“It [noise on social media] is irrelevant. You have to build relationships with your lawmakers...if we're not going to help educate them, who will?... Everyone's got an idea, but who's really coming down to executing it?” - Tina Ulman
Welcome back to the To Be Blunt podcast! In this episode, Shayda Torabi welcomes Tina Ulman, Co-Founder and President of Chamber of Cannabis, as she shares her story on how they pushed for policies in favor of cannabis consumption by connecting with the right people, knowing whether you are reactive or proactive in the advocacy, and the domino effect of change by sending a message to the right people.
[00:01 – 07:42] Reach out to Shayda via email or DM on IG
[07:43– 13:05] Thriving Inclusive and Conscientious Markets on Cannabis Commerce
[13:06 – 33:30] Allied Push of Legalization through Lobbyists and Lawmakers
[33:31 – 35:58] Triggering the Domino Effect through Eliminating Stigma
[45:59 – 51:49] Getting the Message Relayed throughout the Industry
[51:50 – 53:57] Food for Thought: How do you take a step forward?
A resident of Las Vegas for over 12 years and UNLV Hospitality Management Graduate, Tina Ulman is the Co-founder and President of the Chamber of Cannabis and Director of Brands for The Source Dispensaries in Nevada. Tina has served the cannabis industry through various roles which simultaneously contributed toward the growth of the Las Vegas cannabis communities and the reforming of unjust laws.
In 2020 Ulman and the Chamber created the proposal and led the campaign for AB 341, Social Consumption Venues and worked closely with Assemblyman Steve Yeager to pass both AB 341 & AB 400, Cannabis DUI Reform. In 2019 Ulman traveled to Reno and Washington DC to lobby for both state and federal cannabis rights while serving as the Director of Development for Las Vegas and Nevada NORML.
In 2020 and 2021 Tina was awarded Las Vegas Cannabis Activist of the Year while leading the Old Pal brand in Nevada. Prior to entering the cannabis industry Tina was a sales and marketing executive for Wyndham Resorts and a 15 year cannabis consumer.
Connect with Tina
Visit https://thechamberofcannabis.org/ and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn @chamberofcannabis
Shayda Torabi has been called one of the most influential Women in WordPress and now she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She's currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run education first CBD wellness brand. And has formerly held marketing positions at WP Engine and WebDevStudios. Shayda is the host of a podcast for cannabis marketers called To Be Blunt, where she interviews top cannabis brands on their most successful marketing initiatives. When Shayda's not building her cannabiz in Texas, you can find her on the road exploring the best hikes and spots for vegan ice cream. Follow Shayda at @theshaydatorabi
“...let our lawmakers know: You need to create a safe place for people to consume, where you're not being criminalized. And you need to do it. So it's the next step in cannabis commerce.” - Tina Ulman
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Tina Ulman 0:00
When I was in junior high my mom used to make us listen to Zig Ziglar tapes. Yeah, why we were getting ready and I thought this is stupidest thing ever just had a little Junior High bad attitude. And Zig Ziglar remember said you can get everything in life you want. If you help enough other people get what they want. And now being an adult, I see that every day. It is why we have blessings that fall from the sky for myself personally and for organization and for this state. So we went into this not knowing what we were doing, but we're coming out of it knowing exactly what we were doing and where we're supposed to be.
You're listening to to be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers, where your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here's your host Shayda Torabi.
Shayda Torabi 1:11
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another episode of The to be blunt podcast. I'm your host Shayda Torabi, cannabis, business owner and brand marketer. I'm bringing you another episode today that was recorded live at MJ unpacked. But before we get into the episode, I did want to spend a couple of minutes just, you know, sharing a little bit of what's been going on inside my brain, you all know that I am a little bit of a hobbyist in the sense that I feel like I'm constantly trying to come up with a new project, iterate, evolve, like, basically I love to learn and with learning comes evolution. And so from a podcasting perspective, I really think that there is a lot of opportunity for me to continue to evolve the podcast and evolve the show. And you know, part of that evolution, in my opinion is going to be really reliant upon you, my guest and listener. And so if you're new here, this is your first time listening. So sorry, I'm going to be asking you for some feedback. Don't feel pressured to respond. But if you do have anything that you can share with me to provide any, you know, feedback, insight, or even encouragement, I would love to hear it, you can email me at Gmail, which is the Shayda [email protected], or connect with me on Instagram at to be blunt pod. But with that said, I've just been thinking a lot about how I structure the episodes. I feel like sometimes I don't include a lot of real time information on the podcast, which is something that I'm eager to begin sharing more of, in my kind of, you know, brainstorming manner, I thought maybe y'all would want to hear individual episodes with just me maybe they're shorter. And maybe they're a little bit more real time of what's happening both at a national level with cannabis as well as individual states, as you know, news and alerts come up as well as what the fuck is going on in Texas? Because that is my home base. And there always seems to be some new challenge to our cannabis program. But yeah, that's kind of what I been noodling on. I just really want to hear from y'all what your thoughts are, what's working, what's not working, and anything that you can share would be much appreciated. You know, if you're like, hey, I want shorter episodes, or, Hey, I want longer episodes, that helps me make sure that what I'm putting together and delivering is ultimately most effective for y'all. So I do want to share that I have a very JAM PACKED November, December, I'm even booking episode guests into January at this point, definitely