Sara talks with Marianne Cursetjee, CEO and co-founder of Alibi Cannabis, a cannabis brand and indoor cultivation facility in Oregon. They talk about cancer, cannabis and operating a cannabis farm in a male dominated market. Listen HERE.
Sara: Hello everybody. And welcome to planted with Sara Payan. I’m Sara Payan, your host. And today we are going to Oregon. We have Marianne Cursetjee, who is a CEO and co-founder of Alibi Cannabis, which is a brand and indoor cultivation facility in Oregon. Her background is an e-commerce tech in finance, and I am so excited to have you here today.
Marianne welcome. Thanks for coming to the show.
Marianne: Yeah, thanks, Sara. Super excited to chat with you.
Sara: Now, my first question is what was your first cannabis experience and, and how was that for you?
Marianne: Well, , it’s an interesting question because I might have had an experience when I was a teenager, but I don’t really consider that my first experience, my uncle grew weed in the backyard, but nobody talked about it. So. He gave me some and I am kind of, you know, as a young teenager, I didn’t really know what was going on. , , there was that, but my first experience in modern times was after I was diagnosed with cancer, a friend gave me some RSO and said, Hey, this will help you with the side effects for chemo. And I was like, oh, sure. I’ll try anything. And, , that began a total shift in my life, a total shift in my outlook towards cannabis and, , made my life better.
Sara: I love that. I, have a little bit of a similar thing. I was, I was 13 when I first started experimenting with it. And I always like to tell people that does not mean that I condone the use of cannabis by children. yep. You know, but if you’re precocious, you do what you do, whether or not, you know, the adults in your life think that’s okay. But I, I was really blown away. Like I remember through the years having friends talk about some of the medicinal benefits and I was like, oh, sure. Okay. You know, mm-hmm
And then when I, when I got sick and I was going through treatment, that was when I started using it medicinally as well. And you, you look at it and in a whole different way, don’t you think?
Marianne: Oh, for sure. You know, it went from being the illicit thing that only the donors. To being something that could actually make your life better, that, , yeah.
Improved health, improved relationships, improved your mindset. And, , I just, I wish that for everybody to experience that and see if it’s right for themselves.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah. Because it, it is like, it’s one of those things where even though we create our own endogenous cannabinoids, Not everybody can tolerate phyto cannabinoids.
And also, I mean, there are just people who it’s it, you know, they get worried about euphoric effects, especially for people who have been maintaining a sober lifestyle. It’s, it’s really all about personal choices, but if you’re open to it, it can be a, a wonderful alternative, especially when you’re going through treatment.
Because a lot of the pharmaceuticals that they give us for relief have their own side effects.
Marianne: Oh for sure. And that’s what I found when I was, , going through chemo was, , you know, and with your cancer experience, you probably have something similar, but I’d have the chemo cocktail, which is a combination of four different three different things, but then there’s side effects for that.
So, , you know, there’s steroids there’s, , and then the steroids make you constipated and then there’s another drug to get you unconstipated and then there’s another drug to help you sleep. And then there’s another drug to help you wake up. But those are. Managing the side effects. So it turned out that I was consing more drugs, more pharmaceuticals for the side effects than I was for the cancer.
And once I made the choice to transition to using cannabis, instead of all those pharmaceuticals, then I was just taking one, like, okay, I’m taking one thing for all the side effects and it’s working and that’s all I need and my body was happy. Yeah,
Sara: that’s it. That’s a, a beautiful thing. I, I remember opening.
A drawer in my bathroom when I was going through chemo. And there were all these different drugs in there. And I, I just kind of, I, I have a warp sense of hor. I kind of chuckled to myself and I was like, wow, the minute that the C word comes up, they’ll give you everything under the sun. Yep. You know, and I always say to people just, you know, go, go through a critical illness where you have to get a lot of pharmaceuticals.
And once you’re done with that, you don’t wanna even touch a pill. I mean, I, of course, I believe in traditional alopathic medicine, but now the only things I take are my allergy pill. And my thyroid medicine, everything else is like, I, I have to really, I have to really need something to take it because after cancer I’m like a
Yeah. And I mean, that’s, that’s so true. One of the side effects from the anti-cancer medication that I still take is, , is it kind of made me go into menopause. And so I have hot flash and I talked to my oncologist and all she had was pharmaceutical. To, to prescribe me. So I’m like, okay, sure. I’ll try it.
