Snoop Dogg's company funds a Portuguese startup in a first.

Stephen Andrews
12 Oct 2021

Snoop Dogg is likely the most famous person on Earth who has crafted his public image around marijuana. Aside from a successful musical career, the US rapper has been involved in the cannabis business sector for a while now. The LA-based company Casa Verde, a vulture capital (VC) where Snoopy appears as a co-founder, announced Tuesday (12 Oct) it's making a $15m investment into Portuguese cannabis startup AceCann.

Snoop Dogg is going big into Europe's growing cannabis sector. Through his Casa Verde, he is to finance Portugal's medical cannabis firm AceCann. It's the first time the VC fund has taken steps to invest in a cannabis startup based in continental Europe. 

AceCann was founded in 2019 and specialises in the cultivation and extraction of organic medical marijuana. The startup plans to use the investment to develop a top-notch production facility in Vendas Novas, close to the capital Lisbon. 

The company's chief executive Pedro Gomes told the Sifted that Snoop Dogg and Casa Verde's involvement is a huge show of confidence for the startup. 

"Having Casa Verde on board, with their track record in the US, and being their first investment in Europe, it's definitely a stamp of quality for us," Gomes told reporters at Sifted. 

"We pivoted this to do this in an indoor facility so that's already something different to most other European projects," Gomes said, forecasting that by 2024 AceCann's new production facility may generate up to €20 million in annual returns (almost £17 million). 

Casa Verde Capital maintains a view that the cannabis industry is one of the most attractive business sectors worldwide to seed money in right now. The VC fund has a rich portfolio of investments. During the summer, it funded a US-based cannabis marketing platform called Surfside with a seed investment worth $4 million. 

In Britain, Snoop Dogg, along with tobacco giant Imperial Brands, have financially supported Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, which specialises in pain-alleviating cannabinoid drug development. Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies launched on the London Stock Exchange in the spring of 2021. 

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr., through his venture capital Casa Verde has also backed plant-based food companies like Outstanding Foods and tech names like Klarna, Robinhood and Reddit. 

The cannabis sector is expanding exponentially in Europe, mainly due to a burgeoning medical pot market. Overseas investors from the USA and Canada eye countries such as Portugal because of lower labour costs and sufficient hours of sunshine throughout the year, essential for farming cannabis crops. 

Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in most of Europe, however, its medical use is approved in over a dozen countries. Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and several other countries allow cannabis in medical practice. 

Each country has a different regulatory framework. Germany for instance is a rare example where medical patients can reimburse the purchasing of prescribed medical cannabis products. Germany could very soon also legalise the adult use of cannabis as there's a growing consensus among its major political parties to lift the ban on marijuana possession for personal use. Italy is also among the countries taking serious steps to advance its regulatory framework to allow small-scale home cultivation. The UK on the other hand is doing well in business, being one of the world's biggest exporters of CBD medicines.

By 2025, estimates suggest, Europe's cannabis market will surpass a figure of €3.2 billion (£2.7 bn). According to the European Cannabis Report, about 60,000 people could access cannabis medicines for the first time in Europe during 2020, bringing the total to 185,000 patients for the year. 

With a bright legalisation future ahead, Europe could easily attract more big names from the US and inhale more money from funds overseas. 

Stephen Andrews