Loading...

Real Cannabis Stories

20161011_154913

Meet Luke S Zimmerman Esq. LL.M: Cannabis IP attorney

1. What did you do before the industry?

Before I started my own law firm focused on intellectual property in the cannabis industry I worked at a law firm that handled trusts, estates, and some civil litigation. When I was working at the law firm I was dating a glass blower who had a glass studio in our garage. I saw that she had passion for the art she was making and found a lot of happiness from picking an unconventional path, that was ancillary to the cannabis industry. When the law firm I was working for broke apart and I had to make my own way, I realized that I should pick an area of law that I Ioved, believed in, and could be passionate about helping clients, that is how I picked intellectual property and cannabis.

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

I obtained my philosophy degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene, I also feel like while living in Eugene I obtained an undergraduate degree in cannabis culture. This grew into obtaining my masters in cannabis culture while I lived in Amsterdam studying, at The University of Amsterdam, my masters in international trade and investment law. I think life knew I was going practice law in the cannabis industry before I did. It took me a few times to pass the California Bar Exam, on the time that I was successful I left Ontario, CA and I drove to my friend’s house in LA and trimmed for 4 hours as a way to decompress from 18 hours of testing. A few months later I ended up taking classes at Oaksterdam, which a year later turned into me founding Oaksterdam
University’s intellectual property section. I know I am the only person in the world to have an advanced degree from the University of Amsterdam, certificates from Oaksterdam, and also teach a cannabis law class.

20170710_144133_hdr

3.Walk us through a normal work day? (Or things you do on a regular basis if you don’t have a normal work day) 

A normal work day is guaranteed to be filled with emails, client phone calls, and reading, either articles on the cannabis industry or new law. Many days I will also be required to spend time doing research on TESS (explain this acronym as you do with USPTO), which the is the federal trademark search engine on the USPTO( United States Patent and Trademark Office) website. I spend a lot of time explaining to people how intellectual property relates to the cannabis industry, especially trademarks.

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

I have, I remember when I started my law firm I told other attorneys that I was focusing on cannabis Ip and quite a few of them didn’t understand the future need for Intellectual Property protection for cannabis. I remember being at a friend from law school’s wedding in New Jersey, this was only a few months after I launched my law firm, and at least a 1⁄4 of the people in attendance were lawyers. I kept telling people about my new law firm and I actually had someone say that Ip in cannabis didn’t exist, though to be fair the concept hadn’t really hit the East Coast yet.dsc03345
5.What has been your favorite thing(s) about working in the industry? 

My favorite thing about working in the cannabis industry is helping people and working to shift the paradigm on how cannabis is viewed in the United States. I believe the United States is in dire need of drug policy reform, especially with cannabis laws. The highlight of my career working in the industry was volunteering pro-bono on the Clemency Project 2014, where I successfully assisted a non-violent drug offender serving a life sentence
obtain a commutation from President Obama.

20161011_154913

6. What is a challenge you have faced since working in the cannabis industry? 

I think the biggest challenge without any hesitation is the Federal Government. The ostrich like stance of the federal government about cannabis legalization is a constant frustration. The Canadian Government has shifted its policy to allow its citizens to become legal millionaires by leading the world in developing an international cannabis trade, while here in the United States we still are making people felons. We still cannot obtain federal trademarks directly on cannabis goods and services, while other countries federal governments have allowed cannabis businesses to register their trademarks on cannabis, hash, and cultivation services at the WIPO(World Intellectual Property Organization) level. I recently found out the United States has over 3000 trademark applications filed with either the word “marijuana” or “cannabis” in the description of services, but none of these trademarks can actually touch anything directly connected to the plant, this is an unreasonable burden of an emerging industry.

