Jay-Z breaks into pot industry as Caliva’s top brand strategist


Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z is branching out into the marijuana business.

The rapper and entrepreneur, whose given name is Shawn Carter, is entering into a partnership with California pot firm Caliva as its chief brand strategist. As such, he’ll play a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy, the company said in a statement. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

In the position, Jay-Z, recently named a billionaire by Forbes Magazine, will work to boost 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.

“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Carter 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.”

The company, which is privately owned, operates a cultivation facility and retail store in San Jose, California, and has its own delivery service in the Bay Area. It also sells branded weed, joints and vape pens at more than 200 dispensaries through the state.

Jay-Z is just the latest big name to get behind Caliva. National Football League legend Joe Montana took part in a $75 million fundraising round, while former Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz also put money into the company and joined its board of directors earlier this year.

Celebrity partnerships have been on the rise throughout the nascent pot industry. Martha Stewart has an advisory role at Canopy Growth Corp. to help develop a line of CBD products for humans and animals. Golfer Bubba Watson has a multi-year endorsement deal with cbdMD Inc., while Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss is the “chief evangelist officer” at Invictus MD Strategies Corp.

“We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased,” Caliva Chief Executive Officer Dennis O’Malley said.