Image for post
Image for post

Cannabis Isn’t Free Until Everyone is Free — One of my passions is cannabis amnesty, and working towards the eradication of incarceration and criminal records because of cannabis-related crimes. While many of us work freely and without too many challenges in the industry, and many of us are making thousands and millions of dollars from the plant, tens of thousands of people still sit in jail for minor cannabis “crimes”. As I do my work every day, I always remind myself that cannabis isn’t totally free until everyone who has worked in its name are totally free as well.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anne-Marie Fischer of CannaWrite.


Image for post
Image for post

Share, share, share…There is more than enough cannabis business for everyone. Together we can do so much more. Partnerships are crucial at this stage in the cannabis game. Elevating one another; I am all about that. I want everyone to win, and I think we can do that by working together.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Cox.

Natalie Cox has been described as a power woman of Canadian cannabis. She first came to the plant for personal reasons — she realized she had been coping badly with untreated anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia. Cannabis, she says, helped — it gave her a better quality of life. With the federal legalization of cannabis in Canada, she felt empowered to start growing her own. She was good at it — and so, after a lifetime serving customers in retail, she determined to go back to college to study Horticulture. She also became an influential member of the Canadian cannabis community — and she realized her voice was needed — there was other advocacy work left to do. Noticing a jarring lack representation by visible minorities, Cox went online in search of groups where she could find other Black women interested in cannabis, being vocal in the space. Over conversation with Khadisha Thornhill, the two lamented over the lack of spaces for Black women and committed to filling to the gap and creating the space they craved, birthing Afro Cannada Budsistas. …


Image for post
Image for post

Never forget that people depend on your products to make them feel their best. Without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist. Listen to their feedback and respond. Be empathetic and authentic

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Stan Thompson, of Remedio Wellness.

Stan was born and raised in Southern California. A lover of all things outdoors, he was always looking for the next adventure. Growing up, he had a number of entrepreneurial role models that taught him the value of paving your own path. Stan always had in his mind that he would one day have his own business. After graduating with a degree in economics from USC, Stan spent time working in the high-end residential real estate segment working alongside some of the top brokers in LA. This career path allowed for mobility and freedom to pursue other business opportunities and it was here that he gained knowledge in sales, marketing and catering to high-end customers and their needs. Stan always aspired to found his own company and saw the opportunity in late 2018 when the CBD industry was in its nascent stages. After months of planning and research, Remedio Wellness was founded. …


Image for post
Image for post

As a business owner, you must be ready to take risks. This was an area I was very wary of in the beginning of my career, and I believe I lost out on some really wonderful opportunities because I wasn’t willing to put myself — or my team or my capital — out there. Definitely do the research before even contemplating accepting any type of offer, but if the sole factor holding you back is fear, it’s probably worth it.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Tennant.


Image for post
Image for post

I’m also worried that hemp farmers are being left behind as CBD turns into a commodity crop. Farmers take a great risk in planting and growing hemp and we owe it to them to make it a sustainable livelihood. Right now, there is a glut of CBD out there, and many farmers are suffering because they’re sitting on biomass nobody wants.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg Dicum.

Cultivating Wellness founder and CEO Greg Dicum leads strategic growth and advises clients on CBD policy, market landscapes, and product strategy. Prior to Cultivating Wellness, Greg was Cofounder of Calyx & Bract, a company that imported organic hemp-derived CBD from Europe. Before CBD, Greg cofounded, ran, and exited MondoWindow, a technology startup. Prior to that he was an award-winning journalist for a decade, writing for the New York Times, The Economist, and other global top tier publications. Greg has degrees from Princeton (Biology) and Yale (Forestry) and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Image for post
Image for post

Don’t focus on a particular age bracket — you might think your customer is a certain demographic, but you might really be surprised at the age range of users. While I have never been surprised by this since I grew up in a traditional Rasta family where people of all ages used the plant, I often hear others in the industry talking as though the cannabis market was limited to millennial or something and that is far from the case.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Asha Richards.


Image for post
Image for post

…How stigmatized it can be when you say you work in cannabis and how many people scratch their heads on why you left a career for it. Think this comes with the territory and as a founder in this space; you really play the part of educator and advocate 90% of the time. It’s something that’s needed as we crystallize public opinion over time.

As a part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Thanh Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder of Good Company Brands. With over a decade of executive expertise at the intersection of culture, creators and technology, Thanh’s innovative approach to brand and digital marketing has exponentially grown first-in-class communities like VSCO, developed legacy brands and artists at Warner Music and Atlantic Records, and cultivated authentic influence at YouTube. As a Vietnamese-American immigrant moving to the heart of technology culture in the Bay Area at age 5, Thanh has always operated with an open mind and been propelled by an insatiable curiosity about the everyday life of those around him. …


Image for post
Image for post

Do a few things well. Quality over quantity. If you do products, focus on the most impactful ones. If you have a store, create a niche. In a hemp market saturated with over 3,600 brands, it’s too easy to disappear into a sea of options. Focus on what makes you unique and lead with that.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shimyrre Britt, Co-Founder and Director of Product at Mana Artisan Botanics.

Shimyrre holds a deep reverence for the interconnection of the body and spirit through the plant world, having spent 15 years exploring the dynamics between plants, people and food. With a degree as a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner and extended training in holistic nutrition and traditional plant medicine, Shimyrre specializes in herbal formulary for physicians and fellow herbalists. She is the head herbalist for Honaunau Farm, as well as the product formulator and Director of Product for Mana Artisan Botanics™.


Image for post
Image for post

Don’t try to know or do it all. I like the idea of learning about a topic in the “inch wide, mile deep” fashion. This means you really dig into the one topic you’re interested in instead of skimming the surface of many. If you’re looking to work with cannabis, hone in on what really lights you up. Do you love working with people face-to-face or would you be better off programming a new app to help track cannabis consumption? Are you curious about how it all works in the body or do you love the idea of creating delicious edibles? Whatever it is that makes you happy, focus on only it for a LONG TIME. Resist the urge to dive down all the cannabis rabbit holes, there are too many! …


Image for post
Image for post

The rapid growth of the industry has excited me from the beginning. There’s so much unlocked potential for healing that will only reach the masses through normalization and education. More recently a source of excitement exists around cannabis’s status being moved to “essential.” The pandemic has been a difficult time but it has put many things in perspective including the need of many people to use cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals as an anxiety reducer and sleep aid among other remedies. Finally, the place of women in the industry excites me. Honestly most of the images and products and packaging that I feel is leading, are items created by women. …

About

Len Giancola

Founding Partner of MJ.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store