The following first appeared in The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine. Read more at thcmag.com.
The Marijuana Show is taking to airwaves –– or more accurately bandwidths –– serving as yet another sign that marijuana is gaining acceptance and “going mainstream.” The series features hopeful entrepreneurs pitching, refining, and possibly even enacting their marijuana-related ideas, all under the scrutiny of cameras and the viewing public.
An event held at the Watering Bowl in Glendale, CA played host to over 200 of these potential business people, all eager to have their ideas seen by investors with the hopes of making it big while riding the wave of the rapidly swelling marijuana industry.
“We’re looking for the next pot-trepreneur,” says Karen Paull, one of the show’s producers and co-creators.
Contestants were given two minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel consisting of the show’s creators and producers, followed by a brief Q & A. It’s all very fast-paced, but that’s what the industry demands, says Paull. “We don’t have time, this industry is moving so fast.”
This is reflected in the show’s conception, which occurred just three weeks prior to the shooting of the pitch segment, though you wouldn’t know it from the professional crew that was on hand to film. The show is destined for online streaming. The producers hope that it will be picked up by a major provider such as Netflix or HBO, but for the time being, a distribution deal has been reached with Omnivision Entertainment, a multi-platform web and mobile entertainment company with a potential reach of up to seven million viewers.
Contestants ranged from industry veterans looking for an injection of capital to get a new idea off of the ground, to wide-eyed newbies that lacked even the most basic knowledge of how to run a business or the intricacies of working in the highly scrutinized field of legal marijuana. And the ideas were just as varied. Some contestants pushed concepts that seemed so natural and innovative it was shocking others hadn’t already capitalized on them, while others seemed to be the product of an excessive bong session. But the point is to find the gems says co-creator and producer Wendy Robins, not mock the aspirations of unsuspecting fame seekers as some reality shows are prone to do.
“The ones we really focused on had a good business plan,” says Robbins. It’s not about mocking people, it’s about furthering the marijuana industry as a whole, and that means refining the ideas with potential.
“The main focus is to educate and to advocate,” says Robbins. “We have a culture that’s a ‘pay-it-forward’ culture.”
For those that demonstrated potential business savvy, the show will continue to help them improve their business acumen as part of a segment being filmed this month. Contestants will be schooled in business practice, licensing, the use of Excel, and every other aspect of running a business that an eager ganjapreneur might overlook.
“By watching the show you’re going to be better prepared, whether you’re selling tomatoes, or selling weed,” says Robbins.
The coaching is an essential part of the formula, all intended to get the 22 contestants that made the initial cut the best possible chance when they pitch their ideas to a panel of investors which has been dubbed the “dolphin tank” –– the name reflecting an approach that is softer then that of the sharks seen on another business-orientated reality TV show. This select group of contestants could potentially receive upwards of $1 million in start-up money.
The eight-episode series will start airing soon. Those interested in trying out will have another opportunity this November when auditions will begin again. Robbins has this advice for hopefuls: “Come prepared, it can’t be just an idea on a napkin.”