Entrepreneur and hip-hop legend Jay-Z is teasing his first cannabis venture, Monogram, partnering with Caliva, one of California’s largest cannabis companies to launch a new website with plans for a new e-commerce platform.
Jay-Z joined Caliva in July 2019 as the company’s chief brand strategist. His role involves advising on creative decisions, outreach and advocacy for social justice issues related to marijuana legalization. These include improving representation and participation in the industry for previously incarcerated people who are still mostly excluded from the legal weed business.
Based in Silicon Valley, Caliva’s products are available in more than 250 licensed dispensaries across California. The company has operations in cultivation, processing, marketing and delivery.
There aren’t a lot of details about the Monogram brand, but the company plans to release its product line online and “seeks to redefine what cannabis means to consumers today,” according to a press release.
It’s uncertain whether the brand will be available in dispensaries or if it will only be sold only in California or in other states where weed is legal.
According to the Monogram website, the strain is grown in small batches and is “treated with the respect it deserves through every stage of the grow process.”
“Our batch-by-batch approach and unique potency designation allow us to highlight the nuances in between harvests and tell you the story of every flower,” the website states.
Customers are encouraged to sign up by email to be “first in line for the drop.”
In conjunction with the announcement, Jay-Z launched a new Tidal playlist, “Monogram: Sounds from the Grow Room,” featuring hits including Fela Kuti’s “Expensive S**t,” Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Kaya,” and Outkast’s “Vibrate.” You can find the playlist here.
“We think this is a sea change in terms of the visibility to the industry,” Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley told CNN Business. “We take this partnership with a lot of responsibility, a lot of humility, a lot of accountability moving forward.”
In the 15 months since Jay-Z joined Caliva, it launched career training and mentorship programs focused on diversity and fair hiring practices in the cannabis industry, LA Times reported. It also announced a collaboration with Chrysalis and Success Centers — two nonprofits that focus on helping homeless and low-income people become self-sufficient. The goal is to hire some program participants as employees.
The latest hip-hop artist to enter the cannabis business, Jay-Z follows Snoop Dogg, Moneybagg Yo, 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa, who all have their own weed strains.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z said in a statement announcing his 2019 Caliva role. “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.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
High profile investors in Caliva include Joe Montana and Silicon Valley “Super Angel” Ron Conway.
Monogram says it plans to launch a “best in class e-commerce platform dedicated exclusively to its singular product line.”
On Twitter, news of Jay-Z’s new weed venture was met with a mixture of admiration and skepticism.
“Can I invest? I know he probably don’t need it but still,” ricky!!! tweeted.
“Serial entrepreneur…we on our own shit,” Rich tweeted
“prolly gonna b hitting us w those $100 eighths in the dispo,” adrian tweeted.