coming back from MJ biz and MJ unpacked was really lucrative in the sense that, you know, I got to make a lot of really great connections, and the podcast is gaining some traction. So I don't want to slow down those great guests episodes. But again, just how do I continue to evolve the podcasts, maybe I post more frequently, and they're shorter episodes, like I said, with just me providing you news and updates in that manner. But that's kind of all I'll share about that update. If you have anything to add, please feel free to reach out to me via email or DM on IG. Otherwise, let's transition into today's guest. Her name is Tina omen. And Tina really caught my attention. Basically when I got to go to MJ unpacked, I saw a list of all the speakers and like organizations that were a part of it and I was told hey pick a couple of people that you would like to interview that was the whole point of me going to MJ unpacked was to be able to do some live interviews. So these are you know the episodes I'm presenting to y'all today. But Tina Omen was definitely somebody that stood out to me, I was so curious about the organization that she represents, she actually founded. She's the co founder and President of the Chamber of cannabis. And she's also the director of brands for the source dispensaries in Nevada. But really this episode, I wanted to focus more on her involvement from a nonprofit status from a organization in the industry that directly helps impact and influence laws at a localized level. I don't know if you're familiar with this or not. But consumption lounges is not something that's readily available and every legal state, if you can imagine just because you legalized cannabis in that state, you know, Yahoo for you, you live in that state you can go consume in the privacy of your home. But for those who might be tourist or traveling unless you have a safe place to be consuming technically, you know, consuming in your hotel is probably illegal, most hotels do have notices that they don't consume on the property. So using Nevada, and really Las Vegas, as you know that that epicenter for tourism, I thought that it was really interesting how Tina and her team had framed the chamber of cannabis to help influence and ultimately impact and change laws that are going to directly influence their local cannabis industry. So in 2020, Olman, and the Chamber created the proposal and led the campaign for a b 341, which was the social consumption venues piece of legislature. And she worked closely with Assemblyman Steve Yeager to pass both A B 341. And a b 400, which is a piece on cannabis DUI reform. So, again, I was really intrigued and also inspired by Tina's work and efforts to help shape the laws of her locale. And that, again, is really what we tried to dive in and get a little bit deeper understanding in our discussion today. So I hope you're excited to tune into this episode, and learn a little bit from Tina and apologies in advance. We are again recording live from MJ unpacked, so it will be a little bit of chatter in the background. But I think Tina, you know, overcomes that by just sharing her story so authentically. And I definitely walked away with a couple of things that I'm like, Okay, we're gonna go implement this into our day to day life here in Austin, Texas cannabis. So without further ado, let's welcome Tina to the show. Hi,
Tina Ulman 7:43
my name is Tina Allman. I am the co founder and the President of the Chamber of cannabis, and the director of brands for the source dispensaries here in Nevada. And I am here at mjbizcon representing both companies trying to meet some new folks. Get them integrated into the market. Let them know who we are chamber that is, and yeah, just trying to change the world one doobie at a time.
Shayda Torabi 8:04
Hell yeah, I love that I love doobies. All around, right, like I'm at that conference. What I want to kick off with for you is obviously any of the listeners to frame we are in Nevada. So you representing not only just kind of being here at the conference, I definitely want to touch on some of the things we've observed, kind of being a part of organizations and opportunities to kind of commute and not commute but congregation say and create community with the industry. But also want to address what cannabis has been like in Nevada, what your observation has been as the state has continued to open up and just give us a pulse of like, I mean, I think most people realize like, weed is legal recreationally, you can now fly in and go to a dispensary pretty relatively close off the strip. But from what I've observed as having friends in the industry here as well. There are certain rules around how close a dispensary can be to a casino and consuming on premise and things like that. So just kind of anything that comes to mind that you can share about the market here, I think really relevant for people to understand.
Tina Ulman 9:04
Absolutely. So I've been consumer for 15 years, I went to unlv lived here for a total of about 12 years, worked in hospitality as a sales and marketing executive for a large corporation and moved back when Nevada became recreationally legal. So it was medically legal. And then we were able to pass it in 2016 for 21 and above. And I knew immediately this is where I want to be so starting my journey with old pal as the brand manager so overseeing the market here and really created such a powerful brand that was a cultural changing machine, setting the bar for people who really want to help promote conscientious capitalism and recognize our privilege to be in this space. So once I got that encouragement from old pal I ran with it and really tried to create a space where people feel welcome. They feel a part of something. They understand the respect for this plant, they understand our opportunity to create one of the most thriving inclusive and conscientious markets in the United States. And from that, over the last three years, we've created a coalition of over about 200 people, 40 businesses, who all want to push cannabis commerce forward much more inclusively. So it's kind of how we came to the chamber, we saw a void in the market for a strong business Trade Organization, whose members and leaders were also working in the organization, anywhere from an owner to an executive, to a leader, that's customer facing professionals in the industry who want to get stuff done, and really have had that probably this vision, some of us since junior high.
