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Snoop Dogg’s VC and Imperial Tobacco Investing in Cannabis Biotech

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By A.J. Herrington

Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital and Imperial Tobacco will invest $10 million in U.K. research firm Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, it was announced today. Snoop is founder and general partner of Casa Verde Capital, a cannabis-focused investment company that launched in 2015. Oxford Cannabis Technologies is a biomedical startup that is researching cannabinoids in a partnership with Oxford University in the U.K.

Karan Wadhera, managing partner for Casa Verde Capital, made the announcement during an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.

“Today we’re announcing that we’re leading a series A investment, along with Imperial Brands, in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, a biotechnology firm that is going to be continuing to push research towards the medical applications of cannabis for a number of different conditions.”

Wadhera said that the “total investment is approaching $10 million” and will be used to fund research into cannabinoid therapies for pain, inflammation, cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and other serious medical conditions.

Cannabis Industry Growth Strong
During the interview, Wadhera said that the legalization of cannabis in Canada will help fuel strong growth in the cannabis industry.

“It’s incredibly positive,” he said. “A G7 nation fully legalizing for recreational use is great for the industry, and I think great for the world at large. And I think this is why you’re seeing the advancements taking place and this sort of legalization wave sweeping everywhere. So, any enhancement there as we look to mainstream the use of cannabis and have it become more acceptable in society is a huge positive for the industry overall.”

And he was also encouraged by developments in the regulation of cannabis in the U.S.

“I think we’re actually making great progress and so much of that has happened even in this year,” Wadhera said. “We saw the bill from Senators Warren and Gardner called the STATES Act. And just today with Senator Chuck Schumer announcing the Marijuana Opportunities and Freedom Act, I think that there is certainly momentum in the House and the Senate. I believe it’s now reaching a place of bipartisan support so I think legalization, even here in the United States, is probably a lot closer than we anticipated.”

Wadhera forecasted the strong legalized marijuana market would continue to grow.

“We estimate the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. to be roughly around $10 billion at the moment. We think that can grow upwards of $75-$100 billion dollars in the coming years,” he said.

Banking Still an Issue
But, Wadhera added. the U.S. cannabis industry is still hampered by tight restrictions on financial institutions.

“We’re very hopeful that the federal government will start to make some changes,” he said. “Because the banking system at large is controlled by the fed, it’s incredibly important that we get real movement at that level. On the state side, we’ve seen some action. There are some state banks that are taking cannabis deposits and networks of credit unions. But until we see the government really act we won’t have full-scale banking capabilities in our industry.”

Whatever the challenges, Wadhera said the trend of legal marijuana is unstoppable.

“It’s becoming clear now that this is an inevitability and we will see full-scale legalization take place in the near future,” he said.

Original publication in HighTimes.