Willie Nelson and his family and team are legally growing marijuana for the first time in the country singer and legalization activist’s lifetime.
The owners of one of Denver’s oldest marijuana businesses have sold their pot cultivation and infused products licenses to a group representing the country music legend and his new cannabis brand Willie’s Reserve, The Cannabist has learned exclusively.
Denver Relief sold its licenses for growing marijuana and infusing products with cannabis for an undisclosed sum to CMH Brands, a licensee and processor of Willie’s Reserve, according to individuals close to the deal.
“It feels good because there are so many shared values between the two organizations,” Denver Relief co-owner Ean Seeb told The Cannabist. “Although the ownership is passing along, the mission and the vision of what we were trying to accomplish within Denver Relief is synonymous with what CMH Brands and Willie Nelson are attempting to accomplish.”
Andy Sackmann, CEO of CMH Brands, added in press materials: “When it comes to cannabis, it’s still a maturing industry. We are lucky to have found business partners who share our passion for growing only the very best, clean cannabis in a responsible way.”
Denver Relief’s owners — who are now focusing on their expanding consulting business Denver Relief Consulting — said they’ve been working on the deal for more than six months. Last month, Denver Relief sold its licenses to sell recreational and medical marijuana to Terrapin Care Station, which has since taken over the former Denver Relief storefront at 1 Broadway.
Meanwhile Willie’s Reserve is moving forward with its U.S. launch. The celebrity weed brand debuted in Washington state stores last month, and Willie’s Reserve products will go on sale in Colorado on Aug. 8 at select stores including Lucy Sky Dispensary, Mindful, Simply Pure and Terrapin Care Station.
“I’ve smoked enough and I want to give back,” Nelson said in press materials. “Now that legalization is spreading across the country, there’s a great opportunity to build a company that can help a lot of people.”
The sale is especially noteworthy because Nelson — a longtime advocate of farmers and the agriculture industry — will have a team on the ground in Colorado growing much of the cannabis used in his products, which include pre-packaged marijuana flower, pre-rolled joints and CO2-extracted cannabis oil in disposable vape pens and vape pen cartridges.
But Nelson’s team won’t grow all of their product themselves.
“Not only are they growing their own here,” said Seeb, “they’re also working with small-batch farmers in Colorado, similar to what they’re doing in Washington. There are other farmers they’re working with who will be cultivating cannabis and making it available to Willie’s Reserve.”
Seeb and his business partners Kayvan Khalatbari and Nick Hice met briefly with Nelson when the country artist played Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre outside of Denver last weekend.
“We were able to have a fairly quick conversation, and we symbolically handed over a set of keys to him,” said Seeb. “We let him know that we started our company with $4,000 and a half a pound of cannabis. We briefly told him what we’re doing with the Green Team and trying to give back to the communities in which we operate, and he was very receptive and friendly.”
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