I have met a lot of cannabis industry investors over the years, and they almost always leave a bad taste in my mouth. They always give me the 'we don't want you, we just want your idea' vibe, which has left me pretty jaded with the industry (which I'm sure people can tell from some of my articles). I don't claim to be a genius, but I know I'm not stupid. I know what The Weed Blog is, what it can be, and what it will take to get there.
I also know the value that The Weed Blog provides to the reform movement, which is worth so much more than money. There's simply no way that I would ever give up this blog for peanuts so that someone else could ruin it by abandoning the activism that The Weed Blog was built on. We didn't start this blog to get rich, we started this blog to make positive change. We started this blog to help spread awareness, and to give a voice to activists that can't afford to pay to get their message out on a viral level. Do I want to make money? Sure. I think it's obvious that the more resources this blog has the more good it can do. But that's not the primary motivator, proven by the fact that I'd rather sit in a cubicle than take the 'deals' that people try to throw our way.
To add insult to injury, most of the investors that have tried to hustle this blog from its current owners don't know the first thing about operating a high volume website. They have teams of people with degrees that are good at making websites 'pretty' and making websites that fit with the outdated strategies that college computer science classes taught once upon a time. When I talk to these types of investors I always say that the skill sets we use here at The Weed Blog can't be learned in a classroom, and can't be purchased with money. They are only obtained after spending almost 6 years in the internet trenches pouring your soul into a blog for next to no monetary benefit. Investors don't like it when you tell them that, trust me :) That's because they only want to make money, and not necessarily make positive change in the process.
I harp on investors a lot, but that's because I want them to realize that they have the ability to not only make money, but to do big things. If all an investor wants to do is profit, I hope that they never contact me so that it saves everyone time because I don't want to hear it. I want to talk to investors that believe in social entrepreneurship. Making money is perfectly fine, so long as some of those profits go back to the reform movement. Profiting is fine, as long as a fair amount of that money goes back to the people and entities that made those business opportunities possible in the first place.
There is an investor out there that 'gets it.' That investor is Leslie Bocksor of Electrum Partners. I had the pleasure of talking with Leslie on the phone a few weeks back, and it was one of the best conversations I've ever had with someone in the cannabis industry, investor or otherwise. Leslie started off the conversation by throwing out some statistics about The Weed Blog from third party traffic ranking tools that he had been looking at. That was literally the first time that someone has ever started off a conversation with me that way from the cannabis industry. Anyone who knows me knows how much I value math, and so I was very impressed to say the least.
The conversation then went on to cover a lot of things, some of which was business related, some of which was activism related, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I can only think of a couple of other conversations with investors that left me feeling as happy as that conversation with Leslie Bocksor. We didn't talk about any investments between the two of us, just a high level conversation about the industry as a whole, The Weed Blog, reform efforts, life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. The lack of posturing in the conversation was a breath of fresh air considering how most of the conversations in this industry are almost all just posturing. It makes my head hurt.
The conversation left me wanting more, which is why I was so happy to see Leslie Bocksor listed as one of the speakers at the upcoming Marijuana Business Conference and Expo which is taking place November 11-13 in Las Vegas. The event is the fourth annual conference and expo put on by Marijuana Business Daily. I was at the first one in Denver the day after Election Day in 2012, and it was one of the funnest events I've ever been to. It's very rare to get that many industry members and reformers in one location. It's a networking opportunity like no other. If you can make it to Vegas during that time, the conference and expo is going to be supplemented by a bunch of other events taking place before and after the conference. I don't go to too many events these days, but this Marijuana Business Conference and Expo was one that I just couldn't pass up. I hope to see as many TWB readers there as possible. If you are there, make sure to say hello! You can get tickets to the event by clicking on the banner below. Make sure to redeem your TWB discount!
Below is more information about Leslie Bocksor, via Electrum Partners' website;
Leslie Bocskor is an investment banker and entrepreneur focused on the emerging legal cannabis industry. He is the Founding Chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association and Managing Partner of Electrum Partners, and is working with some of the biggest players in the industry to develop strategies to quickly expand the market for legal cannabis in the U.S. and beyond. He has been featured in news sources such as USA Today, Washington Post, Fortune, Reuters, and Fast Company, as well as being named one of the 100 most influential people in the cannabis industry by Cannabis Business Executive.
As a long time investor, he has a history of success working in early stage disruptive trends and technologies, beginning with Internet and new media properties in the late nineties. Since then he has been involved in life science, cybersecurity and Internet gaming. Additionally, he is now developing a hedge fund that will allow for deployment of capital on a state-by-state and national basis to meet the growing demand for legal cannabis
In his role as Founding Chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association he is bringing time-tested practices from the financial markets and his entrepreneurial experience to assure Nevada's industry is an example to be emulated worldwide.
As a member of the ArcView Angel Investor Network he has been mentoring cannabis companies for their presentations at investor meetings, is part of the selection committee, and has been a regular speaker or panelist at the ArcView events.