National Basketball Association stars John Wall and Carmelo Anthony are new investors in a cannabis company.
The pair helped California-based LEUNE raise about $5 million in a round with NBA agent Rich Paul, entertainer La La Anthony, music manager Anthony Saleh (whose clients include Future and Nas) and venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital.
LEUNE said it would use the money to market and expand its products as it wants to take advantage of more states legalizing marijuana.
“Having their support during this critical growth phase makes a world of difference to a brand of our size, and we look forward to building one of the leading names in cannabis together,” said company CEO Nidhi Lucky handa. “These funds will be used to help us explore new horizons – from developing new products to opening up more geographic areas.”
LEUNE’s Investment Comes Days After Actor Jaleel Made White headlines for starting his own cannabis line. White starred as Steve Urkel in the sitcom ‘Family Matters’. Former NBA star Al Harrington is also prominent in the cannabis world with his company Viola. Harrington’s company raised $16 million in October 2019.
New York became the last state to legalize cannabis in March, joining Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and 12 other states and the District of Columbia who have made weed completely legal. While states can legalize cannabis, it remains illegal at the federal level.
But companies are watching Democratic lawmakers who could push for legislation to end federal restrictions on marijuana.
Aphria CEO Irwin Simon told CNBC in February that he expects marijuana to be legalized in the US in the coming years. On Tuesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC’s “TechCheck” that the company would be exploring how to deliver it if it becomes legal.
“If the way is clear for cannabis when federal laws come into effect, we will definitely look into it,” Khosrowshahi said.
In addition to expanding its products, LEUNE said it wants to strengthen its social justice initiatives. The company will use the new investors to raise awareness of inequality and injustice across the industry. LEUNE has partnerships with organizations such as The Last Prisoner Project, Eaze Momentum and the Floret Coalition.
“Cultivating a sense of community has always been a top priority for me,” Wall, who now plays for the Houston Rockets, told CNBC via email. “I appreciate that LEUNE is not only a successful cannabis brand, but also one that helps raise marginalized voices through their ongoing work for social justice.”