Former NBA star Chris Webber has announced the opening of a $175 million cannabis “compound” in his native city of Detroit. Webber Wellness Compound will include marijuana operations and a training facility, a cultivation facility, a dispensary and a cannabis consumption lounge, according to USA TODAY.
The Detroit native broke ground Tuesday for the construction of the 180,000-square-foot, $50 million facility. According to USA TODAY, the cultivation will eventually be expanded by 80,000 square feet, representing a $125 million investment.
The compound is owned by Players Only Holdings, a firm he co-founded with entrepreneur Lavetta Willis. Webber hopes to have the first phase of the project completed by March 22.
“This is my biggest priority in life,” Webber said. “I’ve seen who (Willis) and I have helped across the country and the lives that have been disrupted by cannabis. Hopefully, we can do a little bit of repairing. Hopefully, we can help the city.”
The Players Only compound is projected to create hundreds of new jobs over the next three years. Job training and placement program Cookies U will be in charge of the compound’s training initiative that will train students for various jobs including cultivating marijuana and selling weed.
The former NBA started Webber Wellness Compound, the parent company for his cannabis business, in 2015 with longtime business partner Willis. They first met when Webber was still playing NBA.
Webber has previously invested in other cannabis companies. He first got into cannabis at the age of 29 when he got injured during the peak of his 15-year NBA career.
After the surgery, the doctor asked him to try medical marijuana. “If it wasn’t for cannabis and some wonderful doctors in holistic medicine, I definitely would not have had a wonderful four years after that surgery,” he said.
According to the former NBA player, she still uses marijuana for pain relief.
Webber was born in Detroit. He was raised by his mother, who taught in Detroit’s public school system for 30 years, and his father, who worked at General Motors’ Poletown factory for three decades.
He attended Detroit Country Day High School and played basketball at the University of Michigan. When he went to NBA, he played for Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.