Fresh Brewed Tech has teamed with the Direct Cannabis Network (DCN)  to spotlight San Diego’s growing cannabis industry. Through this series, we will explore local tech and science companies on the leading edge of cannabis, from software tools to manufacturing, digital advertising, AgTech, FinTech, mobile health and more.

We are kicking off the series by chatting with DCN founder Adelia Carrillo about her personal journey to create the leading digital news network covering the latest tech, startups, and innovative companies in the cannabis industry.

Year Founded: DCN created a pilot in 2015 to test the market need and after receiving positive feedback, officially launched in 2016.

Journey: “DCN evolved from my own personal journey – about 4 ½ years ago, I had health complications that led to an emergency surgery. During my recovery, the medicine was not helping so I turned to cannabis,” said Carrillo, who previously ran a a floral design and event planning company. “As I began my journey as a cannabis patient, I became curious and wanted to learn more about this plant. I began searching for the things that I was interested in such as tech, entrepreneurship, and startups. I found myself having to go 10 pages into Google search and not seeing a real hub for the cannabis entrepreneurial community. That is where the idea began developing.”

Mission: DCN’s mission is to build an ecosystem for the entrepreneurial community that provides a voice for the startups, a platform for the professionals, and a community for the entrepreneurs.

San Diego Cannabis Evolution: Carrillo said the cannabis industry is evolving in San Diego, however, it is a bit slower than other cities.

“It does have its benefits though because the San Diego cannabis community gets to really grow together and work together to help build the foundation here,” she said. “When looking at the overall landscape, we have more startups than established businesses, but that’s what makes it exciting, especially for our team at DCN. I’ve always had a vision that we could help make San Diego more known in the cannabis industry, geared towards companies that are in the ancillary and biotech industry. And over the past few years, it is starting to evolve.”

Ecosystem Support: “I believe an ecosystem is starting to evolve,” she said. “The cannabis community, which is still on its path to becoming an industry, has been underground for so long and has definitely had a great support ecosystem within itself.  However, as we are becoming an industry, I do see some disconnect and it is going to take some work to merge them together. This is actually an important topic, and something I think needs to be said. This industry has the opportunity to become better than any other industry out there; however, we can only do this if we start to change our thinking, innovate, and work together.”

Sage Advice: Carrillo said those who are just entering the cannabis space should first  “dive into the education behind this plant, learn about the history, get an understanding of why so many people risked their lives and their freedom for this plant. It should not just be about the money, and the conversation should never be about cleaning up this industry. Those who have built this industry have proven they have grit, and they know how to pivot and they can handle the pressure, so now it’s time to work together to merge the minds of those who understand the plant with the minds of those who understand business.”

Trending & Talent: In terms of San Diego’s up and coming cannabis tech and science startups, Carrillo said to watch for an increase in ag-tech, consumer electronics, and software products entering the market locally.

“I’ve also noticed an increase in ancillary companies evolving,” she said. “The reality is this is just the beginning. I get asked all the time, how do I get into the industry?  So many people think they have to become a grower or open a dispensary, and the reality is there is so much more opportunity out there. As I mentioned earlier, we are just becoming an industry, and we need talented individuals who can provide all kinds of services. I don’t know how many times I have heard stories of accountants turning down cannabis companies, even non-plant touching cannabis companies. If you have a skill set, look for ways and positions within the industry where you can excel in that specific field. Or better yet, attend events, talk to as many humans as possible, and listen to the pain points that those in this industry and the community have and see if you may be able to help build a solution.

Those who are “canna-curious” and want to stay updated on the latest tech, startups, and entrepreneurs in this growing industry, can check out www.directcannabisnetwork.com and subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

A little more about Carrillo:

Adelia Carrillo is the Founder & CEO of Direct Cannabis Network, the leading digital business-to-business news network covering the latest tech, entrepreneurs, and innovative companies in the cannabis industry. With her roots in the corporate and consumer electronics industry, her passion for technology, startups, and innovation has been a key strength in her transition into the cannabis space. Becoming a voice for upcoming startups, uniting the cannabis business community, she is building an inspiring yet prominent voice in the world on the topic of cannabis entrepreneurship.

This article was contributed by Fresh Brewed Tech and written by Andrea Siedsma.

To learn more about Fresh Brewed Tech, visit www.freshbrewedtech.com

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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