'Diddy' Just Struck a 'Historic' Cannabis Deal

Rapper Sean Combs' acquisitions will create the biggest Black-owned pot company in the US
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2022 10:00 AM CDT
'Diddy' Deal Will Create Biggest Black-Owned Pot Company in US
Sean "Diddy" Combs arrives at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 15.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Sean Combs already has branched out from his rapper and producer career with business ventures in the fashion, alcohol, and media worlds. Now "Diddy" is dipping his toe into marijuana, with a deal worth up to $185 million that, if approved by federal and state regulators, may result in the largest Black-owned and licensed cannabis company in the nation. The Wall Street Journal reports that the hip-hop giant will purchase three production sites and nine retail stores in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois from Cresco Labs and Columbia Care Inc., two of the nation's largest cannabis businesses that agreed to merge earlier this year.

Per a release from Combs and his new acquisitions, the new Combs company will also be the largest Black-owned one of its kind in the world, per CNBC. "Today's a historic day," Tarik Brooks, president of Combs Enterprises, tells the financial tech and data firm Benzinga. "This is one of the rare opportunities where you have an African-American entrepreneur with the platform and reach that Sean Combs has, who will have the ability to enter a new industry during its very early formative stages and be able to advocate for his community by doing so."

And it's that advocacy that drove Combs to make this deal, as Black individuals have been historically arrested in the US at disproportionate rates for marijuana crimes, while legal cannabis has grown into a thriving $27 billion business. "It's diabolical," Combs tells the Journal. "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?" Part of his plan for the new company is to hire individuals who've previously been convicted for pot-related crimes, as well as to help other minorities who want to get their own cannabis licenses. (More Diddy stories.)

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