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Ep.237: Patricia Rossi, Wellness Connection

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.237: Patricia Rossi, Wellness Connection

Ep.237: Patricia Rossi, Wellness Connection

Patricia Rossi joins us and shares that a two year trip from Paris to Portland turned into a 17 year stay. She thought she was on her way to Portland Oregon- she had interviews lined up with agencies there- but in fact landed in Maine.  As a truly high-level agency executive, Patricia was literally over qualified for every position she pursued, which led her to cannabis in 2011.  She knew how to create an experience around a brand- so she brought that mindset to Wellness Connection. Patricia is responsible for four of the eight licenses in Maine and takes us the history of cannabis in the great state.

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Patricia, Patricia Rossi joins us and shares that a two year trip from paris to portland turned into a 17 year stay. She thought she was on her way to portland, Oregon. She had interviews lined up with agencies there, but in fact landed in Maine as a truly high level agency executive. Patricia was literally overqualified for every position sheet pursued, which led her to cannabis in 2011. She knew how to create an experience around a brand, so she brought that mindset to wellness connection. Patricia is responsible for four of the eight licenses in Maine and takes us through the history of cannabis in that great state. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy now from the great state of Maine. Patricia rossi,

Speaker 2: granola and kefir.

Speaker 3: What is the second thing that you said?

Speaker 2: Okay. Fear is a. It's a yogurt drinkable yogurt. The originally from the middle eastern europe.

Speaker 3: Uh huh. And so, you know, I'm a simple american and it sounds like your accent is not from America. So I guess let's go there first. Right.

Speaker 2: All right, let's, let's start that. Yes. Um, I'm originally from paris, France, paris, France, when I moved to portland, Maine, 17 years ago. he was originally for two years in. I'm still there.

Speaker 3: I see. Um, so, uh, you're not making good time as it were on your trip. Right? But a fair enough, not paris, may not paris, Texas. Um, uh, why, uh, I, I don't know of many folks from France that are in Maine unless there's a community that I'm a, you know, that I somehow missed.

Speaker 2: Yeah, there's actually, there's actually a fairly big community, believe it or not, um, why? Uh, we arrived in fortunate vein. Uh, the story goes that my husband and I were successful in, in, in paris, and I was an executive in advertising. He was a cfo. I'm at universal picture and we had this joke going around the first one that has a job offer abroad. The agland will follow. Well, he, he won the bet. And uh, I also didn't know there were a couple of fortunes. So, uh, I had the firm belief that I was saying yes to portland, Oregon, where I had a blend of a couple of great interviews, great agencies and the nike account and all that jazz, and then I realized that, um, the number of hours on the plane tickets were not bright, I was missing a few. So That's how we ended up in portland, Maine. And one thing, um, you know, leading to another, um, we decided to stay and we've adopted name, you know, it's, that's what we go home now.

Speaker 3: There you go. There, there are absolutely some great, uh, advertising agencies in portland, Oregon because of nike and other great big brands. um, I would imagine that you had to rethink things as soon as you got there. What year are we talking about when you, when you arrived?

Speaker 2: Nineteen 99.

Speaker 3: Oh, okay. So, so there's still some work to do. So let's, uh, let's go back to, to, to paris, France. So you grew up in the city or the city? Outskirts?

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. And raised in paris and um, when I went to college, I was in leeds, which is in the north of France. I did a master in business administration in this cool called, which is one of the top business school in europe. Uh, I started, uh, I had the firm belief I would go there to become an accountant and I came out of it. Then I just wanted to do advertising. Go figure. That happens to you.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well why? I mean obviously that's a little bit more of a creative pursuit than accounting. Although enron had creative accounting I guess. So, you know, there is that, what do you think happened at school to make you kind of go from one mindset to a, to a more creative mindset?

Speaker 2: Um, I like concepts. I like ideas. I like strategy, I like passion and I'm giving it my best try. I'm not really getting passionate about accounting, but finding the right idea and having, you know, developing the right campaign or moving the brand perception. SometHing resonated much more with me than accounting. And, you know, I'm, I'm really good with numbers, but I guess I'm lucky that I can go either way, you know, being creative and also being a good business operator, but I definitely thrive more on strategy and ideas.

Speaker 1: Patricia, Patricia Rossi joins us and shares that a two year trip from paris to portland turned into a 17 year stay. She thought she was on her way to portland, Oregon. She had interviews lined up with agencies there, but in fact landed in Maine as a truly high level agency executive. Patricia was literally overqualified for every position sheet pursued, which led her to cannabis in 2011. She knew how to create an experience around a brand, so she brought that mindset to wellness connection. Patricia is responsible for four of the eight licenses in Maine and takes us through the history of cannabis in that great state. Welcome to cannabis economy. I'm your host seth adler. Check us out on social with the handle can economy. That's two ends in the word economy now from the great state of Maine. Patricia rossi,

Speaker 2: granola and kefir.

