Mayce Edward Christopher Webber III brings a $175M cannabis ‘compound’ to southwest Detroit, Michigan

Mayce Edward Christopher Webber III brings a $175M cannabis ‘compound’ to southwest Detroit, Michigan

Current professor at Wake Forest University, also teaching at Morehouse College, instructing a course on athlete activism, and Detroit native, Mayce Edward Christopher Webber III, is planning to open a cannabis “compound” in southwest Detroit, which will include a marijuana operations and training facility, a cultivation facility, a dispensary and a cannabis consumption lounge.

Webber broke ground Tuesday on the 180,000-square-foot, $50 million facility, which will be called the Webber Wellness Compound. The compound is owned by Players Only Holdings, a business co-founded by Webber and entrepreneur Lavetta Willis.

The cultivation will eventually be expanded by 80,000 square feet, representing a $125 million investment. The first phase is set to be completed in March 2022. There’s no timeline on the phase two expansion.

A rendering of the Webber Wellness Compound, a cultivation facility, dispensary and cannabis consumption lounge along Michigan Avenue in southwest Detroit.
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“This is my biggest priority in life,” Webber said. “I’ve seen who (Willis) and I have helped across the country and the lives that have been disrupted by cannabis. Hopefully, we can do a little bit of repairing. Hopefully, we can help the city.”

Tuesday’s announcement represents the first tangible step after a $100 million private equity cannabis fund was launched in February to invest in Black- and minority-owned businesses and brands in the cannabis sector. Webber, Willis and Jason Wild of JW Asset Management, a hedge fund with more than $1 billion in assets under management, launched the fund.

It also marks a return to Michigan for Webber, who said he’s been doing projects in the city for the last 20 years or so, “but I need to be home to make sure I can do the larger projects. It feels so good to come home and to be a part of all the great things again.”

Webber was born in Detroit and attended Detroit Country Day High School. He played basketball at the University of Michigan and then went to the NBA, where he played for teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.

A rendering of the Webber Wellness Compound, a cultivation facility, dispensary and cannabis consumption lounge along Michigan Avenue in southwest Detroit.
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The training program will be run by Cookies U, a job training and placement program that recruits students from minority and underrepresented communities. Webber said it will be a three-month intensive program that will train students for a wide range of jobs, from budtending (selling cannabis) to cultivating marijuana.

More:Detroit’s recreational marijuana ordinance ‘likely unconstitutional,’ federal judge says

More:Black-owned marijuana growing, processing facility coming to Inkster

Webber said there will be record expungement offices at the facility for everyone that wants those services, even if they’re not planning to work in the cannabis industry.

Chris Webber watches the Michigan Wolverines warm up before action against the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
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Gage Growth Corp. will be the distributor for Webber and Willis’ Players Only-branded cannabis products. The compound will be located at 2599 22nd St., just off Michigan Avenue.

 

Former NBA star and Detroit native Chris Webber is planning to open a cannabis “compound” in southwest Detroit, which will include a marijuana operations and training facility, a cultivation facility, a dispensary and a cannabis consumption lounge.
Chris Webber speaks at the 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.
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 Chris Webber speaks at the 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.
Webber broke ground Tuesday on the 180,000-square-foot, $50 million facility, which will be called the Webber Wellness Compound. The compound is owned by Players Only Holdings, a business co-founded by Webber and entrepreneur Lavetta Willis.
The cultivation will eventually be expanded by 80,000 square feet, representing a $125 million investment. The first phase is set to be completed in March 2022. There’s no timeline on the phase two expansion.“This is my biggest priority in life,” Webber said. “I’ve seen who (Willis) and I have helped across the country and the lives that have been disrupted by cannabis. Hopefully, we can do a little bit of repairing. Hopefully, we can help the city.”Tuesday’s announcement represents the first tangible step after a $100 million private equity cannabis fund was launched in February to invest in Black- and minority-owned businesses and brands in the cannabis sector. Webber, Willis and Jason Wild of JW Asset Management, a hedge fund with more than $1 billion in assets under management, launched the fund.It also marks a return to Michigan for Webber, who said he’s been doing projects in the city for the last 20 years or so, “but I need to be home to make sure I can do the larger projects. It feels so good to come home and to be a part of all the great things again.”Webber was born in Detroit and attended Detroit Country Day High School. He played basketball at the University of Michigan and then went to the NBA, where he played for teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings and the Detroit Pistons.
A rendering of the Webber Wellness Compound, a cultivation facility, dispensary and cannabis consumption lounge along Michigan Avenue in Detroit's Corktown Neighborhood.
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© Provided by Players Only Holdings A rendering of the Webber Wellness Compound, a cultivation facility, dispensary and cannabis consumption lounge along Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood.
The training program will be run by Cookies U, a job training and placement program that recruits students from minority and underrepresented communities. Webber said it will be a three-month intensive program that will train students for a wide range of jobs, from budtending (selling cannabis) to cultivating marijuana.

Webber said there will be record expungement offices at the facility for everyone that wants those services, even if they’re not planning to work in the cannabis industry.

 

Former NBA player Chris Webber to start cannabis fund

Former NBA player Chris Webber to help start cannabis fund
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Chris Webber, a former NBA All-Star, is spearheading a $100 million private equity fund to help entrepreneurs of color get started in the cannabis industry.

Webber will work with JW Asset Management to funnel resources to the entrepreneurs to aid with research, marketing and retail in a booming industry whose benefits they say have not reached minority entrepreneurs.

“It’s crucial that we diversify leadership within the cannabis industry and level the playing field for people from our communities,” Webber said in a statement. “For far too long, minorities have been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited. Working with JW, we will equip underrepresented entrepreneurs with the financial resources and industry knowledge to build businesses and thrive.”

“The legal cannabis industry can only grow to its full potential when all stakeholders have a seat at the table, and I feel that it is my responsibility to play an active role in eliminating barriers to entry for individuals that have been disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs,” added Jason Wild, the founder of JW Asset Management.

The move comes as activists call for more minority representation in the mushrooming cannabis industry. Studies have shown the vast majority of marijuana businesses are owned by white people, while people of color have been the ones mostly arrested for cannabis-related crimes.

Webber said in his statement the main goal of his venture is to close that gap in an industry that could be worth north of $130 billion in the next three years.

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