The new fund is being developed to give minority entrepreneurs access to the cannabis industry
The last time that many basketball fans saw Chris Webber, he was doing play-by-play analysis for televised basketball games, and he was very good at that. After all, Webber is a retired NBA five-time All-Star player who, when he was playing, was among the very top players in the league at the time. Now, Webber has gotten involved with Jason Wild, a well-known cannabis investor and the founder of the New York-based investment firm of JW Asset Management, and is launching a $100-million private equity fund for minority cannabis business owners.
Webber created Webber Wellness, a health and wellness company that explores cannabis and CBD as alternative solutions to manage pain relief and support recovery. Using that as a launchpad, the new fund has the announced intention of leveling the playing field for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) entrepreneurs who would like to break into the now booming cannabis industry, but who are lacking the proper funding and resources to do so on their own. Such resources have been historically much more readily available to wealthier, and whiter, entrepreneurs.
In a recent news release, Webber said, “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.”
Wild and Webber aim to invest in cannabis startups run by people from underrepresented communities and “provide them with an ecosystem of business resources that will facilitate research and development, cultivation, retail licensing, distribution, branding and marketing.”