Speaker 3: What is the second thing that you said?

Speaker 2: Okay. Fear is a. It's a yogurt drinkable yogurt. The originally from the middle eastern europe.

Speaker 3: Uh huh. And so, you know, I'm a simple american and it sounds like your accent is not from America. So I guess let's go there first. Right.

Speaker 2: All right, let's, let's start that. Yes. Um, I'm originally from paris, France, paris, France, when I moved to portland, Maine, 17 years ago. he was originally for two years in. I'm still there.

Speaker 3: I see. Um, so, uh, you're not making good time as it were on your trip. Right? But a fair enough, not paris, may not paris, Texas. Um, uh, why, uh, I, I don't know of many folks from France that are in Maine unless there's a community that I'm a, you know, that I somehow missed.

Speaker 2: Yeah, there's actually, there's actually a fairly big community, believe it or not, um, why? Uh, we arrived in fortunate vein. Uh, the story goes that my husband and I were successful in, in, in paris, and I was an executive in advertising. He was a cfo. I'm at universal picture and we had this joke going around the first one that has a job offer abroad. The agland will follow. Well, he, he won the bet. And uh, I also didn't know there were a couple of fortunes. So, uh, I had the firm belief that I was saying yes to portland, Oregon, where I had a blend of a couple of great interviews, great agencies and the nike account and all that jazz, and then I realized that, um, the number of hours on the plane tickets were not bright, I was missing a few. So That's how we ended up in portland, Maine. And one thing, um, you know, leading to another, um, we decided to stay and we've adopted name, you know, it's, that's what we go home now.

Speaker 3: There you go. There, there are absolutely some great, uh, advertising agencies in portland, Oregon because of nike and other great big brands. um, I would imagine that you had to rethink things as soon as you got there. What year are we talking about when you, when you arrived?

Speaker 2: Nineteen 99.

Speaker 3: Oh, okay. So, so there's still some work to do. So let's, uh, let's go back to, to, to paris, France. So you grew up in the city or the city? Outskirts?

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. And raised in paris and um, when I went to college, I was in leeds, which is in the north of France. I did a master in business administration in this cool called, which is one of the top business school in europe. Uh, I started, uh, I had the firm belief I would go there to become an accountant and I came out of it. Then I just wanted to do advertising. Go figure. That happens to you.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well why? I mean obviously that's a little bit more of a creative pursuit than accounting. Although enron had creative accounting I guess. So, you know, there is that, what do you think happened at school to make you kind of go from one mindset to a, to a more creative mindset?

Speaker 2: Um, I like concepts. I like ideas. I like strategy, I like passion and I'm giving it my best try. I'm not really getting passionate about accounting, but finding the right idea and having, you know, developing the right campaign or moving the brand perception. SometHing resonated much more with me than accounting. And, you know, I'm, I'm really good with numbers, but I guess I'm lucky that I can go either way, you know, being creative and also being a good business operator, but I definitely thrive more on strategy and ideas.

Speaker 3: Okay. And so you get this wonderful degree from what I know to be a good school. I've worked with that school in producing, uh, uh, events in, in europe. Um, you come out and, and uh, how was the job market at that time?

Speaker 2: Jeff? Mike? It was a fairly tough in the early nineties. Um, my first, um, a job in advertising was an internship for a year. I worked for free, but um, I would bless just start with a phenomenal accounts called procter and gamble and that gives me a lot of the basics of how I think and even how I work now because it's really a good training brown. So I had a burger king.

Speaker 3: oh wow. Okay. Yep. Alright,

Speaker 2: there was an interesting one, but you know, that was, that was interesting because burger king, I had to be an assistant store manager to be able to work on their accounts. So I went through all their training and why? so, uh, that was a very, uh, interesting first years in advertising and you know, that was this big american agency. Then from there I went to a bvdo, which is one of the biggest global network. And there I was reallY seeking creativity and awards

Speaker 3: before bvdo, which is a great firm. Let, let's go back to the initial firm was wa, which firm was it?

Speaker 2: I was d b. He no longer exists. Is dark juice a benton and bowles somehow that, that was, um, they had fiat's a proctor and gamble. I'm some. I'm a peasant food accounts from the mars group.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, huge companies. So as far as proctor and gamble, what I heard you say was, that's really where I kind of understood how this whole advertising thing works. So they, uh, and they just did it again. I just read an article where the marketing director, brand director for procter and gamble worldwide said, I'm okay. I'm looking at this digital space. I understand that it's been kind of the wild west. We're going to lay down the law right now. And that's always been there, they're kind of point of view, they kind of are the dog or the tail that wags the dog, whatever you get my point as far as those basic, you know, theories, those basic philosophies of advertising, what did you pick up from, from working with them at such a young age?

