Cannabis Knowledge & Insights

Gillian Levy of Humboldt Apothecary

In this episode of our cannabis business podcast, we interview Gillian Levy, the President of Humbold Apothecary.

We cover topics ranging from cannabis product development, developing a nimble, yet powerful team, and the difficult transition from being a medical cannabis product to becoming a fully compliant adult-use recreational cannabis product.

If you need help with improving the financial performance of your cannabis business, then please reach out to GreenGrowth CPAs via our website or call 800-674-9050.

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Podcast Transcript

So Gillian for the people that don’t know you, your business, tell us a little bit about what you’re doing, who you are, what you’re up to right now.

Sure. Yeah. So I am the cofounder of humboldt apothecary and humboldt. Apothecary is a women owned health and wellness cannabis business that was established in 2015. And so we’ve been operating, .., manufacturing products for the California cannabis industry for, I guess, six years now, which is kind of blowing my mind. And, .., we make tinctures and topicals and provide kind of like a variety of educational materials to teach people about the benefits of using cannabis for health and wellness.

Gotcha. Great. So, .., you know, health and wellness, focusing your cannabis brand that way. Tell me, like, when did the business start, how long have you been doing this? I read on the website 25 years of, you know, health and wellness and being into that kind of industry. Tell me a little bit about how this

Yeah, so my business partner, Susan clever did, and myself, we’re both passionate herbalists actually. So, .., you know, we, we study plant medicine and we’d been studying that for a long time with a number of different herbalists and, .., you know, specialists in the field. And so it’s a passion of ours. And so we approach cannabis, .., from that perspective that it is another ms. Medicinal herbs essentially of, you know, many that exist. .., and we’ve also taken quite a bit of time to study kind of like the eclectic uses of cannabis in, .., pharmaceutical indications, like by doctors around the world. And something that’s really been interesting to us is that cannabis is frequently almost always in fact, like in a compounded formula with other herbs. And the reason for that is that, .., just much like the entourage effect, I’m sure many of your users are familiar with that concept that, you know, you have, .., within the cannabis plant, this suite of different cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids, and they all work together to create really like the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

It’s not just the THC or just the CBD. So, .., you know, you can apply that concept at a larger scale where, .., different plants when combined together have a very synergistic effect and that’s actually well documented in scientific literature. .., so anyway, cannabis, .., was almost always combined with other medicinal herbs historically, and we’ve been surprised to see it’s not treated that way so much and kind of like the modern application. .., but we’re sort of like looking to bring that back because we think that it has real therapeutic efficacy and, .., that people find when they combine other herbs with cannabis, that actually works in a really different way sometimes in their bodies.

Got you. That’s so that kinda leads us to the product side here. Craft tinctures, topicals, you know, what’s the process in developing such a very, let’s say pretty powerful stuff. You know, this is not just something you get from a gas station. This is very thoughtful, scientific based formulas are developing here. So when you talk about a product or developing your previous products, what’s the thought process behind that? Do you look at a specific illness, a symptom of the illness? What does that like to develop a product?

Yeah, so, I mean, we’re not necessarily looking at one specific illness, but we’re looking at sort of like patterns and wellness and, .., you know, when you’re using herbs in general, you’re sort of like it’s preventative medicine, right? I mean, if you’re super, super sick, chances are you probably need to go to the doctor and, you know, maybe be treated with some kind of like an antibiotic or, you know, maybe there’s a bigger treatment, but if you can kind of like nip those situations in the bud ahead of time so that they don’t turn into like a full blown disease, .., then you’re sort of like, .., creating vibrant health and resilience in your body so that it doesn’t ever get to that point. And so from the perspective of wellness, we create products for sort of like an umbrella of different, .., sort of syndromes that you might encounter, like, .., you know, for instance, sort of stress and anxiety, you know, that can manifest in a variety of different disease patterns, but you can also mitigate the stress and anxiety early on with herbs.

And that’s really where they shine and work well. And so, .., when we create our formulas, we, we choose herbs that are going to be very safe and have very few contraindications because we know we’re not treating, we’re not seeing every one of our customers and we’re not, you know, treating them as an individual patient. We know that these products are widely available on the shelves. And you know what we do recommend that if you’re taking any other medications that you should consult your doctor before taking our products, .., most people probably don’t do that. So, so we seek to find really safe and effective herbs that are, .., widely tolerated by the majority of individuals to go into these formulas. And, .., you know, there, many of them, it’s not like with pharmaceuticals where they’ve run repeated like scientific trials, you know, as you probably know, most herbs don’t have that kind of pharmaceutical companies don’t want to put the money into doing those kinds of studies because they can’t patent it. It’s an, it’s a plant, you know, but what we do have is anecdotal data, you know, from, .., people using these plants medicinally for centuries. And so, you know, we know, .., you know, via that channel that they’re largely very tolerated and quite safe.

