Entertainment

Weed whackers

Local couple bring their reality TV ‘Marijuana Show’ to Taos

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‘The Marijuana Show,” now in its third season and available online through Amazon Prime, auditions entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry vetting the potential of the product they offer, its marketability, and the business savvy of the candidates.

The show’s producers are projecting $20 million in available capital to the entrepreneurs through investors, crowdfunding, and a private equity fund called the “High Finance Fund.” The producers of the reality TV show, Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull, partners in both business and life, live in Taos. They possess multiple degrees in theater, Emmy wins, and the business acumen to pull this off with aplomb.

Now, in the show’s third season, they are beginning to focus their firepower on New Mexican politics, more specifically, the gubernatorial race where the issue of legalization of marijuana has been on the ice. Advocates allude that this is largely due to Republican Gov. Susana Martínez, a former prosecutor, and critic of marijuana legalization. Martínez is serving her second term in office, which according to New Mexico law, means she is unable seek re-election.

Two of the five declared Democratic candidates, Jeff Apodaca and Peter ‘DeBenedittis, along with State Representative Bill McCamley, are teaming up with Robbins and Paull to conduct a political fundraiser in support of the legalization of cannabis in New Mexico. The event will take place from 6-8 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 4) at Lambert’s Restaurant, 123 Bent St.

On Sunday (Nov. 5) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, “The Marijuana Show” will be presented at a red carpet event for Season 3, live with contestants and investors. At the videotaped event, eight finalists of the show will pitch their product for investment and business mentorship.

The audience will then choose the evening’s winner for the best pitch. The intermission will include light appetizers and live music.

The entrepreneurs are traveling to Taos from all over the United States. Their reasons for entering into the cannabis industry are varied, but each contestant’s theme includes what they claim is a “direct experience with the benefits of medical cannabis and the legal quagmire of a nation where cannabis is federally classified as a schedule 1 drug,” according to press materials. This means the federal government views marijuana as a drug that has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical benefit.

Heather Lawrence is a contestant from Kaysville, Utah, whose father is said to have experienced the benefits of cannabis while undergoing treatments for cancer. He used CBD, or Cannabidiol, a derivative product of cannabis that does not cause the user to become high, but, according to Lawrence and others, offers pain relief benefits. From this familial tie, Lawrence was inspired to start her skin care product line of CBD based products that include a topical pain cream, sublingual drops, and pain and acne sprays. She said “The Marijuana Show” is an excellent opportunity for her to “jump into the industry” and get exposure. Lawrence started the company on a “triple dog dare” from her husband who is also her business partner. She said they are excited about visiting Taos for the first time and plan to stay a few extra days to explore the area.

Seattle-based entrepreneur, Matt Wilson, said he became interested in the potential benefits of marijuana after his aging Border Collie, Numi, experienced seizures from a brain tumor. Wilson started using a cannabis oil to treat Numi and was able to extend her life. This experience galvanized his passion to develop the technology for Oblend, a countertop device that allows on-demand customization of botanical oils tailored to the user’s sensitivities and symptoms, providing precision close to that of pharmaceutical standards. It is not known, however, if independent medical studies bear this out. The device can be monitored and controlled from a smartphone and has the potential for a recipe database. His North Carolina-based business partner, Nicole Wicker, came on board with much trepidation after leaving a lucrative career. She is also passionate about getting in front of one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries.

Michael Ring is a Colorado-based systems engineer who has developed a semi-trailer that facilitates a plant grower to monitor his or her production without necessitating an on-site presence. This includes watering, fertilizing, light control, and security. Ring says his invention is a “53-foot, self-contained agriculture pot.” He indicated the units would be useful for a grower who has run out of space. Ring is a veteran of “The Marijuana Show,” having been a contestant on what he called “the cool and chaotic first season.”

He said he is not keen on working with conventional investors who “think with their pocketbooks,” and continues, “there are lots of things worth fighting for besides money.” Ring was a Hewlett Packard executive who said he despised corporate America and followed his 0passion for alternative fuel research. This led to a synthetic solar replacement system, and ultimately to an industry that is “the new frontier.” Ring says of his life now: “I’m in a true state of gratitude.”

Contestant Jessica Ferranti said she has narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. She states that the cocktail of drugs prescribed for her condition was rendering her non-functional. She is now the senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Sesh Technologies Manufacturing, and represents her company on “The Marijuana Show.” She will be showcasing two products: a commercial resin extraction system, and a joint-rolling machine called The Rocketbox, which can roll hundreds of marijuana cigarettes in minutes.

Ferranti said both devices are cutting edge technology, which claims to make the consumption of cannabis products healthier for the consumer and more convenient for the distributor. As long-term residents of Taos, Robbins and Paull explained that they have a vested interest in doing all they can to bring health and wealth to their community by putting their energies into a shift on the marijuana legalization frontier in New Mexico.

Tickets to “The Marijuana Show” red carpet taping are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. They can be purchased by calling (575) 758-2052 or by visiting tcataos.org. For more on “The Marijuana Show,” visit themarijuanashow.com.

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