubt.
“I know I will,” said San Francisco-resident, Cassie Hopkins, who has trained for half and full marathons for years. “I use their products for not only menstrual discomfort but for sore muscles after training.”