Yeah. The upside seems a lot more, you know, a lot better than the, the downside from some of these things. You said preventative kind of care that can really push, .., issues like, you know, illnesses and chronic illnesses out either further in time or stop them wholeheartedly then

Yeah. Or even just help to mitigate them so that they don’t become like a full blown crisis. .., but more of a pattern in your, in your health that you are aware of and that you can manage for, .., you know, that’s kind of the ideal situation.

Gotcha. So I saw one of the products is around sleep. You know, when was it the flagship product for you guys or one of the first formulas you guys looked into? Cause I’m guessing, you know, there’s a bunch of different patterns let’s look into the most popular ones or the ones that maybe affected people in your life or your personal was where you, one of your first customers I’m guessing.

Yes, we definitely were. .., you know, we did a lot of like R and D on ourselves and all of our friends and family before we ever put these products on the shelves. And I would say, .., yeah, you nailed it on the head. I deep sleep. That’s probably that’s our most popular product. .., and it works really well. And people will often say, you know, this product works better than other sleep products. Why is that? And I always tell them, you know, it’s the other herbs in there as well. That makes a really big difference. They all work together synergistically to kind of create this amplified effect, which is to help you support restful sleep, which is so important because I mean, we are all stressed puppies in this modern era. Everybody is like running themselves and, you know, it’s this frenetic pace of life and it’s just, you know, you go to turn off after you’ve been on and running like that all day and most people can’t do it. And so, .., deep sleep is our most popular formula because it works really well. It gives people a restful sleep without having, you know, kind of the undesirable side effects of other like, .., pharmaceutical medications

Or sleep. It makes sense. That makes total sense. And so I was looking through the website or your website here, and I saw on your Instagram, you guys link out to a recipes page and I thought that’d be very, very cool. It probably seems like, you know, a better idea to make a cool drink, to put your tincture and instead of just plopping it into your mouth here. So tell me what was the Genesis for that, you know, any amazing recipes that people should look up and things of that nature.

Yeah. We have amazing recipes. .., and so kind of, okay, so we actually have a really unique product line, .., which is, .., a line of true tincture. So the definition of a tincture is really like an alcohol extract of different plants. .., it’s been really, it’s become a bastardized term where people call cannabis in oils, tinctures, and we call our own tinctures too, because people don’t really know the difference in cannabis. It’s surprisingly like a very different industry than health and wellness, which I’ve been surprised about, but it’s just a fact. And so we actually have the only line of alcohol based cannabis tinctures in California. And, .., you know, we do that because we’re herbalists, and we know the benefits and one of the benefits of, .., excuse me, we turn off my bringer. I just realized that was on, .., one of the great benefits of using an alcohol basis that you actually like partially bypass the digestive system.

And so you start absorbing the cannabis into your bloodstream really rapidly. So it works much faster than an oil based tincture. .., the downside is that sometimes people are a little surprised by the flavor. You know, I would say if you’re an herbalist and you love like different botanical flavors, or if you’re like a, .., mixologist and you love like the botanical nuances that go into like a modern mixology drink, then you really get a kick out of these tinctures. But for your average person that is used to just taking like the cannabis and the coconut MCT oil, when they put this in their mouth, they’re like, Whoa, that’s strong. You know? And, .., you know, I always tell people, it’s like this, this is not like the, it’s not a chocolate bar. You know, you’re not going to taste this for, you know, like the pure joy of the flavor.

You’re going to take it because it works really well. But, you know, I think that in California at this point, like the whole adult use market is a lot more focused around kind of like the social use of cannabis, recreational use how to enjoy this kind of a product. And so, because tinctures are a little foreign to people and they don’t necessarily totally connect with that form of consumption. We’ve kind of sought to create, .., something that’s more creative and fun for people to do together. And it’s also an alternative to alcohol, you know, like, .., along with the whole stressful life and, you know, 2020 being just like a real beast when it comes to a lot of stress for everyone. .., I think, you know, we all kind of started leaning on our bad habits to kind of as a coping mechanism.