Shayda Torabi 10:37
Like, finally, my dreams of being in cannabis illegally are like coming through,
Tina Ulman 10:41
yes, hell yes. And we live in sin city, we live in the entertainment capital of the world. So we have so much innovation, we have so much opportunity, it's just who is going to take that opportunity. And when we first went wreck those opportunities when well connected, rich, predominantly white males who had a background in politics, law, development, not necessarily cannabis. So it's very important for myself and my colleagues in the chamber, that we're helping those businesses steer in the right direction. So they never forget about their privilege, or what we really have to come here to do other than just sell weed. So that's kind of a little bit of overview, kind of where we are in the market. We do have a very stable market, we have a low illicit market, we just transferred from the Department of Taxation to the cannabis compliance board, which was created by our governor. And they have done a much better job regulating building relationships really driving the industry in the right direction. It did not always start like that. As I mentioned, when the licenses first went out, it was not transparent, and it was not inclusive. I believe we have 330 licenses here in Nevada, less than seven are owned by women, or black or brown folks. So one of the main initiatives for the chamber is really driving the consumption lounge bill. And that's what we were able to do. So been able to get that path last year, had a great relationship with my Assemblyman Steve Yeager, who sponsored the bill we championed the bill created the proposal, and then really created a strong grassroots organization, we use the power of social media, we had tons of meetings with our political figures, and most importantly, got engagement from the cannabis industry, and the cannabis community to get around this make noise and let our lawmakers know. You need to create a safe place for people to consume, where you're not being criminalized. And you need to do it. So it's the next step and cannabis commerce, we myself and my vice president at the Chamber, Danny Baranovsky, we have a saying, why not us? Why not me. And the chamber has really taken the initiative to get stuff done. Build relationships. And here we are today sitting with this social consumption lounge bill, and cannabis DUI reform, because it would be very irresponsible, if we were to pass this bill and then not protect consumers. And still based dy tests offer archaic blood test.
Shayda Torabi 13:05
Yeah, I think that's so obviously empowering to just hear, obviously, your passion with it to of just how important it is to you to identify not only the emergence of the market, but also maybe the gaps in where think, again, I always reflect on this in the podcast, and just for our conversation to reference. When I wanted cannabis to be legal as a consumer, it was a much different vision than now what cannabis legality looks like, as a business owner or operator in the space. And so getting into understanding how politics works at a state level at a local level. And obviously, kind of feeling the calling before we were recording, you kind of mentioned just like the sentiment in the feeling around like and you said just now, why not me like why not us? And I think that is something that I really want to emphasize for listeners, because the whole point of this podcast is just to inspire people to feel like they can make change where they can. Yeah, so whether you come from a state that maybe I'll say it because I have a lot of California podcast guests, and they reiterate it like I don't think just because California has this legacy market is a perfect market to emulate by any means. So there's a lot of room to improve even some of these, I'm going to use air quotes, like legacy markets in the sense that maybe they were operating black market, and now it's kind of gone above ground compared to maybe a state like reflecting where I come from in Texas where, yes, there's an illicit market, but we still don't really have a legal market to be operating in outside of the hemp legality. And so it's just interesting to try to kind of piece together. What does an organization already exist if an organization doesn't exist, what organization needs to exist and so from what I've gathered from kind of your storytelling so far is and kind of overlaying it with the state of Nevada and the importance of tourism in this state. It's almost like obviously a no brainer, but to the same extent, I don't know every state might need to implement something like the thought process behind like the commerce of kin. It's not that it isn't applicable in many other markets. But like, it sounds like your focus, your observation is people are coming to Vegas, who don't live here who are tourists and they want to spend money in our city in our state and give back to the economy. We've now legalized cannabis, that is a huge boost. But then you realize the flip side of like we were meant to Planet 13. And we were getting on the shuttle bus back. And by the time I'm airing this, I'm not gonna be at the hotel anymore, but for conversations and say, getting on the bus and ladies asking what hotel Am I dropping you off that and I told her, and she's like, Oh, that hotel does not like to see cannabis paraphernalia or whatever. Like, if they see it, they're gonna confiscate it, they're gonna find you, they're gonna whatever. And it's like, okay, I get it. Maybe they don't want me smoking in the room. But like I can't even edible in the room, I can't have an edible packaging and bring it into my room and safely go consume. So it kind of creates this again, you're an illegal market, you're legally buying cannabis. But now you're doing something illicit by consuming on the property. And so I don't know if you can speak to that a little bit more of how I think you observe what's happening in your local community as an opportunity to fill a gap by creating the chamber.
