The rapper will help the company with creative decisions, outreach efforts and strategy, though a big component of his role will focus on the social justice issues surrounding legalization. Specifically, Jay will work to improve the representation and participation of previously incarcerated people who are still being kept out of the legal weed business in large numbers. Per a statement, Jay-Z’s efforts in this realm will include “advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development.”
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “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.”
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Jay-Z reached out to Caliva after an extensive search to find a suitable partner in the cannabis industry. “For Jay-Z to seek out Caliva as a partner is humbling and confirms our mission of being the most trusted name in cannabis,” says Caliva CEO, Dennis O’Malley. “To find that we were in complete alignment around our values and ethos was just a home run. We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased to be working with him and have him as our Chief Brand Strategist.”
Jay-Z’s decision to focus on the social justice side of legal weed complements the work he’s done in criminal justice reform. The rapper served as an executive producer on a docuseries about Kalief Browder — the teenager who died by suicide after spending three years on Rikers Island while awaiting trial for steeling a backpack —while he was also one of the most outspoken advocates for Meek Mill, using that MC’s case to shine light on unfair sentencing and probation practices. Following Meek Mill’s release from prison, he and Jay-Z helped launch a new foundation dedicated to criminal justice reform, the Reform Alliance.
Jay-Z is the latest rapper to enter the legal marijuana business. In 2015, Snoop Dogg launched his own weed brand, Leafs by Snoop (it’s distributed in Canada by the weed giant Canopy Growth), while last year 2 Chainz partnered with Green Street Agency and Mazel Management Group to launch his own company, The Gas Cannabis Co. Other MCs like Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs and Juicy J have all developed their own signature strains, while in 2018 Cypress Hill’s B-Real opened his own dispensary in California, fittingly naming it Dr. Greenthumb’s.