Former NBA star and TNT basketball analyst Chris Webber has always remained consistently visible when it has come to promoting education of Black history and the importance of social justice for Black Americans, whether it’s been with his “African-American Arts & Artifacts Collections Tour” or his impassioned on-air speech on the NBA players’ boycott in protest of the killing of Jacob Blake. With the explosion of the legalized cannabis industry, though, Webber wants to provide a bridge for formerly disenfranchised populations to get in on the action, too.
Accordingly, the 5x All-Star is working with fund manager Jason Wild and his firm JW Asset Management to set up a $100 million private equity fund that will “invest in companies led by entrepreneurs of color.” Webber released a statement saying, “I believe it is more important than ever to empower the next generation of cannabis leaders in a tangible way. I’m thrilled to team up with Jason on this endeavor — he’s a visionary in this industry and understands the urgency of supporting minority business leaders in this space.”
“For far too long, minorities have been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited,” he continued. “Working with JW, we will equip underrepresented entrepreneurs with the financial resources and industry knowledge to build businesses and thrive.”
Webber also held a video chat with TMZ hosts Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere to explain how he believes he can make access to the growing industry a reality for those who may have the eagerness but lack financial backing or the requisite business acumen.
“People need help,” Webber told the guys, explaining that just the application fees to participate are very cost-prohibitive and can run as high as $60,000 in some states. “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.”
Jason Wild shares the same feelings as Webber, noting this will be a great business opportunity for minority populations as well as somewhat redress the deleterious effects of those certain government initiatives which unjustly criminalized them. “The legal cannabis industry can only grow to its full potential when all stakeholders have a seat at the table, and I feel that it is my responsibility to play an active role in eliminating barriers to entry for individuals that have been disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs,” Wild said. “I look forward to partnering with Chris and his team to elevate talented entrepreneurs and build a more inclusive industry.”