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Wu tang weed

Like many other hip-hop artists and celebrities, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon has become a major investor in a cannabis startup. But unlike other celebrity-endorsed cannabis companies, this startup wants to pay people to grow weed, rather than just selling it to them.

CitizenGrown follows through on its motto of “cannabis for the people, by the people” by putting cultivation in the hands of individuals. The business eventually plans to provide automated hydroponic grow boxes to anyone living in a state where home cultivation is legal. The company will pay people for the use of their space, and will control nearly every aspect of the grow boxes remotely, allowing them to grow pot at home with little effort.

“It’s like a universal income proposal,” Raekwon told Forbes. Since most of the work is handled by the company itself, the company is essentially offering a source of passive income to anyone who has the space to host one of their boxes. The company hopes that these tools will help lower-income communities participate in the cannabis marketplace, which is currently dominated by wealthy, white investors.

“We wondered: What if our technology is the way to spread the wealth in this industry?” said CitizenGrown CEO Deepa Sood to Forbes. “Use our Boxes, cultivate top-shelf cannabis, and marry profit with purpose.”

“In this situation where the economy is being tarnished and people are losing jobs, CitizenGrown offers a way out,” said Raekwon. “We tell people we haven’t forgotten about them… Now, you’ve got the average person that really didn’t think they could do something feeling like they can engage, because there’s a door for them. And that’s what I love, you know; to give back is the most precious gift.”

The company has already kicked off their first venture, a 13,500 square foot cannabis cultivation and tissue culture lab based in Oklahoma City. The profits of this facility are being used to develop prototypes for automated, hydroponic grow boxes that are designed to work even in a small apartment. CitizenGrown is also offering educational opportunities to help individuals living in lower-income, marginalized communities.

“This is pretty much a school that allows us to help people, to teach them what cannabis is all about, and make sure that at the end of the day you’re in charge of what you put in you, and you understand what you’re using it for,” Raekwon explained to Forbes.

“Any time you come back to the neighborhood and you want to do great things for your community… Whatever you want to do, however you want to express yourself, we’ll empower you, creatively and financially. That’s what CitizenGrown represents.”

CitizenGrown will install hydroponic grow boxes in any state where home cultivation is legal, and pay people for the use of their space.

Wu-Tang’s Raekwon On His New Weed Venture: ‘Cannabis For The People, By The People’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 30: Raekwon performs at the Loud Records 25th Anniversary Concert at . [+] Radio City Music Hall on January 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, born Corey Woods, has gotten into the cannabis game. His project is as unprecedented as it is cool – and just.

The rapper turned entrepreneur has invested in CitizenGrown, a company that defines itself as “cannabis for the people, by the people.” With a unique business model, CitizenGrown’s mission is to provide households (in U.S. states where cultivation is legal) with automated cannabis grow boxes that allow people to reap the rewards of this ever-expanding industry.

“We wondered — what if our technology is the way to spread the wealth in this industry? Use our Boxes, cultivate top-shelf cannabis, and marry profit with purpose,” explained Deepa Sood, the company’s young CEO, during a recent, exclusive conversation.

“It’s like a universal income proposal,” added Raekwon, pointing out this isn’t a side hustle or a second job. It’s, simply put, passive income: CitizenGrown paying you for some space in your home, asking virtually no work from you.

All About Equality

When Raekwon came across CitizenGrown, he instantly fell in love with its noble mission to redistribute the profits from legal cannabis among the communities harmed the most by the War on Drugs. He calls these communities “the farmers of this movement”—both literally and metaphorically.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan performs on the release day of his ‘The . [+] Appetition’ EP during Beat Horizon at O2 Academy Brixton on January 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)

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“CitizenGrown, they are pretty much the superheroes of cannabis, if you ask me,” the rapper said. “Everything starts from the ground up.”

The company will provide low-income communities with the necessary tools and expertise to create wealth via cannabis. All of the grow process is controlled remotely by CitizenGrown experts.

In addition to putting the boxes into homes, the company provides educational opportunities that have previously been unavailable in these same places.

“This is pretty much a school that allows us to help people, to teach them what cannabis is all about, and make sure that at the end of the day you’re in charge of what you put in you, and you understand what you’re using it for. Any time you come back to the neighborhood and you want to do great things for your community… Whatever you want to do, however you want to express yourself, we’ll empower you, creatively and financially. That’s what CitizenGrown represents,” he added.

For Rae, this feels like reparations.

While other companies in the cannabis industry are “once again capitalizing on certain things that come from where we come from,” he voiced, in reference to Black culture, “CitizenGrown recognizes that cannabis comes from our culture, and wants to do more for the community side, and give opportunities to people”.

In fact, Rae had never seen an organization with such values as CitizenGrown, a company that is all about the social justice mission being foundational.

“You can’t take something that wasn’t rightfully yours, offering nothing in return,” he added, noting how black communities have been suffering in America for centuries, seeing their culture looted by the historically privileged sectors of society.

“Sure, everyone wants to feed off black culture, everyone wants to make sure they can have that look… But when the chips really fall down, and we need them, and we need the support at a time like now, where are they?” – asked the rapper.

“If the politicians were for the communities, they would be a part of this situation and understand that, at the end of the day, cannabis provides an opportunity for the economy in certain neighborhoods to rise at some level.”

If you really care about a place, you should empower it. About this, Rae is adamant.

What we need, he said, are more humane, engaged politicians, as well as cannabis policies and regulations that integrate social equity and justice. Legislators and politicians need to understand what their communities need, what they want. That’s what will ensure their success, he continued.

“It’s one thing to talk about it, and it’s another thing to be about it. People know the difference.”

FUBU, Reloaded

In the current political climate, where the Black Lives Matter movement is front and center on the news and public interest, many black culture classics have reemerged. One such thing is FUBU, a popular apparel line geared toward communities of color.

The name says it all: “For Us, By Us.”

INDIO, CA – APRIL 17: Rapper Raekwon of The Wu Tang Clan performs at the 2015 Coachella Music . [+] Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2015 in Indio, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic)

This concept sounds very similar to the one posted by CitizeGrown, which is also a minority-owned and led company, focused on helping minorities thrive. When prompted about this parallel, Raekwon recognized it without hesitation.

“We are for the people; and when you want to be for the people, you gotta know what’s going on in the world… We all want justice to be recognized and respected,” said the rapper. Stressing the similarity with CitizenGrown’s mission, he went on to say that Black Lives Matter “is a movement that really supports people that don’t have it [justice] or don’t think that they can have it.

“In this situation where the economy is being tarnished and people are losing jobs, CitizenGrown offers a way out. We tell people we haven’t forgotten about them… To me, it’s more than a movement: It’s a way of life, because we understand how important it is to at least share that love with our communities.”

“There’s a big brother and sister effect… Now, you’ve got the average person that really didn’t think they could do something feeling like they can engage, because there’s a door for them. And that’s what I love, you know; to give back is the most precious gift.”

In Rae’s view, our cannabis culture was mostly driven by communities of color: our practices, our music, our customs and traditions, and our aspirations. And these are the communities that deserve to reap the benefits of cannabis’ mainstreaming nowadays.

“We love to smoke, we love to dance, we love to listen to music, we love to create, we love to party, and we love to be able to have a future that is worth living for. And cannabis just keeps you on top of that, makes you have those important conversation,” he concluded. “It’s like a conversational aphrodisiac.”

Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, born Corey Woods, has gotten into the cannabis game, with a project that is as unprecedented as it is cool – and just. ]]>