Whoopi Goldberg falls out with business partner, abandons cannabis company


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On January 31, 2020, Whoopi Goldberg officially resigned from the board of her cannabis company – Whoopi & Maya‘. In pictures, the entrepreneurial partnership appears to be all smiles, but reports state that Goldberg has thrown in the towel as a result of rumored squabbles with her co-founder Maya Elisabeth.

Elisabeth is also the founder of cannabis brand Om Edibles; she has scooped eight High Times Cannabis Cup awards. Goldberg, on the other hand, is one of Hollywood’s favorite stars; known for her trademark dreadlocks and infectiously upbeat spirit on the big screen. The 64-year-old’s cannabis brand experienced four years of success since its inception in 2016. However, customers have already been informed of the business’ immediate closure.

“To our wonderful customers and those it may concern. We’re deeply saddened to tell you that Whoopi & Maya will no longer continue operation. In 2016, we launched with an urgent mission: to offer safe, natural relief for period pain through the miracle of medical cannabis. We proved there’s a market for this medicine and it’s been our joy to offer this miraculous relief to our treasured customers,” reads a statement published on the Whoopi & Maya website.

Board member says Whoopi & Maya closure is related to regulatory changes

Although reports claim that the two “cannapreneurs” are no longer seeing eye-to-eye, board member Rick Cusick says that the women have decided to shut up shop as a repercussion of ever-changing cannabis regulations. Cusick – who assisted in founding the company alongside his female business partners – said in an interview with Green Entrepreneur that cracks started showing a while back; amid changing regulations.

“In California, they changed [the age] to over 21, which changed the regulatory systems. It changed the thing we had to do, the packaging, the messaging on the bottle. As we jumped through that, the regulations kept changing, there was never a good place to land,” Cusick explained. “We were on a solid upward path, then the mishegoss in the industry slowed that ascent.” 

Back in the early stages of Whoopi & Maya, the duo made a joint decision to kick-start their product selection with a Signature Line of menstrual relief products, such as bath soaks, body balms and herbal tinctures. While it might have seemed like a good idea at the time, Goldberg and Elisabeth did not anticipate that adult-use legalization in California would create such a headache further down the line.

Regulatory overhauls influenced testing, packaging and labeling requirements for cannabis companies. Consequently, Whoopi & Maya struggled to maintain momentum in the highly competitive legal weed market.

Future of Whoopi & Maya hangs in the balance

A meeting is expected to take place within the next week to discuss the future of Whoopi & Maya. Members of the cannabis company’s board will congregate alongside investors to determine if there is a possibility that the brand can be salvaged. Should investors see an opportunity to expand the business under new management, the company could be purchased outright and revamped. 

Conversely, this could be the end of the road for this celebrity cannabis brand, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The state boasts the largest legal weed market in the U.S., but with strict regulations on cannabis products, staying afloat in an ocean of competitors is no easy feat; as Goldberg and Maya have reluctantly discovered.

“It has been our privilege to serve the community. Though we’ve all come a long way, there’s far more to be achieved. This is simply the end of a single chapter in a larger story, one that we invite you to continue,” concludes the announcement published on the Whoopi & Maya homepage.