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

Learn the history of the cannabis industry. I have found a lot of people who are entering the cannabis industry do not understand the persecution that cannabis users, both medical and adult use, have suffered. I credit Oaksterdam University, and especially Debbie Goldsberry, with giving me a better understanding of this history of cannabis in the United States. I would also suggest you find mentors who already working in the area of the cannabis industry you want to be involved with and develop relationships with them. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for Kali Grech, Brendan Hallinan, Mary Shaprio, Anne Glazer, and Tony Serra. Without meeting these attorneys I am not sure I would have had the confidence to focus my practice on cannabis. I think the last piece of advice is also after you start to get established help other people. Cannabis legalization is still something we are fighting for and if meet someone who’s heart is in the right space take the time to educate them about the cannabis industry.

20161013_113207_hdr

Law Office of Luke S. Zimmerman APC
201 Spear St. Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94105
img_9071

Meet Elianne: Assistant Manager @ Green Wolf LA

1. What did you do before the industry?

Before I started in the industry back in 2012, I was studying to be a fashion designer FIDM in downtown LA. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do since I was a medical marijuana smoker due to my anxiety. Before Fashion Design my passion was to become a criminal investigator. Since I was already a recreational user and also a medical marijuana user, I wasn’t able to succeed as a criminal investigator since I had to join the police force before I was an investigator

2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry? How did you first get involved in the industry?
What first sparked my interest was when I smoked at the age of 14. It made me feel so much better than the pills I was taking. The whole science behind it and how each strain did something different. I wanted to help others since it saved me from my pharmaceuticals that I had been taking for years. In 2009 I stepped into my first dispensary and at that moment I realized I wanted to be apart of the movement.
3. Walk us through a normal work day? (things you do on a regular basis)
For the last two years I’ve been working at GreenWolf in Los Angeles California a Prop 215 PreICO collective. I am currently the assistant manager so I get to handle the cash outs, managing shop product orders, working with vendors, & interacting with patients. I Also do the cashier and budtend as needed. I work five days a week up to 50 hours. Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing about GreenWolf. I’ve worked at a few Top collectives in Los Angeles & this one by far has been the most influential to myself as a boss lady in the industry!
4. What have been some of the hardest things about working in the industry? 
As a woman I feel like we are personally discriminated against in this industry. There is still a strong stigma against women in this Mail driven in the street. I’ve had moments for men will shut me down before I can say a word without them even knowing her knowledgeable I really am. I have met many very strong industry women out there who are making bigger and better moves than most men that I’ve met.
I have nothing personal against men in the industry but I feel like men and women could still do the same and accomplish the same even more and greater things than each other. We should all just support each other and help each other build and gain knowledge on what we can do next to become better than what we were already are.

5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?
Other than feeling like I am discriminated as a woman at times I feel like I have made my mark in the industry as someone who is educated & also very involved. It feels like forever but over the last few years people decided to split and start their own ventures. So it’s been easy for me to transition since I have met most of the people who split up and have become some of the top brands and industry.
6. Have you ever felt stigmatized for working in the industry?
My favorite moments have been working at all the events that I’ve worked in the last six years. From the high Times cannabis cup’s to Hitman Glass Chalice Festival, KushStock, and even secretsesh. I’ve met so many amazing patients, brands, celebrities, talents and many other other influential people involved.
7. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?
7. For anyone who is seeking to be a part of the industry is that you must have a true passion for helping others. Also Being educated and knowledgable on products and all processes on how things are made & work.
Understanding current technology and loss is also a very important thing. Number one is having passion for the Industry and everyone involved. That includes patients, vendors, and others trying to just get involved and be apart. Please stay educated & on top of all current laws, products & processes.
Eli Michele
Marijuana user since 2004, MMJ patient since 2009.
Instagram: @yourfavbudtender

How to ACTUALLY get a job at a job fair

Whether you’re passively or actively job-hunting, job fairs offer an excellent opportunity to directly meet and converse with companies who are hiring. To get the most from these events, it’s imperative to come prepared. Bring a folder with several copies of your resume (Folder keeps your resumes neat, and shows you’re prepared).

