The Broken Ladder to the Top

The Cannabis Industry is expected to grow by billions in the next few years. Every State that’s not legal has those few politicians who are trying to pass recreational.
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The Cannabis Industry is expected to grow by billions in the next few years. Every State that’s not legal has those few politicians who are trying to pass recreational. Some because they truly believe in its many medical miracles that have been proven to be effective and some realize the amount of money that will generate in their State is too good to pass up. The fact is one by one all States will eventually become legal. 

I raised 3 great children, as a young Mother trying to make ends meet was always a struggle. One thing I never had any problem with was finding a job. Not a dream job like some of those in the cannabis industry today but a job that put food on the table kept the bills paid and the kids clothed. Always living week by week, paycheck to paycheck. I have always been the type of person that worked my way up to a leadership position. Not CEO or President but shift leader, trainer, line leader, etc. The struggle was most of these jobs never paid well, they never kept my interest and did not generate passion. The majority of my positions were in customer service, which to me is one of the hardest positions in any industry. I didn’t realize just how much those people skills would end up helping me today.

Starting Fresh and Finding a Passion

After my kids left home to start their own families, I realized after 35 years of working with the public, I wanted to find a way to make an income at home. The days of trying to please everyone at a job where young people had no respect for your authority any longer were now my choice. I didn’t have to tolerate the lack of morals, common sense, or nasty attitudes anymore, even if it meant not having what others take for granted. When you struggle your whole life sacrificing your needs just becomes normal. It’s just another day for the not-so-fortunate.

So with my 7-inch Android and my 10-inch tablet, I started my search. The amount of funnel and pyramid scams promising me thousands of dollars a day were popping up by the dozens every time I logged on. I knew these were all too good to be true offers. My email was soon getting full of spam wasting my time and adding to my discouragement. 

One day as  I sat on the couch deleting 9 out of 10 emails, I found myself barely paying attention to the sound of the TV. What I did hear, immediately caught my attention. I realized that I needed to start researching the very same thing I heard that day. What I heard was “Cannabis”. But where do I start? At this point in time, Medicinal Marijuana wasn’t even legal in my State of Illinois. Looking back I now realize how far I have come.

Even though I have always been a big fan of cannabis I knew I had a lot to learn. I decided to create a Twitter account and start following people in the cannabis niche. It started so slow, 1 follower, 2 followers. I remember how excited I was to reach 100, 200 even 300 followers. My family, however, didn’t see this as exciting as I did, as a matter of fact, they got quite the kick out of it “So do you know Mom has a Twitter account all about weed?” (hysterical laughter). I didn’t let these non-supportive children discourage me one bit! The more I tweeted, retweeted, and kept up on the cannabis news of the day the more I started learning. I watched and read everything I could get my hands on and for once I wasn’t losing interest. I wasn’t even worried about making money at that time, after all, it would still be a few years before Illinois would jump on that green bandwagon and I still had a lot to learn. My goal was to grow my connections and take in all the information that was out there. I knew this new road I decided to take would raise some eyebrows and definitely be good for those who unconsciously roll their eyes not realizing you saw them. I kept my adventure to myself knowing I wouldn’t get much support, not even from my family.

After 2 years and thousands of hours of networking. I decided to start coming out of the cannabis closet a little. I had to increase my connections and stick my neck out a little more to stay on top of this daily changing industry if I wanted to find a place in it.

Finding a Spot in the Cannabis Industry

 I had over 2500 followers on Twitter. This was the only social media platform I was involved with. With all the reading and researching I had been doing I decided to try my hand at this thing they called a “blog”. I googled it and before I knew it I was creating my WordPress account. Keep in mind I had no idea how to create a blog site. While it probably took others 15 minutes to set one up it took me hours. After a few entries, I got the nerve to start contacting cannabis publications to see if they were looking for bloggers. To my surprise, after only 2 weeks I received an email from CannaConsumer Magazine. This would lead to my first publication, a poem I wrote about marijuana. It was a guest blog that didn’t “pay” but my determination did and so did my exposure. A week later HopeGrown contacted me to publish another one of my stories which ended up being their “Spotlight” blog. They sent me a cool T-Shirt that I have hanging where I can see it as inspiration when I sometimes get discouraged.

