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Cannabis Watch: Cannabis startup Wellfounded is pursuing a seed round of capital

Wellfounded Botanicals founder and CEO Sara Rotman said the California-based premium cannabis grower and product maker is seeking seed round investors to grow its product line.

The company currently sells a unisex CBD fragrance around the U.S. and other wares containing THC in the California market including tinctures, capsules and topicals.

Wellfounded uses cannabis oil from small-batch production on its 22-acre cannabis farm in Santa Barbara as it takes aim at the massive wellness category for its formulas.

The company is now reaching out to investors as it sets plans to expand its product lines into skin care, edibles and beverages in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We’re interested in getting smart money to propel us,” Rotman told MarketWatch.

Rotman is applying her experience as an entrepreneur as founder of Modco Media, the New York–based agency that created the Tory Burch logo.

She left the world of Madison Avenue and started the roots of Wellfounded in 2015 and 2016, and launched her current line of Wellfounded products last year. She has successfully treated her Crohn’s disease with cannabis, but at one point she suffered from arsenic poising from a bad batch of the plant.

See: Women and minorities are losing ground in cannabis company executive ranks, study finds

Her goal in setting up her cannabis farm was to produce the best possible product and avoid use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals often found in illicitly grown cannabis.

“The thing that drove us was being able to find a product that was effective, safe and reliable,” she said.

Wellfounded sold more than 500,000 pounds of cannabis last year as one of the largest independent, outdoor farms in California.

See Also: This Latina cannabis CEO won a Silicon Valley veteran as seed investor in $50 million venture capital fund aimed at minorities

Looking ahead, one of the major impediments to the growth of legal cannabis and related products in California is a lack of local permits for dispensaries, she said.

At last check, California has less than 1,000 licensed dispensaries. While roughly 70% of voters OK’d adult use of cannabis, only about 25% of the state’s municipalities have approved dispensary locations within their borders.

Increasing the number of sanctioned cannabis sellers would reduce sales of illicit cannabis and help ease the challenges of oversupply and lower prices faced by farmers, she said.

But such an effort requires extra dedication to try to change public policy.

”Getting involved politically has been a vital tool to any cannabis business owner here,” she said. “It’s a master class in how to be aware and influence the laws that will deeply influence your life either with cannabis or farming. It’s turned me into a pretty enthusiastic advocate but it sure does take a lot of time.”

See: Al Harrington-backed Village is aiming to support women- and minority-owned cannabis companies

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