Today, Chris Webber, entrepreneur, NBA Hall-of-Famer, and Co-Founder of Webber Wild Impact Fund, launched Players Only Holdings, a new $50 million-dollar cannabis operations and training facility in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. Players Only is a black-owned business co-founded with entrepreneur Lavetta Willis focused on four strategic business areas: real estate development, cannabis cultivation, brand partnerships, and creative content development and management.
The state of the art 180,000 square foot Players Only Facility will feature a 60,000 square foot cultivation, an 8,000 square foot dispensary, and a private cannabis consumption lounge. The business is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the Detroit metro area over the next three years. During the groundbreaking, Webber also announced the expansion of Cookies U into Detroit and an exclusive distribution partnership with leading Michigan operator, Gage Growth Corp., for Players Only branded cannabis products.
"This will be the shining jewel of Michigan. Everything great in Michigan starts in Detroit, and I am excited to collaborate with Gage to bring our premium line of Players Only products to this community," said Chris Webber. "Gage is the HOF of cannabis operations. With Fabian Monaco as a teammate, this relationship is a winner on every level."
"Chris shares our vision of creating an inclusive and world-class cannabis business community in Michigan," said Fabian Monaco, CEO of Gage Growth Corp. "We are proud to work hand in hand with the Players Only team to facilitate not only attractive consumer experiences but also provide future entrepreneurs of color with the tools to create generational wealth."
"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."
The Cookies U training program is a high-impact, hands-on educational experience that will recruit students from minority and underrepresented communities. The comprehensive "no fee" educational curriculum is aimed at job training and job placement in the cannabis industry. A recent partnership will also bring access to a virtual GED program with a financial literacy component. The Cookies U concept was announced in May as a partnership between Cookies and The WebberWildWillis Foundation.
"Not only is Michigan one of the most important markets in the cannabis industry, Detroit is the first city we opened a flagship store in, outside of California. I have to salute Chris Webber, Jason Wild, and Lavetta Willis for supporting our vision to build out Cookies U in Humboldt, California, and extending the program to Detroit, which happens to be Chris's hometown," said Berner, Co-Founder and CEO of Cookies. "Michigan has always been an advanced and educated market, and we couldn't be more excited to offer underrepresented people an opportunity to learn the industry from seed to sale."
The Webber Wellness Compound will be located at 2599 22nd Street, near Michigan Avenue and the Fisher Service Drive in Detroit's Corktown and Southwest Detroit neighborhoods. It will encompass 9 acres, including properties along Michigan Avenue. Webber has been personally interviewing black-owned architectural firms and general contractors to be named. Construction is slated to begin this Fall, with first phase completion expected in March 2022.