White and the brand will produce variations of the popular Purple Urkle cannabis strain, inspired by his beloved Steve Urkle character. The line is set to launch on April 20, and will be available at dispensaries in California.
In a new interview with Forbes the actor dishes about entering the cannabis industry and potentially growing to more marketplaces in the future.
“710 has never been a brand that pursued celebrity deals or endorsements as our agenda has always been quality above all else,” 710 Labs founder Brad Melshenker tells the publication. He met White on a flight, and the duo connected over their passion for cannabis. “We tend to let the product speak for itself. But over the years Jaleel and I became friends and organically our conversations developed into a project. He was on a journey to find the real Purple Urkel from back in the early 2000’s. Not only that, he wanted to find the most flavorful purple cultivars and had been collecting seeds with his friend Sean over the years just for this purpose.”
Below are excerpts from White’s conversation with Forbes.
How long have you wanted to enter the cannabis space?
Jaleel White: It’s been years really. More than five at least. Friends and family always thought it was funny to send me bootlegged pics of myself featured on cannabis products in dispensaries across the country. A childhood friend from the second grade is the person I credit with making sure I went about things the right way. Every few months since at least 2016, a new businessman would come along with ideas that felt very exploitative of the Urkel character legacy and money-minded. My pal Sean would shut them down like a protective big brother. Only one other thing has taught me more patience than this process of getting to market, and that’s parenting my daughter, Samaya.
Has it been surreal over the years, especially in the last decade, to see Purple Urkle cannabis strains flooding into weed marketplaces across the country?
At first it was flattering but then it became frustrating seeing and hearing about Purple Urkle in the cannabis marketplace. The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed. It made no sense to me no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?
Tell me about this strain, the growing process: Have you been in the grow?
I’ve got a strain called Stefan which is Purple Urkle x The White. Then there’s the classic Purple Urkle. Purple Urkle is actually not an easy plant to grow nor is it a big yielder. I visited the Oakland facility throughout the pheno hunt process and learned to use my nose in the same way a winemaker relies on his/her sense of taste.
Cannabis testing: how many joints/bowls did you smoke for product testing in R&D?
When the Mendo Purps x Zkittlez sample pods were ready to be smoked, I took home like a whole box of forty or so filled pods. I got five pods in and I had to call my boy, Sean, I was fading. He smoked every single one in my garage that night and I took notes, which numbered plants were our faves. I can’t keep up with his tolerance. But needless to say that was one funny ass night in my garage.
What products can consumers expect in the Purple Urkle line? Vape pen pod, cannabis, noodle joints?
Eighth jars of the real deal Purple Urkle was a must, right out-the-gate. Noodle doinks are my personal fave. Everyone I share them with in my inner circle freaks out over the rotini pasta filter. It’s so unusual, they’ve seen such a hand rolled joint before, the noodle filter never fails to spark conversation. The Live Resin Pods are still so underrated. My boy Sean and I got our hands on some Mendo Purps x Zkittlez seeds almost a year ago. We treated those seeds like gold nuggets in Sean’s home freezer until 710 put ‘em in the ground. To smoke the end result from such a quality pod has been surreal. I feel a little bit like Willy Wonka, the flavor came out so grape candy. Edibles are definitely an aspiration. But we gotta crawl before we can walk.
Read the full interview here.