TORONTO _ Rapper Snoop Dogg is investing in another Canadian cannabis venture as the country prepares for the legalization of marijuana by Canada Day next year.
Toronto-based Trellis, a cannabis inventory management software provider, said Thursday the weed-loving rapper’s venture capital firm is leading its latest US$2-million seed round.
Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital invests in firms that support the cannabis industry but don’t directly touch marijuana. Trellis, which has offices in Toronto and Oakland, Calif., provides what it calls a seed-to-sale inventory management platform for the cannabis industry.
The chief executive and founder of Trellis Pranav Sood says Snoop Dogg’s involvement helps to give his Toronto-based company a higher profile.
“For us, I think it just elevates the discussion and helps to boost our brand visibility,” he said.
The US$2-million seed round also includes reinvestment from Gateway, an Oakland, Calif.-based incubator focused on cannabis companies. Trellis was part of its latest cohort of companies from April 2016 to October 2017.
Casa Verde Capital’s investment comes about a year after Tweed Inc. and parent company Canopy Growth signed a deal with Snoop Dogg.
That deal granted the Canadian marijuana producer exclusive rights to use certain content and brands owned by the rapper’s company LBC Holdings.
And in October 2016, Tweed and Snoop Dogg announced that the rapper’s Leafs By Snoop brand of cannabis would be available in Canada, exclusively to customers that registered with the Canadian producer. The companies said they would offer three Canadian Leafs By Snoop varieties – Sunset, Ocean View and Palm Tree CBD.
However, the cache afforded by the rapper _ whose hits include “Smoke Weed Everyday” _ is limited under proposed standards governing the marketing and advertising of marijuana in Canada. In 2016, a federal task force issued a report recommending that cannabis products require plain packaging and only allow for certain kinds of information, such as the name of the company, marijuana strain and price. The report said advertising restrictions should be similar to that imposed on the tobacco industry.
In July, more than a dozen of Canada’s licensed marijuana producers banded together and enlisted the help of Advertising Standards Canada, a national not-for-profit self-regulatory body, to develop branding and promotional guidelines ahead of the deadline for legalization on July 1.