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The decriminalization of cannabis in some regions of the world has brought with it an opportunity for increased investment in cannabis and cannabis-derived products. Driven by improved cultural perceptions and increased medical use for hemp, many policymakers have developed regulations that have gradually relaxed the ban on cannabis for the last decades. Depending on regional legislation, investment interest in cannabis has shifted beyond mere cultivation to include research, development, local distribution, and exporting. Pro-cannabis regulations have triggered the emergence of a new market in Australia, Israel, Columbia, Uruguay, Poland, Germany, and the densely populated regions of West Africa.
Market analysts have recently been projecting impressive high-rate valuations for cannabis investments across the globe, with the cannabis industry expected to grow steadily at an annual rate of 23.9 percent. Cannabis products are fluid in presentation—infused beverages, vaping concentrates, CBD oils, and cannabis flower—with the different forms of the natural product available for marketing. Although these tradable forms are not completely open to stock listings yet, rising demand and an efficient production and supply chain are expected to maneuver cannabis stock valuation to a record high. Cannabis stock valuations have been uniform in the past years; however, there are some stock listings that have witnessed steady, high, year-over-year sales growth for the recent quarter. Innovative Industrial Properties, Green Thumb Industries Inc., and Tilray Inc. are projected to reach record-level profitability in the coming years.
There are different attempts to cash in on the booming cannabis industry’s opportunities, and it is not surprising to see new market entrants investing heavily in the industry. Highlighted below are five top sports stars that currently own tradable stocks and other cannabis industry investments.
5 top sports stars investing in cannabis
- Mike Tyson
Mike “Iron” Tyson is a former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion with a large fan base—all thanks to his skills and infamous, yet popular, antics in the ring. As the cannabis business expands steadily, Tyson has found a new way of making money while also remaining relevant on the social scene. For Tyson, heroic deeds can also translate into profitable business investments in cannabis. Taking advantage of California’s regulations allowing medical and recreational use of cannabis, Tyson has established a cannabis company in California called Tyson Ranch, where he cultivates a variety of marijuana strains and sells different cannabis-derived products. Tyson Ranch is a licensing and branding company with a mission to “make cannabis universally understood.” Tyson Ranch boasts quality cannabis crops that are 100 percent pest and bug-free and harvested on maturity.
In 2019, Tyson claimed that the Ranch makes a monthly revenue worth about $500,000. Judging from the location advantage of the Ranch and the consistently increasing values of cannabis, market analysts seem to agree with this claim. Tyson sure knows how best to get maximum returns from cannabis, as the Ranch also sells cannabis-branded paraphernalia that is becoming a new line of interest in the cannabis industry. Tyson has also launched CopperGel, a CBD-derived product used for reducing injury recovery time in athletes. In a brilliant attempt to mix business with pleasure, the Ranch also features a cannabis-themed resort with provisions for an amphitheater and hotel. Tyson’s products have a prominent presence in California and Las Vegas dispensaries.
- Kevin Durant
NBA superstar and Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant is another prominent name on this list. Durant sure knows how to make a last-minute winning dunk, but with his recent investment in cannabis, it is safe to conclude that the two-time champion is set to keep making money off the court as well. In 2019, Durant’s venture capital firm, Thirty-Five Ventures, joined the Canadian cannabis investment company Canopy Rivers. This partnership marks Thirty-Five’s second foray into the cannabis industry: In 2018, Durant joined celebrity cannabis advocate Snoop Dog to support Dutchie, an Oregon-based cannabis company focused on providing an ordering, tracking, and delivering platform for individual clients and dispensaries interested in cannabis products. By pooling resources together, Thirty-Five Ventures and its Canopy Growth Corporation affiliate are set to invest heavily in the cannabis-related business venture. Canopy Rivers is a publicly traded company, and the joint-venture is projected to reach record highs in stock valuation soon.
- Joe Montana
Joe Montana is a former Hall of Fame quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Montana’s 16 seasons in the NFL might be crowned with four prestigious Super Bowl trophies, however, this sports star is betting on another venture: a multi-million-dollar investment in the cannabis business. In 2019, Montana’s venture capital firm, Liquid 2 Ventures, joined a team of investors pooling cash for a $75 million investment in Caliva, a San Jose-based cannabis company with interests in cannabis cultivation and distribution. Just like Kevin Durant, this investment is the second time Montana invested in a cannabis venture—in 2017, Montana was involved with the cannabis company Herb. This new investment is expected to expand Caliva’s reach in the U.S. cannabis market.
- John Salley
John Salley is a four-time NBA champion with the envious record of winning four championship titles with three different teams. Now, Salley is busy making cash with serial investments in tech, food, and of course, cannabis. The self-proclaimed “conscious capitalist” founded cannabis brand Deuces22 on the suggestion of his daughter, Tyla. Deuces22 is branded as a premium cannabis venture with a focus on products like pre-rolls, nanotech vape pens, and topicals. Like Tyson Ranch, Deuces22 also specializes in the cultivation and distribution of cannabis varieties and premium-quality strains. Currently, the brand is managed by Salley’s daughter, Tyla Salley, who has hinted at expanding the company’s reach. Interestingly, John Salley is also involved with GreenSpace Labs with further plans to expand his cannabis venture to South Africa.
- Ricky Williams
Rick Williams is a former NFL running back with a Heisman Trophy to his name. Williams was infamously suspended from the NFL over marijuana use. In 2011, he retired and decided to pursue other interests, including herbalism, holistic medicine, and cannabis investment. Not deterred by his suspension, the former star decided to venture into the green rush by founding his own cannabis brand, Real Wellness. But Real Wellness is not just any cannabis brand; it’s based on Williams’ NFL struggles and the health benefits he derived from marijuana during his career. Real Wellness is famous in California, and especially in San Diego, and it sells vape cartridges that cost up to $35. With expansion plans backed by funds sourced from different investors, Williams has announced he will increase his product catalog and venture further into the emerging cannabis market across the U.S. In essence, Williams is profiting from his decision to join the league of sports stars investing in cannabis.
With the decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to exclude CBD-based products from the list of substances banned in sports, the cannabis industry is set to roll out personalized products with medical benefits for athletes. With time, more sports stars are expected to join the advocacy for cannabis products in sports and also, of course, invest in the new gold mine.