AUSTIN – It was California-based Arcview Group’s 24th cannabis industry investor pitch forum, and the business plans promised dazzling returns investing in everything from seed and soil to smoke, vapor, edibles and oils.
Mason Levy of WeGrow, a Boulder, Colorado-based startup aimed at the home and community-garden cannabis grower, was trying to sell investors on Elle, a “conversational grow bot.”
Among the mix of suited and sandal-wearing executives at the AT&T Convention Center, on the south end of the University of Texas’ flagship campus, it was hard to distinguish the investors from the investees. The lights were dimmed and a sound crew played thumping, upbeat music as the parade of industry analysts and entrepreneurs – some with Ivy League and Silicon Valley pedigrees – took to the stage in early May.
With slogans and power point slides, they outlined how startups in cultivating, dispensing, marketing and distributing cannabis could get Texans in on what is being touted as the fastest growing industry in America.
Troy Dayton, Arcview’s CEO, had opened the two-day forum with a look out at the ballroom full of current and would-be investors and an introduction that marked a sense of history and place.
“We’re in Texas,” he said. “Wow.”
Conservative-leaning Texas might seem an odd place to rent convention space and rally sponsors from some of the nation’s leading cannabis companies. Its compassionate use program is so narrow, industry experts don’t even count the state among the 29 states that have legalized medical