Loading...

Real Cannabis Stories

screen-shot-2017-04-13-at-11-19-03-am

Meet Amanda: Co-Founder @ The Green Remedy

What’s your story?

Before opening The Green Remedy with my husband, I stayed at home focusing on raising our three children. More than a full time job in itself! Our oldest has mild Aspergers so the fact that I grew up surrounded by organization and creativity has been very helpful in almost everything I do. I have worked in the food industry, done person and product photography and even delivered newspapers daily. I’ve worked a lot of tough but great jobs that taught me a lot about hard work and perseverance. My husband is a frequent inspiration, he has taught me to hustle hard and never give up even when things are tough.
My husband was an amazing debt collector but when the economy crashed there wasn’t much business left. We started doing medical grows and vended at local events around the Puget Sound. Before dispensaries, patients got their meds from cannabis farmers markets. We even started a delivery at one point and advertised through craigslist.
We looked into how to open a dispensary and spent time doing research on how we could do it “right.” In the beginning, a lot of success was because of luck. Not all property owners were willing to work with a cannabis business of any kind. We got lucky and found a great location and moved in right away but didn’t have a lot of money to get started. We rented furniture, went to secondhand and dollar stores and had maybe 5 strains in the store. Not even 5 pounds total. Ha!
At first, every time someone walked in we thought it could be the cops but as time went by and licensing began that worry lessened. We always had the mindset of taking the right stops to be responsible and progressive in this new industry so we were ready for licensing when it came. Each licensing process has varied a bit and brought it’s own new challenges. I’m thankful to be recreational now because we have the ability to serve more people in need than before.

The Green Remedy actually just celebrated it’s 4 year anniversary on February 8th 2017. We took a bunch of our vendors, friends, current and past crew to a Portland Trailblazer game VIP style which was a blast! I really appreciate the people we get to work with and I try to show that appreciation whenever I can!

image1-1

How does your day to day look as an operator of a dispensary?

I wake up early, get the kids off to school and then mentally collect and ready myself for starting work. Most days are spent in an office doing paperwork and other administrative duties. The constant phone calls, emails and meetings can be monotonous, thankfully we can goof off with our crew. We work with a great team, some even friends, but we have learned that not everyone can keep up with the frequent changes of this industry.
My husband and I are also working on some different businesses – In the past we have grown, made extracts, award winning edibles and want to move back towards those in the future. The process for those involves differing types of licensing and other things that take time.
We’re also starting a screen printing company which will allow us to diversify and give out more swag at The Green Remedy which is a big part of cannabis branding and marketing. It will also give us the ability to have a bank account! The worst part of the cannabis industry is that we can’t have a bank account. We have large amounts of cash, which is unsafe, but we have found ways to deal with it.

What do you look for in employees?

We didn’t focus on the “branding” at first, I made our first logo on Microsoft Paint. Instead, we focused on the feel and vibe of the store, which meant we needed great people to work with us. We look for individuals with retail experience or who come from the service industry. You have to be familiar with IDs, controlled substances, inventory management and communicating with people.
We’ve hired both people with and without cannabis experience and that do or don’t consume. As a budtender, having personal experience is important. It’s hard, but not impossible, to be on that branch of the industry and not consume. Reception, processing, wholesale etc; not so much. We certainly don’t force anyone to consume but it’s good to know the products.
image1

What are tips you could give someone looking into the industry?

– Go into social networking groups, interact with people and make online friends. Just start meeting people. This is an industry where it does often help to know people because there are some trust issues.
– Educate yourself on cannabis and the local industry. Be ready to persevere because you’ll probably turn in a lot of resumes and not get many calls back.
– Don’t put “I like to smoke weed” on your resume. One of the biggest misconceptions is that we are always high while working. It’s not always about being high!
– Be yourself! We want to be able to see who you are as a person.
– Prepare yourself for a lot of attention to detail and to follow many specific steps.
– Be careful with the gimmicks of the industry. It’s better to take your time and make sure you’re getting into the right thing.
– There are still risks you have to be aware of. Cannabis is still not federally legal so there is still a risk of police involvement, banking issues etc. A few downsides but many upsides as well!

Advice for women?