via GIPHY

If you know how many companies are going to be at the event, you should bring at MINIMUM that same number of resumes. Also, if you know ahead of time what companies are going to be present, take some time to visit their websites and/or social media to familiarize yourself with their brand. In researching the companies that will be present beforehand, your goal should be to try to identify where you might be a valuable addition to their team. For example, if a retail company is opening another brick and mortar shop, you should talk about how your experience working in retail will make you an asset to their business in that you need very little training and can assist in the development of new hires. If you communicate exactly how you can provide value to their business, you will be able to book next steps to begin the interview process. Your goal at job fairs should be to make good first impressions, while also collecting emails and booking that first initial job screening. So even if an employer says to apply online, ask for their email and let them know that you’ll be following up with them. Better yet, if you’re able to schedule a follow up conversation on the spot, you can be confident you’re in strong position to start the interview process. Ask for their availability and ask to book a time to chat about a role where you can add value. Try to narrow down specifically what you can do for them. Its critical to be able to say specifically where you see yourself adding value rather than saying you can wear multiple hats. If they need support for the sales team, talk about how your sales experience would make you a great candidate.

via GIPHY

 

As a general mindset, you should go in with a sales attitude. Identify-Qualify-Discovery-Close. Identify the companies with whom you want to work. Qualify the opportunity in the sense that you want to ask those specific companies what openings they have now or better yet, ask where they need help to grow their business. Furthermore, ask about specific qualities they think are necessary to successfully executive the responsibilities of the open role or to address the challenges they need to overcome to grow. Discovery-ask plenty of questions to further understand the needs of the company and gaps that must be filled for growth in their business. If getting their product into more dispensaries is their critical business objective, ask questions around how they are getting into dispensaries now, how many people they have working towards that goal, what areas they’re targeting, and if there are any areas they are unable to target due to a lack of resources. Hopefully it’s clear that you want to ask more questions and do more listening than talking. Finally, the close would be booking time with them to interview for a need/role you have uncovered in the discovery process. Putting it all together, if it works out perfectly, as an example- you know that some topical cream company is going to be present at the event. You first qualify it (where do they need help), if it’s something you can add value to then you begin discovery. If their challenges or open role is not relevant to your skills, you can still network, but don’t worry about how you can help them (at least in the short term).

 

via GIPHY

So lets say that topical cream company needs sales support and you can sell. Then ask a ton of questions finding out why they need more sales support; what business drivers are creating that demand, what areas geographically need focus, what types of people do they want to hire, etc. Finally, once you have all that info, you can say to a recruiter/hiring manager, “based on all this that you’ve told me, my experience doing X and my success with Y, I would make me a strong addition to your team. Let’s schedule time to talk later this week or early next week, what works best for you?” If you go in prepared, you can come out confident in the time you invested in attending the event.

Good luck this Sunday!! RSVP @ hitmanjobfair.eventbrite.com

 

 

screen-shot-2017-09-13-at-6-39-35-pm

miles-headshot

Meet Miles: Communications and Special Projects Manager @ Northern Emeralds

1. What did you do before the industry?
 
The short answer is that I wasn’t working, not in the traditional sense anyway. I grew up in Humboldt County and left home after high school to attend the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. After earning a BA in Philosophy from UO in 2010 and a teaching credential in English from Humboldt State University in 2011, I spent a year teaching English in Japan before returning home in the summer of 2013. By that time, I’d decided that I didn’t want to go into teaching as a career, and also that I didn’t feel comfortable shouldering a huge amount of debt in order to attend graduate school.
I wanted to take a closer look at what the idea of a “career” really meant to me. So, from 2013 until early 2016, I conducted a personal experiment that I came to refer to as “useful unemployment.” I lived at home with my mother and girlfriend (now wife). They generously paid the bills, and I tried to be as useful as possible without earning money. I doubled the size of my mother’s vegetable garden, installed a rain catchment and drip irrigation system, and spent six months helping two contractors build an addition to my childhood home so my girlfriend and I could have our own living space. I also began volunteering weekly at a local meat farm that practices intensive rotational grazing––a laborious but environmentally-friendly form of agriculture.
The best part of being usefully unemployed was that I had a lot of time to study. I read nonfiction books on a range of topics that interested me: philosophy, science, psychology, history, ethics, technology, and futurism. I also read as much fiction as I could manage. On my blog, words&dirt, I wrote book reviews for every book I read (which I also posted to my Goodreads profile), and kept a journal to document my experiences working on my family’s property. In 2015, I founded the Humboldt Learners’ Society––a collection of friends and family that meets monthly so that one member of the Society can teach something to the rest of the group. So even though I wasn’t embedded in a formal academic environment, I was very invested in continuing my self-education.
raymer-garden-extensionraymer-bookcase
 
