A flowering marijuana plant is pictured at the Canopy Growth Corporation facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, January 4, 2018.

  • William Wrigley jnr II led a $65 million (about R870 million) round into Surterra, a Florida medical marijuana company, through his private investment firm.
  • He's also taking a seat on Surterra's board.
  • Wrigley formerly ran the eponymous chewing gum company, orchestrating its sale to Mars Inc. 

William Wrigley jnr  II, the heir to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune, is jumping into the marijuana business.

Wrigley led a $65 million equity financing into Surterra Wellness, a Florida-based medical marijuana company, through his personal investment firm.

Wrigley will also become the chair of Surterra's board. The company plans to use the funds to expand into new state markets — and make a push into the competitive recreational market.

Known as Beau, Wrigley left the eponymous chewing gum company after orchestrating the company's sale to Mars Inc.

"When I understood the massive benefits, it really changed my mind about the [marijuana] industry," Wrigley told Bloomberg in a Monday interview. "You don’t see too many opportunities to have that kind of an impact in an industry that is being created from scratch."

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine US states, and medical marijuana is legal in another 30, though the federal government still considers it to be an illegal, Schedule I substance.

Oklahoma voted to allow medicinal marijuana in June.