Jimmy Buffett has signed a licensing deal with a cannabis products company for exclusive use of the Coral Reefer brand name, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Buffett will license the use of the name with medical marijuana company Surterra Wellness. The company plans to launch the new cannabis brand in Florida in the spring of 2019.
Buffett, in a press release announcing the deal, said that it was a good time to enter the cannabis industry.
“Finally, ‘the time has come,’ as the Walrus said,” Buffett said. “That time being the long overdue recognition of the numerous healing properties of cannabis. I have followed and studied with keen intensity the recent evolvement of the medical marijuana story and the path towards the simple common-sense conclusion that cannabis is good medicine and should be made available to all who need it. I feel that joining with Surterra, in the medical cannabis world, is the right place for Coral Reefer products to be.”
Under the deal, Buffett will earn royalties from the sale of Coral Reefer brand cannabis vape cartridges, gel caps, edibles, and topical products. However, he will not gain any equity in the company from the partnership. Buffett had reportedly been approached by other cannabis companies but chose to work with Surterra because of the firm’s focus on medicinal, rather than recreational, marijuana.
According to a New York Times story from February of this year, Buffett no longer smokes pot but he does vape cannabis oil after work occasionally.
Big Money Behind Cannabis Company
The company Buffett inked the deal with, Surterra, is a medical marijuana startup based in Georgia. The company was founded in 2014 and has licenses to operate in Florida and Texas. Surterra operates 10 medical marijuana dispensaries and three delivery distribution centers in Florida, supported by over 300,000 square feet of cultivation space. The company offers cannabis vape pens, tinctures, oils, lotions, sprays, and transdermal patches in Florida. In Texas, the firm is currently growing its first crop of low-THC cannabis that will be available for delivery throughout the state.
Last month, Surterra announced that billionaire chewing gum heir William H. Wrigley Jr. II, known as Beau, had joined the company as chairman of the board. In a release announcing the move, CEO Jake Bergmann said that Wrigley would help the company grow.
“Surterra is proud to welcome Beau, a business leader who brings decades of world class experience and expertise in brand building, to Surterra Wellness,” Bergmann said. “Having a seasoned industry veteran like Beau intimately involved in building Surterra’s business is exciting for the future of Surterra, our patients and the entire medical cannabis industry.”
Wrigley told Reuters that Surterra planned to expand into additional legal cannabis markets.
“We believe in the ability of cannabis to improve quality of life for patients across the country, and we are excited to build a global industry leader for the long term,” Wrigley said.
He also added that while there are many opportunities in cannabis, not everyone who tries will be able to capitalize on the new market.
“Everyone seems to be in there because they think they’re going to make tons of money,” Wrigley said. “Some will and some will be sorely surprised when they understand how complex it is.”