And, you know, I know frankly for myself, like I’m tired of my bad habits at this point. Like we’ve been doing this for months and, you know, at some point I decided to make the switch, you know, like on a daily basis for maintenance to, .., having mocktails in the evenings to manage my stress versus like alcohol. Cause I just, I feel better the next day, mostly, you know? And so, .., yeah, basically like we create these fun drink recipes for people to, .., you know, drinking is something that is very relatable. We all do it. It’s a big part of our culture. And so like replacing the shots with cannabis instead is a really fun, creative, enjoyable way to, you know, consume cannabis with your friends and family and, .., have that whole kind of like social connection with the people around you when you’re doing the ritual without smoking, you know, because I know for myself and this is probably why I like tincture so much, like I’m not a smoker, it hurts, it irritates my lungs. .., I know a lot of people love to smoke cannabis flower and I don’t judge them. I have no problem with that. I think that’s a beautiful thing. But, .., for those of us that, that really are looking for something alternative, you know, and a fun way to consume together, the cannabis mocktail is a great way to go

A hundred percent. Yeah. And then you looking at the cafes, the one that opened up in West Hollywood, they’re smoking lounges and things of that nature, it seems like tinctures may be the easier way to penetrate into that kind of corner of the market where you kind of have an office shelf probably larger bottle that they can use as bitters in their drinks and things of that nature. I saw you had winter bitters, I believe.

Yes.

Is there seasonal products that you guys do? Is it a consistent line and also like, Hey, during the winter we do this springtime, we do this based on the different patterns we see, I guess, in the Northern hemisphere.

Yeah. You know, I, .., I want to do more of that. I think what’s tricky now is that in order for consumers to get the product, we have to get the dispensaries to pick it up. And, .., they don’t always pick up the seasonal products. .., and we can’t sell online or anything like that. So we did do a winter bitters and we’re going to have that out again. And that’s like a traditional bitters formula. So, you know, you have like your Gentian, .., that makes it sort of like the bitter element. And then it has like different aromatics, like cloves and cinnamon and cardamom. So it’s kind of this, um, warming blend. And it just goes really well with like pretty much almost any combination of like kombucha fruit juices. I mean, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t, you know, I’ve, I’ve used it in like a, .., Oh God, why am I forgetting the name of the common drink that everybody drinks with whiskey, .., an old fashioned, it does go great with an old fashioned, but I don’t recommend that in general, but, but it really does.

And I think that if you, if you do have a little alcohol, that cannabis tea can really actually like mitigate the inflammatory effects of it. So that, .., like if I, if I have some with some whiskey, .., you know, the next day I actually feel really good. So it’s, it’s kinda unique, but, .., yeah, so that’s just kind of a classic bitters formula. I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but, .., you know, I’d like to do more seasonal products. I think that would be a really fun thing to do. .., so far though, it’s, you know, .., one thing in theory, and it’s another to roll these products out into two dispenser, isn’t launched the way that, that you want to, it’s not always that easy

A hundred percent and you bring up a point that, Hey, like the dispensaries are, or they don’t want to pull on and lean on these seasonal products. They have a plethora of products, especially out in California, you know, what has been one of the successful ways for you to get into Spencer’s, you know, do you have big distribution? Have you used a distribution partner who already has a network? Was this something that was homegrown? Tell us about your distribution strategy.

Yeah, sure. So I was, .., we were super fortunate to be one of the first partner brands with Kiva confections. .., as you probably know, they’re one of the original, .., confections companies in California cannabis, they make amazing products and, .., they decided to do distribution and type can develop the portfolio of brands that they currently have. .., and so we jumped on with them and I think it was 2016 and they really did wonders. .., it was a, it was a great access into the industry. They’re, you know, the, the owners Christy and Scott are really wonderful people and they’ve, they’ve built an amazing company. And so we’ve been fortunate enough to be part of that kind of since the beginning. .., and it’s been huge for us, you know, it was, it was a great benefit. They helped us kind of like, .., being a very small business, you know, we bootstrapped our business, we never took on any capital. So, .., they helped us kind of like introduce these products throughout California, very slowly so that we could keep up with demand. And, .., you know, we’ve met just a ton of really great people that in some cases have moved on to other jobs and, .., you know, some cases they’ve stayed with Kiva, but we built this amazing network that all kind of started there. So we were extremely fortunate.

