Company: Hemp Rolls
David Powers took a long road to build Hemp Rolls into the hemp cigarette production powerhouse it is now, but his perseverance has paid off.
“Last year, we rolled 2 million joints,” he says. “I was really impressed with that number, and we sold about 85% of those.”
Growing up in Tennessee, Powers was always fascinated by cannabis and after he graduated from the University of Tennessee, he set out for Colorado to become part of the burgeoning industry. His time spent in the early days of Colorado’s recreational market taught him a great deal about the artificial limits regulations placed on the industry and the amount of guile it takes to navigate a business to success.
Taking those lessons to heart, Powers found his entrepreneurial path with the legalization of hemp in 2018. Researching the vast potential of the hemp industry, Powers met a handful of people from his hometown who were already operating in the space and had raised approximately $30 million from a Canadian investor.
“I wrote a business plan and drove 23 hours straight from Denver, Colorado, to Tennessee to pitch my plan to these guys,” he says, adding that they liked the pitch enough to use it, just not with him. “But that didn’t stop me.”
Powers sold nearly all his personal belongings to finance moving his family back to Tennessee, where he started growing hemp himself on a small patch of land owned by his retired father-in-law, launching Hemp Rolls in 2019. Powers says it was roughly two years of working 15-hour days until the company finally gained momentum, growing from $15,000 in sales in its first year to an anticipated $1.2 million this year.