Speaker 2: It all starts with the consumer and their mindset and their lifestyle. And I really view digital, you know, as if now it's just a way of our life anywhere digitally dive where we leave digitally. It's the same thing. So really the respect in trying to understand the consumer insights, consumer mindset barriers and you know, what gets them tick and um, and also the, the person who always always working and, and, and having as a goal to provide the best product ever to solve for whatever the consumer has. And um, I always, you know, I always fascinated, you know, when you worked on with them on some protocol lounge and some mad scientist somewhere is working for three years and is totally obsessing about how to make this less product. I had a lot of respect and um, yeah, they're probably the big dug out there, but they're, they're very successful for a reason and they never really deviated from, from those fundamental self, you know, the consumer and being the best out there. So

Speaker 3: yeah, that's exactly right. And so that's, that's one kind of line of thinking that was established and, and I could see that, uh, you having to work in burger king was another thing that was established within you. What, what did you learn from working with the burger king account and going all the way into, you know, truly how the business worked.

Speaker 2: Uh, why did I learn? I learned how to make a wilford

Speaker 2: that was, um, you know, a procter and gamble, you could see I'm a consumer editor. You learn a lot about consumer through data, through qualitative, quantitative studies, but, you know, being in a, in a burger king a, this gave me a lot of respect from, you know, dealing with hundreds of people everyday, day in, day out, the grumpy wants to have you on the old comes in, how do you still deliver customer service? and, and sprouted a day and after a long day, I mean that store wasn't sean's, etc. That was one of the only burger king and that was, that makes a long day. So, you know, now I'm operating dispensary's I, I give a lot of respect to my front lines and my member liaison because I know it, it's not a walk in the park to be behind the counter all day long.

Speaker 3: There you go. And of course we'll get to, uh, the, you know, the, the cannabis operations of which you now run a shawn, shawn's, lily's a for anyone that doesn't know of course is his main street, you know, in paris. Is that a little thing? So, um. Alright. So then you go to bed. Oh. Which is know world renowned. and you said you started to kind of go after those, uh, those advertising awards I would imagine being right there in paris. She went to a, a cannes lions, right? uh, at least a few times. Um, so what was the, what was, what did the work entail?

Speaker 2: Well, dealing with a lot of, uh, how to, you know, at that time I was in the account director is to, how to, to work was highly bertolli and creative minds in how to have them still deliver on the strategic plan and have a blast doing it and how to collaborate with a potentially challenging personalities, but the outcome, you know, it was always an adventure, but I have to say the outcome was always impressive. So, um, that was definitely different. And, and, and the agency as a, it's built as a, as a boat and it's on the river sit in the sin and the, in the middle there was this big void thing. Where are you? We had a basketball court, so that was definitely a difference. Um, agency culture, a lot of, you know, we played very hard, but we work extremely hard if not harder. So

Speaker 3: I totally understood. I do still wonder how do you deliver art on a timeline, right? I mean, that's essentially what you were doing, right?

Speaker 2: Uh, I know it's, it's this magic formula right there, you know, after in my career when I was in charge of the creative department and everybody was always asking me that, how many hours do you need to come up with the concept and how many hours does he take for you? Uh, I would say, um, you know, it, we live with it. It's like, it's like the beauty of being creative. You leave with it and some people can collaborate in rate then in until the finish line and deliver on, on, on timeline. I think I love this admin now in rush of the finish line and making sure you deliver because it's, the bath is often quite interesting and there's, you know, you go back to the drawing board several times and, um, I think it's fun. You know, I think being creative requires a leap of faith. You know, that you get comfortable in something you will never look daily. Very good creative inside. The fabulous creativity comes from being uncomfortable. And it's believing, you know, in your gods, this real feeling that it's the right thing. And I get, I really get a kick out of it.

Speaker 3: I can tell, I can see it in your, in your face just to, um, you know, uh, let folks know this is over face time. So if it doesn't sound perfect, uh, that's why I'm. Okay. So is this, you know, I'm sure you, that you went on whether you were with other firms and you know, instead of after bvdo or what have you. let's just focus on again, that kind of a moment in time when you said to your significant other, um, hey, you know, if, if we, if we were to jump a, if we were to pivot, uh, I'm in, um, how do you think you arrived at, you know, you just described how much you loved the work and it sounds like you could have done that forever. What happened in your mind and your life is for you to say, you know, what, I could do something else.

