November 2, 2020
Today I had the extremely COVID-friendly experience of interviewing myself. This is what happens when the person you had scheduled for this week doesn’t show and you still need to fill a slot in your schedule. To make this more interesting (for me as well as for you) I have ingested an ungodly amount of THC.
Here we go.
Q: First of all, why did you choose a career in cannabis? Where were you working before and what brought you here?
I actually chose a career in Marketing and Communications, and then steered my efforts towards an industry that was in dire need of those types of services in 2016. My agency was heavily involved in branding some of the first-to-market retailers and LPs in Canada, and it was this experience that positioned me to take a meeting with ‘Stigma Pharmaceuticals’ in late 2018 after they had recently decided their current marketing firm didn’t have a handle on their business, its unique positioning and its daunting goals.
After six months of working with them as a service provider, I was offered a leadership role with Stigma’s parent company CanadaBis Capital Inc.
I was able to remove myself from a hands-on role with my agency and dedicate a full year to helping CanadaBis launch their full family of brands across retail, cultivation, lifestyle R&D and processing pillars.
In mid-2020 I accepted a VP role and walked away from all day-to-day activity at my agency.
As far as why I choose a career in cannabis – I feel that’s likely something I chose more than 25 years ago when I discovered cannabis as a teen. As something I have promoted, defended and celebrated for more than two decades, it makes sense that I would be good at combining my personal and professional passions into a career promoting one of my favourite things.
Q: Job Title and brief explanation of what your day-to-day entails.
As VP, Sales & Marketing, my role oversees all public-facing communication about our products and brands, in an effort to build awareness and demand from Provinces, Retailers, Partners, End-Users, Influencers, Stakeholders and anyone else that needs to know anything about our business.
In addition to high-level strategic business and budget planning, a short list of my marketing responsibilities includes websites, social media, newsletters, press releases, sales assets, brand materials, investor relations, internal communication, photography and events.
On the sales side, I manage the relationships between us and our vendors, distributors, provincial buyers and the day-to-day needs of our internal sales team.
Generally speaking, I work closely with our product development team and QC director to ensure accurate information is disseminated wherever we have the opportunity for growth and/or engagement.
Q: What do you think Stigma Grow offers that other companies (cannabis or otherwise) cannot match?
In addition to the types of products we offer, which are leading the industry for potency and purity via our BHO hydrocarbon processing, Stigma offered an opportunity for me to establish myself as an expert in an emerging industry with the potential to capture my professional interests for the rest of my career.
While many of the bigger cannabis companies offer similar positions, they exist and operate within a bureaucracy that (in my opinion) wastes a lot of time and money talking instead of doing. At Stigma Grow I was given the chance to actually DO instead of just strategize, and the management structure ensured I was always in the mix with actual decision makers. True, it’s been a bit of a crash course, and I have definitely had my fair share of hard lessons learned – but as someone in the prime of my career, I couldn’t ask for a better chance to establish and prove myself in an industry still looking to define its true champions.
Q: When it comes to legal cannabis products, which do you choose to consume and why?
I choose to consume it all. I enjoy the classic dry flower offerings and pride myself on my joint/blunt rolling abilities, but I am not against grabbing a pre-roll when I’m out and about.
As a concentrates company, it would be weird if I didn’t also herald the potent experiences offered by cannabis concentrates. Whether it’s a budder, shatter or caviar, I have different consumption tools for each (shoutout to Yocan, Stone Smith and PuffCo) and am not against the showmanship of a glass dab rig.
I enjoy the added accents of crumble and hash in my joints and bowls, and always have a pack of high-THC edibles (shoutout to Mary’s high potency bunnies – 300mg).
On the capsules and spray sides of things, I have my THC and CBD needs covered thanks to HEXO and Redecan and would recommend that anyone not currently balancing their high THC intake with a CBD solution, do so immediately.
While I have never been a tobacco smoker and was therefore a little late to the vape game, our new full-spectrum, live resin vape carts have me obsessed. If you ever thought that a vape cart could never compete with a dry-flower high – you need to put down your distillate pen and get yourself a Stigma vape cartridge – like, whoa.
Finally, nothing puts me down for the night quite like RSO (also coming soon from Stigma).
Q: What excites you about the future of legal cannabis?
Honestly, I am already revelling in the future of cannabis – we’re here man!
Having said that, I believe we still have a long way to come to address the stigma of cannabis and to get it out of the same category as cigarettes and liquor.
If we as an industry honestly want to eliminate the risks of the black market and truly embrace cannabis as a beneficial plant, then I look forward to the Government pulling their heads from their asses long enough to smell the issues:
After we address all of that, then I look forward to personalized cannabis experiences designed to ensure those who seek the benefits of cannabis, can get what they need, how they want it, without anything they don’t want.
Q: Which stigma surrounding cannabis as a plant or the legal cannabis industry in general irks you the most? What do you believe needs to be done to combat it?
I don’t really know which Stigma irks me the most – all of them bother me.
The biggest one I am dealing with right now, because it’s less of a Stigma and more of a harsh reality, is the one where the legal market will never compete with the black market.
This is typically shouted at me through social media by angry potheads who know next to nothing about the realities of both markets and believe they are speaking to quality, but while I have no time for chatting up black-market quality (it varies) they do have a point when it comes to pricing and availability. Until the things I mentioned above are taken seriously, that Stigma/reality will continue to make it difficult for legal cannabis professionals.
Q: Can you share a story about cannabis that showcases its ability to bring joy, relief or connectivity?
Too many to count.
I can tell you that my three best friends (25, 20 and 15 year-long relationships respectively) have all come as the result of smoking a joint with a stranger.
Q: Favourite quote or saying about cannabis.
You can succeed and smoke weed. Not sure who said it or if it’s more of a rhyme than a quote – but I like it when I meet people who are super successful and also enjoy cannabis. There is way more of us than you may think.
Q: Where were you born and raised?
Born in Kitchener Ontario. Most of my life has been spent here in Calgary.
Q: Favourite Stigma Product?
Toss-up between our Chapter 1: Badder and our Live Resin Vape Carts.
Q: Favourite way to consume cannabis?
Orally – I find sticking it up my butt makes the other people in the smoke area uncomfortable.