US celebrities test NSE with marijuana firm plan

A US company involved in the cultivation and processing of marijuana has announced plans to cross-list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. AFP PHOTO Bangi A US company involved in the cultivation and processing of marijuana has announced plans to cross-list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), putting to test Kenya’s resolve to maintain the drug on the list of banned narcotics amid legislative pressure to legalise it.

The firm, Bangi Inc., which is traded on the New York Over The Counter (OTC) market, counts among its board members well know US celebrities including Mathew Knowles, the father of global superstar Beyoncé Knowles.

Renowned actor and rapper Ray J (William Norwood Jr), a brother of another US superstar artist Brandy, and TV actor Hill Harper, are also listed as board members of Bangi.

In a statement, the company said its board has approved its cross-listing on the NSE, despite the drug remaining banned in Kenya.

Dual listing

“A dual listing in Africa would be a natural step for the company considering its corporate name, “BANGI” means “marijuana” or “hemp” in Swahili, one of the most spoken languages in Africa,” said Neil Parsan, chairman and chief executive officer of BANGI Inc.

“The Kenyan capital market has grown rapidly in recent years and has also exhibited strong capital raising capacity, which will allow us to access an entirely untapped market valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars.”

NSE chief executive Geoffrey Odundo said the bourse had not yet received any listing application from the firm, adding that he was not aware about its existence.

“I have not heard about the organisation,” he said, even as he promised to establish its identity.

Kenyan laws prohibit any dealings in cannabis with hefty fines and jail terms meted out to deter possession, cultivation and trafficking of the drug in its fresh, dried or processed form.

Bangi describes itself as a diversified investment vehicle that acquires and leases specialised real estate assets in the cannabis, hemp and Cannabidiol (CBD) industries. Initial stage The company says it recently rolled out its initial stage of its acquisition of a prime 7,000 square foot property located in Detroit City’s famous Eight Mile district.It intends to operate the property as a licensed cannabis cultivation and processing facility upon completion of renovations.US celebrities are increasingly endorsing and even investing in the newly liberalised marijuana industry.Mr Knowles, a record executive and former manager of the hip hop group Destiny’s […]

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