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NBA Players Could Be a Source of Capital for Cannabis

April 21, 2023 05:46 AM HOURS AGO

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At a time when capital is drying up in the cannabis industry, Cresco Labs board member Michele Roberts says there's a new potential pool of investors — professional basketball players. The new NBA players union contract specifically allows players to invest in cannabis companies, Roberts said during an interview today at the Cannabis Innovation Lab at 1871.

Roberts, who was executive director of the National Basketball Players Association for eight years, says she always encouraged players to become investors in companies as a way to prepare financially for life after their playing days were over.

"Players are the largest group of Black millionaires on the planet, and they have disposable income," she told 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. "They are being approached . . . and they want to invest." Several former NBA players already have invested in the cannabis industry, including Al Harrington and Chris Webber.

Diversity is a major issue in the cannabis industry, where it's estimated that Black owners make up about 2% of total ownership.

Roberts says passage of legislation called the SAFE Banking Act, which would open up banking and potential investment, would be the biggest catalyst for diversifying ownership. "The opportunities for entry are limited until SAFE Banking is passed," she said.



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