Pop Culture

‘Hemp Inc.’ Mobile Game That Wants to Speed Up Marijuana Legalization

By Tatiana Walk-Morris | Source: Vice | Photo: Screenshot by the author

"Imagine a video game that allows users to grow and sell weed, interact with celebrity smokers of the stuff, and ultimately build a citywide marijuana empire. Except, don't imagine it. Because it exists, right now. It's just a little under the radar, surprisingly.

Hemp Inc. is a mobile title from HKA Digital Studios led by former Call of Duty and Tony Hawk developer Danny Hammett, which plays a lot like FarmVille, except for the Facebook interactivity and the ability to create your own avatar. Oh, and there's only one single crop to cultivate: weed, obviously. The freemium app quietly launched on April 26, offering a core gameplay experience in which players grow and sell 20 different cannabis strains to customers, purchase property to expand their weed empire, and interact with celebrity weed aficionados. These smoke-friendly stars include Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Cheech Marin, and Tommy Chong, and there are several recognizable brands in the game, too, like High Times magazine and marijuana legalization nonprofit NORML.

So why hasn't there been more noise for a game that, first of all, is about weed—people should be eying the game, surely—and, secondly, features a wealth of famous faces, albeit in a cartoon style? The answer's simple enough, and sensible too: The studio needs to make sure that Hemp Inc. can stand up to the demands of its users and get its marketing just right for a more substantial push. It's already had more than a million downloads, but Hammett tells me that the marketing of the game needs to be as coordinated as it can be with the schedules of the celebrities featured in it. An official launch will happen sometime in the next month, with some of those celebs promoting it on social media." -- Tatiana Walk-Morris, Vice

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