Hip-hop legend, fashion entrepreneur, and Queen Bey’s husband now has another title to add to his résumé. Jay-Z has partnered with cannabis company Caliva to serve as its chief brand strategist, according to a July 9 statement released by the brand. In his new role, the rapper will spearhead Caliva's creative direction, strategy, and outreach.
According to its website, Caliva is a San Jose, California-based company that provides cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and retail spaces, as well as a delivery service. Hundreds of dispensaries throughout California carry its products, which include flowers, vapes, and edibles, as well as lotions and other wellness offerings. The brand has attracted high-profile investments, including from Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana, who participated in a $75 million fundraising round, as reported by Bloomberg. And now, Jay-Z is on-board.
“Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” the musician said in the company’s statement. “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.”
High Times reported that the start date for Jay-Z’s new position, as well as the financial details about the deal, remain unknown. But the star doesn’t plan to focus solely on brand strategy. Through “advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development,” Jay-Z will also work to bring more formerly incarcerated individuals into the cannabis industry and make it more equitable, according to Caliva’s statement. This represents a step toward repairing the harmful impacts of America's War on Drugs, which disproportionately targeted Black and Brown people for selling and possessing cannabis, barring them from entering the legal industry whose groundwork they laid.
Jay-Z’s work to level the cannabis playing field falls in step with his previous criminal justice reform advocacy efforts, as noted by Rolling Stone. This April, he teamed up with fellow rapper Meek Mill to launch an organization focused on unjust parole and probation sentences. Back in 2017, he co-produced a docuseries about Kalief Browder, who ended his life while incarcerated at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack when he was 16, and in a 2016 New York Times op-ed video, the musician deemed the War on Drugs an “epic fail.”
“Jay’s focus on developing opportunities for those hurt by the prohibition of cannabis is not only smart for the business bottom line, but crucial to dismantling the decades of consequence bestowed on the segments of the population who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs,” High Times CEO and president Kraig Fox told the cannabis magazine.
With the Caliva partnership, Jay-Z joins a burgeoning crop of rappers-turned-ganjapreneurs, including A$AP Rocky, who started a vape line called the Flacko Jodye collection; as well as Wacka Flocka, Curren$y, and The Game, who XXL reports all have their own strains. And it’s not just hip-hop artists. Other celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Seth Rogen, and even Martha Stewart are cashing in on the green rush, too, according to Forbes.
Caliva’s partnership with a household name like Jay-Z is yet another sign of cannabis going mainstream. The musician's planned social justice work with the company could help push dialogue and advocacy around equity in the cannabis industry into the mainstream, too.