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Women Leading The Cannabis Industry: “It takes all walks of life and all types of talent to have a successful cannabis business” With Mollie Twining of CBD For Life

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

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

Mollie Twining is a results-driven sales leader with an exceptional record of achievement over the last 6 years in the cannabis industry. She is a tenacious manager with a strategic and analytical approach to solving problems, developing business and exceeding sales targets. Ms. Twining is a founding partner of CBD for Life and is currently the Managing Director of the CBD for Life team.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?

I am lucky enough to have a very smart friend who was introduced to the cannabis industry as an investment opportunity. She decided not only to invest in the industry, but to apply for a dispensary license. Low and behold, she was awarded a license! With the cannabis industry so unknown and undeveloped at the time, she called on me for help to navigate the murky waters.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

For me, this is an easy question. It happened at one of my first tradeshows in the very beginning (Feb 2016) — Cannacon in Seattle. Cannacon is WILD! I was not sure what to expect and honestly was a bit nervous. When I arrived at Cannacon and was getting familiar with the venue, I met a family who had moved across the county for their daughter. Their daughter was very sick with Epilepsy. The only thing that helped her with her seizures was cannabis. They were so passionate about it and really helped me understand the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.

That meeting and conference changed my views and was my first introduction to how unfairly judged people have been for their use of cannabis. It was very powerful.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh boy. All I can say is what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?

There are so many! One incident took place at my local pharmacy when CBD For Life was starting to ramp up. I was waiting to pick up something for my 15-year-old son. A mom of a child in his grade walked right up to me and said, “my son said that you are selling pot”. I was quite taken aback and began to explain what my business was. She would not give a moment of her time. I told my son and he informed me that a few kids we no longer allowed to come to our home because their parents thought that I had “drugs”. It was so crazy! The ignorance of people absolutely amazed me. Six years later, I think people understand a bit more.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Absolutely! I am forever grateful for my friend Beth who came up with the brilliant idea of CBD For Life. She gave me the opportunity and I ran with it. We used to sit at her dining room table and package products to ship to our few clients. Beth had a vision and she never gave up. Hard work, determination and hurdling many obstacles has gotten me where I am today.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on a 1200 mg Vanilla Flavored Broad-Spectrum Tincture. It is FABULOUS! Up until now, CBD for Life has been making CBD products with Isolate. We are expanding into broad spectrum with this new tincture. While our isolate products are fantastic, this new Tincture will include other cannabinoids for even stronger health, healing and pain relief benefits. It is launching this December 6th on CBDForLife.us!

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?

I actually think this issue is broader than the Cannabis industry. It is relevant to all jobs especially C-Suite Executives. Individuals need to insert themselves more and have their voice be heard. Companies can simply take an affirmative action stand and hire more women.

This stance is beginning to change thanks to the “Me Too” movement and more and more women demanding to be heard. Women have come a long way. We have a long way to go but our voices are finally starting to be heard.

You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 4 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

Listen to everyone. This is an important lesson. You never know how much or how little someone knows about cannabis, their experience with cannabis and their skill in the industry It takes a village to succeed in cannabis with all walks of life. Growers, trimmers, packagers, designers, chefs, etc. It takes all walks of life and all types of talent to have a successful cannabis business.

Get Creative. Invent new strains. Come up with new names. Consumers like to try new things. Don’t be afraid to introduce new products.

Stay on top of state regulations. In this ever-changing landscape of the cannabis industry it is very important to stay on top of regulations. They vary state by state and change constantly. Know when adult use is coming on, what states will remain medical, etc.

Trust yourself. If you have a gut feeling, go with it! If you think something is not right, it probably isn’t.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?

  1. Federal legalization
  2. Medical funding and medical research
  3. Helping those in need and seeing the relief people get from pain and anxiety when using cannabis responsibly

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  1. Banking is a big concern. Until cannabis is legal on the federal level, banking will continue to remain an issue.
  2. Consolidation between states. With each state having its own regulations, it is very hard to create products and packaging across the board. This goes back to federal legalization.
  3. People need to speak up, write to your congressmen, and vote YES for federal legalization.

What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?

Federal legalization cannot come fast enough. Without it, the playing field is not fair. It is creating chaos between states. Two years ago we were told by Governor Murphy that Cannabis would be legal for adult-use in New Jersey. We have yet to see that happen. Never give up! Keep on speaking the truth about what you believe in.

Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?

I do not think that cannabis should be treated and taxed like cigarettes. I believe it should be treated like alcohol. Your dispensary is your liquor store for cannabis. They have all different brands, strains, and flavors, just like alcohol. The warning label should be similar to the warning on alcohol, not the warning on cigarettes. The tax should be the same as it is on alcohol.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” by Maya Angelou.

I keep this in my mind and try to make everyone that I work or partner with feel listened to, needed and valued. I have had some real doozies in my 6 plus years in this business. Not everyone is kind. I remember vividly those that were unkind. I have forgiven, but I have not forgotten! Life is too short to try to make a name for yourself in my opinion. I am just trying to help people and do the right thing. At the end of the day regardless of what happens I am still grateful to come home to my family. It is important not to lose sight of what really is important.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I don’t know how to even begin, but my hope is that we find a way to help the homeless get off the streets. In order to gain a cannabis license in many states, you have to “give back” to the community. We have initiated plans to give to homeless shelters, education, boys and girls clubs. Every little bit counts.

Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.