This article originally appeared in the August 2017 print edition of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.
“I’m founder and CEO of Cloud CO Farms. We will cultivate over 80 acres of CBD-rich, non-psychoactive cannabis per year.”
Luke slightly falters after the opening line to his pitch on season 1 of “The Marijuana Show.” The then-24-year-old is visibly nervous in front of the investors: He is fidgeting, his voice is monotone and he is hesitating. He makes the mistake of saying he has partnered with more experienced cultivators and that they will take 50 percent of the crop at the next harvest, which the panel of these “Shark Tank”-like investors interprets as him only being a 50-percent owner of the company.
One by one, the investors announce they won’t join Luke’s venture—although the two dispensary owners on the panel say they will sell his product in their stores if and when he is operational.
“The Marijuana Show” creators and producers, Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull, felt that Luke deserved a better result. So they gave him a second chance.
“A lot of times, we’ll go off of somebody’s passion and somebody’s reason why they’re doing something,” Robbins says. “His family had already put all their retirement money into this farm with the belief system that he would succeed.”
“There was something in us that just knew that he would do whatever it took. And sure enough, he really has,” Paull adds.
On his second try pitching to an investor, Luke (who preferred that his last name not be published) was able to secure a quarter-million dollars for a 25-percent equity stake in his company—a million-dollar evaluation for a cultivation company that didn’t have any plants growing yet, led by an owner that has very little cultivation experience.
With that money, Luke