Gotcha. That, you know, you bring up, the thing is like, you know, cannabis is a team sport. You can focus on your little spot in the area, but you need a lot of people to create this kind of symphony of things to happen. So I want to talk a little bit about your team. .., we’ve learned a lot about you tell us a little bit about who is on your team, .., their roles, what their specialties are. It seems like there’s going to be a lot of people’s hands touching this product before it makes it to the consumer. So who are the people adding value to your business nowadays?

Yeah, sure. So we do have a unique situation. .., we’re actually a very small company that I think, .., people kind of assume that we’re a lot bigger than we are. .., you know, kind of the core of the team is my business partner and, .., co founder, Susan Cleverdon and myself. .., and between us, you know, she has the role of COO and I’m the CEO and we just pretty much wear every single hat. You know, we apply for our license. We are the compliance officer. Like we are on every single call touching every single part of the business at all times. We also have a woman, Nicole Daria, Nani that is our VP of sales. And she has a lot of experience. She was one of the territory managers and sales at Kiva, and she went over to Khalifa and now she’s working for us and, you know, she is a powerhouse.

So she’s doing a lot of great things for us. .., we kind of, as a team work directly with the Kiva sales managers and that’s really important to us. We work closely with their VP of sales, Brian Dewey who’s, you know, super helpful in terms of providing a lot of perspective to us about, you know, the changing trends in the market. .., so, so Kiva is a big part of our team. And then we do have sales managers in Southern California and Northern California that are watching over things at all time and kind of keeping, you know, making sure that the bud tenders are trained up the dispensaries, have the inventory that they need, that, you know, .., things are functioning well, and the quality control is in place at all times. .., and that’s kind of the bulk of our team. Then we have a small manufacturing team in Arcata that handles, you know, manufacturing of the products and, .., making sure that the quality is high and that, .., the compliance is all in place. .., so yeah, that’s, that’s the, that’s it, that’s our team right there.

Well, that’s a, it’s a super powerhouse team, I guess it allows you to be pretty nimble. And you have the feeling like you said, the pulse and your hands are on the business all the time. .., do you enjoy, are you from startup life is your whole life startups and, and not, I won’t call you small business. Cause it seems like it’s doing pretty well. .., you know, what are your, your background in types of small businesses like this versus like being in a larger corporate type of environment with hundreds of business constituents that you have to work with? Yeah.

So, .., I don’t come from being an, being an entrepreneur, but I think after starting this business, I always will be, .., I love the cannabis industry and, .., I tell you, I have been through a lot. So if I was going to burn out, I feel like it would have happened already. .., I actually was a scientist as a biologist and botanist before this. And so I’m on the corporate side. I did work for like a pretty large consulting company, but it was just a really different, it wasn’t like doing sales or, you know, like manufacturing a product. It was quite different. .., so this is entirely new to me. And, .., that’s why I love it so much is because I’m coming from a side of things where it felt like there was like one way that was already kind of established in an industry that was very well established.

A lot of it was just following a template and I just didn’t, I don’t know. I didn’t jive with that. I found it really like dry and sterile. And so, .., I, what I love about entrepreneurship is the fact that like, you have to stay on your toes at all times, you know, you’re constantly pivoting and you have to use creative solutions all the time. You can’t see a problem as like a roadblock. You have to see it as an opportunity to kind of like, .., find a way around it quickly. .., and so those are the things that I most love about cannabis and, and, you know, running a business. And so, yeah, I’m totally hooked for life on this thing.

That’s great. Yeah. Being an entrepreneur, you got a lot of pressure on you and a lot of things expected of you, but there’s a lot of great things that can come from, you know, unleashing what that raw power is inside you and really seeing what you’re made of. Right.

Yeah. That’s good. And so

humboldt apothecary it’s in your name, it must be important. Why humboldt are you from there? What’s the connection aside from the business?

Yeah. So, .., I’ve been in Humboldt County for 20 years now, so I’m not from here originally. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, but I’ve been here a long time and it’s near and dear to my heart. I mean, it is the heart of the Emerald triangle and it’s where, you know, like this whole industry was largely started. And, .., so, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a lifestyle to me, it’s my culture. It’s, .., you know, supporting the farmers that, you know, coming into full legalization in California has been like a really scary leap of faith because, .., you know, these farmers that have their little small plots up in the Hills are now competing against like big money in the central Valley, you know, and massive infrastructure and, and stuff that like can’t really even exist where we are like, if you, if you’ve ever looked at pictures of humboldt or visited Humboldt County on the North coast of California, like it’s rugged to rain, you know, it’s extremely mountainous, it’s rugged.

