Some Webber highlights in case you forgot the 1990’s.

Michigan basketball icon partners with JW Asset Management on $100 million fund

Detroit native and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber this week announced a cannabis capital collaboration with New York-based JW Asset Management, a hedge fund with multiple plant investments and $2 billion under management. 

Webber Wellness, a cannabis company co-founded with sports apparel entrepreneur Lavetta Willis, and investor Jason Wild plan to deploy $100 million to companies run by entrepreneurs of color. The Cannabis Impact Fund says in addition to capital, it will provide industry resources and expertise specific to cultivation, distribution and retail of the plant as well as branding and marketing know-how.

JW Asset Management is a lead investor in Detroit-based Gage Cannabis, which raised $50 million in a Reg A, Tier Two financing round last month. The firm is also an early investor in Chicago-based cannabis advertising software platform Fyllo. 

Webber, currently an NBA television analyst, was suspended multiple times in his career for drug-related infractions. In 1998 while playing for the Washington Wizards, Webber was charged with a misdemeanor in Prince George’s County, Maryland for driving under the influence. While no alcohol was found in his system, the Washington Post’s contemporaneous report noted that a “drug recognition expert” without any equipment determined Webber to be under the influence

“It’s crucial that we diversify leadership within the cannabis industry and level the playing field for people from our communities,” said Webber in a prepared release. “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.”

Cresco Labs acquires four Ohio dispensaries 

Chicago-based multistate operator Cresco Labs continues its buying spree as it announces the acquisition of four Ohio-based Verdant Creations dispensaries

Already vertically-integrated in Ohio with a 25,000 square foot cultivation facility and processing facility, Cresco now owns the maximum five locations in the state. Its flower product is sold by most dispensaries in the state. 

Ohio’s medical marijuana program generated $220 million in sales through 52 operational dispensaries in 2020. The state has 160,000 registered medical patients, and overall is the seventh largest in the United States with nearly 12 million residents.

Cresco’s playbook, regularly articulated by co-founder and CEO Charlie Bachtell, is to obtain licensure and expand through acquisition in states with high populations and a limited number of licensed competitors. Last month, Cresco acquired Florida-based Bluma Wellness for $213 million in equity. 

Terms of the Verdant acquisition were not disclosed. 

Kansas City cannabis manufacturer Clovr partners with chocolatier 

Clovr, which manufacturers pre-rolls, edibles and concentrates, is making bud-infused bon bons with renowned chocolatier Christopher Elbow. 

Available in Citrus Caramel, Salted Vanilla Caramel and Italian Expresso Caramel, the 10 mg edibles, Elbow told KMBC News, “are elevated to the art form” he established for his popular confections sold in Kansas City and San Francisco. 

Currently, Clovr-manufactured products are sold in three Missouri dispensaries in Hannibal, St. Peters, and Ferguson.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.