They made me so sick and I was just like, ah, there’s gotta be something better. So, you know, it’s not a cannabis solution. Although I have heard that it helps, but, , but I’m using these other plant based things and I’m like, okay, these things actually work. They’re not harmful. And they don’t make me feel bad.
Sara: that’s it. I mean, that’s, and I think that’s, you know, for any woman who’s going through a perimenopause or menopause to have those tools is incredible because the hormone therapies have their side effects and I’ve actually had a few clients. And I, and I have to say, I’ve been starting to feel like some of those I’ve been getting a little warm at night.
Now in my age. .
Marianne: Well, hopefully that’s it it’s enough full on sweats and having to change the sheets in the middle of the
Sara: night. No, it’s more like getting up in the middle of the night and having to put my hair in a top knot. just kinda, but using some ratios of CBD I’ve, I’ve worked with people. Who’ve had great success helping kind of with the hot flashes, using CBD ratios.
That can be really helpful. But . So where did you, where did you make the leap from using it during your treatment to actually getting involved in the industry? Because you, I was looking at your bio and you have a really rich history of being an entrepreneur and doing a lot of work. , just in, in the corporate scene, you have a lot of excellent experience that transfers really well to this industry, but what made you make the leap?
Marianne: That’s an interesting story. , I don’t know if you experience this and a common thing when people are going through chemo is you talk about having chemo brain where you know, a good portion of your life is spent in a fog because you know, these medications, chemo is poison and, you know, it’s poisoning the cancer and then hopefully the rest of your body is able to keep moving enough.
So that once the cancer’s gone, then. Can, you know, get back to healthy living, but so there’s this brain fog. And, , several, a couple years before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had, , sold my e-commerce company and had pivoted to consulting and helping small businesses thrive in the digital world. And, you know, it was fun and it was interesting, but it wasn’t really my life’s passion.
And you’re just kind of thinking like, oh, if something comes. I’ll be ready to, you know, to try something new and then cancer. And, you know, that took a year of my life. But, , when I had just finished chemo, when I was starting radiation, then, , we were looking like, Hey, we should do this. It had legalized fairly recently in Oregon.
And I thought, Hey, you know, I’ve, I’ve got this small business experience. I know how to run a business. I know all of that, but it. So we assembled a team. I started looking for some property and we bought the property when I was still undergoing treatment for cancer. So it was a very sort of natural, , natural evolution and natural shift because like, you know what, I’m using this stuff every day and it’s helping me so much.
So let’s put the money where our mouth is and let’s just do it.
Sara: How did it feel? I always call it coming out of the, the cannabis closet or the green closet. yeah. To people who you had worked with in, in corporate and your friends and family. Well, of course, it sounds like with your family, since you had family members that cultivated might not have been as much of an issue, but to the general public, how did it feel coming out saying what you were doing?
Marianne: Well, , you know, so I had shared that, , my uncle grew it in the backyard. That was kind of. Like the dirty family secret. And I’m saying that in air quotes, which you can’t see, but , , like , there was, , no, but the rest of my family is all very conservative Christian, very, , yeah, conservative. And so that was definitely not part of our family culture.
And so even after we purchased the property, set up the farm, got everything going. I didn’t tell my parents for the longest time, because I was worried about being judged and I didn’t want it to, you know, destroy any relationship. Cause obviously, you know, your family relationships are super important, but, , and so it was this weird kind of thing in the closet is exactly the right, the right way to talk about it is, , my kids.
and they were slightly embarrassed. You know, they were in high school with teenagers, mom. Seriously.
Sara: they get embarrassed by everything. Don’t they at that age
Marianne: totally . , so there was, there was that they’re like, mom don’t tell anybody. I don’t want people to be thinking up what we do. Okay. , but, , then.
What was the, how it happened that we sort of came out to my parents, was my dad was diagnosed with cancer. And at that point, , I was kind of ready to tell them anyway, but it was like, okay, there’s why am I letting these, you know, preconceived notions? Why am I letting these things get in the way of my dad’s health mm-hmm
So, , we like, you know what. Here. This is what we’re actually doing out at the farm. We bought this property. Would you like to know what we’re doing? And so I bought him some edibles and I said, here, this is, this could help you. And come next time you’re in town, let’s come and I’ll show you the farm. And it was, it was amazing.
There were, you know, all these ideas I had in my head of how they would think less of me, they were not true because my parents are awesome. , and I realized that not everybody has that situ. but, , I think it’s like so many things that you build it up in your head to make it, you know, your imaginings are way more, , dire than they are in real
Yeah. Yeah. I, I get that. I, I, when I told my mother I was. I was working in cannabis. She, she just looked at it as, oh, Sara’s having a midlife crisis after cancer.
