Ron Hoover is living the dream as a cannabis influencer. What does that actually mean, though? Simply put, cannabis brands fight over each other in order to get their goods in his hands. Then maybe, just maybe, Hoover will enjoy what he’s smoking and give the brand a shout-out in front of his nearly 400 thousand followers. The perks? They’re pretty dank.
“I haven’t bought my own weed for years,” Hoover says with a smile stretched from ear to ear. “All the weed I wanted to smoke was really expensive. I thought, if I literally just promote this on fucking Instagram, tell them which companies are the best companies, they’d give me free weed to do it. And now I just get to smoke for free.”
Cannabis companies beware, Hoover can’t be bought off completely by free weed. That product better be up to snuff. “I opened up the trash and I said, ‘Don’t ask me to do this shit with this, I’ll throw it out,’” Hoover recalls about a time he was given inferior cannabis. “If I say it’s good, people are going to go buy it, and now I look like the asshole.”
Hoover’s infatuation with both cannabis and tattoos began in high school, and both interests led to him getting in trouble with his parents. First, it was his dad screaming and chasing after him with a napkin full of seeds he had found. But that paled in comparison to the reaction his mom had to Hoover’s first tattoo. “My mom came at it with a cheese grater,” Hoover laughs. “Yeah, I got a real South Philly mom. She wasn’t too happy about that.”
That first tattoo—his last name in poorly done Old English script across his back—was a learning experience for Hoover. It was done by his friend’s father in a basement when Hoover was still a teen. The tattoo is long gone, and in its place is a superbly done black-and-grey back piece. As he built his collection, he applied what he had learned from that first crappy piece—to put his trust in good artists.
“I’ve never picked any of my tattoos,” Hoover explains. “I just tell my artist yes or no. They know my style and what I’m into, I feel like I always get a better tattoo if the artist just runs with it.”
This trust has paid off with a fantastic tattoo collection that is constantly evolving. Hoover is lasering off some of his older work—the bong tattoo on his forearm, for example—and preparing to fill the space with more black-and-grey.
Free weed and cool tattoos? Yeah, you’re damn right Ron Hoover is living the dream.