Basketball & weed
Former Seattle Supersonic and NBA legend Gary Payton is getting involved in the cannabis space by launching a brand through a partnership with a pretty interesting company BC Craft Supply (CRFT.C). BC Craft has been a cannabis company making acquisitions and rolling out brands since 2019 and added sychedelics to their portfolio earlier this year.
I have previously written about Wesana Health (WESA.C), founded by former NHLer Daniel Carcillo (who has Mike Tyson’s backing/investment), and Lobe Sciences (LOBE.C) partnership with the NFL Players’ Association. Former players getting involved in cannabis/psychedelics makes sense for brain trauma, inflammation, recovery, or just relaxation from an extremely taxing profession.
I’m a big Seattle Supersonics dork and Payton fan, he was an incredible player to watch, one of the icons of 90’s basketball. His accolades are as follows:
- NBA champion (2006)
- 9× NBA All-Star (1994–1998, 2000–2003)
- 2× All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000)
- 5× All-NBA Second Team (1995–1997, 1999, 2002)
- 2× All-NBA Third Team (1994, 2001)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1996)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1994–2002)
The guy was legit and is well respected in today’s NBA circles. This is a smart road for the company to go down as the sporting world has some amazing untapped potential due to old-fashioned and rather strict rules around substances. I remember an interview Bruce Linton did talking about how he would choose different verticals to penetrate based on how dumb the laws were, the dumber the laws the more opportunity for fast growth.
A rookie for the Toronto Raptors Jalen Harris got suspended for one year by the NBA because they found a banned non-performance-enhancing substance in him, many speculate it was cocaine. But, the NBA did have to stop testing for weed as half the league would be playing in China by now.
Payton is a believer in cannabis, especially for its recovery component pertaining to athletes, the central target of his brand.
The brand will be called General Principle and features performance-inspired cannabis products, driven by natural food ingredients, medicinal herbs and supplements, and premium cannabis and hemp extracts. The company says the brand launch provides Craft with a platform to enter the sports nutrition, recovery, and hydration segments, and that the product lines target both licensed THC markets in California, and National Direct to Consumer Hemp CBD markets. They plan on moving product starting in December 2021.
This also isn’t Payton’s first foray into the cannabis space, in 2019, retail giant ‘Cookies’, launched a licensed strain with Gary Payton (Gary Payton Cookies) which remains one of the top strains in the state of California in 2021.
Cannabis is growing in popularity within the basketball world, or it’s at least becoming a lot more accepted. Former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson host a show called All The Smoke where former players and ESPN talent talk about hoops and weed. NBA star Kevin Durant has been vocal about his love for cannabis and even joined the Canopy Rivers board back in 2019. A recent report on Durant also stated,
He doesn’t do anything other than hoop. Like nothing. He’s boring as hell. So going out to him is just blazing.
Former NBA star Paul Pierce is also launching a cannabis company that he infamously debuted on his way out of ESPN earlier this year.
It’s believed that a significant amount of NBA players use cannabis, some purely for recovery. Even Laker’s icon Alex Caruso got busted in Texas about a month back. As more of this generation’s players retire I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more get into the cannabis and psychedelics space.
Payton’s project fits Craft’s business plan – ‘BC CRAFT are social entrepreneurs and change agents, committed to transitioning legacy cannabis operators into Canada’s legal markets through operational support from seed to sale. BC CRAFT is the voice of craft cannabis on both sides of the aisle, fighting for fair access and representation of the most premium and well-known legacy cultivars and brands.’
Craft has made two rather large acquisitions in 2021 so far, both with huge volumes of stock.
In April, BC Craft acquired 100% of Somo Industries, a Victoria-based cannabis company for 30 million Craft shares. Somo is a holding company owning IP, patents, trademarks for its California- based in brands including Clix, a licensed cannabis brand operation in the state of California.
In March, the Company acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Ava Pathways Ltd., a Vancouver-based mushroom company for 41 million Craft shares. Ava Pathways was founded by scientists and researchers focused on neuroplasticity and alternative ways to treat common and debilitating medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorder, through the use of psychedelic-based treatments.
The company’s flagship legacy cannabis brand, Grizzlers is a pretty successful brand of packaged pre-rolled cannabis; offering access to premium grown, hang dried, hand trimmed, and hand packed cannabis. Grizzlers has some crazy low prices like “$1 Buck a Joint” in Alberta with a similar pricing scheme in Ontario. Ontario has ordered and shipped over 6,000 multi-packs, with re-orders from the Ontario Cannabis Store (“OCS”). Alberta has ordered 7,200 multi-packs, with over 20,000 single-serve packs ordered and shipped.
The company currently has a market cap of $5.8M, 189 million shares outstanding, and yearly revenues of $836K CAD. Some of these share-based acquisitions are pretty aggressive, we saw what dilution did to Aurora (ACB.T) but maybe these guys have a better plan. M&A can be a smart way to scale a business quickly, but their last capital raise was only for half a million CAD so it looks like they are relying heavily on share-based acquisitions. I wonder if they will try to do bigger raises backed by the recruiting of former athletes looking to get involved in the cannabis/psychedelics space. I think this would be a smart direction for the company to go in as it hasn’t really peaked like other subsections of the industry.
The sports world, due to its strict regulations like we saw with the US Olympics qualifier last month lags way behind other sectors. This means there is huge untapped potential and guys like Payton and Pierce get it.