.., it’s, you know, huge roadless swaths, so very remote and, .., hard to access. And it’s not traditionally what you would think of as like agricultural land, but also because, you know, Humboldt County is the responsible for, for, .., you know, building such a huge genetic database of cannabis. .., a lot of the strains are adapted to this climate here, you know? .., so it’s, it’s just, it’s near and dear to my heart. And when we built the company, I wanted to make a statement about supporting my community and standing behind the farmers here because, .., you know, they, they support us all the time. We got to support them back. We got to make sure that our community continues to thrive, .., in this, you know, huge leap of a major transition into, you know, legalization, .., you know, in California now. I mean, hopefully federally, someday, you know, someday soon, hopefully. So we would all love to see that.

Yeah, for sure. A hundred percent. And you know, when you brought up it’s your culture and being up in North Cal it’s, you know, California could be broken down to three, probably different States, but the culture up there around sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, I saw that was on your website. So is everything locally sourced or as much source from Humboldt County, at least the cannabis,

All the cannabis is sourced from humboldt County. Yeah.

Gotcha. And then, you know, getting new ingredients, what is the process through sourcing through some of those things? You know, you come from a science background, I’m guessing there’s probably a pharmaceutical grade products out there, but also dealing with the raw product in and feeling and touching. And do you visit farms where your products are sourced from?

Yes, absolutely. So, I mean, the great thing about Humboldt County is it’s a pretty small community and if you’ve been here for as long as I have, you know, a lot of people and so, .., you know, I have access to, you know, a huge range of different farms, different farmers that are growing amazing products. And so, yeah, I do get to go and visit them and touch the plant directly and, you know, like witnessed their, .., their agricultural practices, you know, and know that, you know, the quality of that plant that flower is, .., you know, really good. So, yeah, it’s, .., it’s something that I love about living in this County is that I have access to just amazing biomass at all times. And, you know, I get to go see it like from the little seedling on up. And, .., so that’s really cool.

That’s great. And it’s a no, not everybody is very fortunate to be able to see the plant and learn about the planet. Do you see that? No, most people, not most people, I don’t want to say most, but a lot of people see, you know, what’s on the television. They don’t get to go out to the farmers and meet the people behind the products. These could get you out there and you’re being an advocate for them. So one of the things I want to also ask is, you know, what is one of your favorite products that you use aside from the, .., the sleep one? You have any other products that you guys have that take, you should take a look at these products here.

Yeah, well, I’m really proud of the two topicals that we launched. .., we launched them, I think, toward the end of 2019. And, .., you know, part of being a small company is that I don’t know how to, we don’t always have the resources to be as loud as some of the other companies, but our products, we tend to have kind of like a cult following because when people try their bro, our products, they’re like, Oh, these are really effective. And so we have created a bomb and like a wintergreen roll on stick. .., and they’re super, all natural. They’re made with a range of, .., essential oils. They’re a one to one CBD to THC and, .., and then they have menthol in them as well, and they are amazing. They work so well. So I’m a big fan of those products. I think everyone should try them.

And not only that, but they have like an amazing price point on them. I think they sell at most dispensaries in California for around 25 bucks. And I mean, like a jar of the Bama lasts you a really long time and it’s amazing for like achy joints or for sore muscles after a workout. .., I put it on my feet sometimes if I’ve been standing and like, I want to just put all like massage in my feet at the end of the day and I wake up and feel totally like rejuvenated. So I’m a big fan of our topicals. I recommend everybody try them. And they’re a great entry point for new users too, because if people are like, you know, wanting to get to know this plant and kind of figure out how it works, but they’re a little timid about taking it internally and feeling the effects. I always tell people start with a topical because it’ll blow your mind. And it’s a good way to sort of like get the feeling of how this plant can be a benefit to you without having any sense of psychoactivity internally.

