Sean “Diddy” Combs has agreed to purchase the cannabis operations of Cresco Labs Inc. and Columbia Care Inc. in three states for up to $185 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. The deal still requires regulatory approval and the company would need to divest assets in several states before it is finalized.
Under the proposal, the new company controlled by Combs would acquire nine retail stores and three production facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Combs’ company would pay $110 million in cash and $45 million in debt financing, plus additional money based on certain market-growth milestones. Cresco and Columbia agreed to merge in March in a $2 billion deal.
In an interview with the Journal, Combs seemed to describe legalization as “diabolical.”
“How do you lock up communities of people, break down their family structure, their futures, and then legalize it and make sure that those same people don’t get a chance to benefit or resurrect their lives from it?” — Combs to WSJ
Between 2010 and 2018, Black people were 3.6 times as likely as white people to be arrested for cannabis possession in the U.S., despite similar rates of cannabis use, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.
A June 2021 Leafly report utilizing data from Whitney Economics found that Black-owned businesses comprise just 2% of the roughly 40,000 cannabis companies in the U.S.
“Two percent? All the years, all the pain, all the incarceration,” Combs said. “To me, it was important to do a big deal like this.”
Combs’ other consumer brands include Sean John, a partnership with Diageo PLC on Cîroc vodka and DeLeón tequila.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated incorrectly that Whitney Economics had published the 2021 report investigating Black-owned businesses in the cannabis industry. The ‘Seeds of Change’ article, authored by Janessa Bailey, was actually published by Leafly.
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