Sean “Diddy” Combs Gets Into Cannabis Business

Rap star turned business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is acquiring existing cannabis operations in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois, creating the first minority owned, vertically integrated, multi-state marijuana business, according to Combs.

The business will manufacture wholesale, branded cannabis products, distribute them to dispensaries across the three states, and operate retail stories in all three states. The deal provides Combs’s company entry into some of the biggest metro markets in the country, including New York City, Chicago and Boston.

“Owning the entire process — from growing and manufacturing to marketing, retail, and wholesale distribution — is a historic win for the culture that will allow us to empower diverse leaders throughout the ecosystem and be bold advocates for inclusion,” Combs, Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises, said in a press release.

He added that his mission has been “to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis.”

The Deal Involves Two Companies

The $185 million deal, which is one of the biggest involving a celebrity-turned-business owner, involves Combs buying licensed cannabis operations from Cresco Labs Inc. and Columbia Care Inc. Cresco purchased Columbia Care earlier this year in a $2 billion deal. The deal made Cresco the biggest cannabis producer in the country and also required the company divest from its limited-license markets in states such as New York, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Combs will own these licenses once the deal is completed. Charles Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO, said the deal is more significant than just the transaction itself. He said the deal “couldn’t come at a time of greater significance and momentum” because of recent movements to address injustice in the cannabis industry, growing bi-partisan political support for some elements of federal reform, and states making social responsibility a priority in cannabis programs.

“For an industry in need of greater diversity of leadership and perspective, the substantial presence of a minority-owned operator in some of the most influential markets in the country being led by one of the most prolific and impactful entrepreneurs of our time is momentous…and incredibly exciting. We’re thrilled to welcome Sean and his team to the industry,” Batchell said in the press release.

Many Celebrities Getting Into Cannabis

The deal adds cannabis to Combs’ portfolio of businesses that include operations in music, media, fashion and spirits. Combs’ brands include Aquahydrate, Bad Boy Entertainment, Combs Wine & Spirits, and Sean John.

He also now belongs on a growing list of celebrities who have entered the cannabis business. They include Jay Z, Martha Stewart, and a variety of ventures from Snoop Dogg, including Snazzle Os snacks.In this year alone, Jerry Garcia’s family announced a new weed brand that includes cannabis that the late Grateful Dead guitarist enjoyed and Gwyneth Paltrow announced her investment in a cannabis beverage brand run by a man she used to babysit.

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