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Privateer start-up planning Bob Marley-branded weed has just raised $75 million in funding and has backing from Paypal founder Peter Theil

Published 08/04/2015

Privateer has the backing of PayPal founders
Privateer has the backing of PayPal founders

Investors are starting to take the cannabis industry very seriously indeed if the latest funding figures from start-up Privateer Holdings are anything to go by.

Privateer invests in one thing - legal cannabis – and counts among its investments the Marley-branded weed being launched later this year.

Now it has closed on $75 million (£50 million)worth of funding, bringing its total funding to $82 million (£54 million).

Who’s willing to stump up that much cash for cannabis? Even Privateer has been surprised by the response.

 “Since we announced that Founders Fund made the first institutional investment in the cannabis industry in January, we’ve seen the profile of our investor base change in ways that would have been unthinkable five years ago,” said Michael Blue, Privateer co-founder and chief financial officer.

“We closed the Series B round with a group of sophisticated family offices and institutional investors who made seven- and eight-figure investments.”

Among them: Founders Fund, launched by PayPal founder Peter Theil.

“Cannabis prohibition and the destructive social injustices it causes are going to end sooner than people think,” said Brendan Kennedy, Privateer co-founder and ceo.

Privateer plans to put the cash towards multiple investments including Leafly, an online cannabis information forum and Marley Natural, the official Bob Marley brand of cannabis and hemp products, which expects to put Marley branded weed on the market later this year.

Cannabis might have seemed a shady investment once, but as the product moves further into the mainstream, interest in brands associated with the newly legal product is likely to stay high.

General manager David Martinez labels containers of retail marijuana behind a sales bar fitted with a brochure available to customers at 3D Cannabis Centre in Denver (AP)
General manager David Martinez labels containers of retail marijuana behind a sales bar fitted with a brochure available to customers at 3D Cannabis Centre in Denver (AP)
Marijuana edibles at a shop in Denver (AP)
Privateer plans to put the cash towards multiple investments
Tens of thousands of people gathered to smoke marijuana in Denver (AP)
Colorado has the world's first fully regulated recreational marijuana market
Barack Obama has acknowledged using pot when he was young
People over the age of 21 in Alaska can now legally possess up to 1oz of marijuana and six plants

Further reading

Marley heirs in cannabis brand move

Marijuana legalisation: Californian college town of Berkeley issues 'free weed for the poor' order

Marijuana legalisation in Colorado: Thousands of jobs created, $60m taxes raised and crime is falling as police admit 'everything is fine'

Weed is 114 times less deadly than alcohol, study finds  

Dutch mayors want to grow marijuana

Cannabis college: Oaksterdam University in California offers world's only course in marijuana cultivation

Denver Post appoints ‘weed editor’ after Colorado legalises marijuana

Washington becomes first US state to legalise marijuana possession

Gourmet US eatery cooking with marijuana  

Meanwhile in Russia....a drug that eats junkies  

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