Marianne: that’s cute. yeah.
Sara: and it wasn’t until I had been doing it for some time and had, had started, uh, presenting and, and doing more lectures and, and getting writeups about my work that my mom was like, you’re, you’re really, you’re really doing this.
mm-hmm and I was like, yeah. Yeah. But I remember how I wasn’t as nervous about my family because during chemo, a, a couple of times I had really bad reactions to the Ella platin. I almost died. Hmm. And, , so my mantra was, you know, I didn’t almost die twice to lead a shit life I was gonna do my thing.
that’s true. And so I was like, you know, family, you know, will, will learn to deal with it. But I think the biggest challenge for me was. The first article that came out when I agreed to do an interview. And I was thinking about my colleagues that I had worked with, you know, in the financial district and stuff.
And I was like, what if I decide, I don’t wanna do cannabis later on down the road. Will I ever be hireable again? I’ll have to really think about this. Mm-hmm and then it was, it was like, no, you know what? This is, this is what I wanna do. And even when I met, like my, my grandmother had passed a few years ago.
And so we had, you know, occasions, weddings, funerals, you get a lot of family together. And, , I had family members cause I have quite a few family members that are very religious. , I come from the Midwest, we’re all Lutheran. And, uh, one and one cousin in particular, I was wondering, you know, what she would think.
And she just had a lot of questions. She was like, really well, I’ve been feeling this way. And what do you think about this and what are your thoughts on that? It’s so nice to be able to talk to somebody about it. And I was like, wow, people’s, people’s attitudes are changing and they’re becoming more open to it.
And I love, I love seeing when, when it makes a difference in someone’s life or when they’re curious, because they’ve had a good conversation with somebody about their experience. Cause I always say conversation is normalization and it’s, it’s really nice to see. people. I mean, not all of us need acceptance from our families, I guess, but you know, it’s really nice to see that generally speaking, more people are accepting and open, even if it doesn’t, isn’t a choice that they would make to having the conversations and being fascinated by the opportunities that are also in the industry.
I, I got into my work because it made me. well, it was totally by accident. Cause I was going back to school for my master’s and I just decided to take a job where I didn’t have to be anybody’s boss. Cause I had been mm-hmm managing people for 14 plus years. , but then just to be able to. Work in it and thrive and have the conversations and have people have it change people’s lives.
But for other people’s be like, oh, well, it’s not really for me, but I have a loved one that could benefit from it or right. You know? Well, you know, it’s not my choice, but I’m really happy that you are, you’re enjoying your work. And it’s, it’s just a, it’s, it’s a wonderful thing. But it’s also interesting when we look at cannabis and I think we, we were talking about this before we started recording.
, There were, there was a lot of female influence in cannabis, especially when we are looking at, , medical programs in cannabis. And now that we’re getting into legalization, it seems like there’s a, a little bit more of a. W women have to push a little bit more to be seen and heard now than we did before, which is kind of, I find that it’s, it’s reflective of what it was like when I worked in corporate and in it, where we were really looking at things that were more male dominated, more patriarchal.
And I feel like in some ways, We’ve we’ve started shifting into old patterns. Whereas cannabis, the industry itself is a unique opportunity because we are so new to change the way that we do business and the way we look at it. And like we are saying earlier, you know, that, that, uh, working with men, it’s like you ask yourself that question.
Am I going to assimilate and take on these male traits? Or can I succeed being exactly
Marianne: who I am? . Yeah, it’s a really interesting conversation because I think that there’s, you know, different answers based on different people and different scenarios, but, you know, if you can find a way to be true to yourself, , and still be successful in business, like those two finding that perfect balance is really key for me.
, like, you know, I’m, I’ve been doing, I’ve been in the corporate world for decades and so. Very, you know, have had lots of experiences and what this owning my own business in the cannabis space has taught me is to be more assertive. And I don’t know if that’s like if I was, when I was younger, if I was taught to be more, you know, like you just go along and you just kind of find the, find a way, like find your path without being assertive about what you.
, I kind of think that as women, that really, for me, that’s, that’s what I was always taught is like, here’s the rules, you follow this, you get good grades, you do this, you know, so I was very good at following the rules and being successful that way without really stopping to think and figure out, okay.
