As the legal cannabis industry continues to flourish in the growing number of states where the law has changed, more and more women are claiming their space as business owners, growers, designers and entrepreneurs. California-based Hot Nife sells premium cartridges of cannabis oil along with pre-bundled kits with everything you need for vaping, and can be found in MedMen Dispensaries.

PAPER spoke with Circe Wallace, the president of the company, about some of the best parts about working in the industry, the biggest misconceptions about cannabis and what still needs to change.

How did you get started in the cannabis industry? What were you doing before?

I grew up in the Northwest as a pot smoking, nife hittin' skate rat and snowboarder. I have a deep appreciation for the benefits of plant medicine. I've also been a professional athlete and subsequently a sports agent for almost 20 years. I just felt the tug to explore this business and use my experience to build a premium brand and a product I believe in. Moving away from big pharma, getting in touch with herbs and plants and good nutrition is essential to our survival. So my partner and I launched Hot Nife on 4/20 in 2017.

Who is your customer?

Our ideal customer is one who knows what they want and wants to have fun.

What's your favorite part about running your own company in this industry? What's the hardest part?

My favorite part is the opportunity to really realize vision. To have an idea and the ability to bring that idea forward is a really rewarding exercise. The hardest part is competing with the Dan Bilzerian's of this world.

Related | How Cannabis Became the New Normal

What are some misconceptions people have about the industry? What do you wish they knew?

I would say the biggest one is that we are all getting rich. There is still so much work to be done and there are not any independent quality brands who aren't working as hard as humanly possible everyday to deal with the ever-changing landscape, to adapt and be successful is incredibly difficult. I also hope that consumers buy from local (in our case California) companies and support the small farmers and find that quality is worth paying for from ethical and responsible operators. I also would like to point out that clears or refined extracts are not usually better…look for ambers and full spectrum products and distillates that only use natural or cannabis derived terpenes. Also don't throw disposable batteries in the trash! Dispose of the lithium ions responsibly.

Are you starting to see more female entrepreneurs in the cannabis space?

Maybe a few more than the norm but not nearly enough in the C-suite. Cannabis brands have a history and a tendency to objectify women. I appreciate the organizations that support diversity and the on-going coverage the media is giving us which feels like opportunity.

What do you envision or hope for the future of your brand?

To be honest I just want people to have fun. There is so much ugliness in the world and we are so polarized as a nation but we are so happy that we get to live and be in California Cannabis. I hope to be able to really celebrate that fully with all the people who have helped us along the way — my team, the biodynamic grower, the dispensary owners, the packing and shipping team, the amazing creatives we work with, the athletes, and artists and innovators and good old fashioned stoners. We hope to solve problems and be social responsible and ensure activism for progressive causes all while building a successful enterprise. We hope to export the quality and consciousness of California globally and share with the world why California is the best state in the Union and best place on earth.

Photo Courtesy of MedMen

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