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!
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.
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!
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.
“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!”