TORONTO — Drake rapped about starting from the bottom, but his new venture in the cannabis industry is certainly a higher business.
The Toronto-raised performer has signed an investment partnership to launch More Life Growth Co., a licensed cannabis producer that’ll be based in his hometown.
The deal, struck with Canopy Growth Corp., gives Drake a 60 per cent stake in the More Life Growth company, while Canopy Growth will hold the remaining 40 per cent.
It’s the latest in a string of investment partnerships launched by Canopy Growth with some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen. Gene Simmons holds a deal with B.C.-based cannabis company Invictus.
But a lawyer for the deal says Drake’s controlling stake makes it an exceptional transaction.
“This is the only time you’ve seen a deal be done with a celebrity like this, where Drake, through a bunch of his corporations, owns the majority stake in a company that holds a licence issued by Health Canada,” said Jonathan Sherman, a securities lawyer at corporate law firm Cassels, which handled the business deal.
Canopy Growth will provide all of the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the More Life cannabis production facility, which operates on a licence held by a numbered company in Toronto. The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based firm will retain all of the rights to distribute the product that is grown at the location.
Under the agreement, Drake has granted More Life the exclusive rights to use certain intellectual property and brands his company owns in the sale of cannabis and cannabis-related products and accessories, in both Canada and international markets.
But that doesn’t mean Drake’s or his popular OVO clothing brand will be splashed across cannabis packaging, pipes or hookahs. Celebrity endorsements are prohibited under Canada’s cannabis regulations, which means any references to their business connection can’t be explicit.
In the case of More Life Growth, the deal covers the use of “More Life,” a phrase Drake popularized when he gave that name to his 2017 mixtape.
“It’s not an OVO band play, it’s not a Drake brand play, the purpose of this company is to develop, promote and sell ‘More Life Growth’-branded products,” said Len Glickman, an intellectual property and entertainment lawyer at Cassels.
“What you’re not going to see is Drake’s face or name promoting any of those goods or services.”
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