Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull created “The Marijuana Show” in the summer of 2014.
The show was created to help entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry create a blueprint for success and investment. Co-producers Robbins and Paull say they were looking for the next “marijuana millionaires.”
“The Marijuana Show” is a critically acclaimed television show that spanned three seasons, with distribution on Amazon Prime. The producers are also the managing partners of High Finance Fund – a global, exclusive hemp and cannabis fund. Robbins and Paull are, among all of their other accomplishments, major influencers in the cannabis industry.
The couple have called Taos home for many years, and Tempo had been in contact with Robbins and Paull prior to the pandemic disrupting any and all prior plans. But at last, it’s a new year, and with marijuana legalization likely on the agenda, we caught up with these cannabis industry pioneers, to see what they have been up to in quarantine, with the show on hold.
Please tell us a bit about the two of you – how you wound up in Taos – and how you came up with the idea for your show?
Karen: It’s Wendy’s fault, ha ha! We were living in warm Southern California, and we met and fell in love in November 2005. After commuting three hours to each other’s homes up and down the coast, we decided it was time to buy a home together.
We had offers on homes in Malibu and Topanga and none of them worked out due to bidding wars. So, after a tour of a possible rental in Venice Beach that was really artsy – literally, all the walls painted with original art, even the furniture … we looked at each other and realized we wanted something unusual, artsy. So Wendy Googled “Unusual artistic home … ” and guess what? I’ll let her tell you the rest of this story …
Wendy: Karen was in a healing time, and needed to be in a dry climate and I Googled “Unusual Artistic Sustainable” and our dome house showed up! The coolest part is I kept having dreams of this house for years. I envisioned it, sketched images of it. I visualized the koi fish pond and indoor trees and I always envisioned a 3-D sculpted plaza or outside of New Mexico-style buildings inside our home. I saw the stars and painted sky and the dome so when I saw the listing I freaked out and told Karen, “We have to see this house in Taos!” One week later we were touring the home we now live in.
Karen: When we walked in for the first time we both knew that we would get married in this magical place and a year later we did just that, with 100 family and friends!
Wendy: I was also friends with Neil Simon, the playwright and he told me many times I would love Taos. That was years before we moved here.
Wendy: Regarding our show – I was in a TV series with Kelly Ripa and flew to New York every week for a year and Karen’s friend was in a reality show so Karen said (while we were smoking a joint) that we should create a show … The Marijuana Show was born – it’s like Shark Tank for the cannabis industry.
Karen: Two weeks later we were holding auditions in Denver. Cannabis in 2014 just became legal so our timing was perfect. We were instant celebrities in the cannabis space and are considered two of the top 25 women in cannabis. The press was astounding – Fox, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, later the New York Times said our show is the show to watch. Mr. Wonderful even talked about our show on CNBC. We have been featured many times in Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal. We’ve been in Rolling Stone, Hollywood Reporter, High Times, Dope, NPR, Bloomberg, Entertainment Tonight and of course the Taos News! You can see the series on Amazon Prime. It has been seen by millions so far and we are actually editing the finale to Season #3 to release on Amazon Prime in 2021!
How has the pandemic impacted your lives and work?
Karen: The pandemic had a huge impact on our work. We have a film production company and were planning our fourth season of The Marijuana Show. In April 2020, our production came to a screeching halt. We realized we had to make some major shifts in our work and lives. What we are grateful for is that we had other income streams and continue to work in these areas. We are media partners with a top cannabis fund, and we attract deals and new investors to the fund. In fact, we will be doing a Zoom intro to the fund soon, which will be announced on Facebook for any accredited investors. We are also relaunching Budcamp, an educational platform for cannabis, hemp, healthy lifestyle and sustainable living.
For me personally, this shift in my personal life has been extremely positive. It feels like I am finally getting off the corporate treadmill that I’ve been running and dancing on, since my extremely high-velocity years of work in San Francisco. As the former VP of Sales for Snapfish and Zing, and other companies, then going into film production, I’ve had a great amount of success, and as a result had a higher level of stress than was good for my soul. So now, I am committed to a calmer, more grounded life.
I also have an MFA in theater and I may want to get back into teaching. These days I ski more, make gorgeous meals for my wife and family, enjoy quiet time reading and find myself enjoying “retirement” from the intense career I had prior … and to quote Biden, “My whole soul is committed” to my new way of living.
Wendy: My films have won Emmy awards and I’ve made TV shows since I was 25 years old. My first film was nominated for an Emmy. I was also an actor and got into the Juilliard School which was an amazing journey. Next transition was The Tingler head massager – wow – crazy life-changer – we sold millions to 6,500 stores and online. Then I became a popular speaker and was lucky to be on stage with Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Harv Eker, etc. There would always be 1,000 or more in our audience. In Taos I hosted a show on KTAOS called, “As you Wish.” I got to interview Gangaji, Byron Katie, Marrianne Williamson, Gregg Braden, lots of Hay House authors – so when I wrote my book in Taos, “Why Marry A Millionaire? Just Be One!” It became a bestseller because Hay House published it.
I love conversations with evolved masters and experts in health, spirituality, sustainability, business and cannabis so we are going to re-launch Budcamp, which will be a series of interactive conversations with the audience and the teacher and we will offer a variety of digital experiences on Zoom so that people can experience what we love. Imagine people around the world learning how to make pot brownies, understanding the art of cannabis investment, or how to build a sustainable home, or taking an art class with a local artist. Or visiting Italy and cooking a meal together … it’s like “Master Class for Cannabis Enthusiasts.”
