NBA great and Fab Five alumnus Chris Webber is expanding the Detroit landscape with a new expansive cannabis enterprise. The facility is called the Webber Wellness Compound.
On Tuesday, Webber broke ground on the 180,000-square-foot, $50 million facility, which aims to bring new life to the economic depression in Detroit.
NBA/UofM basketballer Chris Webber (and a short guy) at a brick-breaking for his new venture: a cannabis center and pot-biz “university” in an old industrial building (or two or three) off Michigan Ave west of I-96 in Corktown, Detroit. More @WWJ950 and https://t.co/NcwIrwPs9B. pic.twitter.com/JPfpjZ8Mz9
— Mike Campbell (@reportermikec) September 28, 2021
In addition, the facility will be a full-service cannabis operation. It will include a cultivation and training facility, dispensary, and a private lounge for cannabis consumption.
The Green Mile
Webber is also launching his Players Only branded cannabis products through an exclusive distribution partnership with Michigan cannabis operator Gage Growth Corp.
“This will be the shining jewel of Michigan. Everything great in Michigan starts in Detroit,” said Chris Webber.
Webber, 48, is an entrepreneur, Basketball Hall of Famer, and co-founder of Webber Wild Impact Fund. He launched Players Only Holdings with entrepreneur Lavetta Willis. Players Only Holdings owns the Webber Wellness Compound.
However, Webber has become a force in media as a sports commentator. He is now expanding his business footprint back home.
The green rush in the cannabis business is still booming.
— BNC Go (@BNCGO1) September 29, 2021
Webber’s facility is positioning itself to stamp Detroit as a new hub in the industry. It will be opened in Corktown — a historic neighborhood in southwest Detroit. The project is estimated to cost about $175 million.
Additionally, the business expects to create hundreds of new jobs in the Detroit metro area over the next three years. In addition, during the groundbreaking, Webber announced the expansion of Cookies U into Detroit.
When Cannabis Meets Social Impact
Back in May, a social impact initiative was announced by cannabis brand COOKIES and WebberWild Impact Foundation. The focus was on creating equity and access to the cannabis industry for disadvantaged communities. Cookies U is based in Humboldt County, California.
“This Detroit training and operations facility is only the first step in bringing tangible opportunities to the people of this city — one that means so much to me — while eliminating barriers to an industry with unlimited economic potential,” added Webber.
“We will create, foster and provide a cannabis ecosystem that celebrates diversity, creates jobs, and benefits this community — focusing intensely on those who are being left behind. As social equity programs struggle in many states, we are here to support legacy operators who created the foundation for this industry so that they are included in future iterations of it while we wait on the politics to catch up.”
Cookies U recruited students from marginalized communities. The program provided a three-month educational curriculum preparing them for a sustainable career. Tuition and housing were covered through the partnership. In addition, eligible students received additional coverage for lost wages, daycare expenses, and other necessities.
Additionally, there will also reportedly be record expungement offices located on the Detroit compound.
The compound will encompass 9 acres, and Webber is interviewing black-owned architectural firms and general contractors for the project. Construction slated to begin on the compound this Fall; the first phase completion is expected in March 2022.
Webber is attempting to change the cannabis landscape one move at a time.