Speaker 2: Well, for me, you know, I was thinkinG just doing the same thing in a different place. When I left, my last job was to be in charge of a, the yogurt yogurt accounts, and I was supervising 14 counties, so I was already a global citizen of advertising, if you will. I was like, ah, you know, I've never done it in any us. Let's do it in the us. For me it was also a natural move because my, you know, each generation in my family we would change gallantry or continent. So my grandparents were italian, then they moved to France and I was like, yeah, we're gonna, you know, that was a part of how I envision life, you know, in a, in a nonlinear way because I always thought it was best to make the move and maybe have to come back instead of living with the regret of never making the move. So

Speaker 3: I appreciate and respect it. uh, however, uh, on your way to portland, Oregon, uh, you realize that you're going to portland, Maine, you, you, uh, actually get on the plane, uh, the itinerary which you saw, which didn't have enough hours on it and you get there. Of course your significanT other has a, has the job and then you land in. And where do we go from there?

Speaker 2: Uh, there was a bit of a, what am I doing here? A moment

Speaker 3: maybe said with different words. Yeah.

Speaker 2: So, you know, I, I think there's a couple of things that went on there. Um, this was a big adjustment. I think we should never underestimate the, um, the cultural shock of moving to another country even though I was flowing in english and a lot of things, all of the sudden everything becomes different. So, um, you know, getting politicals but immigrants, it's rough weather wherever you come from, it's, it's, it's a really very challenging. Um, at that time I'm also a, I happened that I became pregnant, so like I became a mom too. And while adjusting into all of that and realizing that anyway, on the visa I was on, I was not allowed to work but for free. So that was a, that was a nonstarter. That was a fabulous year.

Speaker 3: Well, let's, I, I do want to dive in here and congratulations on what, whether it turns a boy or a girl than not that a gender matters these days. I guess I don't know. Um, but, but not to get political. I was on my way to say not to get political and then I got political in that statement. Um, speak about the life experience of someone being an immigrant. So we're not talking about an immigration policy. What I'm talking about is you go into the store and having a different experience at the store, you know, you've always gone grocery shopping. All of a sudden this is a completely different experience just simply because it's in a different geography. Can you take us through that at all?

Speaker 2: Well, yeah, I think the most puzzling things for us, the impossible to get a credit card from video, a fairly successful in, in, in europe, and you come here and you're trying to apply for a crate garden. People are telling you, well, you, you don't have any credit history so we cannot give you a credit card. And we come from, uh, from France where it says, well, the least create a credit history. You have the better consumer you are in here. It's like, well, you have not spent enough money, which for us is uh, uh, uh, you know, it is a sign of being a good person and then we are faced with that and that was impossible. So we had to have, you know, thing god, western union helped us and you know, are apparent in shelley's shipped to some money. But that was really struggling.

Speaker 2: And the only way I could have a credit card was to convert the millions of points in mileage, which I had an airline company because of my previous job to be able to get a credit card that was a little bit shocking. And you know, it's similar but nothing is exactly the same. And that's one of the best example or you know, having people bag your food at the cash register. I'm still fascinated by that because it's all those things that you. So when you had them, I mean, it's not a big deal, but when you had all these little changes every day, that makes for a challenging a deputation

Speaker 3: yeah. I had a, uh, a girlfriend at one time that was from Australia who when she moved here, went to just a, you know, a sandwich shop and in order to salad sandwich and uh, that's something that she had been watering from since she was a kid and the guy behind the counter just looked at her like she was crazy, you know, just a little basic thing like that, you know? Absolutely. Alright, wonderful. So, uh, now we've got a family, uh, we gone through a year of doing things for free or, or maybe not. Um, uh, when, when did you, uh, find a way to get back to work? I guess, how many years later?

Speaker 2: I, it took me a couple of years ago. There's, so, you know, when I started looking for a job again, there's a couple of things that happen. A, um, being in Maine can be a environments and it's, um, I realized in hindsight that you have to create the opportunity for yourself because if you eat, there's a good job in Maine or trenches, chances are that people will keep that job for 28 years and not, you know, lock it down. So there's no lot of movement. I mean, now it's better, but at the time that was really difficult. So there was not a lot of opportunities. Uh, the people were not understanding what I was doing in europe. The aide, my job was pretty much too big for people understanding or headhunters or recruiters. And the last but not least complicating fast factor was, um, you know, when nine, 11 started happening and all this fear of the french and uh, or these french bashing that happen and said, well, you know, you go to an interview and people are like, why would make even a, you know, a job to you, uh, who are not an american.

Speaker 2: So it was very difficult. Um, and in that time where I was questioning a lot at, I'm not going to lie, we were staying or not, uh, I happened to meet a gentleman by the name of clint peers with just founded a little a advertising agency in portion, um, which was an experience social marketing agency. So that was really the idea of creating an experience around a brand and, and have a one on one interaction to create a relationship. And at the time that was very new and people didn't know really what that was. And when he saw me, he immediately hired me and adopted me for many years, 11 years or so. Right.