Tina Ulman 16:09
Yeah. Okay, so a couple points. First and foremost, when a hotel charges you with cannabis consumption, let's say it's $300. And they smell cannabis in your room, that $300 goes to the bottom line of the hotel, they can easily mask the smell. It's not cigarettes, where it lingers. So let's not let some of these hotels fool us. They are absolutely making 100% profit off people that smoke in their rooms, smoke in the parking garage. Yeah, I wouldn't walk around with your bag, flashing it everywhere. But we all know there's a lot more things that happen in Las Vegas than smoking a doobie. So just to set that record for you. And as soon as this does become federally legal, every casino will jump on this opportunity because that is what the consumers are steering the direction. They are saying we want cannabis, we want less alcohol. And we see it every day. And it's just intensified in the four years that we've been legal. When we became legal. That was a ballot initiative. That was the people of Nevada saying we want this only one state has the legislator actually said that. And that's Illinois. So but again, like I said earlier, we left out were to consume it, it was just you can buy it if you're 21. All the other details weren't in the bill. And when I first got into this industry three years ago, I started learning that I joined Las Vegas normal, which was a great organization. I learned a lot about policy. Somebody asked me to previous interview, they said were you into politics before this. I said no, I just voted and stood up for what I felt was right. But no, I wasn't. I mean, I paid attention in 11th grade civics. But overall, like many Americans, I didn't really know the inter workings of how policy was created. And once I started finding out all of these laws didn't change, just because we could buy cannabis. I wanted to know how you could change them. And just started digging deeper hanging out with people that are much more intelligent than me. I had a friend of mine who was running for judge and then was able to meet with her and other women running for judges that were all gonna say pro cannabis. But interpreting the cannabis law fairly helped them with their campaigns that nine out of 10 of those people elected spread the word to the cannabis industry who devote for on both sides that was pro cannabis. So we could start making change happen at the top. And I think that's what import is important for people to know. You'll make a lot of noise on Instagram or Facebook, you get in these freakin Facebook wars with people. It is irrelevant. You have to build relationships with your lawmakers, ones that are pro cannabis ones that aren't if we're not going to help educate them who will it is you think everyone else is doing it and they're not everyone's got an idea, but who's really coming down to executing it. So with the right combination of having a strong grassroots advocacy, organization, hiring the right lobbyists, Scott Rutledge, getting support from the industry, one conversation at a time $1,000 donation at a time even $50 donation. We were then finally over the last year able to get this bill passed. But now making sure we're educating people like folks from the legacy market, like caregivers, like people who have been doing this for a long time and had this vision so that they can possibly get in the industry and not have really strong barriers to entry. And that's unfortunately what we had four years ago, even two years ago. So yeah, that's kind of how we're brought to where we are today. Chambers. There's just like a chamber of commerce, but for industry professionals. So we've grown it, like I said to 200 people, we have incredible monthly meetings where myself and my vice president, we will deliver kind of a cliffnotes version of what's happening in policy. We make it fun, so that you leave there thinking, wow, I really learned a lot. I met great new people in the market. And you probably met an influential keynote speaker, whether that is a political leader, a business leader, a longtime activist, we've had great folks from Ricky Williams to CJ Wallace to our city council women and men and making sure that we're encouraging people and elevating them. We have a lot of new young leaders in the market, we want to make sure they have the professional development and the acumen, so that the best human capital comes from Nevada, and we're just this talent pool of folks that are ready to go and spread the news. For the
Shayda Torabi 20:37
good work, I feel everything you're saying to such a degree of just one inspiration to encouragement, obviously, your passion, I think. Yeah. So I guess what that makes me kind of a follow up question is really, especially coming from Texas, where we're maybe an emerging say, we don't have organizations that don't necessarily there definitely are some legacy organizations like you obviously brought up normal we have normal in Texas, they've been super critical in helping me get connected, get established, get my footing and how to go. That's right. Shout out to Jack, she was on the podcast a couple months ago. It's just one of those things, I don't think there's a right or a wrong approach based on how your story is versus like, again, someone imitating it and like putting it in their own city, like every city is going to operate different every state's going to operate different. But I am curious how when you were creating the chamber of cannabis, how you kind of reflected on that against working with these other organizations? I mean, how do you go in and like work with lobbyists? Did you have a lobby maker friends, I'm like, probably even saying that word wrong. And I shouldn't know. I didn't know. But it's like, how do you know like, oh, I need these things. And these are the people I should go do it. And now we're going to influence law and like, how do I influence law? And how do I go approach all these different influential people who need to help me go through the checks and balances and changing?
Tina Ulman 21:51
We didn't know, we didn't know shit, except that we really loved cannabis. And we wanted to get stuff done. And there was many nights were like, What the heck did we sign up for? Like, what are we doing? This is a little bit over our skill set. But again, nobody else was doing it. So learning from people that have been in this space. Again, a getting you a great lobbyist or lobbyist has also been a great mentor to us he helped get questioned to past. So he wants to see this. He's in it. We also built great relationships within the Nevada dispensary Association. Sometimes their agenda is different than ours. And that is okay. Everyone doesn't have the same agenda. But you have to go in with the willingness to negotiate and what's important to them what's important to us, you're not going to get 100% of what you want. And unfortunately, right now in politics, people just have this. It's all or nothing. I mean, and not just in cannabis in many different sectors. So I mean, that's silly. So having a great relationship with the executive director, Lake Martin, who's incredible young woman, public policy, Professor, attorney, and stakeholders businesses, we wanted to make sure that businesses were you moving as a coalition, not one dispensary over here and one cultivator over here, and that's not going to make our legislators seem like this is the best thing to do. So moving together as a unit, and then making sure that we were preparing. We also partnered with em for mn minorities for medical marijuana. They are a great supporting partner of ours. They have worked on language for legislation all over the United States. And they were able to help us with the language with the social equity portion of this, which this bill also defined social equity, I had the privilege of serving on the subcommittee that was created for social equity, diversity and inclusion. And it was such an honor that somebody wants to hear my points. And I think you present those points well, and you act as a conduit and not necessarily someone that's coming to raise hell that you really are that bridge, then people will listen to you. And I think sometimes activists make that's not blowing into a blow horn all the time with a sign and cap, no, we won't go it is making your point. We talk about solutions. We've met with our CCB, four times now to offer different solutions, from small concerns to large concerns. And again, doing that as a united coalition of industry professionals, leaders and activists.