That’s a great, that’s a great piece of advice. Yeah. When you’ve got a lot, you know, significant amount of consumers jumping into the industry now, and it’s very easy to think, Oh, I’ve got to smoke a joint or eat a gummy. You know, this little cream is not going to do anything for me. .., there are many other things that happen to you other than the psychoactive ingredient, you know, I guess the mindset of it happenings that happen inside of your, your, .., body here. So yeah, using the topicals is a great way to, again, introduce yourself to the product and get associated with the brand and learn about the brand. So that’s a beautiful way to put that know, I want to switch gears a little bit here now and kind of talk about the challenges of the industry. You know, entrepreneurship and cannabis industry specifically is not sunshine and rainbows every day. It is not. And I want to ask you, you know, what is one of the challenges that you may, may have been thinking when you, before you got into the industry that really wasn’t that big of a deal or something that, Hey, you didn’t even know this was going to be a problem until you got into the industry. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome those challenges?

Okay. Yeah. So, .., I would say a really big challenge was to, .., we basically went through the transition with our products on the shelves already from prop two 15 medical use into fully compliant adult use cannabis in California, like completely regulated. So that transition for like the OGs in the industry that weathered that series of storms extremely challenging because, .., you know, we were operating as a business. So we had our standard operating procedures and, you know, we did things a certain way. And then over time we had to, .., you know, change that and pivot very quickly as the regulations came out and were established. So I can give you an example. That’s specific to my company. .., we make these alcohol-based tinctures. Well, the Bureau of cannabis control that oversees testing of all finished products that go into dispensaries in California said they defined alcohol as a solvent, right?

Well, that’s not because they wanted to go and crush a little women owned business. It’s just in their minds. You know, they took a lot of notes. They observed that alcohol was a common solvent use and that in order to speak to the quality of the finished product, probably mostly concentrates, you would then want to get off that residual solvent. So we started getting calls from the lab and they’re like, what are you guys going to do? Like, come January 1st, you know, your, your products can’t pass compliance testing because the base is alcohol. So we had to contact department of public health who oversees manufacturing. We said, Hey guys, we’ve got a problem on our hands. What can you do for us? You know? And they said, don’t worry about it is and ingredient. It’s not a solvent. Well, that’s not how it works. I mean, there was no way around that written into the regulations and it was just oversight because we’re a really small niche company.

So we were actually able to make our case. There were a number of, .., hearings that the Bureau of cannabis control, .., put on for the public so that they could get a gauge of, .., you know, where the loopholes were, what the problems were with their regulations. And they listened to us. And, you know, we wrote some letters and we talked to some of the officials that were high up in the agency and they changed that regulation for us specifically, I think. And so, .., we, we did have to pull all of our products off the shelves temporarily, and that was back in 2018. And we had to work very hard and, and kick and scream and make ourselves heard in the state, but we were able to do so now in the process, we had to buy back all of those products from dispensary’s and we had to destroy them all.

And it was painfully expensive for a very small business. So, .., I’m not gonna lie. It was painful, but, you know, we were able to just operate on a lean budget and, you know, Kivas always been, .., really incredible about supporting us and, you know, .., helping us like, you know, pay off debts slowly if we need to. .., they’ve been very understanding with, .., working with a small business. So we were able to recover from that and get back on our feet. .., now, you know, like this has just been, you know, that, that transition, I guess, was sort of bootcamp for all of us that, that started in, you know, prop two 15 and went into adult use. .., because since then, it’s just been one thing after another. I mean, we, that we were like fully in the clear, and then it’s like between the fires that are sweeping through the state, every, you know, August through October now and now operating in the midst of a pandemic, you know, our industry was like came close to being potentially threatened, .., shut down at the beginning.

And then, .., you know, Gavin Newsome did declare cannabis and essential, good, which, you know, that, that really kind of like saved us all. .., and so it’s, it’s just like one thing after another, you know, at this point I feel so conditioned that I’ve realized that, you know, I, as a business owner, especially in cannabis, like cannot get too comfortable anytime I think, Oh yeah, I got it going on. Like, I know what I’m doing in this industry. I am totally in danger of like, you know, just not being on my a game. So I try to stay extremely humble and extremely aware and just really understand like what is going on on the ground at all times. And how can I, you know, constantly be like pushing to do better as a business owner and as a company to adapt to these constant changes.

Yes. Amazing. And you’ve got to stay on the pulse. You know, this is like built on a very shaky foundation and are always changing something new coming up. There’s a problem here, problem. There, she to keep your feelers out and you’ve got to have a good network. .., you know, I want to talk about, you know, the politics side of things you got involved in politics when it did impact your business. What are your thoughts about getting involved in politics? When, you know, maybe you were not going to be impacted by the alcohol thing, but you had the ability to stand up and say something about that, you know, should people get involved in the politics in their, .., for cannabis in their local area? Cause if, you know, in California, two thirds of the cities prohibit the sale of commercial cannabis. So how do we, or what are your thoughts around the prospective business owners, current business owners, moving politics in a way such that we can remove these cannabis deserts and get your products into more places?

