The Big Bong Theory

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

#puffpuffpasstuesdays wat u smokn on ?! 🌳💨 #BUSH @gpen #gslim

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What, exactly, is a “lifestyle site”? It’s not quite a news site, and not quite an e-commerce site, and not quite an advice site, and not quite a message board, and not quite a … well, not quite an anything. A lifestyle site, the “Italian seasoning” of the Internet, is an undefined hodgepodge.

Because of that, lifestyle sites have proven especially popular as a way for celebrities—many of them, thus far, young and female—to “extend their brands.” Beyoncé, Lauren Conrad, Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow: They’ve all experimented with sites that promise to provide some kind of insight into food and fashion and living and loving and otherwise styling one’s life.

You know what they haven’t tackled, though? Pot.

Enter Snoop Dogg.

At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference taking place this week, the musician and noted weed-lover announced the launch of Merry Jane, his “pot-flavored lifestyle media platform.” It will include, true to its “lifestyle site” form, a mix of only vaguely connected services: a database that aims to be an “encyclopedia of the cannabis world”; videos (of cooking demonstrations, personal documentaries, and interviews with celebrities); cannabis industry news; and an e-commerce and message-board element that will connect users to local dispensaries.

As for the business model: “Advertising is definitely part of the plan,” Merry Jane’s co-founder, Ted Chung, told TechCrunch. But for now, like any good startup, the site is focused on gathering users and building its brand.

What will that brand be, exactly? In the manner of all the great “lifestyle sites,” it’s unclear. What we do know is that Snoop’s site will launch in October, it will offer sneak peaks to 420 new users a day, and it will put, if nothing else, the “pot” in “potpourri.”