In case you missed it, NY Cannabis Insider published a blockbuster piece last week about how Social Equity Impact Ventures, led by NBA Hall of Famer Chris Webber and footwear entrepreneur Lavetta Willis, is “on their biggest and craziest repeatedly failed in its claims.”
New York’s commitment to stock-driven cannabis adoption appears to be in grave jeopardy. Just recently, the first Adult Conditional Retail Expenditure (CAURD) permits were announced, with more to come.
These CAURD licenses are issued to people affected by the so-called war on drugs, communities that have largely marginalized the rest of the marijuana market.
On behalf of the New York State Administration of Housing (DASNY), the state has committed to providing real estate and banking assistance to CAURD licensees. However, the entire effort rests on a massive $200 million public-private fund, and it now appears that New York’s marijuana industry is in serious trouble, possibly backing the wrong investment firms to help manage the money.
DASNY chose Webb and Willis to manage the fund, which raised $150 million from private investors and another $50 million from government coffers. Now it appears the duo have missed deadlines to raise these private funds, and they face a serious test.
Indeed, a recent NY Cannabis Insider article raised all sorts of red flags about Chris Webber and Willis, including their apparent failure to launch a $100 million social equity fund in Detroit and “cannabis compounds,” among other empty promises around the world industry. The article even digs into episodes of early financial mismanagement by Webb and Willis. Essentially, DASNY chose Webber and Willis to manage their fund based on a lot of hype and empty words.
Roar said DASNY did not comment on how much of the $150 million was actually raised. They also did not comment on their review and selection process. Maybe Webber and Willis raised more money than we thought, but if so, it would be an exception in their miserable track record in the marijuana industry, and there’s no need for DASNY to withhold good news. Even when there is bad news, it may not be wise to hide it.