Lil Wayne Had To Operate Drug-Free Workplace for $9M in Pandemic Business Aid

Rapper Lil Wayne and others had to maintain drug-free workplaces in order to secure SBA loans amid the pandemic.
Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne’s private life is one thing, and his business drug policy is another, recently unveiled documents indicate. In 2021, Lil Wayne received $8.9 million for his Young Money Touring Inc. company, like many other businesses impacted by pandemic shutdowns, and he was forced to abide by drug-free workplace standards in order to secure the loan.

Business Insider reports that recently uncovered documents reveal Lil Wayne had to establish a drug-free workplace or lose out on millions in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that rolled out after the COVID pandemic. The SBA began approving loans greater than $500,000 on Oct. 8, 2021. The since-closed Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which was designed to help struggling music venues that depended on in-person events avoid bankruptcy during the pandemic.

In 2021, Lil Wayne was forced to disclose to the government that his touring company was a “drug-free workplace.” The “dangers” of drugs—including his favorite, cannabis—were communicated to his employees, and they were told they could be punished or be forced to go to rehab in the event that they smoke weed or do other illegal drugs.

These workplace drug policies have been in place for some time: On Nov. 18, 1988, Congress enacted the Ronald Reagan-era Drug-Free Workplace Act which installed mandatory drug policies for employers across America.

Business Insider posted the actual document naming Dwayne Carter Jr., his real name, and the drug-free workplace requirements that he was forced to communicate to his employees. The report indicates that over $200 million in SVOG grants were given out to companies run by A-list artists.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—which is not related to SVOG loans, but can benefit similar businesses—was designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll. A report of SBA data released in January found that 92% of PPP loans were granted full or partial forgiveness.

Lil Wayne and Kush

A lot of this focus on personal life is unfairly directed at celebrities, some said, when they were asked for comment. “When you have social status, your substance use is treated in a different way,” Harold Pollack, a public-health expert at the University of Chicago, said. “They don’t brutalize a lot of celebrities for behaviors that we would very harshly treat in people with less prestige.”

Lil Wayne is invested in the cannabis industry, and talks about it often. In 2019, Lil Wayne announced his cannabis brand GKUA Ultra Premium. “I used to just want to get high, now I smoke to get inspired,” Lil Wayne said in the announcement. “With GKUA, I’m sharing a feeling that I love.”

“We are working closely with a half dozen of the most experienced growers in Northern California in the Emerald Triangle,” GKUA’s executive team told High Times at the time. The initial first three strains were GKUA VIP, Hollygrove, and Uproar. 

“Shoutout to my weed man, shoutout to my lean man,” Lil Wayne raps in “Trippy feat. Juicy J” on I Am Not a Human 2. He continues with “The ground movin’, I’m seeing shit, I’m blowing like I’m stuck in traffic. I’m smoking on that strong, got me coughing like I’m getting buried.”

He also drops some bars in “Codeine Dreaming” from Kodak Black’s Project Baby 2: All Grown Up released in 2017.

Post Malone, Chris Brown, Steve Aoki, Nickelback in the Same Boat

The Business Insider report also identifies Post Malone in the report, who was forced to do the same for his tour company and received about the same amount of money. Rolling Stone reported in August 2023 that other artists like Chris Brown, Steve Aoki, Nickelback and others also received SVOG loans for their businesses, most of which depended on in-person events.

When applying for the pandemic relief aid for his Posty Touring Inc. Post Malone also said that had to warn his employees against using drugs and was granted $10 million in government aid.

While Post Malone is a fan of psilocybin mushrooms, saying “Yeah, I take shrooms. I like shrooms—not as much as I used to.” That said, cigarettes and Bud Lights are his main vices by most accounts, though he’s currently working on “slowing down” on alcohol in his recent push to get in better health.

In 2019—the same year that Lil Wayne launched GKUA Premium cannabis brand—Post Malone launched Shaboinks with Sherbinski’s, a hemp pre-roll company, which is legal at the federal level.

The media reports do not show where the SVOG funding went to, whether it be employees of those businesses or other expenses. As pandemic relief programs become a thing of the past, media reports that look into how government loans were used have been revealed. 

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