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Celebrities eye cannabis funds

Rapper Snoop Dogg reportedly wants to raise $25m for cannabis-related deals – a trend analysts expect to continue.

It may come as no surprise that Calvin Broadus Jr, better known as Snoop Dogg, plans to invest in the cannabis industry – the rapper has made no secret of his love of marijuana and, like late reggae star Bob Marley, has become synonymous with the herb.

Reports began to surface in February that Broadus was aiming to raise a $25 million fund to invest in the US’ burgeoning legal marijuana trade.

The 43-year-old Long Beach, California, native is not interested in investing directly in marijuana production companies, but instead technology companies that support their production, according to reports.

Snoop Dogg live in Budapest. Credit: Gergely Csatari/Wikimedia Commons
Snoop Dogg live in Budapest. Credit: Gergely Csatari/Wikimedia Commons

“It is not surprising to see celebrities start to invest in cannabis-related companies, particularly those that have been known to have interest in the product,” Matt Karnes, founder of cannabis-focused research firm GreenWave Advisors, told Agri Investor.

“We think it is likely that more celebrities will put money into their own start-ups to develop a business line in the marijuana space similar to the Marley family and even Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl Marijuana concept,” Karnes said.

The Marley family launched Marley Natural in partnership with cannabis-focused private equity firm Privateer Holdings in November to sell marijuana and related products inspired by late musician Bob Marley. Privateer counts PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel among its investors.

Former talk show host and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel is also planning to launching her own marijuana brand in states where it is legal.

Cannabis is poised to become the fastest growing sector in the US as more states look boost tax revenues by legalising the sale of marijuana. So far, Colorado, Washington State, Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC have legalised recreational use. Others prohibit it or limit it to medicinal use.

GreenWave predicts that US marijuana sales could reach $35 billion by 2020 if all 50 states legalise the recreational use of marijuana.

“I think it’s all about the money and [Snoop Dogg] sees the opportunity just like everyone else,” Karnes added. “I would not be surprised if he brands his celebrity status through his own start-up.”

Representatives for Broadus could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Demetri Diakantonis.