Shayda Torabi 24:19
So going into because you were kind of touching on a little bit earlier to just the range of obviously all the members and knowing that the market is I mean, I think even though you have legality is still unstable, right? You're always trying to kind of progress and expand the laws expand, obviously, with the social consumption lounges, being able to, again apply like critical thinking to hey, here's a problem or a challenge or a gap in the market and someone can solve it and not really expecting someone else to go solve it or waiting for the infinite time to go. Like obviously we're all kind of I think as an industry waiting for federal legalization has been a huge topic at the conference this week and kind of the sentiment that I've heard is, and it's always kind of intriguing aside from the conference, it's like, figure out how you can make the change locally, like, what does that do for you and the people that are in your community and trying to make an impact for business. And so I can't help but reflect on kind of the way that Nevada and Las Vegas is kind of operated and set up under an obviously just like super tourism base. But there are people who are like, they exist here, you
Unknown Speaker 25:28
live here, this
Shayda Torabi 25:28
is your home, people live here, town. They live here, and they don't leave, but kind of reflecting on those people who are trying to build businesses and create some sort of stability. I'm just curious kind of I mean, you touched on a little bit like the breadth of the people, and obviously, the types of programs that the Chamber provides for the members. But I want to get a little bit deeper and understand what is that opportunity or lifecycle of the businesses that are a part of the program? Like they come be a part of it? Yeah. And then like, change looks like implementing the social consumption lounge? And how do your members like help influence that overall mission? Like, ultimately make this like, impactful change in the state? Like, do you? Again, I'm kind of like trying to dumb it down for someone even like, like myself, where it's like, I would love to see a social consumption lounge in Texas. And like, Yeah, I know, some lobbyists or I know, some fellow organizations, and I'm a part of organizations, I have peers who run businesses, but like, it probably has, like, we all just got together. And we
Tina Ulman 26:22
like any kind of but there's structure to it, right? So it really started with over the past three years, myself developing relationships with colleagues in the industry, different owners, different people that I saw, putting in the work and I respected and then forming this organization so that we're not just sitting around smoking weed, like we're actually doing things moving the needle, and you just start to, it's almost like walking, and then one friend joins you. And then another friend joins you. And it's one conversation at a time. And those are the that's the part where I feel like sometimes power and leverage get lost because it is work. And it's an integration of your everyday life. As a brand manager and a salesperson, I get to talk to a lot of people. So I made it a part of my everyday routine to not just talk about selling weed, but to talk about policy. Do you guys know about this and asking people questions. And then again, a great lobbyist, you got to have the relationship with your representative if you don't start now, mine is awesome. He's a couple years older than me. And just man who saw the opportunity for Nevada, to really pave the way and for have other states to look at what we're doing. I mean, why would we not do it? We're number one at everything right travel, gambling, nightclubs, entertainment, adult entertainment. And now we need to be number one at cannabis commerce. So for anyone looking to start this, you got to develop a group of people around you, you cannot do it yourself, identify people's gifts, what they do really well. And then have them do that really well. So that way people's cup is fulfilled, maybe some people don't know where they fit in by just welcoming them trying to figure out what they like to do, and have small amounts of responsibility and ownership and the tasks. You'll see your coalition grow. I'll tell you when I started advocacy. Three years ago, I went up to Fallon, Nevada, which is medical only it is a small predominantly red area military, but they have a huge opioid problem. And I did it little town hall there and it was like 12 women that came probably 10 of them had children addicted to opioids or meth or a chronic illness themselves. And sometimes you think oh my god, only 12 People came it doesn't matter. 12 people is 12 people that you touch before now they're going to go tell 10 people I grew up in Arizona, so I also go back to Arizona where they just passed recreational cannabis as well. Lots of different meetings at the rotary at the Chamber of Commerce that soroptimist women's organization, even churches. I have this little unofficial group hashtags, Christians for cannabis, Christian Republicans for cannabis Christian senior Republicans for cannabis. Right. And now my parents entire church uses tinctures edibles and maybe a vape once in a while, so it's spreading it to the masses and watching normalization happen. And then people will just start joining in and saying what can I help with and boom, that's where we are today.
Shayda Torabi 29:44
Hello, just want to take a quick moment to thank my sponsor and full disclosure, my company restart CBD, restart CBD is a brand that I built with my sister so we are family owned and a women owned we do operate Have brick and mortar in Austin. So if you ever find yourself in Central Texas, we'd love for you to come say hi. But we also ship nationwide and we carry a wide range of CBD products. We really care about this plant, we really care about educating our customers, this show would not be possible without their support. So please go check us out at restart CBD calm and use code to be blunt for $5 off your next purchase. Thanks. And let's go back to the show. No, that's so awesome to hear, just from your perspective, because I think what we all struggle with even like probably putting myself on the spot as well I think imposter syndrome and trying to navigate through, again, wanting change or wanting to be a part of change or wanting to at a base level be a part of the cannabis industry and trying to figure out I think everybody wants to they love the idea of legalization again, right? Are they love the idea, like we get a lot of people who are like, Oh, looks like so much fun, you're having like, I love to do it too, and realizing like at the end of the day you are running a business. And if your business is not profitable, or the laws do not make it to which your business can grow and scale in certain directions, like those are conversations that, again, I think businesses need to be having. But oftentimes in our industry, it's very hard to find people that one are taking the lead to go champion those conversations at a state or even local community level, and to trying to actually then kind of carry the torch and encourage other people to do to like I noticed in Texas, and I say a lot. So I'm Hope hopefully people are getting the message by now. But like, there's a lot of people who are really proactive. And there's a lot people who are really reactive, and the people who are reactive, who are just waiting for the laws to change that they can continue to do what they do, versus the people who are. Again, maybe we're not always right. But I think we're moving through it all to decide and to uncover and unpack what is right or wrong. Because I don't think that right and wrong really exists in our industry right now. I think it's really radical, where obviously some states are illegal, but the moment you cross the state line, that's a federal issue. It's like, there's something wrong with that when it is really easy for people to get their hands on other negative impacting things in their lives. But cannabis just is such a contention point. And so I feel like we're operating in the dark ages as a business, you try to navigate what sometimes it feels like the consumers are driving. So again, I just kind of observe from our conversation, the impact that what you're doing is obviously a organization that provides so much value to businesses operating the space, but the extra layer of navigating like where you are at geographically, and how important that intersection is just given. Obviously, the amount of tourism that this state sees and the amount of businesses that are trying to build an economy, build commerce around operating in the state of Nevada, so kind of if you can share me, obviously you work for the source as well. But what is the kind of business landscape look like? Do you see because I don't necessarily know a lot about Nevada in the sense that is it vertical integration required? Great question. Anybody can operate? Is it limited licensure? Are you seeing new businesses comes like kind of a two fold to that is you're an organization who benefits when people join you? Are new businesses coming on the market? And are you seeing new businesses are plant touching? Or are they like ancillary?
