New Partners in Weed Startup: Jimmy Buffett and Wrigley Scion

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Singer Jimmy Buffett and billionaire William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. are getting behind a U.S. marijuana startup, becoming a member of a scrum of firms betting on the more and more crowded hashish trade.

Mr. Buffett, whose hits like “Margaritaville” evoke a beach-bum life-style, will license his Coral Reefer model to Surterra Holdings Inc. for a line of hashish merchandise together with vape pens, gel caps, edibles and lotions.

The deal comes a month after Mr. Wrigley, 54 years outdated, the previous CEO of the Wrigley gum and sweet firm, joined Surterra as chairman when his household funding agency Wychwood Asset Administration led a $65 million fundraising spherical.

Based in 2014, Surterra is predicated in Atlanta and is licensed to function in Florida and Texas. It grows marijuana, manufactures medical hashish merchandise and operates shops. It has raised greater than $100 million since 2015.

Surterra is one in all many startups searching for to capitalize on authorized marijuana gross sales. Though marijuana use is prohibited by federal legislation, 30 states allow medical use, and it’s allowed for leisure use in 9 states and Washington, D.C.

Hashish startups have entry to a restricted pool of capital as a result of many restricted partnerships and retirement funds are restricted from investing in marijuana. These firms are more and more turning to high-net-worth people and household workplaces.

Within the U.S., greater than 60 hashish startups have raised at the very least $5 million from enterprise capital or non-public fairness prior to now 5 years, in line with analysis agency PitchBook. Others have listed on inventory exchanges in Canada, the place leisure hashish will change into authorized in October. Three massive brewers, together with Corona brewer

Constellation Manufacturers
Inc.,

have just lately introduced giant investments in Canadian hashish firms.

Mr. Buffett, 71, whose followers are often known as Parrotheads, has constructed a licensing empire that features Margaritaville-branded eating places, inns, casinos and retirement communities. Earlier this yr got here a Broadway musical based mostly on his songs, nevertheless it generated lackluster gross sales and closed in July.

The musician was approached by a number of different hashish ventures however determined to go together with Surterra as a result of it targeted on well being and wellness reasonably than recreation, in line with John Cohlan, Mr. Buffett’s enterprise companion. He mentioned Mr. Buffett would obtain royalties from the deal however not a stake within the startup.

“Now we have made a aware choice to not go into the leisure enterprise,” Mr. Cohlan mentioned in an interview.

The Coral Reefer marijuana merchandise will initially be accessible at Surterra shops in Florida beginning subsequent spring. In different states, the merchandise might later be offered by different shops or wholesalers, mentioned Jake Bergmann, Surterra’s founder and CEO.

Surterra will market Coral Reefer merchandise aimed toward bettering urge for food and temper, relieving ache and assuaging signs from chemotherapy, he mentioned. In states the place leisure marijuana use is authorized, the merchandise received’t require a prescription.

Write to Jennifer Maloney at jennifer.maloney@wsj.com

Appeared within the September 11, 2018, print version as ‘Jimmy Buffett, Wrigley Scion Again Weed Startup.’



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