I was feeling confident now. I wanted to expand my connections even further. Soon I was posting on Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram but I was still feeling that I was missing that one on one interaction, I needed people to help me, lead me, and encourage me in this industry. After reading some articles about LinkedIn I decided to check it out. At first, I was having flashbacks of signing up with Twitter. 1 connection, 2 connections.. Everyone I was connecting with was way ahead of the game I was attempting to try out for. My connections would soon be cannabis business owners, investors, and growers. I still had a long way to go and realized the sacrifices I had made by being a young Mom and not staying in school to further my education was against me now. One thing I’ve always believed though is “your never too old to learn” Even if I never get the opportunity to be a leader in this industry, I would still embrace the knowledge I could learn from others. 

I have mentioned in my LinkedIn profile the accomplishments I’ve made throughout my role in the social media world. Like finding a blind disabled Veteran on Twitter and helping him get pain relief while he was visiting Las Vegas. My story and efforts reached the founder of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, Thomas Haynie. I received a personal phone call offering help from him which blew me away. He shared my blog along with many others, resulting in tens of thousands of views.

Connections Are Key

 I know what it’s like to start something new, struggling to get noticed in this busy place called social media. What I was doing to be nice was actually acts of Pro Bono. Helping new businesses promote their products or promoting new websites. Connecting people with my connections so they can make million-dollar deals. These were all acts of kindness that I later found out some people charge thousands of dollars for. What is really disappointing about starting over at my age is how everyone just “assumes” “They assume because I have the top investors or business owners as connections that I’m just as well off or I actually own a new car that I can jump into and travel to expos or conferences in different States. They “assume” I can catch the next flight to Vegas just to have a drink and collaborate. Little do they know that this is definitely not an option for me.

Soon there will be expos, conferences, and new cannabis businesses popping up all around me. I feel with the number of connections I have, (which a few have turned into great friendships) that I’ll be lucky enough to find my position in this industry. I have several great ideas for new apps, products, and even charity drives but as the old saying goes “You have to have money to make money”  

Coming up With a Concept

So the wheels start turning once again, I would have to find something I could do on my own, with zero start-ups, and at the same time make it unique and different. This is when most are ready to give up. I, on the other hand, am not that person. I’m the person who says “I don’t know if I don’t try”. More research and sleepless nights, racking my brain for something that stands out from the rest.

One thing I’ve always noticed about the cannabis business is the lack of knowledge the general public has about its many benefits and the educational features of the plant. This is especially true in States that are not legal. The majority of people haven’t even heard of an endocannabinoid system, terpenes, or trichomes. People are out buying anything that is labeled CBD. They have no idea what they need or that they should ask for analytics to see what is in the products they are buying. Sadly most people selling these products also do not know what it is they are selling. I’ve always said education is vital when it comes to cannabis, not only for the well-being of the people using it but to teach people the truth and end the stigma. We need to make sure people are educated when it is time to vote in all states.

cannagramApparel cannabis image
cannagramApparel 1 cannabis image
CannaGramapparel 2 cannabis image

That’s how I came up with CannaGram Apparel. Sure I know you’re saying there is an overabundance of marijuana T-Shirts on the market and you are absolutely right but there isn’t a line of apparel that promotes education and awareness! There isn’t a line focusing on the science of the plant. So CannaGram Apparel “Is Not Your Average Stoner Shirts”! With new cannabis Businesses opening as the recreational laws pass. There will be a plethora of products filling the shelves. My goal is to have the opportunity to distribute CannaGram Apparel to new businesses. Apparel that starts a conversation and encourages people to ask questions. Apparel that is different and unique. Apparel that everyone has heard of or seen someone wearing. A Brand “CannaGram Apparel”, Not Your Average Stoner Shirts. Send your friends A CannaGram! Promote Cannabis Education and Awareness!

One thing I definitely know is if you believe in yourself even if no one else does, you should pursue your dreams with everything you’ve got. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 50. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to and if you are passionate about it you will see your accomplishments pay off. Don’t ever let others discourage you. What works for you might not work for someone else. It’s in your spirit and determination that make things happen. Even if you’re starting over at 50.

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About Author
Author PhotoRob

Rob Foster's 20-year odyssey in the cannabis industry is a story of ambition, dedication, and grass-roots success. A distinguished graduate of the University of California, Rob's career trajectory is a... Read More

About Author
Author PhotoRob

Rob Foster's 20-year odyssey in the cannabis industry is a story of ambition, dedication, and grass-roots success. A distinguished graduate of the University of California, Rob's career trajectory is a... Read More

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