This industry is a lot nicer to women than many others but at times people will still treat you poorly. Some, not all, may brush you off or talk to you differently. I have actually turned down a vendor for respect issues that remained unresolved after multiple attempts to make them aware. Compared to others, you will be appreciated more, there are A LOT of women involved in building the cannabis industry. You are not alone in this!

Why do you do what you do?

I want to be better tomorrow than I am today and leave a legacy for our children. We’re building something for future generations and I am proud of what I’m doing. There’s a lot of people that still don’t approve of what I do, but I believe in cannabis and believe it’s important.

image2

 

“Come check out The Green Remedy located in Southeast Portland Oregon. With great products on sale daily and an amazing crew to greet you; once you visit us you’ll see why “Quality Cannabis, Friendly Faces” isn’t just our motto but something we live by!”

image3

screen-shot-2017-04-19-at-2-32-47-pm

Meet Christina: Corporate Paralegal @ Frontera Law Group

1. What did you do before the industry?  Immediately before working in the cannabis industry, I worked with a start-up franchise in the restaurant industry for several years.  For their twenty plus locations, I created training programs, built operations systems, and ensured compliance with relevant governing bodies, such as the health department, employment laws, etc.  I have a background in law and I am drawn to compliance based, legal research, and paralegal type positions.
2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry?  My interest was sparked upon moving to Los Angeles, where I was greeted with medical cannabis shops everywhere I turned.  It was a new sight for me!  I didn’t know much about the industry in California, but when I saw an opening for a paralegal position with the preeminent Southern California cannabis law firm, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.  I had always considered cannabis to have extremely powerful healing capacities, so I wanted to be part of a team that focused on making legal access a reality for people in need.
3. How did you first get involved in the industry?  Working as a paralegal, I have learned a lot from experienced industry lawyers, professionals, and entrepreneurs.  For me, there was no better way to learn and to navigate California’s complex system of regulations.
4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself from others for working in the industry?  Honestly, never.  Most people are intrigued that I work at a cannabis law firm, and it becomes a great platform to spark a conversation.  I think people have reasonable questions and fears, and I love being able to discuss some of these issues, while hopefully providing some useful, relevant information.
5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?  I love knowing and seeing that there are patients out there that benefit from this medicine, and part of what our team does is helping make that more and more possible from a legal standpoint.
6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?  Follow your heart and do it for the right reasons.
screen-shot-2017-04-19-at-2-32-35-pm

Frontera Law Group is California’s premiere cannabis business specialty law firm. Frontera provides knowledgeable strategic advice for companies in and around the cannabis industry, helping each of its clients navigate the ever-changing landscape to build successful and sustainable enterprises while complying with California’s complex evolving patchwork of state and local rules and regulations.  Frontera Law Group’s practice areas include corporate structure, corporate formation and governance, corporate strategy, securities, mergers & acquisitions, complex cannabis-related business transactions, state and local regulations and compliance, licensing, intellectual property, entertainment, permits and applications, and real estate.  Frontera specializes in working with best in class businesses statewide to create a thriving regulated economy for cannabis in California. www.fronteralawgroup.com

SONY DSC

Meet Don: Partner @ 4front Advisors

1.What did you do before the industry?  I served for almost 10 years in the US Army as a Squad Leader in an armored tank division.  I learned the value of hard work and teamwork and how to accomplish goals.  After leaving the military, I was attracted to the hospitality industry and I was fortunate to spend 5 years with Hillstone (Houston’s Restaurants) learning about service and cuisine.  I spent several years training and preparing new managers for the culture of the Hillstone organization.   Next, I ran the west coast operations of Le Pain Quotidien where I oversaw a chain of 15 restaurants and retail shops as well as an organic bakery in Los Angeles.  After that, I joined the team at Sweetgreen in 2009 and moved to Washington DC, where I worked with an amazing team of people to build a scalable healthy fast casual model and drove the company to 25 stores and set them in motion to expand to the rest of the country.
2. How did you first get involved in the industry?  While I lived in Los Angeles I had begun to see the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the city.   These dispensaries were owned and operated by well intentioned people who often simply didnt have the experience to run a retail operation.  I knew that these early pioneers who were operating in a legal grey area could benefit greatly from professional employees and managers.  I saw this opportunity to bring my experiences with people, operations, and systems to the cannabis industry to help professionalize it.

3. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself  from others for working in the industry? If so, has it gotten better over time?   Obviously the perceptions that the general public has about marijuana have evolved over time.  It does appear that the majority have Americans are OK with prohibition of marijuana ending now.   I had a preconceived idea of marijuana patients when I came to the industry and that has dramatically changed after seeing so many patients quality of life improve.  The biggest test was telling my Mom that I was going into the marijuana industry.  When my 76 year old mom told me that  if she needed it and it was available, safe and legal she would want to use it as a medicine, I felt like there must be many people like her that would be open to learning more about cannabis as a medicine.

img_8948

4. Can you describe what you do during a normal work day?  I have worked with 4Front Ventures since 2014.  As many people in the cannabis world will tell you that there is no “typical day”.   Everyday something about this industry changes.  I work with clients in every time zone across the U.S.  I spend the day helping our clients through the challenges of each individual state program.  I work with our clients that are all in various stages of their business.  I have clients that are new to the industry and are trying to apply for a license in their state.  I work with clients to develop their implementation plan for getting them operational and I continue to work with them to ensure that they are running sustainable, compliant operations.

5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?  I am fortunate that the team that I work with are all happy, humble and hardworking people who share the vision of making the cannabis industry professional and respectable.  I enjoy training managers and employees who have never worked with patients about the benefits of cannabis as a medicine.  4Front Ventures has helped our clients win more than 50 licenses across the U.S. and all of our clients are focussed on opening and operating  best in class businesses.
6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?  Every business owner I meet in this industry is a true entrepreneur.   They have built their business from scratch and have often worked every position within their operation.   There is nothing that they haven’t done or couldn’t do themselves, so as a job seeker, you need to convey how you are going to make their lives easier.     Owners are looking for someone that is willing to work as hard as they have.   Be flexible about what you are willing to do to get your foot in the door and get educated on the rules and laws of cannabis in your jurisdiction so that you come to the process with some knowledge.

SONY DSC

9/20/16. www.bermanphotos.com

Meet Bryson: Dispensary Development Consultant

1. What did you do before the industry?

Early in my life I recognized that I had an innate talent for anticipating the needs of others. As a result, I developed a career in hospitality, specifically in hotel and restaurant management. I was the kid who had a paper route at 13 and worked 30 hours/week as a busboy at a local Chinese restaurant. The outcome of that deeply entrenched work ethic combined with a natural focus on predicting end-user behavior was a willingness to take calculated risks. As a result I had earned sufficient career capital to land a sweet union gig on the Upper East Side and I relocated to New York in 2009. In late 2014 I was the restaurant manager at a swank hotel lobby lounge in the West Village in New York. I had achieved much of what I set out to and yet found myself increasingly unhappy. And I learned then, success follows happiness. I decided to return to my hometown of Seattle, WA in preparation of a major career pivot..
9/20/16. www.bermanphotos.com

2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry? How did you first get involved in the industry?

I began my studies at NYU in the fall of 2000. The following year we bore witness to the most horrific day in recent history. Many of my fellow students were rightfully traumatized and often living in an extended state of panic that for some of them continues to this day. Being born and raised in Seattle (where, even in my teens, cannabis use was deeply rooted and culturally tolerated) I sought relief from my pain in cannabis. You can imagine my surprise when I was arrested for public consumption of a 1/2 gram joint.

Spending over 2 days in central booking is an unpleasant and frightful experience at any age. In 2001 with holding cells filled beyond capacity and the justice system still recovering from the chaos that followed September 11th, it was a uniquely disproportionate punishment. And yet, as other people of color will attest, it happens every single day in every single city in our country. I sat in a van locked in cuffs with 8 other prisoners, all minorities, and the majority of us were arrested that day for the same thing: smoking a joint, a blunt or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When I returned to Seattle in 2014, I immediately had my sights set on building a career upon the shifting sands of the cannabis paradigm. Having a qualifying condition I was able to get a medical authorization and began familiarizing myself with the industry from the bottom up.
fullsizerender

3. Walk us through a normal work day?

In the last few years I’ve been fortunate in having the opportunity to experience a variety of work roles from trimmer to inventory specialist. Everyday is far from normal! In August 2015, I began working with Dockside Cannabis to launch their second retail location in the SoDo section of Seattle. To the naked eye, a “pot shop” might function just like any other retail store. However the labyrinth of regulatory measures makes operations exponentially more difficult. At every level, the attention to detail required is extraordinary. Mistakes are costly for business owners and employees (failing to check an ID is a terminable offense in most stores) so most of my time in the store was devoted to developing systems that aimed to minimize errors. For instance, inventory is a mind-boggling enterprise for any modern storefront, however each product is required to have a unique, and intact, barcode. Every single preroll, cookie, cartridge and gram. In the first year, my days were consumed with selling lots of weed! Then there was all the counting, organizing, monitoring and communicating of sales data. Eventually I was able to focus on leading a group of volunteers from the industry in civic stewardship and environmental advocacy projects.

