The cannabis industry is booming, with more and more people looking to jump in every year. Enter Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull, the co-founders, co-creators, and producers of The Marijuana Show. Now streaming on Amazon Prime, the popular series is making dreams come true for cannabis entrepreneurs looking for their big break. We sat down with Wendy and Karen at the recent Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C. to discuss their successes, their dreams, and how their show is strikingly similar to another popular show by a different name.
Rachelle Gordon: What exactly is The Marijuana Show?
Wendy Robbins: The Marijuana Show is really Shark Tank for the cannabis industry. CNBC called it that – Mr. Wonderful said on air, “I knew this show was coming….” We were in the right place at the right time, launching in 2014 when Colorado was the epicenter of cannabis – that’s where we shot our first season. We’ve offered $18 million so far between season one and season two, and we’re going to be shooting season three this fall. Unlike Shark Tank, our show focuses more on the contestant’s journey to get the mentorship and investment they need to succeed.
Karen Paull: We focus on intelligent, creative, and successful business entrepreneurs. Our goal is to entertain, educate, advocate and legalize cannabis. We share powerful stories designed to educate prohibitionists, politicians and the audience. The show is now on Amazon Prime and is projected to be seen by 7 million viewers. Mainstream press about our show has reached 250 million people so far!
RG: What is the process contestants go through?
KP: As an entrepreneur, you learn how to pitch. We have something called Seven Secrets to a Successful Pitch and it’s a really interesting blueprint to achieving success in our industry. It’s one of those things that you don’t get taught as an entrepreneur or “ganjapreneur” – and Wendy and I lead this class!
What most people leave out of their pitch is asking for the money. Now in Shark Tank, they do the ask in the very beginning. We propose that you create a more personal relationship with the investors first, and then close with your financial pitch. When our contestants use the Seven Secrets, we find most are 100% improved.
RG: What else could potential cannabis entrepreneurs or investors do prior to auditioning for The Marijuana Show?
WR: We created Bud Camp, the first ever online business incubator and accelerator.
Successful people in the industry teach our students in all aspects of the cannabis industry. The classes are fantastic for people who want to learn more about the industry and we will be launching an accelerator focused on entrepreneurs wanting to scale their business or desiring to start their own dispensary, grow or edible company particularly in California. We will also have an advanced series for investors new to the industry to understand the regulations, compliance, risks and trends. We have offered over 30 classes for free and now will start a membership club for people new and experienced in the industry to learn and to network. These classes will start later this summer and will be found at www.themarijuanashow.com. Sign up to know when we launch. We will have an affiliate program for people to make money for referring students to us.
RG: What sort of cannabis companies are you looking for on your show?
KP: The deals that we’re really interested in are dispensaries, grows, edible companies, hemp, CBD, infrastructure, apps, bio tech, security, consulting companies. We are open to revenue producing companies with plans to scale. We are open to all ideas that are unique, save water, electricity, make business easier and businesses that help with distribution.
WR: We are also launching the High Finance Fund which will focus on businesses that don’t touch the plant, real estate deals and ancillary businesses. We are only interested in established businesses for the fund. We have started a waiting list of investors interested in safer deals.
RG: What’s next for The Marijuana Show?
KP: What’s really cool is the evolution of our company. We started with a concept, then used our own production company to launch the show, next just like our contestants, we pitched and received an investment of $1 Million. Our show is also financed 100% by our Sponsors.
WR: There are so few opportunities to advertise in our industry that being on Amazon Prime is a huge opportunity not offered by any other company. Season 3 will be our best season since we’ve learned what does and doesn’t work. We have more cannabis content partners now so sponsors can reach business to business owners and consumers and the stories we are sharing are more emotionally engaging than our previous seasons.
Typically people on the show are asking for $100k to millions and it’s mostly men so we decided to create an opportunity for women to get into the industry. Season 3 will feature a home based hemp oil business and the women who are rocking it. We have a contest to see who will make $10,000 in a month first. The personal stories are emotional, people dealing with cancer, epilepsy, and living in conservative states.
KP: These women bought $130 to $1,200 worth of inventory to start their business, are fully trained by us, and they work as teams. They will video their emotional journey of going outside of their comfort zone, tell their personal stories and teach what CBD is to people who are fearful. Our hope is that we inspire people to try hemp oil and to fire their bosses and ideally become financially free. We can’t promise any income of course.
We also went from TV producers to Lobbyists and recently attended the NCIA Lobby Days while in DC. Wendy and I visited with Congresswoman and men from New Mexico, Massachusetts, and DC, encouraging them to end prohibition. We’re also constantly finding ourselves really wanting to lobby more, get involved politically, and sincerely make a difference.
WR: We are continuing our advocacy work, with a new series, #LegalizeIt. This 30 minute film went viral on Facebook getting hundreds of thousands of viewers in days without boosting. The film is about hemp and CBD focusing on CannaMoms, an organization for parents and children dealing with cancer and epilepsy using CBD oil to help heal the kids. The stories are powerful. We are definitely wanting to share stories to help politicians understand that the “War On Drugs” doesn’t work. We need to legalize cannabis and hemp now.
KP: Another way we are different than other investment groups is we are not really “sharks,” we are more like Dolphins! I find in a lot of the other investment network groups, they have great outreach but they leave the new investor in the dark. They don’t educate the new investor about the risks involved from Main Street to Green Street. And I think it’s really important to advise on regulations and laws, since laws in Cannabis are state-specific and is Federally illegal. They can’t just jump in not knowing any of this. Our show not only provides education with Bud Camp but also the investment opportunities. And we’d love to have you be a part of it! *Click here to learn how to audition or invest!
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