Day dreaming about a new job? You’re not alone.
As the pandemic begins to lift and we emerge from our WFH hazes, many of us are looking to not only change jobs, but maybe even change industries.
If you’ve always wondered if a career in cannabis could be right for you, now may be the perfect time to explore!
We sat down with Zach Carson to get the full scoop on the Cannabis Career Summit, happening virtually on May 6th 2021.
The goal of the Cannabis Career Summit is to help career seekers better understand the realities and complexities of the cannabis industry, learn what skills and qualifications they need to stand out, and showcase the top leaders and companies in the cannabis industry today. And, it’s F-R-E-E!
Without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.
Hi Zach! Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your involvement with the Cannabis Career Summit.
I am the CEO of Imaginal This, an agency built to support values-driven companies build positive brand culture through events and experiential marketing. I am the executive producer of the Cannabis Career Summit for Green Flower, responsible for launching partnerships with institutions in continuing education who offer cannabis certification programs powered by Green Flower. The first event, in partnership with Western Washington University, takes place virtually on May 6, 2021. The summit will consist of Washington’s cannabis industry and university leaders sharing their expertise with students and professionals seeking to expand their knowledge to enter the cannabis job market.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
Hustle! The cannabis industry is no joke when it comes to working hard. Since the transition to the legal market, professional cannabis careers require grit, flexibility, creativity and continued evolution. Normal business functions such as social media, online advertising or email newsletter are constantly shut down or blocked due to federal policies that prevent cannabis businesses from functioning. Cannabis companies cannot use banks, they must deliver their products in dedicated vehicles, they are taxed at higher rates, cultivators endure high costs and higher taxes to grow – its a real challenge!
But at the same time, as we say in the industry, we are building the plane as we fly it – and the work we are doing now is building the foundation of a huge and important industry to come. This makes it really rewarding and there is never a dull moment. And working with Green Flower is great – they have an amazing culture, an extremely talented and supportive team, and they empower their people to take real ownership of their projects. This type of company culture is not always seen in cannabis, and it makes working with them much more enjoyable and effective.
What inspired you to host the cannabis career summit?
Legalization is sweeping the nation! The cannabis industry is set to be one of the largest industries in the US, with new markets opening every day and new business opportunities around every corner. And with this opportunity, there is also a lack of education and experience, which hinders the ability of job seekers to prepare or develop for a career in this industry.
Green Flower has built education and certificate programs that fill this gap, and as legalization continues to normalize cannabis, schools and institutions are realizing the importance to prepare their students for these opportunities. This career summit is designed to help career seekers better understand the realities and complexities of the cannabis industry, learn what skills and qualifications they need to stand out, and showcase the top leaders and companies in the cannabis industry today.
What challenges and opportunities do women face who are looking to start a career in cannabis?
Historically, the legacy market in cannabis was driven primarily by white males. But, as the industry evolves, diversity in both gender and race have become a critical component to building successful teams. We are seeing the growth in leadership by both woman and people of color; we are seeing investors who seek to support companies who make diversity an integrated part of their culture; and there are concerted efforts by brands, activists and the industry to recalibrate their hiring to better represent the diversity this country and this industry was built on.
If someone has never worked in cannabis before, what are some ways to help their resume stand out and show that they are qualified?
Attending one of Green Flowers Cannabis Career Summit’s is a great way to get started. The summit, focused in Washington, will consist of cannabis industry and university leaders sharing their expertise with students and professionals seeking to expand their knowledge to enter the cannabis job market. The summit with Western Washington University is as precursor to careers in the cannabis industry as well as continuing education for practitioners and industry insiders. Programs are offered in Business, Agriculture, Medicine and Law. Since these types of certificates are new to the industry, it’s a great way to both gain insight, education and help stand out in a crowded and booming job market.
Are there any women in the cannabis industry that you think of as mentors, or are inspired by?
There are so many! Dr Rachel Knox is a cannabinoid medicine specialist, a clinical endocannabinologist, and a regulatory consultant on cannabis and psychedelic health equity. Her commitment to reform extends into educating communities of color about the role entheogens can play in addressing the Minority Health Disparity Gap, and the broader way in which cannabis can impact the total wellbeing of these communities through creating health equity.
