Former NBA player Chris Webber is looking to help people of color get into the cannabis business, which is booming since many states have legalized marijuana.
In an interview with TMZ, the 47-year-old sports icon revealed he partnered with JW Asset Management to launch “a $100 million private equity fund specifically to help minority entrepreneurs succeed in the marijuana industry.”
One of the barriers to launching a cannabis business is a $60,000 deposit to apply for a license to open a dispensary.
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“People need help. So we’re gonna come in these places and we’re gonna train, we’re gonna make sure we provide jobs, and we’re gonna make sure you have a hub to understand how you can enter the cannabis industry not just as a cultivator or grower, or some star, but also how to make a great living by providing certain services that the industry allow,” Webber said.
“It’s crucial that we diversify the leadership in the cannabis industry and level the playing field for people from our communities. For far too long, minorities have been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited.”
There are concerns that large corporations will come in and take hefty advantages in legalization, displacing would-be entrepreneurs from marginalized communities without ever putting anything back. According to Piece of Mind Cannabis, a marijuana business and advocacy organization, average startup costs for opening a dispensary can range from $150,000 to more than $2 million.
Watch Chris Webber’s interview with TMZ Live below.