4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself from others for working in the industry?

Living in a state where adult use is permissible has reduced the negative implications considerably, however reality is a bit more nuanced. Perception is rife with bias and so while we might surround ourselves with tolerant friends and family, the mind is prone to resistance. The fact remains that American society at large still views the use of cannabis for therapeutic or recreational purposes with skepticism and condemnation. Openly expressing that prejudice is socially unacceptable, but those opinions are still tightly held by many in private.
img_2985

5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?

Being able to integrate my ‘criminal’ past into my present career path is a unique opportunity and the ultimate reward. Imagine… a simple mistake that cost me everything just 15 years ago is now a non-criminal offense punishable by ticket carrying a nominal financial penalty.

Since I missed out on finishing my degree at NYU, I spend my free time studying economics, finance and psychology. My experience in the industry has given those lessons remarkable new context and has allowed me to generate real insights as an outsider. Discovering this potential has been an incredible gift that would not have come without the emergence of legalized cannabis.

6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?

Much of the content out there on this topic will be irrelevant to your individual situation, so don’t read it! Take some time to learn about the main product segments.. in real life! Look at them, touch them, and by all means use them if you can. No matter what anyone says, this industry is like no other. So, even if your company’s product doesn’t touch the plant, a limited understanding of the end-user will eventually lead to poor decisions. Put more simply, if you get to know the products then you will get to know the people. And, if you know the people, then you have much better odds of landing the job of your dreams.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Meet Lauren: Freelance writer and agent of cannabis

What’s your story?

I was an over achiever growing up. I was a pageant queen, voted “Future First Citizen” of my small rural hometown, and kept super busy. Then I went to college (UC Santa Cruz) and just slowed down, smoked alone for the first time, and started being more reflective, started writing.  I really had the best time studying literature at a less-conventional school like UC Santa Cruz.

After school I needed to find work with just an arts degree. I was nannying and making 400$ a month when I first moved to Portland, so I put my name in a staffing service and got a great-paying cubicle job with Cummins, a Fortune 500 company. All of a sudden I was processing sales paper work for generators I didn’t understand, getting full benefits. I saw dispensaries popping up around town, had this excess income and was tired of going to my sisters shady art school friends to buy cannabis. I became a medical patient and picked up a shift bud tending at a great dispensary on the weekends.

img_1270

How did you start writing for the Willamette Week?

A fellow bud tender had told me how Willie Weed, the first weed columnist in the WW, came in regularly. I saw that they had started doing strain reviews and that was really controversial back in 2013. No major paper was issuing strain reviews other than HighTimes… Leafly didn’t even have a mobile-friendly web page yet.

I emailed the general Willamette Week email and said that I was a patient, that I liked to write, and that I would love to help contribute. Three weeks later, the guy who was writing for the weed column invited me to lunch where I presented my first sample strain review.

They loved it, and that was really my foot in the door. Me being honest about smoking weed and taking the content seriously helped me begin writing at the biggest newspaper in Portland read by 20-30 year olds.

What happened next?

A family friend saw what I was doing in the industry, and saw that I had corporate experience. He offered me a job managing his new dispensary, then called Brooklyn Holding Company.

One thing that people don’t think about is business structure. There’s no training manual or employee handbook for dispensaries. Luckily I worked for a really good shop as a bud tender and was able to build my idea of a professional method of retail cannabis.

The dispensary did not survive the legislative and market challenges in 2015, but it had allowed me to get out of the cubicle 8-5 and still make a living. While my coworkers had been shocked at my decision to leave that stable desk job for something so volatile, only a year after I left, my old boss came to me for advice on tapping into the cannabis industry for new business growth. That was incredible validation that times were changing.

