Although more states have legalized recreational marijuana since Colorado became the first state to allow its sale, Colorado remains rich with some of the most innovative minds in the industry. On top of the nearly 1,500 licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado that actually touch the plant, there are hundreds of ancillary companies that work in consulting, packaging, security and technology...with more to come.
With so many hungry pot startups sprouting up, competition for funding can get rough. So why not share that drama on TV? That's what Amazon is doing with The Marijuana Show, an Amazon Prime show that dubs itself "the Shark Tank of cannabis." The series is now looking for entrepreneurs for its third season, and will hold an audition this weekend in El Prado, New Mexico – less than a five-hour drive from Denver.
ABC's Shark Tank follows aspiring entrepreneurs as they present their business ideas and plans to several high-profile investors in hopes of convincing one of them to invest money in their enterprise, and even become a mentor. That's basically what The Marijuana Show is, too, except that only businesses related to hemp and marijuana can apply.
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Season three of The Marijuana Show is expected to have $20 million in funding available for the taking, with different investors potentially offering their capital, smarts, contacts and distribution networks for a stake in competing companies. Past success stories include Coloradan Luke Johnson, who received $1 million for a stake in his industrial hemp business, Cloud CO Farms in Alamosa.
Auditions for The Marijuana Show will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, at Taos Mesa Brewing in El Prado, New Mexico. The show's producers ask that contestants submit a business plan or deck and a two-minute video before the audition, where they will get three minutes to pitch their ideas in person.
The show's Colorado ties go deeper than its contestants. Colorado marijuana companies like Incredibles edibles and Caregivers for Life dispensary are both listed as sponsors. New Frontier Financials, a Washington-based data firm that tracks legal marijuana sales in Colorado, is also a sponsor.