Tina Ulman 33:31
Yeah, great question. So we have a mix, which is great. It should be a mix to keep a healthy balance, we have vertical and we have small businesses, I think it's extremely important that large businesses like the source, who is the MSO, we have six dispensaries here. We're also supporting our small businesses. We have a lot of homies in the industry who have come up with the product. Sometimes it's two people bounty is a great example of two gentlemen weighed in Nando, who created an incredible distillate vape. And their Chamber members, one of the first probably used all their money, I don't know, maybe they raise capital. But when you identify those folks who are passionate about the plant, and created a great product, we need to support them. So that's one way we do it in the chamber is by elevating those businesses, making sure that buyers and leaders are coming to the organization so that we're helping support them also with their own human capital, making sure that somebody that wants to be a leader, that we can elevate them and then know what they want to do and tell companies about them. So it's just a natural kind of recruiting process, right, which we like to look out for other people, myself and Danny Baranowski were servant leaders. And I think for both of us, we have always wanted to be in this space. You mentioned imposter syndrome. I didn't even know what that word was. I never heard of it. What we said I'm 39 years old. Fake it till you make it. My boss would like push me like like physically a slight assault. No. Push me and Be like, get up there. Same thing with my mom. She'd be like, you go up there, Tina, you read the thing at church or whatever. And I'm like, I don't want to go. But it's that good old cliche of getting outside of your comfort zone. And sure you're a little nervous. Or maybe you're not actually the most expert, smartest person to talk about that. But again, if no one else is doing it, take the opportunity to do it. And if you drop your ego, which we're huge fans of dropping that ego, and having lots of humility, it's okay to say, I don't actually know how that works. I just got involved in policy. But let me ask, there's a lot more versed in this area than I am. Nobody's going to think less. So we really want to make sure that people have a space where they can ask those questions, whether it's, I don't know what a county commissioner does, or I don't even know who my frickin senator is. We are there to help people with that. And it's just creating a stronger industry. And then our legislators and city officials, they want to meet us. And we're proud to let them know that we're the ones breaking the stereotypes and stigmas. We're the ones making all the naysayers regret the words that they said and making people that were kind of on the fence, which a lot of times is our 50 and over demographic, because they're in pain. They do want alternative plant based medicine. But they were fed garbage by reefer madness in the 60s and 70s, and are just unsure. And that's where folks like myself and my colleagues and people in the chamber, we can start changing that one person at a time. And you start to see a domino effect. And hopefully somebody out there listening hears this and they realize you know what, I want to start doing that, I'm going to have a little informational session on at my house cannabis one on one. It's nothing formal, using the power of social media, getting some graphics promoting it. I mean, we started our social media with one person like everybody else. Now we over have over 3500 people in one year. Also paying people to do tasks. If you're starting a nonprofit, you got to raise the money, or my favorite quotes I ever heard was, if you want to know how to change the world, you got to know how to pay for it. And ideas die because they don't have the capital to back them up. You can't be afraid to ask people to support you. Most companies don't have corporate social responsibility. People maybe in theory, they want them. But if instead they can join associations like ours, we drive the change, and they support us financially and with people, then boom, you'll start to just see again, domino effect after domino effect. One message I'll say to anyone listening who maybe thinks they're not qualified, or you've never been in cannabis, no one has, you know, you have people on the legacy market who are great at growing and great at their specific expertise. But they also need a whole other tribe of people around them. And you have business folks that might have the acumen but don't have the cannabis knowledge. And when you put these two puzzle pieces together with people that have a vision and risk and recognize their privilege, like you're going to get places like Nevada, and anybody who wants to come to Nevada, you'll see how the professionals and the leaders in the industry, we work well together, it doesn't mean we always agree. And you might want to punch somebody in the face. But at the end of the day, we're selling weed, we're not doing kidney transplants and root canals. So we try not to take things socio Yes, exactly. We're enjoying the ride, we realize these are the good old days right now. Enjoy them. And 10 years from now, when we're business owners, then we are going to have a great club, if you will of people not a good old boys club. But an inclusive Club, where everybody has put in the work to get to where they are.
