How did you get into the cannabis business in the first place?

By: Megan Marchetti

When I mention I work in the cannabis industry, eighty percent of the time folks respond with, “How did you get into the cannabis business in the first place?”  For me, it is a mission — more than a choice to work with cannabis. It has been a close friend of mine most my life. This is my story, which is only one in a sea of us who are working to re-legalize cannabis and end the Drug War.

Like most teenagers growing up in Idaho, there were only a few things to participate in for weekend entertainment. You could drive your car in a circle around the same twelve blocks on the weekends, you could find a parent-less house to drink what alcohol you could con your buddies’ older brothers into buying, or you could chill with the not so popular drama/skater kids. The thespian skater mini-punk crowd led me to a more progressive type of person. I still feel grateful for those sweet souls who enjoyed many of the same things I did.  We’d sit around, read books and listen to music, walk through the desert foothills with no plan, or ride our bikes for hours. AND holy crap! The kids liked to do it high. It was the best secret club I have ever belonged to; the music, the books, the conversations and the weed shaped who I am today.

Cannabis is stupid illegal in Idaho. Here is a snapshot:

  • Possession of 3 ounces or less of is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. If the quantity possessed is more than 3 ounces but less than 1 pound, it is a felony punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. Possession with intent to distribute on a premise where a person under the age of 18 is present is a felony punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine up to $5,000.

These ignorant types of laws and regulations are oppressive, and countless friends have been, and continue to be affected by their reckless implementation. These unjust rules are a huge motivator for me to work in cannabis.

When I got out of high school and entered college, I became versed in labeling theory, deviance theory, the formation of the FBI, and how most of my former teachers had taught me revisionist histories. I dove into all the sociological theories I could find on drug prohibitions and the full-on attack of non-whites in the Drug War the federal government had declared.

When I entered my undergrad studies, I started using the internet and that tool changed everything. The local bookstores and the chain stores refused to order books on cannabis for me. With the internet, I could unearth a new chat room or a new forum where folks were sharing growing knowledge, allocating genetics, and generally being what stoners are- sharing, loving, capable and forward thinking beings.

The next chapter of my story is textbook. I found people who had large quantities of cannabis that they wanted to get rid of, and then I found people who needed it. I moved to the Netherlands for a period to enter an aeroponics strain in the High Times Cup. I used my newfound knowledge to write a manual on how to grow cannabis aeroponically.

When I returned to Idaho, I went to grad school, got married in 2007, and moved to Oregon with the hopes of doing something with cannabis that fit my skill set. I have a background in Human Resources so I got a job with a music distribution company as their HR Director while I tried to figure out how to get into the cannabis business. It took five long years. During those five years I showed up at rallies, wrote letters about prison sentencing reform, and I continued to build my cannabis network. Which by the way, went beautifully with the music business.

My first official legal job in the cannabis industry was as an Office Manager at a Portland Testing Lab. The lab was testing cannabis before it was mandatory by law, and before HB3460 granted medical dispensaries to legally operate. I would get phone calls from mothers begging me to find them a grower for their sick kids. I formed lasting relationships with these women, while trying to connect them with a grower who could help. In between those phone calls, a lot of amazing people with incredible cannabis products came through the doors to get their products tested. These entrepreneurs wanted to be ahead of the game, to understand the testing process, and have a voice in the legislature about the new rules that were being drafted.

One of the growers that came in to learn about his testing profiles was Tyson Haworth, co-owner and co-founder of sofresh farms and Oregon’s Finest. He told me the mission of his retail store and I was sold. Oregon’s Finest mission is to promote health through the finest cannabis as a leading regenerative organization.

I left the lab to go work for Oregon’s Finest as a Grower Representative, then I became the store manager in the Pearl, and now I am the HR and Compliance manager for OF’s two retail stores and Movement Wholesale Cannabis. I also volunteered with the Oregon Cannabis Association for almost three years at every event and on every project they needed help with. I am now the Administrative Assistant for the OCA.

So, to answer the never-ending question about how I ended up in the cannabis business, I showed up and I will continue to show up. I hope you will too