Spotlight Series: Serena Neumerschitsky of Stellar Jay Organics
Now that Cannabis is legal for recreational use in Canada, would-be retailers throughout the country are busy applying for licenses to sell cannabis. Each province has been given the opportunity to develop distribution models and in British Columbia, where several jurisdictions have issued business licenses to dispensaries in the past few years, there are still only a small handful of stores open. However, a small town on the northern end of Vancouver Island is about to become home to the Island’s first legal cannabis shop. Meet Serena Neumerschitysky, co-owner of Stellar Jay Organics.
How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
I have a long history with cannabis – but as for getting involved in the industry specifically, it just became an organic decision of circumstance.
Tell us a little bit about your product or service
We’re Stellar Jay Organics, a BC Private Cannabis Retailer located in Port Hardy BC, the first one on Vancouver Island with conditional approval – opening February 2019.
What time does your day typically start and what does a normal day look like to you?
If we’re honest I’m naturally a bit of a late riser, but I’m up and making it happen early – mostly because my hubby Tristan is on it making breakfast, and my dog Toquart is woofing to go – if I had it my way the family morning cuddle piles would last much longer.
As we haven’t opened shop yet, most of my day consists of hiking around the forest with my dog and taking care of the back end of getting Stellar Jay Organics’ operations up and running – it’s exciting and new, as we were never a grey market store before this, we’re learning as we go.
What is your vision for your company going forward?
It’s really hard to say what’s in store at this point, we’ve been stuck in the land of maybes for so long – I really look forward to finally feeling free to visualise the company moving forward, without the fear of counting my chicks. I just want to help make the world, a happier, healthier, and greener place – starting with our community.
What would an ideal post prohibition society look like to you?
I would like to see our collective openness of Cannabis create a shift in the paradigm of stigma – you’d be amazed how many grandmas have pulled me aside for a little cannabis oil advice.
What was your first experience with cannabis like?
If I’m real, it was a nervous experience in the woods at a birthday party in junior high – if memory serves me correctly it consisted of someone’s older siblings roaches, and a sad looking pop can pipe.
Tell us about some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry:
As someone who is going straight to the white market, it has been rather difficult to get assistance from banks and corporations, or be treated with any form of legitimacy, without that physical license in hand – but we’re getting there.
What are some solutions you've found?
Just keep calling, hustling, and doing what you can – an organized to do list that differentiates the things we can control, and the things we are just trying to get a hand on helps us filter through the angst.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about cannabis?
It changes lives, even if it’s not for you, it’s out there helping people; so just be cool about it, mind your business.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your product or service?
That we are a “ma & pa” shop – we’re the owners and the workers, from start to finish we’re hands on and there for you, so just let us know what you want and we’ll figure out how we can give you more of that.
If you could go back in time and do it all over again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
Nothing, I don’t operate in ‘could have, should haves’ – this has been such a wild ride, but at the end of the day, you only get back what you put into something; and we’ve put everything into this.
What is your favorite way to consume cannabis?
For me, there is nothing like a cup of coffee and a freshly rolled joint to get the day going.
Concentrate or flower? Why?
Flower – because I’m an earthy-outdoor-bud-girl all day long.. and I really love smoking joints.. the smell, the taste, the ritual.. it’s meditative.
Do you think cannabis legalization will change the world for the better? Why?
For sure, everyone is sick and tired of being sick and tired – it’s time everyone is in the know of this beautiful budding female flower!
What advice would you offer to another woman who is looking to get into the industry?
You do you – people will always try and break you down, that just means you’re making shit happen.