2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry? How did you first get involved in the industry?
 
Being a Humboldt native, it was hard to avoid at least a passing interest in the cannabis industry. Even though I was never involved in the industry growing up and abstained from cannabis use until college, I always hoped that Humboldt would one day be able to safely embrace its identity as an epicenter of cannabis cultivation and innovation. Those of us who grew up in Humboldt and want to continue living here know that a regulated, thriving cannabis economy is our region’s ticket to sustained prosperity. It’s also the best way to ensure that the environmental abuses resulting from irresponsible cultivation practices in Humboldt and other nearby counties get reined in. So it’s fair to say that my personal values and interests aligned with the legal cannabis economy before I became directly involved with it.
My initial involvement with Northern Emeralds was largely due to favorable timing. Several of my friends helped put the company together in 2015, and as regulations and compliance deadlines started coming down the pike, they began looking around for help with projects such as permit applications, HR policy formation, community outreach, and building out the company’s internal infrastructure. So I jumped in and lent a hand with whatever needed doing, and eventually settled into a role maintaining company communications and managing special projects.
northern-emeralds-logo
3. Walk us through a normal work day? (Or things you do on a regular basis if you don’t have a normal work day) 
 
The content of my work varies a lot day-to-day, but I do try to follow a basic structure. I always get up early and work at home for 2-4 hours on email and projects that can be moved forward without input from other team members. Next, I try to read, write, or work in my garden for about an hour, if I have time. I follow this up with about 75 minutes of exercise––rowing machine for fifteen minutes plus an hour of running. Then I take lunch before attending meetings in the afternoons. Depending on the day, I may have just one meeting, or several. They may happen online, or in various physical locations in Humboldt. On the rare days when I don’t have any meetings, I usually try to get at least another hour or two of work done at home in the afternoons.
I follow this basic schedule pretty strictly on weekdays. I am a part-time employee, so I usually shoot for 4-6 hours per day, but I often put in more hours when my workload is particularly heavy. I try not to work much on the weekends, but sometimes I do work a bit on Sundays to get a jumpstart on my week.

 

4. Have you ever felt any stigma against yourself  from others for working in the industry?
 
Fortunately, no. Humboldt is a community that is very accepting of cannabis and supportive of individuals and companies who want to participate in a safe, regulated cannabis industry. My friends and family are very supportive of and curious about my work.
titan-og-promotional-picture
 
5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?
 
My favorite part about being in this industry at this time is that I get to help form a synthesis of two very different worlds. The first world is the old cannabis economy. This economy generated a lot of wealth, but was also unstable for workers and the environment because it was largely unregulated and untaxed. This should never have been the case since cannabis prohibition has always been morally and legally idiotic, but nevertheless, cultivators were forced for decades to operate in the shadows with no real chance of participating in the normal business world. Now, finally, we can begin to enter that other world.
This is a complex and difficult process, but extremely rewarding. Working with Northern Emeralds has opened up opportunities to educate myself about the chasm that exists between these two worlds, and has taught me to repeatedly seek ways to close the gap, slowly but surely. I love connecting the cannabis world with regulators, contractors, and other members of the “normal” business community. The more I do this, the more I realize just how much the values and interests of cultivators overlap with those of the communities in which they are embedded. There are tensions, disagreements, and misunderstandings, to be sure, but by and large it has been a collaborative process. There are so many positive-sum games that can be fruitfully cultivated, and I am passionate about identifying those and helping them grow.
That first part of my answer is largely outward-facing (i.e. about how my company interacts with other organizations), but there is an equally important inward-facing dynamic here. The compliant cannabis industry has a critical duty to confront and ameliorate the labor abuses that have sometimes run amok in the unregulated industry. I take great pride in helping to provide consistent, year-round work for our more than 50 employees, and have played a key role in understanding and working toward compliance with state and federal labor laws.
In my view, any good cannabis company will produce a good product and turn a profit, but a truly great company will also ensure that its employees are safe and well-paid, that they care about their work and have opportunities for advancement, and that they believe in the mission of delivering a truly superior product to consumers. I am excited about the progress that Northern Emeralds has made thus far.

