Porn and pot: The new business bedfellows

Justine Joli on the red carpet at the 2014 AVN Awards in Las Vegas.
Chris Morris | CNBC
Justine Joli on the red carpet at the 2014 AVN Awards in Las Vegas.

A couple years ago, Justine Joli, an actress who has performed in nearly 250 adult films, found herself in a quandary.

She enjoyed marijuana—finding it the most effective way for her to deal with stress—and particularly enjoyed pot-infused edible products. But brownies, cookies, Rice Krispies Treats and other sugar-focused edibles aren't a part of the everyday porn star diet.

"You can't eat a ton of sweets all the time and expect your butt or any other of your parts to remain the same size," she said.

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Worse still, those sweets had often been on the shelves for weeks—which might have been even more problematic for the self-confessed foodie.

Unable to find alternatives, she got licensed by the state of California, bought a business from a friend and began making pot-infused beef jerky.

Joli, who is now the sole employee of Green Fairy Edibles, said she's able to produce about 1,000 ounces of the pot jerky per month. Her profit from that, she says, is about $3.50 per ounce. And the business has grown to the point where today she's swapping porn for pot full time.

She hasn't been on an adult film set for some time, she said—and now Joli's in the process of dissolving her website, and plans to reinvest that money in Green Fairy.

"I'm doing what most entrepreneurs do," she said. "I'm selling off my life and going all in. ... One day of making jerky [makes me] the exact same amount I would make on set. For me, it's a shift in the sense that it's harder work because it's more intensive labor, but I'm not under hot lights and I can eat."

Porn and pot are hardly strangers. Some adult entertainment industry performers—such as Skin Diamond—have been very vocal about their enjoyment of the product. But some actors and actresses say they prefer to keep their appreciation of marijuana more quiet, as enthusiasm for the drug can sometimes be misinterpreted as interest in other, harder drugs that are sometimes on set.

Still, as the legal marijuana industry grows—and calls for national legalization get louder—Joli's not the only star forging business ties with the pot world.

Layla Price has recently licensed her name to the Natural Cannabis Co., which has three locations in the greater Bay Area, for regular new marijuana strains. Price will help promote the products—as well as assist with the selection of the strains and their names.

So far, she has worked with the company on two offerings—dubbed Pineapple Dream and Booty Kush—and an edible blue raspberry lollipop.

"Dona [Frank, owner of Natural Cannabis] was looking for a porn star that had a name," said Price. "I'm not as big a name as [some other performers], but I smoke weed on a regular basis and I'm a big cannabis fan."

Price said while she could have gone the traditional licensing route and worked with adult novelty companies for a branded sex toy, she feels the marijuana industry is more of a blue ocean—an opportunity with more potential return.

"There are so many girls out there," she said. "The last thing people need is another toy or website. This is something different. ... I make a lot more money in the cannabis industry than, say, if I created my own site or if a big toy company were to offer me my own toy because cannabis is growing. Before you know it, marijuana is going to be legalized everywhere, so I think it's a smarter move."

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The move also helps her get a foot in the door of the marijuana industry. While Price says she doesn't plan on retiring for another five years or so, she hopes to start her own dispensary when she leaves the adult entertainment world.

She's using her present fame (she has 138,000 followers on Twitter) as a marketing tool for her own branded weed—promoting appearances at Natural Cannabis stores. But Joli, who has nearly 32,000 Twitter followers, says she hasn't seen a lot of impact from her previous career.

"So far I've found there's no [impact] whatsoever except my fans noticing that I'm changing what I'm doing. Instead of being naked, I now make pot treats. ... I'm not sure most of them knew I was an avid stoner."