Speaker 3: So that, that's fantastic. Did you say you found your way back in, even though folks didn't understand that you were literally a global executive, like you had one of the highest level jobs that you possibly could have had in the world? He could not conceive. It

Speaker 2: became an assistant coordinator

Speaker 3: of course, which I'm laughing about now because you're smiling and so, you know, it's, it's all very interesting. Based on that, I do just want to go back to the, the kind of, in the wake of nine slash 11, uh, thinking, um, you know, what you're talking about is when french fries became freedom, fries and, and all of that. And what I find interesting not to speak, um, politically, but to speak of politics, it does seem like we are behaving now I'm in this reality, it's February, 2017 as though something like nine slash 11 just happened. Um, but it didn't. So that's interesting because at some of the same type of philosophies that are kind of being reengaged, um, at one point, you know, it never made sense to me in, in, uh, in the wake of nine slash 11, but at least there was a reason, um, uh, you know, is what I would add. All right, so, uh, assistant coordinator, congratulations. Right? And you get to do that. Um, let's just kind of fast forward to, um, what I hope is your entree into, into cannabis. When did you know whatever you were doing become a cannabis, how did this all happen?

Speaker 2: Well, if it happened, it's actually linked to the success of that job that I just had an assistant coordinator. Uh, we, we started, we were 25 and apportion Maine and started really being successful in developing this new concept of marketing or advertising. So one thing leading to another. Then we have craft and gillette as clients and it came the, um, the ed of the creative team, which was a real agency within the agency. And fast forward, I'm at so important. We had 250 employees. Uh, we had seven offices across the us. We even had offices but in london, one in moscow and uh, we're very successful and that's when we got acquired by omnicom would you one of the biggest group of communication world wild. And then that's where I started seeking for something more fulfilling in my career. I guess I wanted to do good instead of just selling goods.

Speaker 2: And there was inspired by a trip I took with my family to visit my cousin who was living in africa and I came back from. That was a very different perspective. I wanted to make a difference in the world and change things and um, you know, I'm in my very humble way, that's why I wanted to do. So that's when that had the same time I started joining the board of director for wellness connection with that was in 2011 and one thing leading to another from board director. I went onto a do the marketing and the communication and then I at that portion I jumped from my previous job and decided to get more engaged in the operation. So that's when I started the full conversion.

Speaker 3: That's when you started the full conversion. That conversion began with the trip to africa. I want to make sure that, that we talk about it because it literally was a life changing event or a life changing trip. What? I mean, how can you crystallize what it was where you said, you know, yeah, I'm selling goods, I need to do good. What, what was it? What did you see? What did you, what happened?

Speaker 2: So many of these people so happy and nice and smiling and even though they had nothing and that really, uh, for me highlighted how, um, a lot of the things that are we were selling or having, you know, helping clients sale and all those things, they are superficial and they don't make for real happiness. Then there's, there's some more important things to do such as, you know, being healthy, getting food and these are the primary a function we should answer or help facilitate versus just a get a new gizmo or a new thing.

Speaker 3: Right? A new widget. Right?

Speaker 2: Yeah. And you know, for me it's because I realized I was done when I got back. I always mentioned that conference call, but we had a client who was a plastic containers to put food and uh, I got back from africa and I was kind of readjusting and I get on this call and she's telling me about the magic moments of the mom in the kitchen and how this new container would help totally make the morning magical for that mom and that, you know, I, I'm a mom, I have two kids to put to the bus. Nothing magical and it will never, ever be anything. Magically. My morning I got up that call conference call and I was like, I'm done. I can no longer a fake it. I have to fight for something different than the magical moments in the kitchen. Yeah,

Speaker 3: in the kitchen with a plastic you've, you did it perfectly so that you didn't say the brand name and I won't try to, uh, to do that. But 2011 is not recent. And that is early on in the life, in the life of cannabis, uh, in the, in the life of legal cannabis. And so I wonder how this, you know, worldwide business executive, of course, your, your life was kind of shaken up as you've described, but how would this parisian come to cannabis? Why would you come to cannabis?

Speaker 2: I, I fell into it. My husband had built a consulting business practice here in Maine and started his own company and through his network he was involved, uh, with getting a, of or partaking in, in getting the licenses.

Speaker 3: There you go.

Speaker 2: So when he was like, either they were actively recruiting, he was never on the board, but they were actively recruiting for board of director. And you warned me one day because I kept giving him advice and things. He was like, well, if you keep giving me all these advice, I'm going to throw your name in the hat to become one of the for director. Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, he did. And I joined.

