Introducing, “Contributor Spotlights”, a campaign aimed at highlighting our contributors who add their voice to DCN’s platform in order to educate and connect with other entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.

Meet Kat and Laurie, they share with DCN readers their experience and knowledge transitioning from the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device industries into the emerging cannabis industry. Their combined 30-year knowledge and experience provides DCN readers with a look into their journey of helping transform an emerging cannabis industry into a regulated and compliant industry.  

DCN: What obstacles have you faced in your journey?

Kat & Laurie: We think one of the biggest obstacles has been transitioning from the Pharmaceutical/Medical Device industries into the cannabis industry.  Big Pharma is seen as the “enemy” to this industry, so we have had to prove to the experts in this space that we are not Big Pharma looking to cash in on a booming industry.  We attended our first cannabis conference August 2016 in California.  We did not know what to expect.  We were nervous that nobody would want to listen to us, ask for our business card, or would care to know what we could offer this industry.  We feared we would not be accepted into this space because of the industries that we were coming from, and quite frankly represented in the eyes of those in the cannabis industry.

Once we were able to discuss our “WHY” for transitioning, along with our expertise and experience, we immediately felt a sense of acceptance and purpose.  This solidified our decision to make the transition, and we have not turned back since.  We are Executive members of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) committee D37-Cannabis.  D37 was formed to develop standards for the cannabis industry.  Activities are focused on meeting the needs of the industry with regards to quality and safety.  We are meeting with the state representative in Wisconsin to assist with pushing legislation forward for cannabis legalization.  We take every opportunity to educate on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and we are committed to this industry, to this plant, and the millions of people that this plant can help.

DCN: Why did you get into cannabis industry?

Kat & Laurie: MP Consulting LLC has over 30 combined years working for a number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies.  These companies have made great products that have helped many people.  We have learned a great deal about a multitude of things: manufacturing processes, project management, regulatory requirements, laboratory testing, validation, and the list goes on, but we have been witness to other sides of those industries that we decided was just not for us and did not represent who we are as human beings.  We both felt we had a bigger purpose and we could make a bigger impact in making the lives of those suffering in mind, body, and spirit better.  The Cannabis space offers that opportunity.  We are fortunate to be able to take all the experience we have in the pharmaceutical/medical device industries and apply that to the cannabis industry.  Without that 30+ years of both positive and negative experience, we would not be where are at today.

DCN: What was your opinion of cannabis growing up? How has it changed?  

Kat & Laurie: We both viewed it as a “bad” thing because neither of us had the perception of cannabis as a medicine.  We are both scientists.  Once we dove into the science behind this plant, our perception, feeling, and respect for this plant completely changed.

DCN: How has your involvement with cannabis changed personal and career relationships?

Kat & Laurie: There has been mixed response once we announced our career shift.  Those that have been advocates of the plant for years were excited that we decided to take the leap.  Those that were and are hindered by the stigma and lack the education of the science were not so supportive.  Those that are against the plant for whatever their reason is will remain in that camp and will never support what we are doing.  Those that are willing to learn and allow us to educate them on the medicinal benefits of this 10,000-year-old plant are the ones that have been the greatest support and cheerleaders as we continue on this journey.  All we can do is to continue to educate and those that want to listen and learn will and those that don’t won’t.  It is really that simple.

DCN: What are your hopes for entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry?

Kat & Laurie: Our mission is two-fold.  We want to bring all of our knowledge and expertise to assist laboratories, manufacturing facilities, and cultivation facilities to be compliant and understand the criticality of manufacturing and testing safe, effective products for patients.  We also want to help and educate consumers.  

This plant is complicated and complex.  Consumers need to know and understand the benefits of the plant and of the medicines that are looking to use.  There are so many variables and profiles of this plant that it becomes overwhelming and intimidating.  We want to help navigate people through that.

To learn more about Kat and Laurie, check out their page!

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