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 Sara Gullickson of Dispensary Permits, she shares with DCN readers her experiences and knowledge on how local states entering the cannabis industry are making efforts to build out an infrastructure for entrepreneurs seeking to become fully licensed and compliant dispensary owners in their state.
DCN: What obstacles have you faced in your journey?
Sara Gullickson: What obstacles haven’t I faced? Kidding aside, you name it, I’ve been through it. I am lucky I started in this industry at a young age, I had no idea what to expect simply because I did not have a frame of reference. I had never been betrayed by a business partner, I didn’t understand that many people will rob, cheat, and steal just to get what they want. I also didn’t understand politics and how the system works. On the flip side of “seeing it all,” I have proven to myself, over and over again, that I can do this. I’ve been able to navigate through really murky waters and come out ahead with my morals and ethics intact. Sometimes the high road isn’t the easy road, but it’s always the “right” way.
DCN: Why did you get into cannabis industry?
Sara Gullickson: An opportunity presented itself. Being a creative, out-of-the-box thinker, I seized the opportunity. A year or so into it, I had fallen in love with the plant, the industry, and my place in it. I haven’t looked back. Sure, some days I want to quit, but I think about how I have the chance to shape the worldviews on cannabis, to change lives, and that is powerful. I want to leave my mark on the world and I think cannabis is my vehicle to do so.
DCN: What was your opinion of cannabis growing up? How has it changed?
Sara Gullickson: Wow. Well, being in the industry over seven years, I’ve paved the way between activists and entrepreneurs. I have seen industry shows grow from 500 to over 5,000 people and watched the cannabis turn mainstream. I’ve worked in 14 of the 19 states that have implemented programs and observed their development firsthand. We went from convincing people to get into this industry to vetting out 99 % of our leads. When we select the cream of the crop, we ensure the industry flourishes, rather than fails. I’d say my most favorite part of cannabis growing up is the plant now gets the clout it deserves, we still have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way in the last seven years.
DCN: How has your involvement with cannabis changed personal and career relationships?
Sara Gullickson: I don’t know how to answer that. I literally have given up personal relationships, friendships, partnerships, time, hours, endless energy to be in the industry. I didn’t take days off my first four years in the industry, I took my first international trip about two years ago and realized, I need breaks. I can’t work non-stop, but I gave a large portion of my late 20’s up for the cause, and I am happy I did.
DCN: What are your hopes for entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry?
Sara Gullickson: My new approach is to view myself as a gatekeeper in some capacity. It’s my responsibility to pick ethical, moral, financially stable individuals with great credentials to own Cultivation and Dispensary licenses. My hope is that my clients who succeed in obtaining licenses operate their businesses for their patients not for profits. I see many stakeholders get into trouble when all they worry about is their bottom line. Obviously, you have to be financially sound and savvy but this business, like any other business, isn’t a quick buck. This business needs nurturing, love, dedication, culture, community. In my opinion, if you have the right morals, values, the money will follow. If I can do it, so can they.
To learn more about Sara and what she’s up to in the cannabis industry, check out Sara’s page.
Interested in being a contributor? Click here.