Billionaire William Wrigley Jr. II is the latest joiner to jump into the marijuana business, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Heir to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune, the Scion – also known as “Beau” – invested $65 million in a medical cannabis company, Surterra Wellness, showing a bold move to get into the ever-so-growing marijuana business, estimated to create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020.
Wrigley’s investment brings the total funding raised to Surterra to $100 million, the Georgia-based startup said.
In addition to his investment, Wrigley, 54, will become the chair of Surterra board.
The startup, which has the license to operate in both Florida and Texas, is planning not only to expand into new state markets but also to make stronger strides in the recreational market.
Wrigley’s move comes after he sold his family’s business to Mars Inc. in 2008.
“When I understood the massive benefits, it really changed my mind about the [marijuana] industry,” Wrigley told Bloomberg in a Monday interview. “You don’t see too many opportunities to have that kind of an impact in an industry that is being created from scratch.”
Nine US states so far have legalized recreational marijuana and 30 others have medical cannabis programs.
In Michigan, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2008, will see its residents vote for a November ballot that most likely will legalize recreational cannabis in the state.