Launching a business from scratch is tough, and the hardest part can be getting the cash together to make it happen. A number of ganjapreneurs have opted to crowdfund their projects, with some finding more success than others.
“In general, I don’t like working with banks,” said Jake Wade, a sustainable clothing maker in California. “The majority of them fundamentally distress me.”
His flagship item, the Fastback Jacket, is made of hemp and other Earth-friendly renewables. At the time of publication, the jacket had raised over $10,000 from 52 backers on Kickstarter.
“It’s an uphill battle almost everyday,” he said. “I’m selling a high-end product made from the country’s most misinterpreted and demonized plant.”
Mystery Patient is another cannabusiness endeavor with a Kickstarter campaign. It’s a mobile app that will help medical marijuana patients provide feedback on their dispensaries or delivery services. It promises to “provide its clients with objective and quantifiable data to build on areas of success or improve any areas of concern.”
Crowdfunding is extremely popular with indie filmmakers, and there are no shortage of pot-themed productions waiting to be green-lit. One filmmaker plans to travel the southeastern U.S. to promote legalization, recording for posterity his documentary, End of Prohibition. The crew seeks funding to cover the costs of food, fuel and “fiber.”
Budding comic-book creators are seeking start-up funding too, and more than one has a weedy back story. Major Chronic is “a superhero who is powered by marijuana from another planet.” Super-Bud tackles similar themes, featuring an experimental strain of cheeba that kicks ass, apparently.
Even infomercials are getting in on the crowdfunding game. We’re not entirely sure what an “entertainment edumercial” is, but there’s one titled “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?” that successfully crowdfunded its backing ($10,001 from 103 backers). It actually sounds like a worthy cause: “To educate and inform seniors on the benefits and discoveries in the medical marijuana field. Encouraging cannabis activism in seniors.”
The designer of these slick marijuana-themed playing cards successfully raised over $15,000 to launch his project, which surprised even the artist.
“I can’t believe it got done,” he said.
But not everyone is raking it in so easily.
BÜD Brand is an aspiring apparel label that features a pot leaf logo and a weed-friendly ethos: “… a clothing brand that believes in the use of natural medicine instead of over-the-counter medications. It also fights to get rid of the stigma that marijuana is a bad drug.”
The businessman behind it has said he will donate 10 percent of proceeds to charitable causes when the enterprise gets on its feet, but the brand’s Kickstarter campaign never even got off the ground. It failed to reach its $1,000 goal, only raking in $29.
Nick Snay is trying to raise $35,000 to build a “Greenhouse of Wonder” for his medical weed grow in Michigan, but to date he only has one backer who shelled out $50.
However, Snay remains unbowed.
“I’ve always worked hard for things I’m truly passionate about, so if this project doesn’t hit its mark, I’ll find another way to get there,” he said. “The only backup plan right now is to just save our extra income and purchase what’s needed bit by bit. That of course would take much more time.”
As they say, you gotta spend money to make money—but first you gotta make spending money.