Cannabis icon and country music legend Willie Nelson is once again making waves in the cannabis industry. On Jan. 31, 2018, GCH Inc., a Colorado-based firm founded by Willie Nelson and parent company of Nelson’s premium cannabis brand Willie’s Reserve, announced that it had raised $12 million to fund its state-by-state expansion.
As cannabis legalization spreads throughout the United States, Nelson is just one of a handful of celebrities hoping to cash in on the legal cannabis industry. In recent years, other musicians such as Snoop Dogg and Julian Marley have launched their own cannabis brand, as well as television star such as Whoopie Goldberg, who launched the female-centric cannabis brand Whoopie & Maya.
Led by Tuatara Capital, a sector-focused alternative investment manager, the latest funding brings GCH’s total funding to $29.5 million. Currently, GCH is in the middle of its Series B financing, which is expected to raise approximately $40 million by closing. GCH hopes to use the funds to finance investments for new market expansion and to grow the brand’s portfolio through increasing product selection
Currently being distributed in states of Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Oregon, Willie’s Reserve hopes to expand into the California market by Spring 2018.
“We’re on the right side of history,” Nelson said in a statement. “People have spoken with their votes and their dollars. Now that we’ve proven regulating and taxing is good for individuals and business and states, it’s pretty clear that pot is good for America.”
In addition to the new funding, the company also announced the launch of Willie’s Reserve Sungrown Line, which features crafted cannabis raised outdoors throughout Colorado and Washington, and an expansion to the Annie’s Edibles’ product line of Willie’s Reserve.
New products in the Sungrown line will include packaged flower and ready rolls, in a variety of terpene-rich strains. Annie’s Edibles product expansion will feature four new flavors for its chocolate confectionery collection; including Maui Espresso Bean, Roasted Cacao Nibs, Dark Chocolate, and Chocolate Almond. The Sungrown line and Annie’s Edibles expansion are expected to launch in February 2018.