Jay-Z Named Top Executive at Cannabis Company Caliva


Life has come full circle for rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z.

Back in the early days, Jay-Z was selling drugs outside a New York City housing project.  This week, he was named Chief Brand Strategist at a cannabis company called Caliva.

Caliva is considered one of the biggest cannabis firms in California, and as Chief Brand Strategist Jay-Z will have “a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand,” according to an announcement from the company.

Specifically, Jay-Z — whose given name is Shawn Corey Carter — will focus on helping individuals leaving the prison system.  He will help them through job training and development, and through advocacy.  That has become a major focal point for Jay-Z, who has also championed efforts to reform issues with lengthy parole restrictions, prohibitive bail structures, coerced confessions, and prison violence and sexual abuse.  These problems disproportionately impact lower-income neighborhoods, with African-Americans heavily impacted.

Jay-Z issued a statement in regards to his new role with the company, which pointed to a lot of potential in the cannabis industry.  But is this industry still booming?

During the past year, California’s cannabis industry has surprisingly shrunk by nearly 20%, at least in part due to an expansion of government regulations. But this downturn has not affected Caliva, whose revenues have grown by 350% over the course of the same period of time. The company also currently employs more than 600 people.

Some in the music industry are not surprised that Jay-Z’s first foray into cannabis is related to criminal justice reform.  Just recently, Jay-Z served as the executive producer of a documentary series about Kalief Browder, who committed suicide at Rikers Island prison after spending 3 years while waiting to be tried for stealing a backpack.

Jay-Z is not first musician to partner with the cannabis industry. Others include:

  • Snoop Dogg
  • Willie Nelson
  • Wiz Khalifa
  • 2 Chainz
  • Freddie Gibbs
  • Juicy Jay
  • The Game
  • Ghostface Killah
  • B-Real

One Response

  1. Rocko

    First way to help dudes coming out of prison is NOT to get them to smoke weed BEFORE they get a job…and fact is, most heavy drug users can not go back to pot without relapsing, I would think. Maybe I’m wrong there, but that seems to be my impression.