Jay-Z appears to be adding to his long list of successful business ventures with a multi-year partnership with California-based cannabis company Caliva. Jay-Z (aka Shawn Corey Carter), 49, will take on the role of chief brand strategist for the startup and hopes to “play a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand,” as Caliva’s website explains.
However, in addition to business strategy, it appears Carter will also be relied upon to encourage support of people returning from weed-related incarceration, and looking to re-enter the workforce, in light of legalization. With Carter’s celebrity and respect in the music and entertainment industries, the social influence of this partnership should be as positive as the business aspect.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” says Carter. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos makes them the best partner for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way,” he says on Caliva’s website.
After closing $75 million in funding last winter—thanks in large part to investments by former Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz and NFL great Joe Montana—Calivalooks to continue its momentum this summer. According to an article for Forbes, Caliva grew 350% in revenue last year, despite California’s tightening state regulations. With the addition of Carter to its team, Caliva should continue growing.
This is not the first big partnership for the young cannabis company. For 4/20 this past spring, Caliva collabed with Ben & Jerry’s to give free pints of B&J fan-favorite Half Baked to customers who placed delivery orders through Caliva. And Caliva is keeping the social justice aspect of legalized weed in mind by donating 4.2% of the profits from the initiative to Code for America’s Clear My Record Program, which “focuses on people who have been arrested on charges related to marijuana possession,” as described by Business Insider.
It’s clear there is a lot of untapped financial potential in the legal marijuana industry. But it’s refreshing to see companies like Caliva keeping an eye on the finer notes of legalization and its place within the criminal justice system. It will be interesting to see how Jay-Z’s role with Caliva develops.