Multi-State Cannabis Connections
As the Cannabis industry grows and fluctuates, at Standard Wellness we strive to stay at the forefront. Standard Wellness is a multi-state operator in OH, MO, UT, & MD.
What does this mean? Since cannabis consumption is not recognized Federally, the industry offerings are limited on a national level; interstate commerce is forbidden. However, as State by State, medical or adult use becomes legalized, Companies can file for local licenses complying with state regulations.
A group of Standard Wellness female employees had the privilege of being part of a conversation between, Ally Reaves (Cleveland, OH) and Christina Betancourt Johnson (Kensington, MD) as they set new standards in the cannabis industry. We took advantage of the opportunity as Christina was in OH for an article interview: “The making of an MSO” The purpose of the meeting was to share their journeys navigating the cannabis space. While in different states, and with different operating regulations, as Black/Brown/Latina women there are many intersections of struggles, and achievements!
LEFT: Ally Reaves,
Founder and President of Midwest CannaWomen
Take Up Space—Being Dynamic
Christina admitted that she was often a “quota filler” for many when she first entered the industry, but she knew her value so when she came into the room she was able to bring substance to her ‘seat at the table.’ She believes it is her job to use her platform as a voice for servant leadership; being authentic, sharing lessons and experience.
“Many times, women find themselves in situations where they could use their experience, network, and relationships to propel themselves forward. However, they feel like they are lacking, typically, in experience.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson
“You’ve got to believe in yourself and you have got to be resilient.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson
Talking about their first opportunity working in the cannabis industry:
Both ladies got excited, and their tone changed.
“Very few opportunities like those exist in cannabis for those to build wealth quickly, as in half a generation or less. There are very few sectors where you can do that. The cool thing about cannabis is everyone is kind of finding their way. Most people in the business are growing as the cannabis industry grows.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson
“You have the opportunity to leave a mark in creating history. The work that you are doing has never been here or been done before. You have the chance to leave your fingerprints on an industry.” —Ally Reaves
“In Ohio, one of the struggles, when I pioneered into the cannabis industry, was the lack of representation.” —Ally Reaves
At the end of the day when we think about diversity both ladies suggested that we think about equity, inclusion, and belonging.
“We should expand our traditional definition of diversity. It needs to be more than just about race. It needs to allow for different ages, races, physical abilities, and professions, so that the cumulative group of people at the table represent different views and experiences from all walks of life. Creating healthy diversity builds a culture of innovation and feels good about who is at the table. This is how you keep the energy strong.”—said Johnson
“To get the best out there we need to be creative. It is necessary to have people who appreciate the lived experience of each other and have diverse backgrounds to make decisions and collaborate. This eliminates linear thinking and opens limitless possibilities to meet the needs of cannabis patients or consumers. Asking questions and being interested in the answer. Striving to learn and having a posture of growth creates the most success.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson
“After fighting to achieve your accomplishments, it’s time to switch gears! Going into a business space with the position of defensiveness will keep the defensive cycle going. You must go into the business space from the position of creativity and appreciation and the consideration of others. That is how you succeed.”—added Johnson
While strides are being made to provide cannabis programs in all states, there is still work being done to expand programs making it accessible and affordable to more people. Restorative justice, or expungement of past criminal records due to cannabis use, would seem obvious.
Reaves strives to expand knowledge and education in Ohio around these issues, hosting expungement clinics across the state, to help those who were most affected by the war on drugs, and to provide them with the knowledge on how to enter the industry legally.
“As women oftentimes we go into spaces or opportunities not feeling prepared! But the reality is if we weren’t prepared, we wouldn’t be there. Lead with confidence and the rest will follow.” —said Betancourt Johnson
“The plant connects us all. Patient, employee, owner. Always go back to that.” —added Ally Reaves
The energy of the room was encouraging and inspiring, as we wrapped up. As the landscape of cannabis industry is ever growing and changing, we are looking ahead with anticipation!
We have amazing collaborators making their mark! The future at Standard Wellness and their partners is an exciting story to watch unfold! As markets emerge, and opportunities are chased we continue striving to ‘Set the Standard’. in the Cannabis Industry.