Speaker 3: There you go. Um, I, I don't want to go through every moment, but what I want, what I do, what I would really love for you to do, if you don't mind, is to share with us what the cannabis market in Maine was in 2011 and then, you know, then we'll jump forward and get into, you know, what, what it is today and, and, and, and everything about it. And how, um, how much you, uh, specifically with your organization, because it's so big, uh, you know, uh, our, uh, you know, uh, an example, let's call it in Maine as far as cannabis. Um, what was it like? So here you are, there's a board of directors, obviously we've got smart people, but what was going on in 2011 in cannabis in Maine?

Speaker 2: Everybody. So there's eight for a dispensary's and to this day there's still eight. Dispensary is not one more. We're five operators. We operate four of the eight and then there's a four operators for the other licenses. And at the time she tells in it than 11. Um, and everybody was trained to make it work. Uh, which meant finding a way to access capital because nobody uses, I mean, try to find investors now. Everybody wants to invest and then get an email every other day about, oh, we would like to invest. Are you looking for investors? Isn't that ironic? Because I feel like answering where were you six years ago is not a, you were picking up articles and looking at us like crazy. So everybody was frantically trying to turn these licenses into reality and being really faced with a lot of obstacle from the investors to the bank to the landlords.

Speaker 2: I mean people were not even thinking error, picking up articles or anything like that. So that was really being in the trenches of starting and building a job from the ground up. And uh, there was an executive director who was doing a great job at, you know, anchoring everything down, but I was really a struggle. Um, we, you know, we found, we ended up getting a great group of investors who are still our financial partners to that day and that's a great relationship. We still have our same location that we originally had an alcoholic. She said one of the biggest thing that has changed over these few years, well, I always think there should be a multiplayer like dog or cat years for candidates. Intrepreneurs

Speaker 3: I say all the time, cannabis years or dog here. It's absolutely

Speaker 2: is it, it's way more than just six years. I felt like every day is a, is an adventure. Um, so we, we started building a team, you know, there was many challenges and struggles, you know, finding the right talents, uh, being able to hire professionals. Uh, you've tried to hire a controller who is the cpa, everybody like was like, certainly not, but you're like, well, we're getting to a point where we need the controller that would be, you know, that kind of profile. So he was really a, a, an ongoing battle to be able to, um, create a core team of talent to build the power infrastructure started growing. Um, oh. And we've learned a lot. I mean, I know we don't have ours, but there's too many hours of discussion about the learning curve and trying to be, um, you know, positive about what we're doing, you know, uh, yesterday to the super bowl was a sign, you know, my, my mantra, my motto for my team is never give up, never surrender.

Speaker 2: And I'm like, last night was the perfect example of that, um, you know, then it's gotta be a way, there's got to be a solution. So being creative in, in bringing, able to build a company where now we have over 10,000 patients that are with us, we have 80 employees. Um, and what I like about our company is, um, you know, there's nothing more gratifying than going to a dispensary and having a rough day and one of our members, um, it is giving me a big hug. He's like, you know, you look down today, but let me give you a big hug because you're doing the right thing for all of us. And that makes you a day. I mean, that's that simple, but that makes your day, you know. And, and also the possibility of, of demonstrating to the world, namely named that can I be scared and be a positive thing.

Speaker 2: So we are a company that gives back a lot to the communities. We give back 10 percent of our sales to, um, you know, providing discounted, um, you know, access to the medicine to sponsoring events, hours of volunteering. We now have an auspice program for free. I'm doing all those things in some of our location. We're reclaiming buildings that are derelict or abandoned and we bring life back into downtown's a rita's main. So, uh, it, it's really that, that's where I find my motivation of, uh, you know, making a positive impact and difference. So it's one person at the time and yes, some days are difficult and I think people now everybody wants to get into the cannabis industry, but they don't realize that it's not your run of the mill job. And uh, they will be surprised the along the way and they need to have a serious resilience built into them, but never lose sight of the good work we're doing. So

Speaker 3: yeah, it costs more and it takes longer to begin with, right? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Um, and, and just, you know, as far as you said a lot there, but one of the things I picked up was, um, you know, that, that a customer hug, I can't imagine that would have happened to at burger king.

Speaker 2: Yeah, definitely not.

Speaker 3: For example, um, you also mentioned, you know, you've grown the team so much, um, and that you were looking for professional talent and they were saying no. Um, and now flash forward to today, you're, you're getting investor calls left and right when you really could have used them earlier. What was that kind of inflection point for you in terms of, not the investor piece, but the employment piece, the, the, you know, true talent coming to you that you could use in a, in a growth way. You know, an accountant, uh, that was an accountant and not just somebody that was good with numbers. That was okay working in cannabis when I'm sure that it was all of the years is the answer. But is there a specific kind of moment that it started to turn a different way?

