The cannabis industry has a big problem. Kanye’s manager just joined a company to fix it
Only 3% of the cannabis industry’s market share is currently held by black people. Village is a national conglomerate fighting for fairness in black-owned brands, and Kanye West manager John Monopoly has just joined the team.
Former NBA player Al Harrington and Dan Pettigrew co-founded Village two years ago when they realized there was a dearth of black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis business.
“We ultimately see our company as being, almost, a distributor in this whole space. And we want to be able to help so many people of color enter the cannabis space and actually be successful, ”said Harrington.
The lack of racial diversity in the market is often attributed to financial barriers to entry. The start-up costs to open a dispensary can run into the hundreds of thousands or even over a million dollars.
But there is also a community trauma. There can be hesitation and fear about starting a business in an industry that has historically criminalized your community.
“Statistics show that while blacks were almost four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana, they are only a small number of those who profit from the multi-billion legalized marijuana industry. dollars, ”a Wall Street Journal video explains.
Going forward, Harrington said Village will also provide educational content, as resources on how to overcome all the hurdles needed to open a cannabis business are often lacking.
“One of the things I don’t like about athletes and artists is often that we don’t work together. And you know, we talk about it all the time, “said Harrington,” but a lot of times that doesn’t happen. “
Monopoly, who manages Kanye West, has decades of experience in the music industry. By joining Village, he brings the power of his experience and connections to music. His vision for Village is to maximize impact by uniting people from all sectors.
“We plan to use all of our skills to support each other in our initiatives. With the team’s strong knowledge and expertise in the field, coupled with my 30+ year career focused on music and culture, we plan to use the expertise, influence and access to cultivate and develop a brand of cannabis that will be inclusive and impactful, ”Monopoly said in an emailed statement.
“Our plan is twofold,” Monopoly said. “First, Village is 100% minority-owned. By adding local minorities through a partnership in every state, we win, which will ultimately increase black ownership in every state where we operate. “
Monopoly said the second part of Village’s strategy “extends beyond ownership directly into Village by affiliating with black and minority-owned cannabis brands that we can integrate into states where we have licenses “.
Village recently added former NBA player Wilson Chandler’s cannabis brand, Nobody’s Home, to their roster. The dispensary and lifestyle brand is based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where Chandler is from.
Being a part of Village, Chandler said, means having extra support and constantly learning from Harrington by “going through the fire with him and seeing him build his brand and grow his business.”
To kick off their partnership, Chandler hosted a free music festival in Benton Harbor, held over Labor Day weekend and featuring artists like Rick Ross, G Herbo, Chase B and Freddie Gibbs.
Music moguls like Jay-Z, who started a fund to help minority-owned cannabis startups, have also put their resources into increasing black equity in the industry.
Village is not the first time artists are calling for fairness in the cannabis industry. But, Village says it is the largest conglomerate working on the issue and brings together leaders from different industries.
As the group grows, its ability to bring together powerful players from different industries will determine how powerful it can become and, therefore, how much Village can influence a more equitable cannabis industry.