Chris Webber, a former 5-time All-Star with the Washington Bullets and Golden State Warriors, is leading the charge for a $100 million private equity fund that will help jump-start entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.
As the cannabis industry has rapidly expanded, Webber believes the opportunities for minority business owners have not grown with it.
“It’s crucial that we diversify leadership within the cannabis industry and level the playing field for people from our communities,” Weber said in a statement. “For far too long, minorities have been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited.”
With JW Asset Management’s help, Webber plans to provide support to entrepreneurs with research, marketing, and retail.
JW Asset Management has invested over $2 billion in assets into the cannabis industry since 2014 and sees Webber as the ideal match to help improve minority representation in the industry.
“I feel that it is my responsibility to play an active role in eliminating the barriers to entry for individuals that have been disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs,” said Jason Wild, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of JW Asset Management. “I look forward to partnering with Chris (Webber) and his team to elevate talented entrepreneurs and build a more inclusive industry.”
According to the JW Asset Management statement, only 10% of cannabis businesses are owned by Black or Hispanic people. In the last few months, several notable athletes have made significant moves in the cannabis industry including, Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, David Beckham, and Isiah Thomas.