Speaker 2: Yeah, there's a couple of hires that were made about three years ago.

Speaker 3: Okay. So 2014. So once kind of that, that adult use blip of Colorado in Washington coming online, that may be a affected you. Those new stories or am I missing it?

Speaker 2: Well, there was this created more awareness, but I think really what convinced these professionals is the fact that we were a professional company invest in doing the right thing. That's really how we convince people and the idea that of building something together and, and being entrepreneurs and you know, having to roll up the sleeves and, you know, I, I think Colorado is a nice story and a nice surrounding that brent and brought a lot of awareness and exposure to cannabis and marijuana in general. But I don't think that's the key of what grows, um, these professionals, you know, we also offer really good benefits and we have a nice package, which I think was a little surprising probably at that time coming from a company like ours. But I think that's all those different nuances that made the decision

Speaker 3: and also the, the cannabis economy, if you will, uh, in Maine had been running now for five or six years and so, you know, this is a person that's coming to a, an established business that, uh, is quite literally on the map and has been for quite some time. So mains cannabis economy just up and running and not quitting a. I certainly that, that makes sense to me that it would be based there. I also noticed from my trip to Maine, mainers are, are, are from Maine, Maine. What's happening in Maine kind of stays in Maine. Uh, you know, we're, we're kind of a, we're our own type of thing here in Maine, you know, we're not Massachusetts. It, we're not other places. Is that fair? Almost like paris, like you're either from paris or not from paris, right? You're either from Maine or not for me, where you live in maynard and understand main and, or you don't.

Speaker 2: I will never be a mainer special. Um, uh, I, I do think christie's, I think that's how you call that. Yeah, no, it's, it's a very libertarian, very proud, uh, state. Um, you gotta love it or hate it, but, uh, it definitely has a lot of personality. Um, that I, I love.

Speaker 3: That's it. Yeah. Folks that I have folks that have lived there for 20 years. You've lived there for a number of years. You, you respect, uh, you know what that means so much that you're like, I'm definitely not. I'm definitely not a me. I can't claim to be, you know, I, I, I spoke to another example

Speaker 2: only my only act of pride is to show men who, you know, may we are always at the bottom of any kind of card or top economists, curry, you know, all those things. It's, it's to try that. You build an economy around cannabis that could have a lot of potential and bring a lot of economy stimulus to the state of Maine and creating jobs in the sustainable way. You know, um, the other day I kind of did this still maths, um, you know, by all calculation, cannabis is already more than the potatoes industry, which is one of main stable and by 2020 it could be two third of the equivalent of the lobster industry. So, um, when I do a lot of public speaking with the chamber of commerce, I put things in perspective. Yes, it's a struggle and it's hard for you to put all the things, you know, in order, but there's a lot of potential and all of us, if we want to create a, you know, a good sustainable economy in Maine, there's not that many options like that that will buy. So let's try to do this right for once.

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, the comparison and substantial comparison to lobster is remarkable to me. And, and as we go and as we change and as we evolve, here comes adult use, right? So you guys just voted it in and. Yes. Speaking of that, that cannabis economy growing, what are you thinking about? What are you doing? What kind of timelines do you have in place in terms of adult use?

Speaker 2: Oh, I wish there was a clear timeline. This is going to be another chapter of the big adventure of uh, you know, leading company in the, um, so the referendum passed, um, they've just agreed to, to do a special legislative committee to end all this. There's over 70 bills that they have to review and agree upon. The governor has placed a moratorium on any retail until early february, 2018, so we have a little bit of one year and I respect this moratorium and the idea of taking your time to do it right. The problem is that in the meantime, uh, the medical program is not as enforced, are regulated as it should be. So, um, our real competition is a thousands and thousands of caregivers which are small producers that, you know, it's, it's, it, they put it out there before exploding black market facing, you know, age dispenser is where all of us operators are really driven by doing the right thing and being inspected and regulated. But we're facing this big booming black market, so, um, that will be a very long year because we will have to, from a market position, a blog can tackle this competition while spending a lot of time with the legislature or trying to build together as invested stakeholders in the industry. Whatever a recreational will be.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And, and when you speak of the home grows, you know, four to six plants is one thing. A four to 600 plants is another. And so, you know, where's the regulation for these, um, well, what are becoming organizations, um, if, you know, if we in the regulated market are dealing with all of this, let's just kind of all, let's kind of identify the playing field and make sure that the, we're all providing safe patient access to cannabis, I guess is what I'm getting from that. Does that make sense? Yes,

Speaker 2: absolutely. We're absolutely at this critical juncture.