When I started with the Willamette Week in 2014, I started with a fake name and I wasn’t honest about my identity in the paper. Once it was legalized in Oregon, I came out of the cloud and began writing under my real name. I’m proud to say that I’m writing about weed and that I consume because it has helped me find work after college with a literature degree and has given me a wealth of connections for future job opportunities generating content for new brands and reporting on legislation. I would rather write an extraction manual than process 35 orders for a chemical plant.

What have you learned since working in the industry?

When I graduated with a degree I at least had clerical experience, like a lot of other young people, which is what this industry needs. 

True growers aren’t the type of people to have office experience, so they typically have no earthly idea of how to run an office. You need clerical skills to run a business, you have to hire a bookkeeper to help prepare for the extra tracking requirements and tax prep. There’s so much opportunity for administrative work that’s more fulfilling and looser than the typical cubicle maze. 

It’s one thing to find work in the brewing industry or any booming liquor industry, but cannabis doesn’t kill you or do significant harm to your body. Every once in a while, you get that patient that grabs your forearm and says, “do you understand how this is changing my life? do you understand how I’m off the 10 medicines that made me feel sick everyday?”

Even with the recreational customers, you get the parents that come in who haven’t spoken to their kids for years because of this and now they’re finding there’s something to it.

I do think it’s important for writers that don’t know how to find work to understand everyone needs copy. Someone has to write tweets and captions. Also, there’s a lot of work that doesn’t involve touching marijuana if you are uncomfortable with it. I think of friends that are working in HVAC and security camera businesses and they’re the ones that are really needed in this industry and they’re always going to have a job.

img_4883

Have you ever felt stigmatized for working in the industry?

When I first started working at a dispensary on the weekends, and then really got involved as a manager of a dispensary, I did feel like certain peers felt a sense of pity for my inability to grow up, or just grow out of smoking weed habitually. Plenty of people who work in this industry don’t smoke weed, but I happen to, and it helps me understand growing innovations and the genetic varietals in a way that reading can’t. So I didn’t feel self-conscious or thought that I was avoiding growing up, because I just wanted to be as qualified an individual as possible to do a good job in this business. It helped that my parents were very supportive. They came from subversive backgrounds, my mom’s family was Japanese and went through the internment camps, and my Grandpa actually had a hand in opening up Spartacus, one of Portland’s most famous sex shops. No one would do business with him, but he found a an Arab man to help him. So this grey-area medical marijuana world sort of woke up the cowboy in me, I felt empowered to follow my instincts and dive into this industry after observing the obvious boom taking place around me.

A lot of people think working in this industry is easy. Do you?

It’s a lot of work. Yes it’s super fun but anything that is this much fun requires a lot of work. There’s more security in a dispensary than a jewelry store, there’s more software updates and new methods then if you were working in an apple store because laws and regulations are changing every year. The real problem is that the people running things are so slammed that takes you months to even reach them when you do have questions. It’s a really bizarre environment where you need to be on your toes, but hard work is rewarded. People are so hungry to see hard workers. People are beginning to realize that they need professional people to help them grow a business. That’s the biggest thing right now, figuring out that they can’t do this alone and they’re going to need to hire other people qualified for certain roles.

I’ve yet to see many dispensary owners driving around in luxury cars or buying second homes. Any money rushing in, they invest back into their business. Most of these people put in their life savings to get it going, and they still get taxed more than the average business. You can do everything right but if you’re not in the right location where people can reach you easily you’re not going to have enough business to make profits to sustain. I certainly don’t know a lot of the millionaires, but the people that made big money were the people that did it before taxes came in, and now that money is buried away somewhere. We really won’t know what the industry will look like for a couple of years.

img_3375
screen-shot-2017-04-10-at-8-31-18-pm

Thoughts on the Portland Cannabis Scene…

If you’ve ever thought about moving to Portland, and have an interest in working in the cannabis industry, we highly recommend it!! Having grown up in California, I’ve only really seen the differences between LA, OC, SD, the central valley, and SF, I thought I’d seen it all… I was wrong. The people are friendlier, and seem to really care about customer service. They really know their strains, and how to recommend products. Everywhere I went seemed to have an amazing work environment.

The major difference in Oregon is that you need an OLCC workers permit to work in the cannabis industry. Yes, OLCC stands for Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and we think it’s weird that they are regulating the industry.. but it seems to be working from a ‘tourist’ perspective.

