If you’re looking to put your money into an industry that is “high”-growth in more ways than one, cannabis might be the ticket. With more states legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, a growing number of mainstream investors have gravitated to the cannabis industry including celebrities from the worlds of entertainment and sports. The latest to jump on the bandwagon are NBA stars John Wall and Carmelo Anthony, who are new investors in Leune, a California-based marijuana company.
CNBC on Thursday reported that Wall and Anthony joined NBA agent Rich Paul, entertainer La La Anthony, and music manager Anthony Saleh in a new round of funding that aims to help Leune raise $5 million. That news came a day after actor Jaleel White, best known for playing Steve Urkel on “Family Matters,” announced plans to start his own cannabis line.
Leune will reportedly use the money for marketing and product expansion as the company eyes an ever-widening customer base, driven by the expectation that more states will legalize recreational marijuana.
More than 40% of the country’s population now lives in states where weed is legal, Vox reported on Monday. Over the past two months alone, four states – New Jersey, New York, Virginia and New Mexico – have legalized marijuana for recreational use. That brought the total to 16 states, along with Washington, D.C.
On its website, Leune describes itself as a “California born lifestyle brand” whose product lineup includes cannabis in flower, rolled and vaporizer form. The company says it seeks to honor a “3.0 consumer who knows that ‘getting high’ only begins to tell the story of what the plant truly represents.”
One thing it represents is big bucks. Last month, Forbes reported that legal cannabis sales in the United States reached a record $17.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 46% from the previous year. Much of the sales growth came from mature markets such as Colorado and Oregon, which saw 2020 sales hit $2.2 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, according to BDSA, a cannabis sales data platform.
In a recent interview on the Morningstar financial website, Rahul Bhushan, co-founder of the Rize Medical Cannabis and Life Sciences Exchange-Traded Fund, cited several reasons for the growing popularity of cannabis investing: favorable legislation, broader acceptance of cannabis among mainstream Americans, and greater recognition of marijuana’s medical and therapeutic capabilities.
Bhushan expects that the de-stigmatization currently taking place in the U.S. will eventually make its way to Europe, which will open the market up globally.