Unlike shark-tank investor summits held in private for pre-verified investors only, WeedClub’s @420 Pitch event welcomed hundreds of Marijuana Investor Summit attendees eager to witness the latest inventions of industry hopefuls.
Legal cannabis sales are projected to grow to $100 billion over the next 13 years, setting the event’s location at Union Square Hilton in the epicenter of the same tech-boom that’s losing its corporate suits to the “Green Rush.”
Attendees voted with “Weed Bucks” on which company would give their 4-minute, 20-second pitch to be critiqued and rated by six sign-wielding judges from both the Marijuana and Money worlds.
Plus Gum’s infused product’s high-dosage (75mg THC) was challenged by the Kiva Confections judge; the usual split between veteran smokers and non-medicating newcomers was audible, as “I like the taste!” was whispered when they pooh-poohed cannabis’ flavor.
Green Rush sought capital for its patient-to-dispensary app, while Grow Minded's cultivation equipment supply-chain was analyzed for e-commerce scalability. ZeptoVape wowed the crowd with a credit card–sized vaporizer heated by proprietary technology of wires and glass.
GrowX’s resource-efficient cultivation system was unique, but lacked a prototype and substantiated claims, withholding projected yield numbers.
Librede BioTech won, with lab technology scaled to meet the Big Pharma and cosmetics industries’ demand for cannabis derivatives, by harvesting genetically modified cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) on yeast, claiming 90% cost reduction.
From freedom-fighters to tech-businesspeople: Not all is Pitchy-Keen
Excitement buzzed as attendees shared their favorite products and problematized others in informal groups afterwards. While professionalizing marijuana is refreshing and timely to some, others worry that its commercialization leaves them with broken hearts (and bank accounts) as GMOs and CEOs rebrand Capitalist Cannabis.
Professionals from across the U.S. discussed scalability, debating whether demand will necessitate GMO cannabis as a cash crop. Advocates are concerned that the new wave of investment capital may abandon the movement’s roots in homegrown medicine for a profit-focused mindset.
Cultivators worry that isolating cannabis’ essential natural components will compromise the integrity of the whole-plant medicine’s healing “Entourage Effect,” and ask: without a holistic approach, will cannabis products and culture maintain high standards for integrity, safety and efficacy?
Board member Jesce Horton kicked off his non-profit Minority Cannabis Business Association’s after-party with an inspiring toast on social justice, as we lifted our glasses for inclusion and diversity in the industry. He acknowledged patients incarcerated for marijuana-related crime, and Women Grow members hoped more women would be pitching and judging these events.
The process of molding a transparent, patient-focused industry with high standards for patient care is an ongoing process; thanks to organizations like WeedClub, MJIC and MCBA, space is provided for the right people and ideas to pave the lucrative path to legitimization and legalization.
Originally printed by mg Magazine.