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Rappers in the Cannabis Game

Photo left Reuters, photo right Brian Landis Folkins


Rappers in the Cannabis Game

Anyone who has ever listened to rap music is well aware that many rappers and MC’s truly enjoy smoking weed as a recreational activity. However, two of the biggest marijuana rappers in the scene have decided to take their love for weed to the next level — business investment.

Recently both Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill rapper B-Real have decided to take their own money and put it into the medical marijuana industry in hopes that it will help to expand and improve the market.

According to Ryan Lawler from Tech Crunch, Calvin Broadus, Jr. (a.k.a. Snoop Dogg, a.k.a. Snoop Lion) has announced that he plans to create a fund specifically for investment in cannabis companies. Because his agency is still working on raising the funds, the size of the fund isn’t completely clear at the moment. However, Snoop is hoping to raise $25 million to invest in upcoming cannabis startups.

While you may think that having Snoop Dogg growing cannabis for the medical marijuana industry would be amazing, it isn’t his main objective. Snoop’s new funds wouldn’t be used for cultivation of cannabis in any way; instead he plans on investing to create new and better technology that can be used throughout the industry.

It’s clear that Snoop Dogg is no stranger to the investment game at this point. Having recently invested in the popular web page Reddit and the zero-commission stock trading app Robinhood, Snoop sees the potential in investing in a tech-based market and is willing to put his own money on the line to help these industries grow and fulfill a great deal of untapped potential for the market.

Snoop has even partnered with major vaporizer manufacturer Grenco Science to release his own series of branded portable vape pens. Other rappers, such as E-40, have also released custom vape pens for Vaped, showing that there are major companies in the cannabis industry willing to work with these artists to expand their own businesses.

Lawler believes that Snoop Dogg is the right man for the job, stating that, “Snoop probably knows more about weed than anyone.”

Santa Ana, California rapper Louis Freese (a.k.a. B-Real) of the famous 1990s rap group Cypress Hill ran into a bit of luck when he was named one of 20 winners out of the 630 applicants for the city lottery which put him on the path to opening up his own medical marijuana dispensary. The lottery took place two months after the city passed Measure BB, a voter-approved repeal to the previous ban on medical marijuana within the city limits. The measure itself allows for 20 applicants to be chosen through a lottery system in order to fairly choose who received the permits. These will be the first legal shops in Orange County since the ban on medical cannabis was repealed.

Measure BB does include its own set of regulations on how and where the shops can be run, including only being allowed to operate within two industrial areas in the southern part of the city, where they must be 500 feet away from any other shops and 1,000 feet away from schools, parks and residential areas. Additionally, all cultivation is prohibited and the shops must pay a five percent tax to the city government.

The city gained a good amount of revenue from the lottery itself and looks to gain even more. Each of the 630 applicants were required to submit a non-refundable fee of $1,690, which netted the city over a $1 million dollars from the initial round alone.

According to reports, B-Real and the 19 other winning applicants now move forward to the Santa Ana Police Department for the Regulatory Safety Permit phase of the entire process. Here the applicants will have their backgrounds reviewed for any criminal history which may prevent them from receiving certification. Additionally, the 20 lottery winners are now required to pay an additional fee of $12,086, which will bring in even more revenue to the city.

“I think Santa Ana is willing to take the chance to see if this actually works, kind of like Colorado did with respect to putting the legalization in place,” B-Real said after learning he had been chosen as a winner. “We want to show… if done correctly and legally, all the good things that it can bring to the actual city – jobs, revenue stream, more opportunity and quality of medicine.”

However, not everybody is excited about the influx of the hip-hop community in the cannabis industry. Kandice Hawks, founder and director of the Orange County chapter of NORML, is worried that these rappers and hip-hop artists are going to be bringing the wrong message about medical cannabis.

“I think it’s kind of unfortunate that the guys who got picked seem like they won the lottery; like they were going to make tons of money, and it’s really about the patients,” Hawks explained. “It kind of seems like the hip-hop music scene is going to be moving to Santa Ana and creating a recreational type market, not medical marijuana.”

Despite comments like these, B-Real is looking forward to opening up the new collective, which he has decided to name after the Cypress Hill hit song, “Dr. Greenthumb.”

Overall, it seems that despite the recreational behaviors that these hip-hop artists express through their music, they seem to be very serious about cultivating the best medical cannabis industry that they can. And besides the large amounts of money that these artists are pouring into the industry, one of the main things that they are providing is image.

Will Schimdt of Tech Crunch said that “[Snoop Dogg] brings something potentially more valuable with him: visibility.”

If someone whose name is as synonymous with cannabis like Snoop Dogg or B-Real becomes a part of the serious business side of the industry, the media coverage and reach that these companies would have access to could be limitless.

Do you think that the inclusion of rappers and celebrity figures into the cannabis industry would be more helpful or harmful? Let us know in the comments.

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