Advocacy should trump capitalism in the cannabis industry according to Krista Whitley, founder and CEO of Altitude Products, which is dedicated to making sure a consumer's first experience with regulated cannabis is positive and safe.
Krista recently chatted with Civilized about the importance of advocacy, the perils of 'mystery marijuana,' and her idea of the perfect sesh.
What's the biggest misconception about the marijuana industry?
The biggest misconception about the marijuana industry is that it is run by stoners. It has been my experience that the leaders in the marijuana industry have diverse business backgrounds and exude professionalism. So many of the leaders we collaborate with could be leaders in any industry, but they believe in the power of the cannabis plant. We all have a story about why we chose to be in this business. Marijuana entrepreneurs have to be advocates first, entrepreneurs second.
What's one prediction you have for the marijuana industry five years from now?
Federal legalization. Year after year, the regulated marijuana industry continues to gain ground. From Vermont to California, we are proving out that legalization is helping communities to generate much needed tax revenue, keep cannabis out of the hands of children and improve the safety of our communities by providing opioid addicts an alternative to pills.
Federal legalization isn’t an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’
What is one change you'd like to see happen in the cannabis industry?
Banking is one change that would really help to keep our communities safer. The risk of having piles of cash is tremendous and we have gone out of our way to hold self-defense seminars for our cannabis community. Just having a local credit union to safely deposit cash would eliminate a risk for hard working marijuana industry employees.
What's your perfect setting to consume?
I am a true medical patient who medicates for chronic pain, so I consume with vape cartridges and topical creams to ease the damage a car accident did to my body years ago. As the sun sets in Las Vegas next to my pool, with my Chihuahua in my lap surrounded by the sounds of the birds and a cool Las Vegas breeze - that's my idea of a perfect sesh.
What is your go-to munchie?
My go-to munchie is In-N-Out burger’s “Animal Style” fries, with extra spread. All fries should be served with cheese, grilled onions and spread.
What's your favorite (and least favorite) way to consume cannabis?
My least favorite way to consume cannabis is flower because the smoke gets into my hair. I appreciate and love beautiful cannabis flower, but it can ruin a blow out in no time and I can’t be smelling dank for meetings. My favorite way to consume cannabis is with Bella’s Crema Elegante. The formula doesn’t have any scent, so it won’t irritate my skin and it feels like an incredible luxurious body cream rather than a waxy pain balm.
Name something that you've tried once but won't ever try again.
Mystery marijuana. I find myself in a lot of meetings or events where people will enthusiastically hand me something to try: a pre-roll, a concentrate, a topical, a cookie…all bad ideas. If it doesn’t come with lab testing I don’t want to try it. I have just had too many bad experiences where I consumed way too much because I had no control of the dose. Too much isn’t good for any consumer.
Tell us the story of the first time you consumed marijuana.
It took me thirty years to try marijuana, I was a boring old married mom of two girls when I finally tried the devil’s lettuce. I believed all the stereotypes, so I was scared I’d lose all ambition and end up locked in my couch.
I had just been in a car accident and I felt so stoned on all the pills the doctor gave me. I was miserable! A friend gave me a joint and told me to smoke it before bed. I put the girls to sleep, snuck out to my back yard and smoked the entire thing as fast as I could. Then, I fell into the most blissful sleep that left me feeling like Sleeping Beauty the next day. I was clear-headed, rested, sharp and not hazy. I was hooked and had to learn more about the power of this plant.
Do you have a message for Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions?
Be leaders of the people. The American people have spoken and they want regulated cannabis. It’s not just good business, it’s good for communities. Plus, good people smoke marijuana.
Tell us about your typical day.
I am up by 4:00 am and I start with meditation. As a conscious capitalist, it is important for me to set my intention for the day. Starting my day early helps me to make it home for late afternoons working with my daughters, Bella and Mia, on homework or just enjoying family dinner together.
My office is unconventional, so I find myself on my treadmill desk by 5:30 am catching up on emails, news or working. I’m no athlete, but I find walking on the treadmill focuses my high energy, allowing me to be more productive.
Mentoring my team is important to me, so I begin daily mentoring sessions by 7:30 am and try to wrap those up by the time my meetings begin around 9:00 am. Growing sheep is easy, but growing leaders is a rewarding opportunity I embrace with enthusiasm.
Every day at 9:00 am, I have a leadership meeting with my Director of Operations and state directors. This is where the rubber hits the road: sales for the previous day, tracking expenses - it’s the brass tacks of our business. By 9:30 am, I am in meetings or on conference calls. These are usually back-to-back until 3pm. I rarely take meetings outside of my office and I hate mid-day lunches. Ideas are pawns and execution is king, so my team and I prefer to spend our time focused on executing well.
My evenings are reserved for family, but if there is a cannabis community event (Women Grow, Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, etc.) you can find my entire family with me. It is important to me that my daughters learn how to be entrepreneurs by my side. I’m usually in bed by 8:00 pm, watching Star Trek: Discovery with my Trekkie husband and our two Chihuahuas.