However, no one has gone as big as Sean “Diddy” Combs. He recently signed one of the biggest deals in cannabis earlier this month, forming the world’s largest black and minority-owned cannabis company.
Sean “Diddy” Combs has invested in legal cannabis for the first time, and he’s coming in hot. Announced early this month, Combs acquired operations of Chicago-based Cresco Labs and Columbia Care, two of the largest cannabis businesses in the United States. The two companies are planning to merge, and the buy-in comes with a $110 million cash payment and $45 million in debt financing.
The massive deal includes a network of vertically-integrated operations across three states: Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois, all of which have legalized cannabis for recreational use only within the last couple of years. With the acquisition of these two mega companies, Combs will be able to cultivate, manufacture, and distribute products in the major metropolitan areas of Boston, New York City, and Chicago.
Combs recognized the opportunity to create equity by investing in one of the largest cannabis companies. While this is his first investment in the sector, Combs is no stranger to running his own business entities and dealing with consumer brands. He’s well known for various entrepreneurial ventures over the last few decades.
Even in the early days, Combs was a self-motivated entrepreneur.
Combs founded his record label, Bad Boy Records, in 1993 at twenty years old. Puffy, or Puff Daddy, as he was known then, went on to make significant contributions to the hip-hop industry throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
His debut album, No Way Out, is certified seven times platinum. It featured five tracks and a tribute to the Notorious B.I.G., “I’ll Be Missing You,” which became the first rap song to debut at number one on the Billboard charts. In addition, Combs has produced and helped develop several artists’ careers, including the Notorious B.I.G., Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, and Usher.
Combs has branched into many different industries throughout his music career over the last few decades. His business portfolio includes ventures in fashion, media, entertainment, and beverages, including alcohol.
In 1998, he started his fashion brand, Sean John jeans, which he has recently reacquired by Combs. Other ventures over the years include partnerships with Ciroc Vodka and other beverage brands such as Aquahydrate.
Minority representation is lacking in significant ways.
This lack of representation for minorities is disappointing to Combs in other industries too, and aims to make the industry more equitable.
“My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” Combs in a November 4, 2022 press release.
Black and brown business owners experience much more adversity and difficulty in the legal cannabis market. After decades of prohibition and prosecution, the one chance finally comes for people to succeed and improve their lives and their communities. Unfortunately, the dream is just out of reach for many because of the barriers minority communities face.
There are a ton of groups out there who share Diddy’s thoughts on minority representation.
If you’re curious about other groups or organizations currently supporting diversity and promoting minority representation, many are out there, and most are backed by big players in the hip-hop and sports worlds.