Hot on the heels of releasing his own personal cannabis brand Monogram, Shawn Carter — best known as rap legend Jay-Z — just announced a $10 million fund to help minority-owned businesses get a start in the legal weed industry.
The new fund was created when New York-based Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp. acquired Caliva, a California cannabis business that Carter was already working with, as well as Left Coast Ventures, Inc. The new business, now renamed The Parent Company (TPCO), is currently the largest vertically-integrated cannabis corporation in California.
As part of the acquisition deal, TPCO will create a Social Equity Ventures fund dedicated to helping other minority business owners kick off their own weed ventures. TPCO has agreed to provide $10 million to help seed the fund, and will continue to contribute at least 2 percent of its net income to provide additional support.
This new venture, which has also received additional funding from Rihanna, DJ Khaled, and Meek Mill, will offer up to $1 million to any cannabis startup that it chooses to invest in. The fund will also be used to create job fairs, training workshops, and other diversity initiatives to boost equal participation in the multibillion-dollar legal weed industry.
The Social Equity Ventures fund was created to right “the wrongs of prohibition through diversifying both the business leadership and workforce of the cannabis industry,” The Hill reports. “Beyond investing, the fund will also support organizations and programs focused on diversifying the cannabis workforce through job fairs and placement, industry training and education, as well as Social Equity application support.”
"This is an incredible time for this industry,” said Carter, who will be serving as The Parent Company's Chief Visionary Officer. “The end of cannabis prohibition is here, and The Parent Company will lead the charge to a more expansive and inclusive cannabis industry. We are paving a path forward for a legacy rooted in dignity, justice, care, and consistency. The brands we build will redefine growth, social impact, and social equity. This is our time. I'm proud and excited to lead the vision of The Parent Company."
Illinois, Massachusetts and other adult-use states have rolled social equity measures into their cannabis regulations, but the weed industry as a whole continues to be dominated by wealthy white men. Despite states’ social equity programs, as few as 17 percent of all legal weed companies in the US are led by minority executives, according to a recent report.
“It’s really unbelievable how that can happen,” Jay-Z said in a recent interview with 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. It’s not a spreadsheet, it’s real people…I wanted to do something in a real, concrete way, where I do my part.”