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Privateer Holdings co-founders Michael Blue, Christian Groh and Brendan Kennedy. Photo via Privateer.

Privateer Holdings is raising another big investment round to fuel rapid growth of its marijuana-related subsidiaries as more governments legalize the use of cannabis.

The Seattle-based investment firm has reeled in an additional $58 million — a mix of equity and a convertible note — which is part of a larger round that Privateer expects to close at around $100 to $150 million.

This pushes total funding to date to $140 million for the seven-year-old company, which is not disclosing specific investors behind the new cash infusion.

Marley Natural is one of Privateer’s portfolio companies. Photo via Marley Natural.

Privateer, one of the top marijuana firms globally, previously raised $40 million as part of a convertible note in November. In April 2015 it raised a $75 million Series B round from top investors like Founder’s Fund, the venture capital firm started by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, an early investor in companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, SpaceX, and others.

Privateer did not provide an updated valuation — it raised its Series B at an approximate valuation of $500 million — but the firm could be nearing unicorn status.

The new investment will help Privateer continue growing its existing portfolio companies, develop new brands, and support future acquisitions and investments. It employs more than 500 people in seven U.S. states and seven countries.

Privateer, founded by Brendan KennedyMichael Blue and Christian Groh, owns and operates three companies in the legal cannabis industry:

  • Leafly, a strain resource app that generates more than 13 million unique visitors per month — 75 percent come from the U.S., with 25 percent abroad. It recently launched a German-language edition and is investing heavily in news and lifestyle content.
  • Tilray, a Canadian-based brand of medical marijuana that serves more than 25,000 patients in Canada and now has subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. It exports products to six countries around the world and expects to add another five by the end of this year. The company is also supplying products for six clinical trials in partnership with hospitals and universities around the world.
  • Marley Natural, an international company started by Bob Marley’s family that sells marijuana products in California, Oregon, and Washington. It also sells bodycare and smoking accessories at hundreds of brick-and-mortar retailers, and online.

Privateer has come a long way since launching back in 2010, when both the medical and recreational marijuana industries looked far different than today. Investors are flocking now as medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, while recreational marijuana is legal in eight U.S. states, including California, which legalized cannabis in November and could produce a legal market worth more than $5 billion. Bloomberg reported last year that the U.S. legal cannabis industry could grow to $50 billion within a decade.

Countries around the world are also moving forward with marijuana legalization; voters in Germany approved medical marijuana in January, while recreational use is expected to be legal in Canada next year.

But the industry is still in a nascent stage and some analysts say marijuana stocks are overhyped, as The Motley Fool recently noted. There are also questions about how and if the federal government will enforce any bans on marijuana.

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