Snoop Dogg is investing in the legal marijuana industry. And he’s not the only one.
Calvin Broadus Jr., also known as Snoop Lion, wants to create a $25 million fund to invest in a marijuana startup businesses, according to a report from TechCrunch. He reportedly is looking to put the money toward technology companies affiliated with the industry rather than the product itself.
Legal marijuana is setting up to be the fastest-growing industry in the United States, as more states begin to legalize weed for medicinal and recreational use. The American market grew 74 percent last year, to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013, according to data from ArcView. And Snoop isn’t the only celebrity name in the game.
Bob Marley’s family announced in November their plans to use the iconic musician's name in conjunction with a corporate brand called Marley Natural. The company aims to “cultivate fine cannabis, blend infused topicals and craft accessories that celebrate life, awaken well-being and nurture a positive connection with the world.”
While the move was celebrated by many, not every marijuana entrepreneur is excited about the famous branding. “Some in the community are weary and wary of celebrities,” said KC Stark, founder and chief of the MMJ Business Academy based in Colorado Springs. “The laws did not change because of celebrities, it changed because average Americans all across the nation decided to stand up, speak up, and show up to vote.”
He did acknowledge, however, that the industry will need top-tier investors to help out smaller “mom and pop” operations. And it seems to be happening more and more.
Marley Natural’s parent company Privateer Holdings, has been making many forays into the world of weed investments. Its founder Peter Thiel managed to raise $75 million in funding this January.
“It’s not a surprise; it’s a plan,”said Stark. “In the last five years, cannabis has gone from weed street to Wall Street.”
And while celebrities may be helpful, they’re not required. Startups such as Leafline Labs, PalliaTech and Four Twenty Investments have raised more than $10 million each, according to Forbes.