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In 2019 I got an email that changed my life forever.
As a lifelong cannabis consumer I wanted to get into legal cannabis at the ground floor.
One Friday night while my husband and I were chilling at home my email notification popped up saying that I had received one of the first licences issued to own and operate a cannabis retail store in Ontario!
I wasn’t at all prepared for what came next. The list of lottery winners was public and my inboxes were overflowing with offers and congratulations.
Absolute joy and excitement turned into overwhelm as my phone blew up with thousands of messages and notifications.
The system at that time was absolutely bonkers and required lottery winners to pull together the capital, business plan and a lease to open our store within 90 days! (Fact check)
Talk about a green rush eh?!
Once the dust settled, my business partner (and amazing husband) Brian and I got a lawyer, an accountant, sage advice and we were off into the wild world of cannabis.
I’ve never been a shrinking violet, working in sales and marketing doesn’t allow it. But I’ve definitely felt how tough it can be for women to break glass ceilings.
In a field like cannabis, traditionally very male-dominated, I had my work cut out for me.
But it didn’t take long for my team and I to realize that instead of partnering with other cannabis entrepreneurs, we need to paddle our own canoe.
Stok’d Cannabis is one of the first independent retail chains in the legal space and we do it our way!
Even though I’m the co-owner and public face of the brand, believe me when I say this 100% a team effort and family affair.
From my business partner and husband to our general manager to our skilled and knowledgeable budtenders, Stok’d has a very, very deep bench!
Of course we’d be nowhere without our incredible suppliers of weed and our cherished, regular customers.
Now that we have three retail locations plus our first franchisee, I have a little more time to help raise the tide of all boats in the industry.
As a member of the Retail Cannabis Council of Ontario, I work hard with other stakeholders to ensure a space for independent retailers and producers to thrive in an ever-changing regulatory environment.
A Scarborough girl, born and raised, I’m also fiercely proud of my community and am always open to supporting entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
Even though I’m a good Canadian gal, I carry the grit and determination of my Italian heritage and my Toronto upbringing.
Over five-years as a cannabis leader, I’ve learned a thing or two about what I think will make this industry exit its growing pains, and take its place alongside other successful Canadian industries.
If there’s something that I feel strongly about I will speak on it!
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