A few weeks ago we attended TechFestNW + PitchFest in Portland, Oregon. All we knew going into the event was we’d be one of a few cannabis companies pitching (out of the 70 competing in Pitchfest), and there was a keynote speaker nicknamed “The Wizard of Weed”… At a mainstream tech event?…Yes.
screen-shot-2017-04-10-at-8-49-15-pm

First, we’ll start with our Airbnb host, Isabelle. She was so passionate about her little “cannabis cafe” and it was awesome to see her hosting legal cannabis/420 yoga events, cooking classes, and board game/poker nights. We were out and about all day/night but we met plenty of great people through her and had to give her a shoutout! She is one of the few “420 friendly” hosts in Portland 😉

Now back to the event.. PitchFest was awesome, and we received great feedback from the Judges and the audience! We didn’t win this time but we appreciate the opportunity and learned a lot!

As I mentioned, one of the keynote speakers was Jeremy Plumb, CEO of FarmaPDX (The Wizard of Weed). He gave a great presentation on opioid issues and how cannabis can help.




Prūf Cultivar was also one of the main event sponsors, and had constant foot traffic at their booth throughout the conference. It was awesome to see the Portland tech community embrace cannabis.

screen-shot-2017-04-10-at-8-30-48-pm screen-shot-2017-04-10-at-8-29-47-pm

Overall, we visited a few dispensaries and networked with a few very influential people in the Oregon cannabis community. We have a few posts that we will be sharing over the next few weeks highlighting some of the people we met in Oregon.

profile

Meet Adelia: CEO @ Direct Cannabis Network (DCN)

1. What did you do before the industry?

I previously worked in the consumer electronic industry, which was the path I originally envisioned being a career.

2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry?

How did you first get involved in the industry? As I was building my career in the consumer electronic industry, I ran into some life changing events. 3 years ago, I ran into some health issues. My fiancé and I found out that I was pregnant, originally it was a moment of happiness that quickly transformed when I started having some complications. I was put on bedrest and a day before going to my next doctor’s appointment I had my fiancé rush me to the emergency room. I had to have an emergency surgery due to life threatening complications. Quickly after I was prescribed a prescription cocktail assortment, although the prescriptions were supposed to help with my recovery it actually hindered it and my fiancé stepped in and suggested I turn to medical cannabis. Which began my journey into looking at cannabis differently, as I tell many other’s I consider myself a patient first and an entrepreneur second. This in turn began the journey to creating Direct Cannabis Network.

adelia-dcn-arcview

3. Walk us through a normal work day?

I wake up usually around 6am, I start my day with a little bit of meditation, then usually scroll through my emails and flag the important ones and review my schedule. I then head into the office and do a quick check in with the team. Right now we wear many hats, so my day is usually filled with customer outreach, reviewing final edits on our written and video content, searching for innovative technology and new startups in the industry, sales calls and currently meeting with potential investors or applying to VC firms as we push to close our Seed round. My days usually are 12-14 hours days however, I do try to include at minimum 30 minutes in the day to break and regroup.
sumit-dcn-talks-bts
4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself from others for working in the industry?

It is interesting, originally when I first become more vocal about my cannabis use, I noticed many people steering away from me, however, I also received a lot of support privately. Many people would reach out and tell me how courageous I was and would share a story of their cannabis experience whether it was personal or a close family member. As we go into 2017, the times have changed, I get calls, emails, text messages daily of many people who are now interested in learning about the cannabis industry and wondering how they can get involved. To me, I always look at it as an opportunity, and remind them that although everyone keeps talking about the “green rush” this is still a medicine, yes even those who consider themselves recreational users, and we all should take this opportunity to really help build an industry that can be better than many other industries out there, if we are mindful of better business practices, working together as a community and understanding that we can all grow this together.

14517488_10153797936841456_8947653376296318810_n

5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?

I have many however I will only name off a few. First is being able to connect and meet with so many passionate entrepreneurs, seeing the innovation and technology that is being developed. I consider myself a tech geek and so I am surrounded by that all day and it’s pretty awesome. The next part is the feeling where I feel like I can be completely me,goofy, geeky, authentic real Adelia, and I know the feeling is the same with so many other. We don’t need to put on a facade on, I actually have a request, I want you and your viewers to pay attention the next networking or educational event you go to, take a look around and you will notice the variety of people in the room, all here for so many different reasons, but the end reason is all for the same thing and that is cannabis.

whitney-dcn-talks

6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?