So if I were to strip away all these things that I’ve been told about how to be successful, what is it that I wanna do and how do I feel most comfortable engaging? Yeah, that’s a really hard thing because, you know, it’s, it’s like the nature versus nurture where, and which ones influence you and which ones don’t.
But for me, I found that it’s really important to be more assertive and of course, a kind way, but still step up and say, Hey, this is, this is what I need you to do, or, Hey, this is what my business could use. Can you help me with this? Just whatever it is, be, be direct and a. But in a gentle and kind way mm-hmm
Yeah. I feel that. I feel that it’s it. I think it’s really challenging too. And I noticed when, when I was reading your bio, that alibi is, is a self-funded cannabis company, which is awesome because I think one of the things that a lot of women in the industry have found to be a challenge. Although I know there are people, there are good people out there that are really aware of it and trying to make a difference with this, but it can be really hard for women to find funding for their businesses.
Marianne: It totally is. I mean, we’re fortunate, really fortunate that with my previous e-commerce business, we were able to fund this, , my business partner and I it’s all our cash it’s it’s, there’s no outside money. So that means we don’t have to answer to anybody, which means we get to do what we wanna do.
We can do it the right way. We need to pivot, do things differently. We. So I feel really grateful that we have that flexibility, but I also feel a responsibility to help other women who wanna start their own business. So I volunteered to mentor, , other small businesses. , I’m gonna be starting to do that in a couple months, and I’m super excited about that because you know, we’ve been, our cannabis business is six and a half years.
which, , you know, it feels like an eternity and there’s so many things that we’ve learned. And so many things that like, okay, if I were doing this today, here’s what I would do. And so I feel a responsibility to whether it’s to provide mentorship or assistance, advice or investment, you know, I think, I think investing in win own businesses is really important.
You know, people I’ve done a lot of work with nonprofits and, , When you look at nonprofits and how they’re gonna be supported by the community. , a way that I really like to think about it is you can get support from your community through time, treasure, or talent. So I feel that the same way in terms of helping other women own businesses.
So time I could volunteer my time to help them, my treasure, which would be investment that’s money or talent. I was like, Hey, I’ve got this experience. Here’s how you should do this. Here. Here’s my CPA. Go call them and they’ll get you set up, but thinking about ways to help other people in those, you know, so it doesn’t always have to be money.
It doesn’t always have to be cash, although that’s certainly helpful, but there’s, there’s other ways you can support businesses too, that are just as important. When
Sara: you’re doing that because I, I know for me, I get a lot of people reaching out to me for help with things and, and one person can only do so much.
Mm-hmm . So I find that one of the biggest challenges is being discerning with where I’m putting my energy. What are, what are some things that you’ve done that have been successful so that you can, you can keep the well full
Marianne: for yourself? Yeah. I think the biggest thing is learning. How to say no, and also learning where it, you know, like figuring out if I’m gonna give somebody say 10 hours of my time, does it make sense for it to be doing something menial or, you know, helping them build a spreadsheet or whatever, or is it more valuable to teach them how to think and like educate them?
It’s, you know, it’s like the old. Give him man, a fish he’ll eat for the day, give him, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime mm-hmm . So I think that’s one of the things that you, at least for me, I learned just with experience and time is that, , like me getting into the dirt and helping fix things.
Isn’t always what’s necessary. Sometimes what’s just take a step back and figure out, okay. Like where, where is the right point to push? And, you know, there’s. I don’t think that there’s any like rule book you can follow and say, it always has to be this, but just knowing that you can step back and say, okay, I can’t give you everything, but here I can give you this.
And this is where I think that somebody’s most valuable.
Sara: Yeah. And what, you’re looking at your experience with this, because you came into this with already full of amazing experience and a, and a, and a full skill set. What were some of your biggest challenges?
Marianne: So many, so many , I think cannabis least on the cultivation side is so easy to think of it as an easy business.
Like, oh, you grow from plants and you harvest them and you take it to market. But in fact, there’s so many risks. , , just on the agri, I mean, it still is agriculture. So even though we’re indoor and we’re. Climate controls there’s, you know, equipment could fail. So undoubtedly, you know, your air conditioners are gonna go out Friday night at 6:00 PM.
So, , do you have a contingency plan for that? I mean, and that has happened to us, right? So do you, you know, can you even get a hold of your HVAC people over the weekend or are you gonna have to sufferer through all weekend and hope your plants survive? So there’s, there’s that, and then what we’ve learned from that is we design.
