The cannabis business in the United States is growing like a weed, and hip-hop star Jay-Z is about to get involved in the frenzy, CNN reported Wednesday.
The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, announced in a statement Tuesday his new role as chief brand strategist at Caliva, a California-based startup.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Carter said in a statement posted to Caliva’s website. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos makes them the best partner for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”
According to CNN Business, Carter’s role at the company will extend beyond brand strategy. The rapper, who is married to Beyonce and has three children, will be involved with Caliva’s social justice efforts. Those include job training, advocacy, and workforce development, per CNN, to assist people who have been negatively impacted by the U.S. criminal justice system’s War on Drugs.
Forbes reported that the company has a history of supporting these social justice causes. It donated some of its profits to Code For America’s “Clear My Record,” a non-profit organization that helps individuals with marijuana charges clear their records and obtain jobs and housing.
It’s not Carter’s first foray into social justice, either. The 49-year-old executive produced a 2017 documentary series on a teenager jailed at Rikers Island in New York for three years while he waited to stand trial for stealing a backpack, according to Forbes. He also has spoken out against what he thought was unfair sentencing for rapper Meek Mill and helped get rapper 21 Savage out of ICE custody earlier this year.
Jay Z is now in the legal weed business.
— Complex (@Complex) July 9, 2019
At the time, Carter called 21 Savage’s detainment “an absolute travesty,” per Pitchfork. The rapper, who said he was born in the United Kingdom and had a visa to live in the U.S. that expired in 2006, was released from custody in February.
Caliva owns a cultivation farm and two retail locations in California, per The Hollywood Reporter. CNN adds that the company, which raised $75 million earlier this year from wealthy investors that included former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, sells its products at 250 dispensaries around the state in addition to selling products online.
Famed former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and his venture capital firm invested $75 million into the company, per KTVU.
Caliva’s website says it employs more than 600 people in the state of California.
Carter found the San-Jose, California-based company through a referral, KTVU reported. Jay-Z joins celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart who already have invested in the cannabis business, per CNN.