Jay-Z Sets Up a $10 Million Seed Fund for Minority-Owned Cannabis Businesses
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With all apologies to the horde of celebrities now in the weed business, no one is hotter (or busier) at the moment than Jay Z. The rap mogul has his own line of cannabis products, a job as a chief brand strategist with one of the industry’s biggest companies, and a fund to help others realize their cannabis business dreams.
Considered one of the greatest rappers of all time—and a role model for artists looking to move into business, which he’s done successfully for years —Jay Z (born Shawn Carter) wants to give a hand to other Black and minority weed entrepreneurs.
He’s motivated by the small number of people of color who own cannabis businesses, even though they were disproportionately punished during the War on Drugs era.
“It’s really unbelievable how that can happen,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “We were the ones most negatively affected by the war on drugs, and America has turned around and created a business from it that’s worth billions.”
Jay Z launched his own line of cannabis products late in 2020.
Striving for more minority-owned businesses is a note Jay Z hits regularly when he makes a move in the cannabis business. Lately, he’s had a lot of opportunities to do just that.
In November 2020, Jay Z was named Chief Visionary Officer for The Parent Company (TPCO), a vertically integrated cannabis company created by Jay-Z's Roc Nation company and two California-based companies, Caliva and Left Coast Ventures.
At the time of the announcement of TPCO, Jay Z said: “Although we know we can’t fully redeem the injustices created by the ‘war on drugs’, we can help shape a brighter and inclusive future. The brands we build will pave a new path forward for a legacy rooted in equity, access, and justice. We’re creating something people can trust and we’re investing in our future, our people, and our communities.”
Part of the new venture included The Parent Company Social Equity Ventures, a corporate venture fund investing in Black-owned and minority-owned cannabis businesses.
Promoting social equity in the cannabis industry.
Jay Z also has launched Monogram, his own line of cannabis products. The Monogram line is small batch cannabis allowing the company to “find the nuance between harvests' ' and bring the most out of every flower. Rather than use percentages for THC potency, Monogram lists its products in three categories: Light, Medium and Heavy.
Monogram has received major publicity in recent months. GQ toured the Monogram facility. Both The New Yorker and Architectural Digest wrote about Monogram’s latest ad campaign, which mimics the works of Slim Aarons, who became famous in the mid-20th century photographing “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.”
But part of Jay-Z's message from the start of entering the industry has been on social equity. In addition to the $10 million fund for minority businesses, part of the TPCO deal requires the company to put 2 percent of annual net proceeds into the fund.
The fund is expected to put as much as $1 million into every minority-owned cannabis business it helps to fund.
He also made sure to mention social equity when asked about New York’s recent legalization of adult-use marijuana. He told The Grio, “I’ve seen first- hand the harm inflicted for generations against Black and minority communities by the war on drugs right here in New York. Today, I’m proud to see my home state join The Parent Company in paving the way for a thriving and equitable cannabis market.”