Our building is designed with redundancy in mind, so that even if something does fail, there’s enough redundancy in this system so that it doesn’t ruin a crop, but yet not so much redundancy that we weigh overs spent because it was my money were spended. I’m not gonna spend more than I have to. Right. , you know, and then, uh, we’ve tried out genetics, but we’re not stable.
So they seeded out and we lose a whole crop. , you know, that was several years ago. To learn from that. So we don’t do that anymore, but, but still it’s, it’s a very real risk. , and then there’s the risk of the market. , we were fortunate to build our farm. The first three years, we basically grew three different strains and a cult of ours.
And that, I mean, that was amazing. It was easy. We got good at it. We knew what we were doing, but the market shifted and, , Oregon. a very mature market and Oregon’s consers consider themselves Conos and they’re always wanting the latest things. They want the new sexy strains. And so we have, we had to mix it up.
So we learn from that. Like now we grow five different cults of ours every month. Boom, boom, boom. , but that means our systems have to change and our processes have to change and we just have to adapt. So I. Big overarching learning is that you always have to be willing to change and you always have to be willing to adapt and learn and grow.
And what’s true today may not be true tomorrow. Yeah.
Sara: Yeah. That is true. I, here in California, a lot of our businesses have been really challenged by the overtax. Hmm. , it’s, you know, we’re, we’re dealing with, I know my listeners are probably tired of hearing this and I’ve heard many people say, oh, I don’t like this phrase, but it’s just so apt.
It’s like, we’re having major extinction events here. And yeah. You know, we have farmers who have been working with cannabis since prior to legalization that are having to leave the industry, or we’ve even, unfortunately we’ve had, you know, people who have been so dist. With their businesses that they’ve actually committed suicide and it’s been, oh, that’s been horrible.
It’s been really horrible. And I’m wondering if you’re seeing a lot of that anguish and struggle in Oregon as well, or how, how are you doing with taxation in the support of small businesses and farmers?
Marianne: Yeah. Oregon’s market is different from California. We’re not stifled by the excess of tax. , but we are stifled by the excess of biomass.
So, , our, our wholesale prices of flour are the lowest in the nation. And so, yeah, I mean, different states, different models, but still a very similar end result in that people who have built great farms. I mean, there’s some great farms in Oregon. It’s, it’s like, you know, we’re, we look around. our farm. If we were in say New Mexico would be the top in the state, but in Oregon, we are one of the, you know, we’re, we’re amongst fabulous people.
And, but these people can’t survive. If you, if you have to pay your loans every month, if you have people you have to answer to, if you’re overhead costs are too high, , you’ll, you’ll go out of business. And this year, I, I believe it. maybe not quite as catastrophic as California, but there are a nber of people who aren’t gonna make it this year.
And while I feel sad for them on a personal level, like I think that’s the necessary part of the maturation of this market is you have to be willing to cut costs. You have to be nimble, you have to pivot. And, , if you can’t get your costs down low enough. Well, I mean, yeah, yeah. That’s what
Sara: happens. Yeah.
Well, that’s, you know, talking to colleagues about what’s going on or. even, you know, nationally it’s I, I, I go back to my, , my background in org psych, where we talk about storming norming and reforming mm-hmm , we’re going through major changes and I’m really interested to see what happens when we’re able to.
Past legalization, federally. And we’re looking at interstate commerce. I think there’s a lot of good things that can come with federal legalization, but some of the things that alarm me are the fact that we’ll be adding more taxation to the mix, which yeah, we will, will break some of us in certain states.
, but also, you know, looking at, I know in one, one form of the more act, what they were saying was. people were on the hook for taxing taxation for all of the product that they had in their stores, like for dispensaries or companies mm-hmm . And if it, if there was product that was misplaced or lost, if it couldn’t be proven beyond a doubt that it wasn’t due to the owner of the business or the employees that they would still be on the hook for taxes for that.
That’s ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous. I, I, but on the other hand, if we pass. We’ve got the possibility of interstate commerce and also the fact that a lot, a lot of people who aren’t in cannabis don’t know that we don’t have the same tax ride offs as other businesses.
Marianne: Yeah. , yeah, there’s so much about that.
That doesn’t seem right. I really wish that. That the federal oversight for that, like, you know, we don’t know what federal legalizations gonna look like. Yeah. There are lots of theories and lots of ideas about how that’s gonna work. , but I am not, I really hope that it doesn’t end up being a whole nother layer of tax and a whole nother layer of regulations because, you know, as you know, and as you said, this is like the regulations and the requirements, just, just to stay compliant with our state law, it’s overwhelming.