Speaker 3: Yeah, I'm good. And, and just as a final question, I have three final questions for you, but the question before those three questions would be, what advice do you have for folks that live in other parts of America? Uh, for, you know, just getting along under an enigmatic leader like you're a governor in Maine.

Speaker 2: Uh, well, uh, I don't know, maybe is a little example of a, you know, it's a training ground for a trump. No, but I know a buckle up.

Speaker 3: Fair enough.

Speaker 2: Again, you know, things can change, you can have numerous conversation, but then the plan changes, you know, at the last minute. So you have to be extremely, um, I guess flexible, being able to problem solve on the fly and it never underestimates, um, that they don't really know what they're doing, but they're really trying and that sometimes that comes off in a really wrong way, but I'm at least there's an intense. So I don't know. It's patience, resilience and flexibility. But a good luck to that.

Speaker 3: Yeah. No. And, and, you know, um, I guess us giggling aside, that's true advice. And what you did say, if I heard you correctly, is that no matter if I agree with this person, um, you know, uh, understand that person's point of view, understand what they might be trying to accomplish and if you are hearing it one way, you know, maybe just a adapt a different type of listening and try to understand where that other side is coming from. I think that that's really cogent advice. I, I mean, you know, that's no joke. I think

Speaker 2: that's true. I'm living it every day, but in the end, the fact that it's, you have to deal with that person whether you like it or not. So you have to try to challenge yourself to find common grounds and approaches to having an informed conversation. Moving the needle. No one never give up, never surrender, you know, it's one step at the time. But, um, that's what you have to do. But

Speaker 3: amen. Listen, amen. I think that you've got a. I'm glad I asked you that question and I'm glad that you really gave us a, a true answer. So, uh, the three final questions, I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order and they are, what has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life and on the soundtrack of patricia rossi's life? One track, one song that's got to be on there. But first things first, what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Speaker 2: What most surprised me in cannabis? Oh, I don't know everything.

Speaker 3: That's a perfect answer.

Speaker 2: How, how is it possible that such a cool blend has been under utilized for centuries? If it gets such a bad rap and, and, and, and all of that, you know, I, everything surprises me. I'm fascinated every day. How can I not be, you know, I, I have an auspice program where I have to do now a study was with the college of medicine because uh, some of the hospice patients are still alive when they should not be. How can I not be? How can I be not surprised by that. It's every day there's something. Use pricing out there.

Speaker 3: Yeah. No, you and uh, it's, you know, I've had over 200 of these conversations and so you, what you're talking about is a miracle in, in essence the fact that you're keeping people alive with cannabis and I, uh, you know, sometimes speak over that and don't really give it the time that it deserves, but the fact that a university, the fact that folks in science are turning to you and saying, oh, please can you please work with us because you're doing things that don't make sense in terms of human life.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Yeah. And that's pretty much everyday, you know, there's something that is puzzling and surprising and I love it.

Speaker 3: So that's a big one. I wonder if you can follow that up with what has most surprised you in life?

Speaker 2: What is most surprising me in life? Oh, jesus. I ain't never asked myself those questions.

Speaker 3: That's what I'm here for. Patricia.

Speaker 2: Yeah, thank you. What surprises me in life? I don't, I don't know. I like surprises in life. I will like to surprise me. Otherwise that would be boring. So I guess I would flip the, you know, if, if I was not surprised that will be leading, you know, living the wrong life. So I like being surprised by my job and my kids by everything and, and, and move onto the next adventure and be fluid about it. You know, life is not a straight line and I love it for that.

Speaker 3: Life is not a straight line. That's fantastic. And I love it for that. That's fantastic. You are a, uh, a minefield of quotes here by the way. Um, you should know a set in the most positive way. Of course. Final question on the soundtrack of your life, patricia. One track one song that's got to be on there. Oh, so that's really good. And I very much appreciated. Um, but I, I, I hope that you don't mind, um, there's that song, say a solid plan. Pour moi, you know, this is, that was my goal is to. I mean, that's a good one, isn't it? That you can't get better than that song.

Speaker 2: I still wonder how this song got so fame. But here in the us it's like puzzling.

Speaker 3: And if you don't know what we're talking about, just go directly to wherever you get your music and put it on right now because you can do that in our new digital world. Right?

Speaker 2: Awesome.

Speaker 3: Patricia, thank you so much. Keep doing what you're doing. A keep taking. Keep walking down the road of life. How about that?

Speaker 2: I will do so. Thanks for like a lively conversation.

Speaker 1: And there you have patricia rossy plan poor. That is my terrible french accent, uh, sharing with you the title of the song that patricia and I were well wound up singing at the end. They're very much appreciated my time with patricia. I very much appreciate my time with you. Thanks for listening.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.