 

6. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?
 
Given that I fell into the industry by way of serendipity more than anything else, I can’t really give advice about how to break into the cannabis world. However, I will say that I think cultivating one’s personal passions is absolutely critical. People in the cannabis industry love their work, and believe in it deeply. They want to work with people who are excited and driven, and the best way to project those qualities is to actually embody them as best you can, even if your background doesn’t have anything to do with cannabis.
If someone had suggested to me 18 months ago that the years I spent being “usefully unemployed” would help me be an effective member of the cannabis community, I would have laughed. But I now realize that the time and energy I spent on personal projects, both on my property and in my intellectual life, helped me hone skills that are somewhat unique in this line of work. It turns out that scrutinizing the details of a cultivation permit application isn’t so bad if you spend your spare time trying to grok what the hell David Hume was saying in A Treatise of Human NatureThat’s perhaps a bit of an esoteric example, but the point is that pursuing my passions helped me grow in ways that I couldn’t predict until I suddenly found myself taking on new challenges in a new environment. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
7. Why have you chosen to remain part time?

The main reason I am only part-time is that I am basically unwilling to work full-time. I have worked full-time in the past, and I always struggle psychologically when I force myself to commit the lion’s share of my energy to just one type of labor. I have so many avocational interests that I feel stifled if I have to narrow my focus too tightly. I also think having time and energy to pursue my personal passions makes me a happier, healthier, and more dependable contributor at work.
I am grateful that Northern Emeralds has accepted and embraced this aspect of my personality. I think the fact that the company has allowed me to carve out a space for myself on its management team under these circumstances is a testament to the organization’s diversity, flexibility, and authentic concern for the well-being of its employees.
  miles-headshot
kateandzee

Meet Kate: COO @ vetCBD

1. What did you do before the industry?

I was-and still am!-a veterinary nurse. I’ve been working mainly in emergency and critical care veterinary medicine since 2004 until I quit my hospital job in 2016 to focus solely on VETCBD.

2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry?

How did you first get involved in the industry? Dr. Tim Shu, who is the founder of VETCBD, and I first met when we worked together in the hospital setting. A few years after that, he contacted me and told me the research he was doing and about the company he started. I was instantly fascinated and began doing my own research. I came on board with him almost immediately. As veterinary professionals, our most important job is to advocate for our patients, because they can’t do so for themselves. Cannabis has so many therapeutic aspects for all animals that it is our job to utilize the plant to their benefit.

3. Walk us through a normal work day? (Or things you do on a regular basis if you don’t have a normal work day)

I truly love what I do. A normal day involves a little bit of everything! I take orders from our collectives, oversee deliveries, manage our VETCBD team, schedule and coordinate patient appreciation days and other events, work with charities, ensure compliance regarding our packaging, maintain our website and social media accounts, educating staff at collectives, communicate with veterinarians and their staff, and answering pet owners questions. My favorite part of the job is hearing people’s stories of how VETCBD has helped their pet. I entered veterinary medicine so I could help animals (and their people), and I feel so happy that I am continuing to do just that, in a different setting.

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

No, not really. I’ve gotten some funny looks sometimes, but I am always more than happy to explain what exactly it is that I do and how exactly cannabis can help heal pets and people. The more that people discuss cannabis and it benefits, the less stigma will be attached to the plant and to the people who use it, and I am happy to be a part of that discussion.