And, you know, we certainly. , invest in compliance and we are doing everything right to the best of our ability, but it’s a very real risk of losing your license. And then where do you go from there? And I think that people don’t really realize how difficult it is to stay in the regulated market. , you know, that’s my commitment and we always will, but there’s still a very.
Thriving more profitable, unregulated market. That if we were willing to do that, we could go there hand. I would actually make money. I mean, we’re making money now, but you know, you’d make more
Sara: money. Oh yeah, for sure. Well, I mean, when you’re in the regulated market to remain in compliance, it’s always a moving target, you know, in California here, it’s like, we’ll pass something, but you know, like we passed, , our compassion program.
So we’re allowed to Don. Free cannabis to low income chronically or critically ill patients that have medical recommendations. And, , oh, cool. It’s really nice. And I, I really hope that that’s something that is able to be supported in other states cuz as you and I both know, it’s not, it’s not an expensive to be sick.
Mm-hmm my goodness. Yeah. Yeah. And since it’s not covered by insurance, it’s, it’s really nice to be able to offer this to people. And I, I have a program where I, I serve people in the San Francisco bay area. , but you know, we, we worked so hard to get that passed and initially the state wanted to have it where people had to purchase the state card from the department of public health, which is expensive.
And a lot of our patients wouldn’t be able to afford that. So we were able to talk them into allowing for doctors’ recommendations that were verifiable to be accepted as well. And then this year we had, , the DCC, the department of cannabis control came back and said it has to be the medical card, , from the department of public health, because they had, even though we’d passed a law in California, they hadn’t changed their regulations and there was, oh goodness.
Yeah. And there was a lot of back and forth cuz I was like, well guys, I’ve got people dying but mm-hmm, can’t, you know, go in person to get their cards. And it was really interesting, the conversations that were had and who had to get involved for them to be like, oh wait a minute. Yeah. The law supersedes are regulations.
So. We will allow this, but for a while we were scrambling because one, you know, we’re trying to help people, but two, we don’t wanna lose our license, so we have to maintain compliance. So we were, I was looking at pretty much all the two people in my program. Weren’t going to be able to get their cannabis that month unless some changes happened.
Yeah. And it’s, I think, you know, I, I don’t understand when we’re looking at cannabis and cannabis policy, why there tends to be a loss of common sense by our policy makers. Mm-hmm and also a, somewhere along the path, they lose their grasp on the concept of economics when it comes to cannabis. ,
Marianne: it’s a very polite way of, I try
Sara: to be nice but effective.
Marianne: Yeah. And I, I totally agree. I think so. I think that the way I choose to look at that is that there’s an opportunity for us to use our voice. Mm-hmm . , in Oregon, we have several trade associations. I’m a member of, of both of the, the two largest ones and, you know, regularly speak and advocate and, and, you know, part of the collective to use our voice, to influence rule, rule, making which it’s, we’re not always successful.
And sometimes it’s super frustrating. , but I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the rules advisories committee for the last several years. So, you know, we have access to people who are making those decisions. , and even though they don’t always listen at least, , at least I feel like they’re trying to, to hear us.
, anyway, I think that’s being generous, but, but you know, they’re making an effort and hopefully over time, if you’re kind and polite and, , you know, that that will make, make a difference. , I think that it also. More than one voice and more than one way of speaking. So at least here in Oregon, there’s an attorney group who is definitely on the more aggressive side.
So they Sue for everything, which I wouldn’t be a part of, but I, I get that. That’s how they wanna use their voice. And I think that that’s also necessary because you know, people, the regulators don’t understand like, okay, you just put this company out of business, this mom and pop business, because you find them for a couple hundred thousand dollars for something that wasn’t even their fault.
Right. It’s like, it’s ridiculous. But, so I think that having multiple voices and multiple stories and being able to connect really makes a difference. Another example is a regulating body is LLCC and, , for some reason, well, I know why, but they have, , contacted me to use our farm as the training spot for new inspectors.
So of course I’m like, well, yes of. Come on in, like we’re doing everything right? So, , actually this afternoon, we’re having a group of 10 inspectors who have never even seen a cannabis plant who don’t even have the first idea how a farm should be set up. They’re gonna come out to our spot, will teach them, we’ll show them how it’s supposed to work.
And, you know, I think the amount of good will and the amount of education I’m like. Yes, absolutely. Let’s.
Sara: Still even when you’re doing everything right. It’s gotta be unnerving to go through the exercise.
