Diddy’s move to launch the biggest Black-owned cannabis company thwarted

Abu Mubarik August 02, 2023
Photo credit: Freelance photographer Richard Burdett via Wikimedia Commons

In 2022, Sean ‘Diddy’Combs added to his long list of wins after announcing his entry into the cannabis business. He reportedly purchased licensed marijuana operations in three states from Cresco Labs Inc. and Columbia Care Inc. for up to $185 million.

The deal, which was subjected to approval, was expected to produce America’s largest Black-owned and licensed cannabis company. Under the deal, a company owned by Diddy will acquire nine retail stores and three production facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

“His 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,” the WSJ reported.

The WSJ noted that Diddy decided to venture into the marijuana market to address the inequalities in the system where black people are disproportionately arrested for marijuana crimes. “It’s diabolical,” Combs told the WSJ. 

“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?”

The deal was struck after Cresco Labs purchased rival Columbia Care in a $2 billion deal that would make Cresco the top U.S. cannabis producer. Per the deal, Cresco must divest assets in limited-license markets such as New York.

Almost a year after the deal was signed, the planned merger of Cresco Labs and Columbia Care agreed upon on March 23, 2022, and amended on February 27, 2023, has been mutually terminated, according to Benzinga.

“In light of the evolving landscape in the cannabis industry, we believe the decision to terminate the planned transaction is in the long-term interest of Cresco Labs and our shareholders. We want to express our sincere gratitude to Columbia Care for their valuable collaboration and dedication during this transaction,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO and co-founder of Cresco Labs, in a written statement.

The recent development has ruined Diddy’s dream of becoming the country’s first Black-owned-and-operated, vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator. According to him, his mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where Blacks have traditionally been denied access.

Diddy was raised by his grandmother following the killing of his dad when he was only two years old. He graduated from the Roman Catholic Mouth Saint Michael Academy in 1987 and proceeded to Howard University as a business major, but left after his sophomore year.

He is credited with nurturing talents such as Jodeci and Mary J. Blige besides Notorious BIG, Carl Thomas, Faith Evans, 112, Total, and Father MC.

Today, Diddy is worth close to $1 billion after building a successful business empire in addition to his music career. Reports say that the American rapper is worth $885 million and his fortune comes from stakes in businesses such as Ciroc Vodka, Sean John clothing line, DeLeon tequila, Aquahydrate water, and sponsorships deals.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 2, 2023


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