Karen: We are also grateful to work from home, building an international hemp company with Prime My Body, it’s a network marketing company, however we are extremely picky about what products we take and promote. Not only are the products amazing, they are backed by science! We also both believe in the healing value of this food supplement and its ability to help us relax, sleep better, focus, look younger and lower blood pressure.
You live in a spectacular sustainable home – it’s your base of operations – as many keep on working from home, what are your thoughts on the future of Taos as a unique model for a new approach to living?
Wendy: We are lucky to work from home. We use Zoom for all meetings for Budcamp, for our international hemp business and to connect investors with great cannabis deals. We have been doing a ton of work online prior to COVID, so we had everything lined up.
What’s cool is you can teach, do a concert, have an online store, coach online. We will be looking for qualified professional, well-spoken, dynamic teachers for Budcamp – that is one way to start teaching or offering unique experiences online. We share the revenue and host the conversations and experiences to make it easier. Just go to our site to sign up and learn more. It would be awesome if our town’s marketing people worked with all of our galleries and artists to create a robust site to sell art using our town’s marketing money.
Karen: I feel very fortunate to live here in Taos, to have found the perfect home. Yes, we have made some adjustments in order to work and live here in balance. We added solar panels to take our home off-grid, have added a mobile editing studio and office space. From a New York City-born girl living in mostly cities, I find myself breathing more, feeling the ground, loving the quiet space, the still point. I must say, the transition to settle here has been heavenly; it’s quite lovely to be here surrounded by the beauty and pristine nature of Taos. I can see the gorge and river close to our home within a short walk, and the Taos Mountain from our jacuzzi deck. Life is grand, and I am very grateful.
What are your hopes and plans going forward?
Wendy: We may be done with our show. I love coaching, and hosting conversations and experiences online from Taos till we can easily travel again. I focus on solitude now. I am learning more about being off the grid, gardening, meditation; and enjoy Master Classes so I can learn from experts in every field. I guess my plans are to live more simply. We used to travel so much and spoke at so many events that there was no time to hear the Taos Hum! We have had a 900-foot geodesic dome for 10 years and we never hosted workshops – so once we can all gather again we would like to shoot workshops from the space.
Karen: Yes, it’s time for me to start acting and teaching again! My last role was “Mrs. California” in a play here in Taos, and I had a blast! Prior to that, I directed a series of one-person shows with my UNM class and directed a dozen or more plays. In my thespian life, I have found the most joy as I have been able to fully realize a character, and have had that gift my entire life. I have a gift teaching how to create authentic characters and enjoy sharing my gifts. Also I have been a professor of theater arts for many years (during and after my corporate life) and would love to offer classes online and offline. I will also teach these classes on our Budcamp platform and in the spring I will start doing some workshops here on our land, in our yoga dome. I would also like to give back in a big way to foster and adopted kids, as well as lesbian and gay youth, so that’s my focus for the next 50 years.
Lots of studies coming out now on cannabis and CBD benefits. Are you optimistic about the future regarding legalization and decriminalization?
Karen: Totally optimistic since we have nowhere to go but higher! I think it will finally pass on a federal level because Kamala Harris wants to reverse her prior stance on cannabis, and we also interviewed Gov. Michelle Lujan on this topic and she stated she would support federal legalization provided it was made safe for the children. As for me, I take both religiously as my health regimen and have felt stronger and healthier ever since.
However legalizing cannabis on a federal level is the direction needed to help our state and country realize the billions of dollars in tax benefits that will ultimately help with infrastructure like our roads, build new schools and hospitals. We are also big on decriminalization and did a documentary about it called “Legalize it.” You can see our film on Facebook on our MJ Show page, and we are also pitching it to Amazon.
“Richard Anklam, the president and executive director of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, told lawmakers that states that were early in legalizing recreational-use cannabis like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California, have seen significant tax revenue increases in the past several years. Anklam, using a study from the Tax Foundation, a national think tank, said New Mexico could see roughly $70 million in excise taxes, before factoring in gross receipts taxes, if the state legalizes cannabis for recreational use.”
We do have medical cannabis now, however it’s an arduous process to get your card. I have to laugh thinking of all the PTSD diagnoses we have in our state that were created just for the purpose of obtaining a medical card.
Wendy: New Mexico is expecting recreational marijuana bills to be filed next week. Our governor supports recreational cannabis, saying it will create jobs and generate millions of dollars for our state’s economy. Both sides of the aisle seem open to it. On a Federal level, Kamala Harris says this administration will legalize cannabis. She has a bad history of locking people up for cannabis and wants to make things right. In the cannabis industry right now there is no banking without huge fees. An entrepreneur can’t write off the cost of goods sold because of 280E [Section 280E of the tax code states businesses trafficking in controlled substances cannot deduct any expenses incurred in carrying on the production, distribution and sale of controlled substances]. Rent is outrageous. Once legal, those things would change fast.
Cannabis has a 10,000-year history. We believe it is medicinal. We have friends who had cancer and used cannabis to heal the tumors using THC and CBD. What CBD does is creates balance in the body, stops the fight/flight, helps our quality of life and creates relaxation. We have spoken with our governor several times about legalizing in New Mexico. If we had recreational legalization then tourists can enjoy it and our state gets taxes that we need. (For anyone who has not seen it, here is the link: amzn.to/2NxeolT). THC (Sativa) works for a lot of people to be more creative, laugh, clean your house; Indica helps you relax and sleep, good for anxiety. There are different strains so you need to ask the bud tender or read about them so you know what experience you desire. I would also love to see psilocybin (magic mushrooms) legalized like they are in Denver and Oakland.
For more on The Marijuana Show and other projects Robbins and Paull are busy with, visit: themarijuanashow.com/
The Marijuana Show on Amazon is amzn.to/2NxeolT