Former NBA player and entrepreneur Chris Webber has announced that he is launching a $100 million private equity cannabis fund in partnership with Jason Wild and JW Asset Management L.L.C. (“JW”). This fund will invest in companies that are led by entrepreneurs of color who are pursuing careers in the cannabis sector.
“As our country moves closer to federal legalization, I believe it is more important than ever to empower the next generation of cannabis leaders in a tangible way,” said Webber in a written statement. “I’m thrilled to team up with Jason on this endeavor—he’s a visionary in this industry and understands the urgency of supporting minority business leaders in this space.”
The collaboration between Webber’s Webber Wellness and Wild’s JW Asset Management will work to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry. The partnership will provide them with an ecosystem of resources for the businesses that will facilitate research and development (R&D), cultivation, retail licensing, distribution, branding, and marketing. JW has been actively investing in the cannabis industry since 2014 with more than $2 billion in assets under management. They have also invested in numerous industry leaders spanning multistate operators, technology, and retail companies.
“It’s crucial that we diversify leadership within the cannabis industry and level the playing field for people from our communities,” said Webber. “For far too long, minorities have been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited. Working with JW, we will equip underrepresented entrepreneurs with the financial resources and industry knowledge to build businesses and thrive.”
“The legal cannabis industry can only grow to its full potential when all stakeholders have a seat at the table, and I feel that it is my responsibility to play an active role in eliminating barriers to entry for individuals that have been disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs,” said Wild, founder and chief investment officer of JW Asset Management. “I look forward to partnering with Chris and his team to elevate talented entrepreneurs and build a more inclusive industry.”