Kevin Durant and Thirty Five Ventures, the investment company he co-founded with longtime manager Rich Kleiman, announced a partnership Thursday with technology infrastructure company Weedmaps with the goal of breaking down the "negative stereotypes associated with cannabis."
"Now more than ever, there is so much opportunity for growth in the cannabis industry as well as the removal of any remaining stigmas around its use," Durant said. "As a technology leader in the industry, Weedmaps has consistently been at the forefront of change over the last decade."
Marijuana is now legal in 19 of the United States' 50 states, and there's a renewed push at the federal level for legalization, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introducing a bill in July with that goal.
Meanwhile, the NBA announced in December it wouldn't test for marijuana during drug tests throughout the 2020-21 season and instead focus on "performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse."
Durant said the national conversation is starting to reach a point where it's been among athletes for quite some time.
"The stigma in society, it's like the Band-Aid's been ripped off. In the sports world, it was kind of an undercover thing that players used cannabis while they actively playing," he said. "You hear the conversation more and more around the league about it, and I always thought it was interesting that the rest of the world was a little slower to be open about cannabis and its use."
Weedmaps was founded in 2008 with the mission statement of powering "transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy" through worldwide advocacy and the creation of technology to provide information to consumers.
"As one of the largest technology providers in the sector, we are serious about our responsibility to lead the national discussion around cannabis and the need for cannabis regulations to be updated across the board," Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals said.
The partnership between Thirty Five Ventures and Weedmaps will include exclusive events and merchandise.