Spotlight Series: Hannah Hayes
Hannah Hayes is a Sales Manager at Confident Cannabis. Her focus is on business development and driving sales through relationship building and client support and she’s based in the Bay Area, overseeing the Account Executive teams in Oregon, Michigan and California. Hannah has a full-range of retail operations and supply chain experience since co-founding Oregon Coast Cannabis, a state-licensed retail dispensary located in Manzanita in 2015.
She’s a standing board member of the Craft Cannabis Alliance and helped launch the Oregon Cannabis Association Women's Section in 2017 to address the specific issues women face in our rapidly expanding cannabis industry.
How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
I met someone who was growing through the medical program in Oregon and immediately moved to the Oregon Coast to immerse myself in the culture and then the industry. I was attracted to ending the unjust policies of prohibition and to build alternatives to a health care industry that seems to be more focused on profits than wellness. I co-founded Oregon Coast Cannabis, a retail dispensary in Manzanita, two short years later.
Tell us a little bit about your product or service
Confident Cannabis has two dynamic platforms. Our lab platform captures 50% of the legal cannabis in the US and funnels that into our powerful Wholesale platform where retailers, processors, and other licensees can sell and source verified B2B cannabis. We do a really cool lead generation matchmaking service. Instead of that being automated we have a team of outstanding account executives that help foster deals saving everyone time to focus on their business.
What time does your day typically start and what does a normal day look like to you?
Up before the sun and hitting the road for that Bay Area commute! I get my team aligned on priorities for the day including following up on orders, reaching out to prospective and existing clients, and ensuring all of our clients are successful on the platform. I spend the day making sure my team is supported and has the tools they need. These days, I am also very focused on hiring and adding more rock stars to our team.
What is your vision for your company going forward?
Confident Cannabis’ vision statement is to foster a sustainable and vibrant ecosystem in which every ethical cannabis business thrives. That is what I work towards everyday, I see us continuing to grow, finding new ways to solve supply chain issues for companies and being a cornerstone in sourcing compliant cannabis.
What would an ideal post-prohibition society look like to you?
A place where a variety of cannabis businesses and subsets of the culture, including those we haven’t imagined yet, thrive! From consumption cafes and dispensaries to small craft growers with tasting rooms on their farms, state of the art extraction labs and test kitchens, up to the pharmaceutical model for patients suffering from serious chronic illness and disease.
What was your first experience with cannabis like?
Pretty typical high school party stuff which didn’t really resonate with me. I can still picture that first bag of Midwest ditch weed clearly. It wasn’t until I was suffering from insomnia and anxiety in college that I rediscovered cannabis on my own terms and fell in love.
Tell us about some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry
Cash in my dispensary days certainly creates safety issues. To keep everything running, I found myself driving alone on rural roads with thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Beyond occasional misogyny and banking issues, there’s so much other work to be done that feels equally important. It’s a balancing act to keep up with near constantly changing regulations while simultaneously working to advocate for more research, educate the public and win hearts and minds. Feeling judgment from women who are not cannabis consumers but are drinkers can be disheartening until you start taking it as another opportunity to educate.
What are some solutions you've found?
Work hard, create and maintain clear boundaries, never stop learning and educating others. I think it is so important to speak to elected officials and encourage everyone in your circles to vote. We are building this industry now, show up and create the kind of industry you want to be a part of. I’ll be going to DC with the Oregon Cannabis Association later in October to help change the conversations on a federal level.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about cannabis?
Set and setting is so important. There are some people who are just naturally more sensitive to cannabis but for the rest of us, having intention, awareness of your mindset (and being hydrated!), being around experienced friends or a guide you trust when you are getting started, can make all the difference between an unpleasant experience and a wonderful one. If you are canna-curious but a little afraid, find a good dispensary where they focus on educating their customers. If you find a strain you like you could check out our free Connect tool to find similar strains. Knowing the chemical makeup of what you’re ingesting is key. Keeping a journal of what you ingested and how it made you feel is great. Eventually, using Connect and other tools you can find your comfort region of preferred strains.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your product or service?
We take the heavy lifting out of wholesale trade! Vendors save time with pre-populated listings from lab results and buyers know they are getting lab tested product from verified licensed vendors. Also, all my weed nerds need to check out Confident Cannabis Connect! Connect is a 3D visualization of the world’s largest data set of cannabis flowers by cannabinoid and terpene profile. It helps you explore the connections between strains and their expected chemistry.
If you could go back in time and do it all over again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
Trust my instincts and not settle for less than I know I deserve. In business and in life, we must make compromises but never compromise your values.
What is your favorite way to consume cannabis?
Must I choose? It changes with my mood and what I’m doing. I love topicals for skincare and pain relief, big fan of bong hits and pretty pipes like Stonedware, I always have a Canapa tincture in my purse, joints for on the go!
Concentrate or flower? Why?
I go back and forth but I always come back to flower. I love CBD concentrates, tinctures especially. I’m more on flower right now. It’s the closest to the earth and the most natural, full expression of the plant. Plus, I love rolling herbal spliffs— I will smoke all of the flowers and herbs!
Do you think cannabis legalization will change the world for the better? Why?
Absolutely! The War on Drugs has been a complete failure that has devastated oppressed and marginalized communities. This is just the beginning of righting those wrongs. Ending these discriminatory policies, providing safe access to plant medicines, and disrupting heavily polluting industries with hemp is good for people and the planet.
What advice would you offer to another woman who is looking to get into the industry?
Go for it! Ask lots of questions, do your research and build your network. I have found the women in this industry to be extremely supportive of each other and more invested in community than other spaces. Think about what you’re passionate about and make the changes in your life that you want. Never hold back.