Marianne: Oh, for sure. I’m like, yeah. Well, medicated. ,
, so yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a little stressful, but , I mean, I know that we’re doing everything right. I mean, they could always find something, but the fact that they asked out of, I think a good thought and they recognized that we are a market leader. To me, you know, it’s like, okay. Even if they find something little we’ll we’ll deal with it.
It’s nothing you. Super critical.
Sara: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, I think that having the good relationships is, is the beginning of normalization and, and better policy. I, I, I’ve been on the cannabis oversight committee for San Francisco for several years. And for three years, I was one of the co-chairs for the legalization task force, which was the body that existed before the oversight committee.
And to be able to have the conversations and get to know the people who. You know, influencing and creating policy I think is, is really super important. But I also think, and you’ll hear me say this time and time again, you know, when we have people who are, when I still worked in the dispensary, we would have people who would be.
Really angry about not being able to have access to things that they wanted or the prices being a high, or I can’t get into this product because it’s childproof, but I can’t get into it. You know, mm-hmm, , I’m just like a lot of anger saying, oh, it’s you it’s, it’s the companies. And really having to let them know.
that, you know, it’s time for them to come outta the cannabis closet, because the reason that we have some of these policies, isn’t, isn’t from the influence from the people who are on these committees or from the companies or for the dispensaries. But it’s the fact that a lot of these policy makers have an outdated view of who’s consing these products and how it’s affecting them.
And. The public has to come out and say, you know, I am a contributing member of society. I use cannabis and I vote.
Marianne: Yeah. I love that. And I think that everybody’s voice like these stories. I think, I think that if we’re gonna continue to normalize cannabis, use that it’s, it’s the stories. Not only is it the stories of cancer and you know, whatever other medical ailments you might have endometriosis or.
Like it’s those, but it’s also just, Hey, I use it every day and I’m still a functioning member of society. Yeah. And just people being willing to, to step up. And, and like you said before, come out of the green closet. Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be aggressive or assertive or it doesn’t have to be and taken as sick.
Just own it and use your voice however you want to, however it feels
Sara: appropriate. Yeah. And I think when it isn’t aggressive, when it’s just, you know, Hey, I’m your neighbor. I use, I use cannabis. You like me? Right? I don’t do anything strange. yep. It’s exactly. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s an interesting thing.
And especially like, when I talk to people who, and, you know, I I’m, I’m very close to wine country and we, my husband and I, we like to wine taste and do things like that. But so I’m not knocking the alcohol industry or by any stretch. But the fact that we do have people who say my life is better because I need something to unwind with.
And I’ve decided to choose like a joint or an edible rather than drinking, which makes me feel like crap the next day. Like there’s, there are some really good things that are coming out of this that I think our policy makers need to be aware of. That aren’t necessarily, like you said, it’s, I mean, the patients are what got us where we are today, but now let’s talk about everybody else who’s benefiting from it.
And they may not necessarily be critically ill, but it does change. The way we live our lives and there is, there’s a health component to it that when we’re looking at either recreational or medicinal, it’s a substance that creates a reaction in the body. So we have to have conversations about how to create that safe container for experimentation.
So people figure out what works well for them, but you know, it’s not always going to be the, the life or death thing that people need it for. It’s just your general every day. Homeostasis. Like I, you know, sometimes for me, homeostasis is having that nice dark piece of chocolate. Sometimes it’s having a joint at the end of the day and either way it’s, it’s not hurting anybody.
Marianne: Yeah. And for me, the, the hope of all of that is that the more people use it, , like eventually the regulators and the people who, and the legisla. Will be us. Right, right. It’s , you know, so I think that this, this time of, , people who don’t represent us having authority, I think that’s changing. So, you know, I’m looking, you know, we, we have a may election here in Oregon, so we have the primaries now.
And so I looked at the ballot and like, there are some really amazing people who are running for local. And they don’t look like the people who are currently in office. So, and, you know, they come from a much more open-minded, , perspective. So at least at the local level, I think it’s changing and hopefully it’s the national level.
It will also change. I think that having a lot of these old legisla, like there really should be term limit. Like these people should not be in office and hold so much power for so many decades. We need people who. Actually represent us there and I think that’ll that’ll happen.
Sara: Yeah. I, I think it will too.
I, I, I am a, a big proponent of term limits as well, especially because with the atmosphere of our nation now, I feel like some people are making some really bad, extreme choices in order to hold, keep their grip on their power and it’s affecting other people badly. Yeah,
Marianne: totally agreed.
