icbc blog

January 12, 2016

U.S. Surgeon General to headline
San Francisco marijuana conference

December 29, 2015

Debby Goldsberry, a True Cannabis Pioneer

Debby Goldsberry and
Ed Rosenthal at the 2015 ICBC

We are fortunate that Debby had a moment in her busy schedule to answer a few questions for our blog:

After helping found Berkeley Patients Group and helping turn BPG into one of the nation's model cannabis dispensaries, you have now found your way to Magnolia Wellness, how has your transition gone?

You rose from Ambassador to Executive Director at Magnolia, any tips for others that start out in a cannabis business with goals of working their way up?

The cannabis industry is built on trust, understanding, and good old fashioned proving yourself. When I arrived at Magnolia Wellness, the leadership told me that there was only one way forward, and that was to work my way up. After two years of dedication to the organization, helping increase membership by over 65% in the last year alone, the board finally adopted me into the role of Executive Director. Magnolia has already been operationalized and running nicely for several years, so I am taking the lead at a dispensary ready to take next steps, fine tuning and building upon existing standard operating procedures. This means a lot of analysis right off, learning what works and does not, and making clear choices about expansion and budgeting. My advice, set your goals, and spend time developing the skills, making the connections, and proving both your abilities and who you are as a person, before expecting a leadership role in the cannabis industry.

Under your leadership, BPG became a shining example of caring for the community as part of a good business model. Can you share some thoughts about that and whether that same focus has carried over to Magnolia?

Yes! Magnolia's board of directors is staying the same, with some key additions, including a hospice nurse, and they originally built Magnolia using BPG as a model. The founder, Dave Spradlin, has a heart of gold, and has always focused on the "wellness model" as a key to developing the dispensary. This includes offering free services to members, doing community service work in Oakland, donating to key groups like Parents 4 Pot, and giving free medicine to people most in need. Nothing will really change, except that we plan to continue to grow the collective and to fulfill its founding vision. As far as my personal long standing goals of ending cannabis prohibition, freeing prisoners, keeping families together, and stopping the misguided war on drugs, we will absolutely keep up that fight, until each person who needs cannabis medicines can receive them and all the people are free.

Any specials or deals of Magnolia's that you would like to highlight?

Ed Rosenthal and Amber E. Senter have both joined the Magnolia Wellness team last month, so you can expect some epic happenings soon. The first event is our New Year's Day party, from 12 - 8 PM, with a DJ, free samples, and lots of specials on the cannabis medicines.

California's legalization battle already seems pretty heated within the community. Can you share any of your initial thoughts and concerns?

Personally, I think it will be important to unite behind one initiative, even if the wording is not perfect and the execution of it does not work out exactly right. As we saw with CA's Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, even an imperfect law can accomplish major goals. We have had near legalization for medical patients here for 20 years, which granted has been an uphill battle to implement, but from it sprang legalization around the world. If we have to unite behind the Sean Parker backed initiative to make changes, or at least agree to remain silent in public about concerns, to take steps that will end arrests and free people from jail, we should do that. I favor the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform initiative, which, if funded, has better language and a greater likelihood of ending prohibition.

December 21, 2015

Green Rush Consulting: Helping You from Seed to Success

When did you first get involved in cannabis law reform activism and why?

I first considered myself a cannabis activist at the age of 15, when I grew my first cannabis plant. At that moment I knew that it would be a part of my life forever. From that moment on I continued to cultivate the medicinal plant in various stages throughout my life for the next 20 years. Around 7 years ago, I began consulting for license applications and working with policies in California and throughout the U.S.

Can you describe the work of Green Rush Consulting?

Green Rush Consulting provides services that help build cannabis-based businesses from A to Z. It consists of a specialized core team with a focus on business licensing, development, and deployment. GRC has a vast network of relationships to provide the best solutions for creating a cannabis-based business, and has successfully won many types of licenses throughout the United States.

What states have you worked in?

California, New Jersey, Arizona, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Maryland.

Any success stories that you want to highlight?

GRC helped open the very first dispensary in Illinois history to be registered in the state. I consider this a great highlight as the license application process was extremely difficult and limited.

Any tips or advice for those getting started in the industry or thinking of joining?

Yes get started now! Make sure you are committed to becoming a successful cannabis entrepreneur and be ready to take on anything. With the dynamic changes that happen in the industry, it is important to shield yourself from danger, create efficient and sustainable business solutions, and be well prepared for any type of change that comes with the turf.

California is certainly a hotbed of activity, any thoughts you would like to share about the new medical regulations?

Yes I think that California is ready for legalization however it is very divided on the issue. Because California was the birthplace of the cannabis industry you see today it is also the most established market. The fact it has been so loose when it comes to regulations has made it very difficult in peoples minds to embrace any regulations. As opposed to the newer states, most medical cannabis cultivators have been living their careers as "outlaws" since the beginning of the cannabis industry as it was necessary to do so.

It is critical that all individuals and groups who believe in cannabis should unify together and under a legislation that makes sense. The nation and the world is watching California and it will be up to us to create regulations that reform cannabis laws responsibly for everyone in this state and beyond.

What about any of the legalization measures that have been filed?

The most talked about legalization measure is the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as the Sean Parker Initiative. I think that the act has a lot of great language in it to protect small farmers, assist with non-violent offenders, and provide a structure for licensing of facilities. There are pros and cons to this piece of legislation.

It seems that you have crafted a family atmosphere at Green Rush, including working with your significant other (something that I can relate to), how would you describe your company culture and how the dynamics work for you?

The company culture of GRC is very family-oriented and community based. Our values of Integrity, Innovation, Stewardship, Diversity, and Unity transcend across our business relationships and internal operations. As the founder working with my spouse as a co-founder, I find it very rewarding to work together on the evolution of the business and the industry itself. We incorporate community events that allow the company to connect with the businesses and individuals who create the heart of the industry. I feel very grateful to be with the talented people on our team as we pioneer this together.

Any challenging stories regarding regulations compliance that you would like to share?

We recently submitted many applications in Maryland for multiple businesses. I have to say that Maryland was the most difficult application process to submit for a license in terms of competition as well as completing. The challenge of having only 45 days and pivoting to fit the regulations in a short time is a daunting task and took us significant effort to be successful as opposed to other state processes. I can only expect that we will see more of this type of application process going forward.

Anything that you would like to add?

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