Shayda Torabi 38:49
No I love I think that's obviously the dream and the path that I tried to contribute to not just like aspire, but like actually, like, wake up every day and want to move my feet and myself in the direction of being part of that movement. And part of that excitement. He said something interesting, though, that I wanted to kind of, I guess understand a little bit more to from a marketing perspective, from a community perspective. There's one thing when you are trying to educate lawmakers, there's another aspect of that where you're educating your peers, like creating the business side of it. But then that third part is obviously also the consumer. So the output of everything that you're doing, and kind of asking this bluntly, because we I represent an organization in Texas, and we sometimes struggle with communicating the work that we've done, and having the community understands like to relay it from your perspective. When the consumption lounges open up to consumers. No, that's because of chamber of cannabis.
Tina Ulman 39:52
Oh, great question. Probably not. And does that
Shayda Torabi 39:56
matter to you? And is that an aspiration that you want? Like Is it enough that the lawmakers obviously not to go to you the business is not to be part of your organization like to obviously close that loop like the consumers, like, hey, we just did all this work so that you can enjoy cannabis when you come and visit Las Vegas like you're so welcome. We like sweat and tears like made this happen. Just wondering like, is that important? Is that a part of it? Do you consider that? Is that a challenge you've to overcome? I mean,
Tina Ulman 40:21
the most important thing is we take fulfillment and accomplishment and humility and what we've done, and people that had been along for the ride, that are rolling with us know that as well, that message will die as time goes by, right? A patriot isn't going to walk into a consumption lounge and say, you know, I heard about this organization, this grassroots, the Chamber of cannabis, but the legacy will go down with the people who were in it who were involved. I think so yeah. I mean, it's gonna get lost at with consumers. But at the same time, if we establish ourselves if we are sustainable, if we keep having those great relationships, and negotiating and coming into it with excellent intention, then we're going to keep our work. We do not want to be an organization that starts and then fizzles off. Oh, for sure. So
Shayda Torabi 41:15
I don't think anybody does. But the unfortunate reality right when you're operating, I mean, we're talking about this too. For anybody who's like, Oh, should I go to mjbizcon? It's like or MJ unpacked, it's like, I think realistically, there's a lot of people who want to be in the industry, but the people who are actually contributing to it time, I don't think it just has to be money, but time expertise, obviously ancillary businesses supporting and giving attention to the industry being voices influencing in the, I mean, I very much share your ethos of like, it's a one to one conversation, I will literally, if someone asked me to speak, I don't care if it's to a room of 100 1000. Or my mom shows up, like if my mom got something new out of me and giving that talk, like I feel like my job was done. It was like taking that and kind of realizing you're obviously doing these steps because you want to make change now that the change always needs to be rewarded with acknowledgement. But I do think in an industry like cannabis, where there is a little bit of volatility of like, oh, it was me who created this, or I did that or that was my idea. This is my intellectual property. I wish like in a perfect world, it was no, we don't always agree, like you said, but we all want the same thing, which is access to cannabis in a safe, convenient, reliable, consistent way. But yet, that idea gets broken down, I think when you actually start to kind of pick up the pieces and take the steps forward and just like navigating through the industry of wow, we're doing it, but also, how do we balance that out with like, the realities, I guess, of what we're doing? And so the follow up question maybe to that for you as a little bit of understanding how and why does consumers I guess they benefit from it, obviously. But like, do they? They don't need to know and it's not a necessary like, care about that they have but is it furthering cannabis to have them know to be these ambassadors to help the mission of like, what you're ultimately doing continue to grow?
Tina Ulman 43:11
Yeah, I, people will. They want to be involved in they don't know how a lot of times, and there's so many different levels, you can be involved, whether it is telling one person about what you learned, sharing a post or getting involved with the organization, we have a great example of a young woman, Tiffany Tassie, who is now our treasurer. And she was a significant other of the band that we had play. She was a significant other of a band member. So she's a consumer that came to us through the cannabis gods, and now is involved. So even though mostly folks are in the industry, because we want to move the industry forward, and do our due diligence to change justice to change the system. Yeah, it's really an anybody can jump right in again, like, you don't have to be a pro at this point lost my train of thought.
Shayda Torabi 44:06
You're right. I just think it's just we live in such an interesting time where like every state, again, going back to has different ways that they're legalizing and so I think sometimes when it comes down to it, consumers get frustrated when laws do or don't make sense to them. Trying to empower them with information. Yeah, because like them knowing what you do helps you do what you do better. Yeah. But at the same time, there's obviously so many especially in a market like Las Vegas where it's so I hate the word but like transactional, like people are literally just coming to transact which does play into commerce, because that to me is you want transactions to actually make money be in the bank, but the business of it and realizing you're trying to do a long play. It's like for us with our dispensary, Texas was going through a smokeable ban and our customers like didn't under and why they could not buy smokeable oils for a couple months, because, uh huh. They get ready for the market. And then like, as a marketer, and a business owner, it pains me that I have to now go change products, update, packaging, communicate this new law change, regulatory change to the consumer. Yeah, they don't really fully understand why it got changed. But then like trying to wake them up and be like, it's not just me who's like making the change. It's like, you can also be proud of it. And so I guess there's not really like so much of the right answer as just trying to kind of understand and get a little bit of perspective, from your point of view, realizing that you aren't just in such a market of the businesses, like your market from a business relies on the tourism of the consumer. And so how does the consumer, empower or create conflict for you to reach some of these goals to further I guess, Support the businesses that are part of your chamber? If that makes sense?
