Friday, November 4, 2022

Diddy Announces $185 Million Cannabis Deal

Sean "Diddy" Combs

A lot of rappers have claimed they got their start selling drugs to support their art. However, Sean "Diddy" Combs was a Howard University man before leaving the prestigious historically Black university early to pursue his music dreams.

With sweeping changes in attitudes towards some Schedule 1 drugs, as well as laws governing the production and distribution of cannabis specifically, the music and fashion mogul has decided the time is right to enter the game. Like everything else he does, the brash billionaire is doing it big.

Today, the entrepreneur announced his agreement to purchase licensed cannabis operations from Cresco Labs Inc. and Columbia Care Inc., two of the largest cannabis businesses in the U.S., for up to $185 million.

If U.S. and state regulators approve the deal, Combs will control an operation that has licensed marijuana operations in three states — making the new entity the nation's largest Black-owned cannabis company.

"My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we've traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis," Combs, Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises, said of his reasons for making the purchase. "Owning the entire process — from growing and manufacturing to marketing, retail, and wholesale distribution — is a historic win for the culture that will allow us to empower diverse leaders throughout the ecosystem and be bold advocates for inclusion."

Combs told the Wall Street Journal he desired to get into the business to help address long-running inequities that have seen Black people disproportionately arrested and jailed for marijuana crimes even as they make up a "tiny" percentage of the market for legal weed.

"It's diabolical," Combs, 53, said. "How do you lock up communities of people, break down their family structure, their futures, and then legalize it and make sure that those same people don't get a chance to benefit or resurrect their lives from it?"

If approved, the sale will give Combs significant entry into a legal market currently worth $27 billion annually. His company would be able to grow and manufacture cannabis products and wholesale and distribute those branded products to licensed dispensaries in major metro areas, including New York, Boston and Chicago, as well as operate retail stores in all three states.

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