Jay-Z is one of the most dynamic figures in contemporary culture. He is a master of transformation, a modern-day alchemist who seems capable of turning virtually anything he touches into part of an ever-growing cultural, artistic, business, and financial empire.
Now, he’s turning his attention to the legal cannabis space. And in typical Jay-Z form, his entry into the legal industry is promising to be transformative—not only for the artist but for the industry as a whole.
Jay-Z Announces New Partnership with Caliva
High Times has just learned that Jay-Z has formally entered a partnership with Caliva, a leading cannabis company based in California.
Founded in 2015, Caliva currently owns 14 cannabis licenses and is one of California’s largest producers of cannabis and cannabis products, cultivating nearly 11,000 pounds of cannabis annually.
Under the terms of the new partnership, Jay-Z will take over as Caliva’s Chief Brand Strategist. In this role, he will spearhead the development of the company’s industry-facing and customer-facing brand.
At this time, it is unclear exactly when Jay-Z will take over his new post. Similarly, the company has not yet disclosed any financial details regarding the partnership.
An Industry-Wide Milestone?
For many in the cannabis space, Jay-Z’s formal entry into the legal industry has implications that extend far beyond his work with Caliva.
Specifically, many see Jay-Z’s presence in the industry as a strong indicator of just how much cannabis’ cultural, legal, and economic status has evolved. His entry is also being hailed as a marker of where the legal industry is today and how big it’s becoming.
“Jay is one of the most successful businessmen of our time, and one of the largest brands in entertainment himself,” said High Times CEO and President Kraig Fox. “As we’ve said before, 2019 is the year of the brand for cannabis. Jay-Z entering the space is clear evidence of that.”
Transforming the Cannabis Industry
Given Jay-Z’s natural ability to transform, the Brooklyn pusher-turned worldwide musical phenom-turned business mogul-turned cannabis industry leader is already focusing on transforming the industry.
Specifically, he’s taking aim at social inequities that continue to plague cannabis both under the War on Drugs and within the legal industry. This is familiar territory for the rapper, who released a short film in 2016 in which he called the War on Drugs an “epic fail.”
According to Caliva, Jay-Z will focus on creating programs to enable formerly incarcerated folks to enter the legal cannabis industry. He will reportedly focus on advocacy, job training, and overall employee and workforce development. And through it all, his focus will remain squarely on empowering those most harmed by the War on Drugs.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z told High Times. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”
Efforts like these are much needed in the cannabis space. Far too often, people arrested for cannabis-related offenses under prohibition find themselves locked out of the legal cannabis space after they’re released. And this creates a scenario in which cannabis’ original entrepreneurs are squeezed out of the very industry they helped pioneer.
Given all this, Jay-Z’s socially conscious entry into the legal space could bring some powerful transformative energy.
“Jay’s focus on developing opportunities for those hurt by the prohibition of cannabis is not only smart for the business bottom line, but crucial to dismantling the decades of consequence bestowed on the segments of the population who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs,” said Fox.