When I meet new people the question always comes out of, "So, what do you do for work?" My immediate reply is, "I am a Legal Criminal!" That response often entices more questions to be asked. (lol) Quite frankly it seems to be a heck of a lot easier to tell a stranger that I am a hot air balloon pilot than a "weed chef" or when I say..."I am a Canna Chef" (our job title) - the response is always, "Ummmmm, HUH?!?" (lol) Explaining what I do for a living is ALWAYS comical to me. Either people think - Oh so you make pot brownies?...with a sarcastic remark or two... or three. It used to upset me actually, my eyes couldn't roll back further in my head when people would introduce me as the "pot brownie maker". I hated it so much that I refused to make "pot brownies" for years.
I, like all in the cannabis industry, have been in this ongoing fight - not just for decriminalization and legalization, but also to have our careers taken seriously. To the masses our lifestyles and jobs are considered a joke to our society. Many thought of us as druggy hippies and looked at us to be crazy. Because of course a bunch of "hippies" with a plant is way crazier than a mass population of individuals ingesting man made poison and pills for a high. (because that makes sense) Now we have gone from being crazy to being geniuses, funny right?!
As more information comes out of the medicinal benefits of cannabis and legalization, the more eyes fixate on our industry. Prohibition, as I always believed, has been yet ANOTHER way for our government to make money - GREED will destroy us all and has already destroyed so many lives and it is that MONEY and GREED that has fueled our government into the REGULATION of medical marijuana. I have been a Canna Chef in three different "legal" states in my career and out of them all...Nevada has the strictest laws and regulations above all others. I really am not surprised. If there is one thing Nevada and Las Vegas is known for it's regulating the un-regulateable - gambling, alcohol, prostitution...and now they've added cannabis to the list. (a huge HIGH five to Sin City) lol
As many of you know, I currently run a MEDible production kitchen in Las Vegas. My kitchen was the first legal distributor of edibles in the state of Nevada, huge milestones for someone who has been underground her whole career. We are strictly capped in Nevada on the milligrams allowed to be packaged and distributed to the patients. In the city of Las Vegas I am capped at 100mg per unit and 10mg per serving size - which makes our job as canna chefs and infusers VERY important on having our formulas and methods mastered to be able to consistently dose and manufacture edibles for our patients. Many outsiders believe we just grind up the "weed" and throw it in, however there is formulas, science, and methods to our madness and what we do with the plant is definitely far from easy. Remember it is medicine and a drug - most pharmaceutical drugs on the market today originated from a plant. Edible infusion, extraction, and growing quality medicine deserves the upmost respect - we are in fact all scientists. We have all paid our dues, done years of trial and error developing our methods and perfecting the process to become the trail-blazers of the industry. (pardon the pun)
Many have said to me, "oh the cannabis industry must be awesome/happy/friendly..." - you would think that it being such a happy plant, but it is quite the opposite. I have been asked by many, "how do you get into the cannabis industry?" and my response to them all is jump in! More jobs and careers are being developed for people like us across the country and I urge as many to follow their passion and be apart of it as possible. The more the stronger and the more the "Mary"-eR! I must warn tho, this is not a industry for the weak at heart or the sensitive. You HAVE to know your shit and be very thick skinned. I have been raided, shut down, had to change my name, talked shit about and too, had the state called on, scammed - lots of fun stuff! :) And it all just makes me smile now because I look back at what I and many have been through and remember "damn...i made it through that?". Your circles become smaller and smaller, you get more protective of yourself - cautious...you become a rock! Certain types of rock if broken or put under heat and pressure , that rock changes - chemically it is the same as it was since it is made from the same organic material, however you will not recognize it. And most of the time after all the heat and pressure it becomes stronger and more beautiful once changed. As they say, "If you can't stand the heat, get the F out the kitchen!" Heat and pressure is necessary for self growth and in this industry heat and pressure happen often.
The advice I have to those in or desire to be in the industry - stay guarded and protect your intellectual property. This gray area of legalities will take awhile for society to except and our not so wonderful government to "regulate". There are some that are entering the industry with zero interest in "The Movement" or the medicinal attributes of the plant, but are simply in it for the profit and have and will use those of us that risked it all over the years for the knowledge that we have obtained. Myself and others I know have fallen victim to this. I was once employed at one company like that and it almost broke me. It actually took some advice from my friend Kenji at +BREALTV to bring me back, he said to me..."Dee, you have to assert your worth!" Funny how much that small pairing of words made such an impact on me and in turn helped give me the strength to leave that place. I thank the Weed Gods often for putting +B Real and the fam at BREALTV in my life. Even though I left Cali and am now in Nevada, we remind each other that we always have each others back. This is a HIGH RISK and stressful industry and those of us that are in it are in it for the long haul. We took on the responsibilities and deal with the bullshit and pain with the reminder that we do it all and work for YOU! So to answer the question of "how do I get in the industry?" it's simple - put in your application and jump in! Work your way up and learn as much as you can. If you have the passion and the thick skin to join - then DO IT! If not, let the pioneers in the industry pave the way for you all to enter in the cannabis industry more safely in some years to come when nature is finally LEGAL. Until then...we all remain Legal Criminals!
Sending lots of love, strength, and support to all patients, consumers, supporters, advocates, growers, extractors, and infusers - SHOUTOUT to you all! XoXo
- deliciously Dee