Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers rebounds the ball during the game against the Boston Celtics on April 13, 2021 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
Sam Forencich | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
National Basketball Association stars John Wall and Carmelo Anthony are new investors in a cannabis company.
The pair helped California-based LEUNE raise roughly $5 million in a round that includes NBA agent Rich Paul, entertainer La La Anthony, music manager Anthony Saleh (clients include Future and Nas) and venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital.
LEUNE said it would use the funds for marketing and expanding its products as it looks to capitalize on more states legalizing marijuana.
“Having their support through this crucial growth stage makes a world of a difference for a brand of our size, and we look forward to building one of the leading names in cannabis together,” said company CEO, Nidhi Lucky Handa. “These funds will be used to help us traverse new horizons — from developing new products to unlocking more geographies.”
LEUNE’s investment comes days after actor Jaleel White made headlines for starting his own cannabis line. White starred as Steve Urkel on the sitcom “Family Matters.” Former NBA star Al Harrington is also prominent in the cannabis space with his company, Viola. Harrington’s firm raised $16 million in October 2019.
New York became the latest state to legalize cannabis, joining Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and 12 other states, including District of Columbia, that made pot fully legal. Though states can legalize, it remains illegal at the federal level.
But companies are monitoring democratic lawmakers who could push for legislation to end federal restrictions around marijuana.
John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball against the Washington Wizards on February 15, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Aphria CEO Irwin Simon told CNBC in February he expects marijuana to be legalized in the U.S. within the next few years. On Tuesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC’s “TeckCheck” the company would explore delivering pot if it becomes legal.
“When the road is clear for cannabis when federal laws come into play, we’re absolutely going to take a look at it,” Khosrowshahi said.
In addition to expanding its products, LEUNE said it wants to enhance its social justice initiatives. The firm will use the new investors to raise awareness around inequality and injustices throughout the sector. LEUNE has partnerships with organizations, including The Last Prisoner Project, Eaze Momentum, and the Floret Coalition.
“Cultivating a sense of community has always been a top priority for me,” Wall, who now plays for the Houston Rockets, told CNBC via email. “I appreciate that LEUNE is not only a successful cannabis brand but one that helps uplift marginalized voices through their ongoing social justice work.”