Yes, when trying to get a job in this industry, find something you already know and do that. Also, be mindful of your intention, don’t just look at this for making money, really network and educate yourselves on this industry before jumping in. I honestly dislike the term “green rush”, because there is still so much work to be done and there are still people sitting in jail and we cannot forget about them. So educate yourselves, bring something that you are passionate about and good at in this industry and network. Many opportunities are a lot easier through word of mouth in this industry, so reach out to someone that you look up to, or that you feel you could connect with. And of course sign up for Paragon! 😉

profile

Direct Cannabis Network is the leading digital B2B news network highlighting the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry. Our mission is to create an ecosystem for the entrepreneurial community with the industry, by creating original quality content in the form of editorial press, short videos and DCN’s original web series shows. To learn more go to www.directcannabisnetwork.com

scatizzi-j-csd-1-color

Meet Jack: Managing Director @ Canopy San Diego

 1.What did you do before the industry?

Similar to most people in the noncultivation parts of the industry, I did not follow a straight-line path to a career in cannabis.  I actually have a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology & Immunology from Saint Louis University and spent over a decade doing academic research on autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.  About 5 years I decided to leave academic research and began working with a local Angel Investor network, Tech Coast Angels San Diego, helping evaluate their drug discovery, medical device and other life science investment opportunities.  I was eventually brought in as a full-time employee responsible for sourcing/recruiting local deal flow, reviewing all funding applications, managing the company selection process, and coordinating the Due Diligence efforts for any deals that generated a substantial interest from the membership.

2.What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry?

While I was with Tech Coast Angels San Diego Tradiv pitched to our investors and received a solid amount of initial interest thus I was asked to complete some high-level due diligence on the market opportunity. Even though only a couple of our members were comfortable with the risk associated with investing in a cannabis ancillary technology company it opened my eyes to the fact that there was a real opportunity for tech companies to capitalize on a number of basic needs within the growing legal cannabis market.

3. How did you first get involved in the industry?

I was approached by our CEO Eric Gomez when he was recruiting a local management team for Canopy San Diego.  Eric reached out to Patrick and Micah the founders of CanopyBoulder regarding launching a Southern California focused version of their Canopy accelerator program and was given the green-light assuming he could recruit the right local management team. Eric and I had a number of mutual connections within the San Diego entrepreneurial community, including his father being a member of Tech Coast Angels San Diego, so he was aware of my reputation and my skill sets and recruited me to handle the day to day operations of the Canopy San Diego accelerator program.
union-tribune-photo-jack-eric

4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself from others for working in the industry?

I have never felt any negative stigma, but that could be because I am on the investment side of the industry and we only invest in companies developing technology and infrastructure solutions to support the legal cannabis industry. I will say that depending on the social situation, when someone asks me what I do for a living I am a bit selective in whether or not I initially mention that I am in the cannabis industry.  Not because I am shying away from any potential stigma, but simply because once I mention I  am in the industry, cannabis tends to dominate the conversation for the rest of the night and all people remember about me is that I am the cannabis guy.

5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?

I love that it’s such a nascent industry and thus no longstanding cultural norms have been established.  This allows for an open influx of diversity within in the industry, more than you would see say the traditional tech sector, which brings a diversity of experiences and thought that will only make the entire industry stronger.  At Canopy we are specifically looking to promote and encourage diversity within in the industry and I believe we have done an excellent job finding founders that represent a wide variety of diversity, both cultural and as it relates to previous experiences.

6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?

The best way to figure out what you want to do in the industry is to dive right in and identify what aspects of the industry interest you most. When I decided that I wanted to move away from academic research and transition into a more business focused role I found a couple of local organizations that essentially allowed me to intern with them for free for 4-6 months until I figured out that I was most interested in the investment side.  More specifically if you are interested in becoming a canna-entreprenuer jump in and get as much hands-on experience as possible as it relates to the business you want to build.  An excellent example, recently I was speaking with a prospective candidate with robotics experience and wanted to design robots to handle the processing for extracted oils and I suggest that he find an entry level position with an extraction company to get firsthand experience as it relates to handling cannabis extracts and filling cartridges.

scatizzi-j-csd-1-color