CHICAGO — Ahead of a planned merger, Sean “Diddy” Combs announced he is getting into the cannabis business in Illinois and two other states.

Chicago-based Cresco Labs and New York-based Columbia Care plan to merge by early next year and agreed to divest some assets to the hip hop icon and entrepreneur.

In Illinois, Combs is acquiring Columbia Care’s retail locations in Jefferson Park and Villa Park. Additionally, he will be acquiring a production facility in Aurora.

Combs’ first investment in cannabis will create the country’s first minority-owned multi-state operator.

Combs said his mission is to open new doors in emerging industries for Black entrepreneurs and other diverse founders who are underrepresented and underserved.

“My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” Combs said.

Combs is also purchasing retail and production assets in New York and Massachusetts.

The deal still needs to be approved by U.S. and state regulators.