On the underground classic “U Don’t Know,” Jay-Z raps, “I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell / I am a hustler, baby, I’ll sell water to a whale.” Now, he’ll have to sell marijuana in one of the most oversaturated states in the cannabis market. Because this week, it was announced that Jay-Z was joining the California-based Caliva as chief brand strategist.
Though financial details were not disclosed, Jay-Z will oversee outreach strategies and creative decisions at the company. He’ll also focus his attention on the social justice issues surrounding marijuana legalization, including the “economic participation of citizens returning from incarceration—many of who are not seeing the monetary benefits of legalization—through advocacy, job training, and overall employee and workforce development,” Caliva said in a statement.
Jay-Z had been eyeing the cannabis industry for some time, and eventually approached Caliva after extensively surveying numerous business for a possible partner.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z said. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos makes them the best partner for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”
Caliva sells its marijuana products, like joints and vape pens, at more than 200 dispensaries throughout the state of California. The privately-owned company also operates a retail store in San Jose and a delivery service in the Bay Area.
“For Jay-Z to seek out Caliva as a partner is humbling and confirms our mission of being the most trusted name in cannabis,” Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley said. “To find that we were in complete alignment around our values and ethos was just a home run. We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased to be working with him and have him as our Chief Brand Strategist.”
This isn’t the first big-name celebrity partnership Caliva has had this year. Back in January, quarterback legend Joe Montana and his venture firm invested $75 million in the company. Montana said at the time he wanted to invest in an industry that “can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction.”