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

I don’t know what’s not to love! I feel so lucky to be in California and to have these incredible opportunities. Similar to the veterinary industry, the cannabis industry is a “small world”. People are happy and helpful for the most part, and very welcoming. There seems to be a passion to educate and advocate throughout. I also love that so many people in leadership and ownership positions are women.

6. What have been some of your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge has been trying to keep up with all of the regulations surrounding everything in our industry. Almost every aspect of the industry is constantly changing! It’s been both fun and a challenge to keep up with it.

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

View the cannabis industry as any other industry; hard work and dedication are key to your success. Expect to work hard, educate yourself, speak with as many people as you can who are involved in this space, keep up with both state and federal news, advocate, and have fun!

kateandzee

VETCBD Bio:
VETCBD was founded and is formulated specifically for pets by our veterinarian, Dr. Tim Shu. Animals have a similar endocannabinoid system as people do, and we bring cannabis as medicine to pets. Our tincture is lab tested for quality, safety, and efficacy. We use California-grown, organic medical marijuana to make VETCBD. VETCBD relieves pain and inflammation, reduces anxiety, decreases nausea, decreases frequency and severity of seizures, as well as other benefits that are currently being researched. Our team is strongly dedicated to education, research, and information. We are veterinary professionals and are available by phone or email every day of the week to speak with you and answer specific questions you have regarding your pet.
thinktank6

Meet Elizabeth: Brand Ambassador @ Moonmans Mistress

   1. What did you do before the industry?
Before the Cannabis industry I worked a waitress/bartender in the food and beverage industry. I’m also a triple threat Entertainer. (Singer, dancer, and actress)
2. What sparked your interest in the cannabis industry? How did you first get involved in the industry?
I’ve always been interested in the Cannabis industry since I lit up my first time at 10. I first got involved in the industry when I was 24. I was hired as a receptionist / bud-tender in San Diego. I became way more passionate about the medicine after my car accident four years ago.
 thinktank3 
3. Walk us through a normal work day? (things you do on a regular basis)
Typically, I’m a morning person that needs a little coffee & CBD to get it started. I’m not the only one in my house that needs CBD for breakfast. I have a senior citizen dog of 16 years, need I say more. My fitness and cannabis use go hand-in-hand. THC will help keep me focused when CBD will help with the pain and recovery process afterwards. The first session of the day is how I strategize my navigation for sales. From 10 to about 5 pm I’m on the hunt to preach the good word of Moonman’s Mistress Edibles. I head home around dinner time for a night meditation session with my 12 year old Roor.
unnamed-14
4. What have been some of the hardest things about working in the industry? 
The two hardest things I’ve come across is there is a lack of education and respect of time. I’m very passionate about the science behind the medication and I love to educate myself about it as much as possible. But I understand not everybody is as passionate as I. I ran into that problem a lot being a bud-tender. I would interrupt my co-workers or peers when they were giving out the wrong information and it would cause drama of some kind. The problem I run into now in sales is being “ghosted”. I wish managers/buyers at collectives would be more straightforward and respect your time.
 thinktank1
5. What have been some of your favorite things about working in the industry?
It is always a perk when you meet a like-minded passionate person. I love hearing how cannabis has saved other people’s lives other than my own.
6. Have you ever felt stigmatized for working in the industry?
The only time I ever feel stigmatized by my industry is when you go to some of the Big Smoke Out parties. I don’t appreciate it when people turn medicating into a competition. I’m just trying to manage my back pain, knee pain, anxiety, and PTSD. I understand party culture for what it is and not all events are like that in the industry.
thinktank6
7. Do you have any advice to job seekers looking into the industry?
Keep your mind open and ask the employer as many questions as possible. The reason why I say this is because there are companies that try to take advantage of good hard working people. I will not name names but it has happened to me. I am blessed and fortunate to work for Moonman’s Mistress. They are one of the few companies that MAKE SURE to give you a good clean product. There is no funny business when it comes to their products or their management. I love my team!