Black celebrities, private companies, and small businesses are finding ways to cash in on legal marijuana operations. They’re tapping into all aspects of the industry from venture capital funds, to dispensaries, and even creating their own line of cannabis items. There’s a lot of money at stake for the culture to cash in on, with the regulated cannabis industry expected to soar to $75 billion by 2030, according to Cowen & Co. Let’s dive into the top black Ganga-prenuers who are making bank and legally disrupting the marijuana market.
The Breakdown You Need To Know: As the saying goes ‘Cannabis Only Sees Green’, and these cultural trendsetters are clearing out the smoke. First up we have Uncle Snoop Dogg, his Casa Verde Capital, venture capital firm joined a $50 million funding round for Metrc, which develops “track and trace” compliance software for cannabis growers that operate in states where production is legal. CultureBanx noted that this investment continues the firm’s policy of investing in companies that support growers and sellers, but don’t actually get their hands dirty in the soil or at the dispensary. Snoop is also part owner of Canopy Growth, the cannabis grow operation where he launched Leafs By Snoop. Last October, he became a brand ambassador for Seedo Homelab, a hydroponic growth company that uses artificial intelligence.
Next up we have actress, comedian and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg who has her Whoopi & Maya line of cannabis products. She launched in 2016 with products that target women’s wellness. Another talk show host fully in on the cannabis game is Montel Williams, he’s been using marijuana therapeutically for over a decade to treat his multiple sclerosis. Williams’ most recent partnership is with Cura Cannabis, to produce his Lenitiv line of medical marijuana products. The medical cannabis sector holds the largest share of the market and globally is projected to reach more than $97 billion by the end of 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights.
Mastering the Marijuana Biz: Outside of Hollywood veterans and music masterminds, the everyday black cannabis business owner seeking to become growers or retailers faces a host of hurdles. This is where rapper and philanthropist Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter who has forged a partnership with California cannabis brand Caliva, by taking on its Chief Brand Strategist role can possibly make a difference. This comes after a $75M dollar funding round in April 2019, as he plans to expand operations and include a workforce cannabis training program. A program like this can help people of color tap into what’s quickly becoming one of the fastest economic booms of all time.
Then there are rappers like Lil Wayne who is new-ish to the cannabis game and is set to launch a line of products through GKUA slated to come out this year, starting in California. He’s not the only hip hop artist interested in the regulated cannabis market, where U.S. sales surged by 20% in 2018 and jumped another 36% last year, according to Arcview Market Research. Rapper Wiz Khalifa has already released a line of “Khalifa Kush” cannabis strains in partnership with Colorado-based RiverRock Cannabis. Of course, Drake wants a piece of the action, and he launched his More Life Growth Company under the Canopy Growth banner. Drake will have a 60% stake in the Toronto based company, More Life Growth, previously a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canopy.
Additionally, Mathew Knowles, the father, and former manager of Beyonce Knowles-Carter has signed on as Chief Marketing Officer for cannabis real estate company Bangi. Knowles will help entrepreneurs find retail and farming locations through his extensive network of businesses.
Beyond the Smoke: The market opportunity is not just huge for black entrepreneurs but also for major corporations. Research firm Brightfield Group projected the CBD industry alone could reach $22 billion in market size by 2022, and this figure has captured the attention of HP which hopped on the cannabis bandwagon. The computer maker created a more official way to process all the money dispensaries are collecting, through its Flowhub cash register system.