Sara: Well, , let’s lighten it up.
What are you excited about?
Marianne: yeah, enough of that
what am I excited about? , I am actually really excited about several different things. So, you know, we talked before about the industry being. Challenging and having to be flexible and pivot mm-hmm . So we are coming out. We are collaborating with a, a gmy manufacturer here in Oregon, and we have some gmies coming out and, , those are gonna be out for dab day and we’re in final negotiation stages with, uh, company in Massachusetts to get our, , branding on the shelves in Massachusetts.
Oh, congratulations. Yeah, I’m really excited about it. So, , it’s one of these things that, you know, as. A relatively small farm, you know, how do we, how do we continue to grow and expand and connect with people? And, , last year we purchased an NFT, which was really cool. , it’s a beautiful piece of art and we have leveraged that NFT for our brand.
And it’s, I dunno if you’ve seen it, but it’s this really beautiful, sexy woman smoking a. Bright red background. It’s really eye catching and like, totally not like traditional cannabis packaging at all. It’s like bright and like in your face, glorious and beautiful. And we found that people in Oregon are just loving it and, , it just, it’s, it’s a way of affirming that cannabis can make your life better throughout, you know, by just making it beautiful.
The world is so heavy. Like we were just talking, but also with, you know, COVID and this and that, it’s like, everything is just so hard. And our brand is about, let’s try to make things a little bit easier, even if it’s just for a moment, just, just chill or just a second. And so that’s what we’re. We’re taking our message, , to other states.
And I’m really excited about that.
Sara: That’s awesome. And I noticed too that you you’ve gotten some shout outs about your genetics as well, that you’ve been
Marianne: cultivating. Yeah. We’re really fortunate to have a great team of, , people in Oregon who, who breed for us. , and so we get first bids on their choice cuts.
And so we’re, we’re using that. You know, like we talked before, Oregon’s a super competitive market and you can’t just grow, you know, whatever it is, uh, cookies or whatever you can’t, you can’t just grow that and survive. So we have some amazing genetics that are really unusual and really cool. And, , the white truffles coming out, apples and bananas, , yeah, really exciting
That’s awesome. So for people who want to follow you online, uh, where should they go?
Marianne: So our brand is, uh, alibi. Our website is alibi cannabis.com. You can find us on Instagram, alibi cannabis. Those are all, both pretty easy to find, and you can sign up for your newsletter and we let people know when we have fresh.
, new products, all of that stuff. We’re pretty good about trying to stay connected with our customer. And then if anybody’s interested in connecting with me personally, I’m also pretty easy to find on LinkedIn. , just Google or just search on LinkedIn, Maryanne, Kik, or Maryanne at alibi. And I’m happy to connect specifically happy to connect with other women entrepreneurs.
Since I have, you know, all this experience that we’ve talked about, I love helping other people. Connecting and trying to make, you know, collaboration is the name of the game and, and trying to improve everybody, you know, like they say, rising tides, lift all ships. So that’s, that’s kind of our mantra.
Sara: That’s awesome. Thank you for being such a, a strong supportive colleague, because we, we in this crazy world that we’re in, where there’s a lot of competition and what I like to refer to as the cage match for relevancy.
Marianne: yeah, that’s a good one. You,
Sara: I, I just always appreciate all the lovely people that are just smart and innovative and supportive.
Connecting with them. And, and so I’m, I’m just so glad that we were able to, to meet and talk today
Marianne: for sure. Well, thank you. It has been a pleasure, Sara, and this is, , yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I really appreciate hearing your story too.
Sara: Oh, yeah. Well, I could talk all day, but I try not to because , it’s supposed to be about connecting with others.
yeah, but I, you know, it’s, it’s just, it’s just always so wonderful to meet like-minded folks and being passionate about the work. So thank you so much for, for hanging out with me today. And for those of you listening out there, remember planted is twice a month. And if you wanna follow us on social media, we are planted with Sara pion on Facebook, on IG and Twitter.
We are planted with Sara. And if you wanna follow me on IG I’m Sara, meet pion, you’ll get, uh, cannabis education, pictures of my cat and things that I’m cooking. And of course for you dead heads out there, you’ll see some pictures of my husband, Jeff. Whos member further. I don’t often mention that, but you know, cannabis in the dead kind of goes together.
, so thank you for joining us today and it is a crazy world out there. So be good to one another, stay safe until we meet again. Stay curious. Bye everybody.