Yeah. I mean, I, I’ve been super inspired by all of the activists that, you know, worked really hard to help shape the industry in California. I mean, it was not a win all the time for everybody. I mean, there were some big losses as well, along the way, and everything’s a compromise, but, you know, I think that everybody has the opportunity to have a voice. And I don’t know that the same sort of, .., .., procedures are going to be implemented in other States to kind of help inform the regulations. But I think California did a really good job with, .., you know, establishing the regulatory entities and, .., having a lot of, you know, public hearing, .., opportunity to, .., you know, make sure that they were, you know, getting the voices and the perspectives of, .., of all of the stakeholders basically that were willing to come out and be heard. .., and whether that’s, you know, writing letters, whether that’s, you know, writing out a public comment, if you don’t want to show up or can’t show up or, you know, just showing up and, .., speaking about what is important to you. I think it’s an opportunity on a really grassroots level to, you know, .., impact and inform an industry that is just so young and, and we need everybody’s input. So it’s a great opportunity to get involved and I, you know, encourage everybody to do so.

Beautiful. Beautiful. So kind of winding down here, any advice for either newbies getting into the industry, or, you know, we talked about your transition from medical to rec there’s many States that are going through

That transition. Is there any other advice or things that you wish someone would have told you either before you got into the industry or when you’re in stage one going to stage two, what are some things that maybe

See general advice don’t do this or that whatever,

You know, the insiders don’t tell people often enough that would have saved you some headache? Hmm. That’s a really good question. And I don’t know that I have an outstanding answer to that. I mean, I definitely think for anybody looking to jump in, do your research, you know, read the regulations up and down and left and right. .., you know, find a way to be connected with the cannabis community locally, like, .., in your local jurisdiction, as well as in the state that you live in, because things change really quickly. And if you, .., insert yourself into that community, whether there’s like, .., a local growers association, I know like many States have a really strong, .., women grow, .., entity, you know, in my little community, we started like a women’s cannabis group where, you know, we would all get together a lot of entrepreneurial types that were interested in building businesses.

And, you know, we would read the regulations and we invited like our local County sheriff to come to one of our meetings and talk to us about like things on the ground and how things were developing. .., and I really found, .., power and, .., you know, inspiration and that, .., because, you know, if you make an error, .., and you don’t understand the regulations and you build a product, .., you know, you could, you could find yourself it’s, it’s expensive. I mean, that’s, that’s kind of, everybody’s biggest complaint is that it can be very cost prohibitive to build a cannabis business. .., you need a good lawyer that is absolutely essential, at least one. And, .., you know, you need to be very mindful about how you build, .., the, the structure of your business and your products from the ground up. .., and so I think really, you know, understanding, .., the regulatory process in your own state and your own jurisdiction is super, super important. And that’s a good place to start.

Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. This is, .., a lot of the little nuances that can hang you up and make the process a lot more painful. So that’s a great advice to the newbies out there, getting involved in their community, starting a community or an activist group before even starting a business. So you can kind of get the lay of the land because cannabis it’s a local business, you know, for the most part, you don’t, people are not driving 200 miles to get a product unless they’re in one of those cannabis deserts. So yeah. Getting in with your local community, that’s fantastic advice. .., is there any last thing you’d like to share with our audience or things you’d like people to know about, .., your business or you or your team?

.., well, as far as our business goes, you can check us out @ humboldt-apothecary.com. .., we do have an Instagram page and Facebook as well under humboldt apothecary. And if you go to our learn section on our website, we have a whole lot of really great articles, .., that speak to all of the many wonderful benefits of cannabis. And, .., you know, why from a scientific perspective, it can be really helpful for, you know, building vibrant health in your body. So, .., we really seek to inspire wellness and for people to kind of like take that wellness journey into their own hands. .., and so, you know, we like to provide a ton of resources, .., about that. So please do check us out online and check us out on social media. And, .., you can email us with any of your questions. We are happy to answer any questions from curious people.

Amazing. So yes, check everything out online. We’ll have all the links below this video or on the screen here. So Gillian, thank you very much for your time sharing about your business, your story, your journey. It’s been an honor chatting with you today.

Thank you so much. It was a real honor to chat with you as well. Really appreciate the opportunity.

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