Pamela Epstein

Each week we highlight entrepreneur’s in the cannabis industry so our viewers can learn who is behind the team of the upcoming and leading businesses, organizations, and non-profits in the industry.

This week would like to introduce Pamela Epstein, the founder of Green Wise, LLCIn 2014, Pamela stated working in the cannabis industry. She has become known as a fearless advocate for local businesses with current clients ranging from startups and entrepreneurs to companies in all stages of development. Pamela ensures that her clients have the proper planning and business structure that will result in efficiency and profitability as well as an overall benefit for the cannabis industry.  Pamela is a featured speaker at several cannabis conferences speaking on land use, zoning, regulatory compliance and environmental issues.  Pamela also serves as an adjunct professor, most recently teaching the first cannabis law course in Arizona at Arizona Summit Law School. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for Foundation Of Cannabis Unified Standards (“FOCUS”).

Pamela has also worked diligently to bridge the gap between city and counties and compliant cannabis business’s, as such, she currently serves as the Special City Attorney for the City of Hollister with regard to their Medical Cannabis Ordinance and Regulations. In conjunction with the city, she has worked with clients providing a solution driven “request” for reasonable regulations for such cities as Emeryville, the City of Temecula, and the city Hesperia, to name a few. Moreover, Pamela has appeared before several cities and counties providing testimony with a focus on land use and zoning as they pertain to cannabis operations. 

Prior to her work in the cannabis industry, Pamela founded and became the Managing Attorney & Legal Program Director for the Sierra Club San Diego’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic. In this role, she worked extensively with elected and appointed government officials and regulatory agencies.  She spearheaded a coalition of environmental groups to challenge the first Regional Transportation Plan with a Sustainable Community Strategy pursuant to SB 375.  Before leaving private practice, Pamela worked as an Associate Attorney with the prominent South San Francisco based law firm of Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo, PC, specializing in environmental compliance issues and large-scale renewable resource development.

Pamela graduated with Honors and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Arizona in both Communications and Political Science. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of La Verne College of Law. After law school, Pamela earned her Master’s of Law from Golden Gate University School of Law in International Environmental Law & Policy. During her LL.M program, Pamela drafted and published an article in the International and Environmental Law Journal. Subsequent to law school, Pamela served as General Counsel for Mountain View Aesthetics & Dermatology and was the consulting Attorney for the American College of Osteopathic Dermatology focusing on healthcare administrative law and general business matters.

In sum, Pamela’s diverse background inclusive of non-profit and environmental workplace her in a unique position to understand and advise clients on the emerging intersection of environmental and cannabis compliance. Her career has and will continue to focus on helping clients build successful, sustainable and responsible businesses within the ever-growing cannabis industry, and assisting those businesses in the process of negotiating the rapidly changing landscape of cannabis law and regulations at the local, state and federal level.

In our interview we asked Pamela a variety of questions sharing her experiences, she had some insightful information and advice to share with each of you.

Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?

Pamela Epstein: From each failure of my career journey, of which there are too many to count, I have come out the other side thankful, humbled, stronger and smarter. I steadfastly believe the right path can only be seen if the wrong path is identifiable and that is not always obvious. The lesson is to stay the course, believe in yourself and the passion of your commitment. Successful takes time. Successful takes flexibility the objective is the same but the path you take to get there is a windy erratic road. Let your failures provide the ability to reflect, reassess and come back stronger. Failure can force you to take a fresh set of eyes to an old persistent problem.

How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?

Pamela Epstein: In one word: accountability. The industry needs to hold itself to a higher standard. To demand regulation and standard. To take control of our own destine to change the negative stigma. Society will take notice and respect the industry if the industry demands the best from its operators. Each one of us is a cannabis ambassador. With each individual, we activate with the knowledge that cannabis isn’t the stereotype. I am a proud professional cannabis consumer. Let your voice be heard. Let your passion shine through and be the definition of cannabis versus being judged by it. If we as an industry embrace that spirit positive change is enviable.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

Pamela Epstein: I cannot pinpoint one person that has really influenced me I find it is more of an amalgamation of people. I constantly observe and analyze my interactions with others paying particular attention to those traits and behaviors I admire and question. In every experience, I get an opportunity to learn about what I would and wouldn’t do which continually influences my approach to my work. This is particularly useful in the ever-changing industry of ours. My approach has become more iterative in nature. It is an ongoing process of assessing what worked and what didn’t, what would resonate with officials, regulators, and opponents. My work these days prevents a standard routine and I can be on the road for days at a time. I’m constantly looking for the next inspiring and challenging project.

Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?

Pamela Epstein: From each failure of my professional journey, of which there are too many to count, I have come out the other side thankful, humbled, stronger and smarter. I steadfastly believe the right path can only be seen if the wrong path is identifiable and that is not always obvious. The lesson is to stay the course, believe in yourself and the passion of your commitment. Successful takes time. Successful takes flexibility the objective is the same but the path you take to get there is a windy erratic road. Let your failures provide the ability to reflect, reassess and come back stronger. Failure can force you to take a fresh set of eyes to an old persistent problem.

What’s a book you always recommend?

Pamela Epstein: These days I don’t read as much as I would like but typically I have about 5 different books going so I can read a few of pages to clam my mind off of work and screens before bed. With that being said, there are two books that I generally recommend the first being, The Alchemist by Paulo Coeho it is one of those books you can read and re-read and can impart a different lesson depending on what is happening in your life but the bottom line it rinds you this is YOUR path so own it and enjoy it. I also find How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a good go-to especially if your business will entail interaction with others especially if you are an advocate working in an industry that has a less than favorable history with the general public.

Do you think it’s important to find a healthy work-life balance? How have you integrated this practice into your firm’s culture?

Pamela Epstein: Finding the life-work balance is difficult especially when you throw in ambition and a home office. We have a saying around the GWC Office – “do what makes your heart sing” it is important to laugh embrace the moment good, bad or ugly. As the saying goes if you love and are passionate about what you do you will never work a day in your life… or at the very least it makes the difficult ones easier to manage.

I also try to take time to have an adventure no matter how small with my friends, family, my number one companion my dog Mojo. it only takes a few minutes away to recharge and come back stronger. I love to cook and try to find a few times a week to step away.

Do you find as an entrepreneur, that you enjoy the challenge of the industry being complex with regulations always changing?

Pamela Epstein: F is for … FLEXIBILITY! This industry keeps me on toes it is a brain-teaser demanding I use my out of the box thinking to help change and shape policy. It requires complex pioneering thought and for those clients willing to embrace the fledgling regulations they can help put a new face on the unwarranted nefarious nature of the industry. Everyday in this industry is a new chance to use any of your unique talents in a different and impactful manner.

To learn more about Greenwise Consulting, LLC; click here.

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