Tina Ulman 45:59
I think one thing that is important is to get our message down to the consumer, we have to have that message relayed through people that work in the industry. Really, retail team members. Yeah, right. So that way, if they are talking to a team member, they're getting that information. I'll give you a great example. We were able to help get the DUI law change. Here in Nevada, it was very antiquated on just not scientific based on a blood test. And most consumers don't know that change, right? You're not paying attention. So that's where it's important for us to make sure that retail team members are letting people know like, hey, and just to let you know, the DUI law did change. If you want to know more definitely look into it, or the chamber of cannabis. And it's just that again, one conversation at a time. So the power of social media will really help a lot of people follow cannabis companies when they repost what we're doing. We partnered with em for em on an expunge out technique, record feeling for the source. And how do you get that message out there? Guerilla Marketing good old fashioned like boots on the ground. Some stupid thing happens on tick tock, and we're all creating a dance that can spread around the United States or the world in 24 hours. Right? But messages that have a significant amount more importance, they can also spread it just how do you get it to the masses, I recommend getting yourself to great director of communications slash secretary, we have Brie pedia who's incredible wordsmith queen and a great content creator. And you have to have someone helping you with that you cannot do it on your own or you'll feel overwhelmed.
Shayda Torabi 47:36
Do you also kind of on that note, have legal counsel that is a part of do Yeah, organization do
Tina Ulman 47:41
we were so grateful to meet Flynn and giudici, Seamus and Daniel, they are attorneys. They're also lobbyists now here in Nevada, and they give us pro bono hours every month. And we're able to then let folks know about this awesome. Yeah, so we have every resource from attorneys insurance, accounting, banking, you name it, again, just like a regular Chamber of Commerce, but for people in the industry who respects the plant, acknowledge your privilege and want to move it forward inclusively? Yeah, no,
Shayda Torabi 48:12
I really love the mission that y'all have. And obviously, just like hearing you talk about it, there's a lot of merit to it, right? Like it makes sense. Other industries have this through the chamber, but through other professional organizations, but it does seem like our industry, as advanced as it feels sometimes is lacking in so many areas that make it difficult to operate as a business but also scale as a business. Yeah, scaling when it comes to navigating the law and the conversation of that. And so it seems like in a short amount of time you've been able to achieve by like, all your hard work, obviously, like it didn't just come out of nowhere, like it's not like oh, I have this idea and I'm just gonna cross my fingers and like hope enough people like show up to want to support me in this like, it's really a testament to you picking up the torch and like implementing all these great aspects and thoughts to be the organization of the chamber of cannabis. But I'm curious kind of maybe the summit up a little bit. What has been maybe the most rewarding thing that you've learned or able to accomplish, and then contrasting with what's been the biggest lesson that you learned by operating the chamber of cannabis.
Tina Ulman 49:20
The most rewarding aspect is feeling like I am in the exact place I should be with the right people that I should be with doing what I'm supposed to be doing. So for me this work stems from having a passion since my childhood my family members were incarcerated for the war on drugs over 30 years combined. My boyfriend and junior high went to prison for 11 years for being at a hotel party where a drug deal went down with a little bit of ecstasy and a little bit of weed and he took a plea deal as young Chicano man with no representation for an attorney and I stayed with him the entire time. Almost my friends were important. affected by their addictions and aren't here any longer. So I have always wanted to be in this space, I knew I didn't want to be a lawyer because I didn't want to be in debt and go to school that long. But that's where being a community organizer, for me has been the most fulfilling part of this role. I absolutely love it. I know that is my gift. And I want to bring out other people's gifts in them. The biggest lesson learned is not everyone is going to be as passionate and have that integrity and see things like you see them just because they might be a cannabis user. And I went into this thinking that everyone wanted to fight for justice. And we all should be getting people out of prison and death to the opioid pill. And that is not how people think. So I had to bring my expectations back. realize like, Okay, I need to focus on myself, build what my vision is help accomplish my goals, and then along the way, meet other people that I can do the same for them. When I was in junior high, my mom used to make us listen to Zig Ziglar tapes. Yeah, why we were getting ready. And I thought this is a stupidest thing ever just had a little Junior High bad attitude. And Zig Ziglar remember said you can get everything in life you want. If you help enough other people get what they want. And now being an adult, I see that every day. It is why we have blessings that fall from the sky for myself personally and for organization and for this state. So we went into this not knowing what we were doing. But we were coming out of it knowing exactly what we were doing and where we're supposed to be.
Shayda Torabi 51:50
I just want to say thank you so much to Tina omen for coming on the podcast and sharing more about chamber of cannabis. It definitely inspired me there were a lot of things that Tina shared that resonated and made me feel a little less alone and a little more empowered and encouraged to face. Really the challenges that we're all preparing ourselves to face when we navigate the cannabis industry I always reflect on you can be reactive or you can be proactive, and Tina's organization is a prime example of proactivity seeing gaps in the market, figuring out a way to incite and create change, rallying your peers around her and ultimately going and pushing the status quo. I think that you know, so often we just respond we react we wait for someone else to step up and do it and I hope what you walk away with something similar to how I feel that is why not me why not now and knowing that we have a lot of work to do in cannabis in general both here in Texas as well as at a federal level. I just wish some encouragement for you as you continue to take a step day by day into the forward direction. And yes, it is very fun to be on the cusp of prohibition and challenging what and how cannabis is perceived, but it definitely doesn't come without consequences. So thanks for tuning in to another episode of The to be blonde podcast. I really appreciate all of the listens. And I'll be back next Monday with a another brand new episode. Talk to y'all later. Bye.
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