Jefferson is hosting a pitch competition for cannabis entrepreneurs

“The CannaVATION competition is about creating a platform for emerging concepts to get a toe-hold on the path to commercialization.”

Cannabis sativa.

(Photo by Lode Van de Velde, used under a Creative Commons license)

Thomas Jefferson University is looking for aspiring medicinal cannabis or industrial hemp entrepreneurs to join a cannabis-themed pitch competition called JAZ Tank: CannaVATION.

On Oct. 3, founders in the cannabis and hemp space will compete for the main prize of $10,000, and business and legal support to kickstart their businesses.

The event, which is open to the general public, is sponsored by The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp and Jefferson Innovation.

“The CannaVATION competition is about creating a platform for emerging concepts to get a toe-hold on the path to commercialization,” said Rose Ritts, Jefferson’s chief innovation officer. “Anything that will improve patient access or outcomes or advance the industrial hemp market in the U.S. is definitely of interest. We welcome companies and individuals to take the JAZ Tank challenge, and investors or those thinking about getting into the medical marijuana or industrial hemp industries are welcome to attend the event.”

In addition to the main prize, up to two other teams could have a chance to win $5,000 in financial support, one free provisional patent application and consulting services. To be eligible companies must not have raised more than $100,000 in outside capital and should offer a business plan that includes a five-year financial projection.

Apply by Aug. 20

With medicinal cannabis now becoming an accessible reality for people in many states (like Pennsylvania and Maryland) and millions incarcerated for simple weed possession, a project to legalize the plant at the federal level — and grant retroactive amnesty to those in jail — was introduced last year in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, though neither has yet been passed.


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