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Will Lil Wayne Have to Return Millions In Government Aid After Declaring ‘Drug-Free Workplace’ Despite Public Cannabis Image?

Despite publicly embracing marijuana and other drugs as part of his brand, in 2021 Lil Wayne declared his operation as a “drug-free workplace” to obtain millions of dollars in financial assistance from the government.

Lil wayne
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 05: Lil Wayne attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Recently disclosed documents shed light on the substantial relief aid granted to artists such as Lil Wayne and Post Malone by the Small Business Administration, as reported by Business Insider. Three years ago, Lil Wayne, CEO of Young Money, received a hefty sum of $8.9 million for his company, Young Money Touring Inc.

Inside the SBA Grant Lil Wayne Received

In the filing, the rapper asserted that his touring company actively addressed the risks associated with drugs among its employees, warning of potential repercussions or mandatory rehabilitation for offenders. Meanwhile, Lil Wayne himself has a cannabis product line (launched in 2019), incorporates a signature lighter sound in his music, and even sports the word “baked” tattooed on his forehead.

It is the year 2020, and the pandemic is hindering small businesses and, consequently, artists who tour and manage their productions from having proximity to others. In response to the anticipated loss of income due to COVID-19, the SBA provided a grant eligible for ventures that were affected by the pandemic.

The maximum amount the SBA would give to recipients is $10 million under its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, according to the agency’s website.

As part of its long investigation, which was published on March 11, Business Insider highlighted the allocation of $200 million from the SBA’s SVOG program to big-name artists, including Lil Wayne. The program aimed to assist struggling music venues in avoiding bankruptcy, yet many of the recipients were already wealthy, with most being clients of the Los Angeles accounting and asset-management firm NKSFB. 

According to the SBA grant application, recipients of its assistance must have a drug-free workplace. However, it seems the agency has provided aid to artists and personalities known for their drug use, Business Insider reported.

The article not only focused on Lil Wayne, but also Post Malone, Elon Musk, and the pop duo Beach House, who, the article states, have either used drugs before receiving their grant or within a working environment.

The SBA said it is in the process of reviewing its grantees, determining which organizations may need to return what the SVOG provided and being open to a criminal investigation if necessary. Only $40 million out of its $16 billion was returned to the SBA via the SVOG.

“The SBA’s process of monitoring and auditing of grant recipients is actively ongoing. To date, about $40 million has been returned from SVOG grantees and additional files have been referred for ongoing criminal investigation or civil recovery,” the agency told BI. “To date, none of the recoveries relate to the drug-free certification.”

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