Legalization of cannabis is state-by-state, but one thing that’s universal is the entrepreneurial spirit synonymous with the American Dream. That’s why The Marijuana Show is scouring the country, looking to find their next harvest of great ganjapreneurs.
Dubbed the Shark Tank of cannabis, co-creators, producers, and hosts Karen Paull and Wendy Robbins are on the road to hear hopeful contestants audition from around the country. In its third season, The Marijuana Show has over $20 million in investment capital to fund the cannabis industry’s next big idea from seed to budding business.
From products to technology, The Marijuana Show team is interested in people with a solid business plan. “We say yes to all ideas, however, we want established business with revenue. A great brownie recipe on a napkin won’t get you the millions,” the co-hosts advise.
One winner, BioTracKTHC, was offered $5 million in investments. Identified by The New York Times as a major competitor in the cannabis-technology solution arena, BioTrackTHC works with both government agencies and private sector businesses like dispensaries and cultivation centers. Most recently, the company was selected for Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana contract.
It’s not just cannabis the investors are interested in. One of their biggest success stories comes from season one finalist, Kyla Hill. Kyla blew the judges away with her pitch for her company, Get Hemp Butter. Here is the entire second episode in which Kyla is challenged to overcome her fears of rejection by going door-to-door pushing her product:
“I don’t know how to go into a store and say that I have an awesome product, I’ve sold plenty of it, people love it,” Kyla admits, “it sounds easier than it is, but that’s what my fear is, rejection. I don’t want people to say no.”
Wendy and Karen’s advice was uplifting and challenging. “The biggest thing you need to know is that no turns into a yes. I’d like you to approach 100 people in a week in terms of retail stores…you knocked it out of the park in terms of pitch.”
She successfully pitched her product to dispensaries, and even a Whole Foods grocery store. “She started out very quiet and we took her and her business to the next level,” says Wendy.
In the end, Get Hemp Butter didn’t receive an investment through the show, but Kyla was still a winner in many respects. “The continued mentorship has been just as valuable as any money I could have received.” Now a successful businesswoman and an integral part of the D.C. cannabis community, Kyla is adding a new line of non-CBD products to her menu while continuously giving back to her community. Playing major roles in both the Capitol Canna Show and the National Cannabis Festival, she plans to stay involved in large scale conferences and music festivals in the District. Just last week, Kyla was joined by her marijuana mentors at Women Grow D.C. as she helped the local organization celebrate their one year anniversary.
Kyla was on a panel of strong businesswomen in the cannabis industry including; Michelle Rutter, Government Relations Coordinator at The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and Vanessa West, General Manager and Member Specialist at the D.C. dispensary, Metropolitan Wellness Center.
One young woman in her mid-20’s flew all the way to D.C. from Georgia in hopes of learning from successful businesswomen like Kyla. “The biggest thing I can tell young entrepreneurs is to keep your biggest supporters close to you,” she told the audience.
Kyla is the show’s shining example of diversity and continues to grow with her Get Hemp Butter brand. “We tried hard to get cultural diversity,” said Karen, “there’s a stigma, that’s why many people won’t step forward – they are in fear of being targeted. We are calling on everyone to step forward, and we will hold your hand.”
It’s an uplifting experience for all, but you have to show up and execute. “It’s a hardcore competitive game,” warns producers. The Marijuana Show has four accredited investors, and Wendy and Karen have a fund of $20 million for sidecar deals at their discretion.
Finalists must go through what they call “Bud Camp”, which teaches business fundamentals like how to value your company, and the financing, branding, marketing, and accounting aspects. Wendy and Karen are adamant that in this business, “if you mess up you could be going to prison.” Straightforward and honest, Wendy explains, “our offer is an accelerator to those who do the homework. It accelerates their business like a rocket into the investor’s wallets.”
Currently, The Marijuana Show is available streaming online but the show is in talks with major media carriers like Netflix for season 3. Originally, the show chose to opt-out of network television. After 13 years in the business, Wendy didn’t want to compromise her passion for educating others about the positive aspects of cannabis for stoner stereotypes. “TV networks wanted too much control, we just don’t want to lose creative control,” says Wendy. The network would own the show’s logo and name, and that’s not a good example to set for their ganjapreneurs.
If you are going to audition for The Marijuana Show, heed Kyla’s advice:
- Invest in yourself first before you seek an investment from others.
- Remember, sometimes strategic partnerships are more valuable than the money you may be asking for.
- When you have truly exhausted all of your resources revisit your plan, know your numbers, and practice your pitch.
With global ambitions, they have people pitching ideas from Latin America, Europe, and Africa. For example, someone in Costa Rica just pitched the ladies an airplane whose body is made from hemp. However, the show’s attention is on legalizing cannabis in the U.S. and legitimizing the industry through investing in American companies.
Today, producers are on-site at the Marijuana Business Daily’s conference and will be in Florida until Thursday, May 12. You can sign up to audition through the show site, www.themarijuanashow.com.