Elizabeth Hogan, co-founder of GCH Inc., the company that owns Willie Nelson’s cannabis brands, is committed to building a values-driven company, is a serious bad-ass, and at the same time, one of the most fun people I know.
Tina Gordon of Moon Made Farms in Humboldt, CA is a spiritual gangster, creative wizard, dedicated entrepreneur and amazing cultivator of some of my favorite cannabis. I could continue on forever – cannabis, the actual plant, is a feminine force, and the women who connect most deeply to supporting the plants true intentions and power are the most inspiring to me.
You can pick one celebrity to work on your team. Who do you hire?
I have had the opportunity to work for and connect with many celebrity cannabis icons such as Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh and many more. But if I could choose just one to work with, it would probably be Michelle Obama.
What music do you put on when you really need to get some work done?
I am currently listening to Stella Blue, Live at Winterland San Francisco, 10/16/1974 (Grateful Dead), which during misty mornings and coffee, always provides a solid emotional and reflective start to the day. Music is my life, it’s always on when I am working, playing, driving, and much of my free time is spent seeing live music. When I am in the grind and pushing through, some live Phish, hip hop or global beats keep me moving. When I am writing or focusing, some classic early reggae or spanish guitar play in the background. And as of late, Club House has actually taken the place of a lot of my music, and have loved building community and listening into so many conversations on that platform during the day.
Where do you see the Cannabis Career Summit 5 years from now?
In five years, I feel cannabis certificates will permeate much of the higher education ecosystem. Business requires education, and in order to keep up, the job market must find ways to prepare their applicants for the journey ahead. Cannabis business is not like any other industry, and schools can play a big role in growing talent. Hopefully in five years, federal prohibition has ended, interstate and intercountry trade has opened, banking is legal and tax reform has made it possible for local and community businesses to thrive. That’s a big ask – we have come a long way and we have a long way to go. Hopefully in five years, Green Flower is working with top brands across the country to train their employees and schools throughout the nation to educate the incoming workforce.
PS: Interested in supercharging your resume with a certificate? Western Washington University recently launched four cannabis education certificate programs. The programs are designed as an on-ramp to careers in the cannabis industry as well as continuing education for practitioners and industry insiders. Programs are offered in Business, Agriculture, Medicine and Law. Learn More: https://wwu.cannabisstudiesonline.com/
What is your favorite way to consume cannabis? What strain are you loving currently?
I am currently into low dose edibles. My days of smoking cannabis have really dwindled in the last couple years, but I had a solid 25 year run :-). As dosing becomes more precise, I have been enjoying the ability to keep a mild stoney high for hours with Satori Chocolates or Plus gummies. I am also very excited about the new research happening in cannabinoids, and all the benefits we have yet to discover about the genetic biodiversity of this plant. As for flower, my favorite strain is Pink Boost Goddess by Emerald Spirit Botanicals. This strain is low THC and high THCV, a newly discovered cannabinoid. Here’s more info on THCV, if you’re curious:
- THCV is an appetite suppressant. In contrast to THC, THCV may dull the appetite. This may be good for consumers focused on weight loss, but THCV should be avoided by patients treating appetite loss or anorexia.
- THCV may help with diabetes. Research shows promise in THCV’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
- THCV may reduce panic attacks. It appears to curb anxiety attacks in PTSD patients without suppressing emotion.
- THCV may help with Alzheimer’s. Tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease appear to be improved by THCV, but research is in progress.
- THCV stimulates bone growth. Because it promotes the growth of new bone cells, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
Editors note: So interesting! I was today years old when I learned about THCV.
Tell us something we should know about the Cannabis Career Summit:
First off, its free and features over 25 industry leaders from Washington’s cannabis industry. These people have helped build the industry in this state, and their insights and experience are full of wisdom, stories and experience. We are offering $300 discounts on the Western Washington University certificate program for anyone who attends the summit, and we will have a break-out zoom room hosted during the entirety of the event for anyone who has questions about the WWU program.
Where can people learn more and sign up for the Cannabis Career Summit on May 6th?
Registration is free! Sign up today at https://www.cannabiscareersummit.com/
Thanks for your time today, Zach!
HeyHelloHigh is proud to support events like the Cannabis Career Summit that encourage everyone to follow their dreams and join in on this growing industry.
Have an event coming up that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.