I was born and raised in Mission Viejo, California and I have a career in the cannabis industry thanks to my girlfriend. After college, I was planning to join the military, but she swayed me to explore other options before committing. We ended up doing some traveling and worked with refugees in Athens and Doliana, Greece, for a couple months following my graduation.
After my experience working with refugees, I realized that joining the military didn’t align with what I wanted to do long-term. I came home and she suggested looking into the cannabis industry since I was an advocate and the industry was growing quickly. I got to researching jobs and after browsing r/portland and r/cannabis on Reddit, I found Green Bits.
At that time, only customer support and sales roles were open and I didn’t have any experience in either. I knew I didn’t want to do customer support and was still unsure about sales. I was sure that I wanted to get in with Green Bits, but was more interested in doing something in operations because of my background in supply chain logistics. Unfortunately, Green Bits didn’t have a role like that open during this time. After talking to my mentors, I decided I would start from the bottom at another Portland cannabis company.
I found an opening at Oregon’s Finest, a Portland, Oregon dispensary, and I applied for one of their Grower Representative positions, which are essentially Budtenders. They hired me and that was my start in the cannabis industry.
While I was at Oregon’s Finest, I befriended AJ McBride, who now works with me at Green Bits as an Implementation Specialist. He makes sure new Green Bits customers have a smooth onboarding experience and are ready to go the first day they use our system. When we were at Oregon’s Finest, I began to work closely with AJ on the inventory team. Within 6 months, they promoted me and I went on to manage their wholesale distribution center. My background in supply chain logistics and inventory management helped me a lot during this time.
For those looking to get into the cannabis industry, I would say go for it if you’re motivated and willing to work hard. There’s a lot of opportunity, but since this industry is still so young, I’d say be ready to persevere and adapt. Rules and regulations are ever-changing and there are a lot of things out of your control. You need to be able to keep a level head and adapt to change quickly. Working at a dispensary, there was always the threat of competition from other stores and regular compliance changes. It seemed like every six months there was a rule change that would disrupt our workflows.
Oregon’s Finest is one of the premier dispensaries in the Portland area and sometimes our prices would be higher than the competition. As a Grower Representative, I’d have to explain the value of our products and why we only work with certain vendors because of things like sustainable growing practices and track records of integrity. One thing I will say is that while the drastic price drops in Oregon are good for consumers, it negatively affects growers, for example, who are working to build legitimate businesses and provide their employees with other industry standard benefits like medical, dental, and vision care.
The lessons I learned at Oregon’s Finest are invaluable. My favorite part was that everyday I witnessed the cannabis stigma being broken. I’ve helped nurses learn about CBD epsom salts and educated elderly folks on the different ways cannabis could be ingested. I’m proud to be playing a part in “normalizing” the industry.
After gaining a lot of experience and knowledge at Oregon’s Finest, I had my chance to join Green Bits. Since March 2018, I’ve been helping dispensaries across the United States make a painless switch to Green Bits.
I’ve worked with many dispensaries across the United States and I’m proud to be helping them implement inventory management best practices and a system that will keep their workflows efficient and compliant. At Green Bits, I’ve gotten to see how we help these highly-regulated businesses standardize their processes through our software. And in turn, we help dispensaries provide the best experience for their customers and patients.