In a recent Entrepreneur Magazine interview with five investors from the hit show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary and Barabara Corcoran made it clear that they’re very much interested in investing in the burgeoning cannabis industry. The other three Sharks – Marc Cuban, Lori Greinier and Robert Herjavec – aren’t as interested in investing in the industry, but none of them are opposed to its legalization.
“[I]t’s big business and I’d rather invest in it”, says Corcoran.”I would like Daisy Cakes, one of my best investments from Shark Tank, to make marijuana cakes. Their home-cooked cakes from the south and my girl there is making tons of Daisy Cakes, doing great already. I love her, but I want her to make a marijuana cake, but she won’t do it. I advised her to, but she says it would ruin her brand. She’s mistaken.”
Corcoran says that her advice to entrepreneurs looking to enter the cannabis industry is “to be early in their market, because this is a market that’s expanding like crazy. I was in Aspen, Colo., last winter and there were four salons where I could buy marijuana. Now I don’t smoke it, so I didn’t. But these salons where you can get it are more luxurious than the night clubs out there.”
She continues; “Pot’s a big business. People know what the profits are going to be, so I think hitting it fast and early is the number-one prize.”
Corcoran notes that “What’s going to destigmatize marijuana is having the old people die off. Anyone who’s under 30 believes in it.”
Kevin O’Leary, one of the shows cofounders, says; “I would love to invest in the marijuana industry. I’ve looked at four different deals, but my lawyers tell me I can’t because we need a better mandate. There’s a RICO statute in the way. I’ll land my plane in Florida and I’ll get arrested because I invested in something in Colorado. I can’t do it”
He continues; “I have to hold off for now. I can’t take that risk. I can’t go to jail for being a cannabis investor. My advice to entrepreneurs in this space right now is to stay in the state in which you have your mandate and figure out a way to redeploy your cash because you can’t put it in a bank.
“This is like the end of prohibition. It’s going to be a remarkable opportunity. The cashflow in Colorado is three times what they thought it was going to be. They did the right thing by legalizing it and it’s now a huge cash crop. People should not be going to jail for marijuana. This is substance that’s been used by humans for thousands of years. It’s stupid what we’ve done to it, and I think it has to be federally legal.
“California will switch soon. Once that happens, I think the floodgates will open and I will be one of the first investors when it gets a federal mandate.”
Robert Herjavec says that has “no problem with it”, and believes that legitimizing “any kind of substance that used to be illegal is great because I think you always want to take the criminal element out of it, and I like things that are regulated.”
However, when it comes to investing in the industry, Herjavec says; “I would invest, but I don’t know anything about it. It’s just not an area that I understand. I like to invest in things where I understand the tipping points and what’s going on.”
When asked if he would invest in the cannabis industry, Marc Cuban says “No. Not because I have anything against pot. I don’t care. But right now it’s a gold rush. When everybody’s rushing in it’s hard to keep track of what everybody’s doing because there’s a new startup every single day. I think the oversaturation of the market creates a very difficult challenge. Plus, Snoop’s in it [laughs]. And if Snoop Dogg’s in it, it’s over for everyone else.”
Lori Greiner says that “Everybody should be able to do it legally. Would I invest in it, though? I don’t know. I have so many investments as it is, I don’t need another one. I’ll let other people deal with that, because it’s not that easy of a space to navigate.”
Shark Tank began its eighth season on ABC last week.