CULTA Account Executive Karly Ziegler wanted to learn more about Lyndsey's career trajectory from college graduate to dispensary owner. The two sat down for a lengthy conversation about the many hats an owner wears. If you want to break into the cannabis industry, she sheds light on that too!
Hi, Lyndsey. Thanks for joining us today. Really looking forward to getting your view points on these questions and sharing them on our CULTA wholesale blog. Feel free to take it away and introduce yourself.
Absolutely. My name is Lyndsey and I own and operate Positive Energy.
Lovely! Your store is down on Eastern Shore in Ocean City. Are you from there or are you a transplant from outside of the area or state?
I am actually born and raised in Ocean City, Maryland. I spent the first few years of my life on the island, on the lower streets, and then moved to West Ocean City, which is where our dispensary is located.
So you're a beach girl through and through.
That's awesome. Getting a dispensary opened in the place that you grew up in must be something that's kind of nice, get to remain in your hometown and make your dream come true there.
It was really rewarding, and to be able to bring medical cannabis and introduce it for the first time to my local community. Just incredible.
And what were you doing prior to the cannabis industry? What was your prior career before expanding out into this one?
It was really interesting that I got be a part of the initial application process. I was essentially about to graduate from college. And I was approached with the opportunity to try and apply to win a license with my parents. They told me I should look into it, I was really skeptical. And the more research I did, I just couldn't believe that something that helped so many people could be so incredibly misunderstood. So, during that limbo time of about two-and-a-half years from when we actually applied and then finally getting the license, I worked in business development, marketing, and design.
So the trifecta, bringing it all to the cannabis industry. I'm sure that that has benefited you a lot in trying to expand your demographic and get people to understand some of the products that you guys are carrying, but that's actually a good segue into my next question. It's not often that mom and dad approach you and they're like, "Hey, you should open a dispensary." Tell me a little bit about how that has been with your family being supportive and what the process was for getting the license and actually opening your doors.
Yeah. The reason why my parents approached me is because my dad's father, my grandfather, has Parkinson's and he has been battling with it for a little well over 30 years. And in turn, it's taken a huge toll on my grandmother as well, who is his main caregiver and support. And so just watching it slowly take everything away from him was really difficult. So when they approached me with the thought of it and saying, "You went to school for business." I actually graduated with a degree with International Business and Spanish. So to be able to kind of transfer that knowledge into the cannabis industry has been really cool. We applied back in 2015, and then it was just this year and some change of waiting, which was really hard. But then we were fortunate enough to be awarded pre-approval. So everything we promised we would do in the application was then like, "Okay, excellent. Here you go, make it happen." So we had to then materialize it, and working on a super tight budget, because it is just my mom and I who really do run and operate the business day-to-day and set everything up. It was definitely challenging trying to figure out what we needed to do, how we should open, especially since the only dispensaries we had been to were out west, and trying to develop a model from out west that would best suit our local demographic.
Yeah, that's cool that you and your mom worked together, that's some girl power team work.
Definitely ambitious. So, you got your license and you're officially ready to get started on building a dispensary, what kind of vibe and what kind of environment did you really want to create for your patients when you were thinking about style and products and the way that you wanted to conduct your business?
We really wanted to respect the plant and really just show it in a different light that a lot of people were not accustomed to. Something that Hollywood didn't teach them, which is just like the standard leaf, which other than juicing and maybe extraction, I mean, they're not really using that, which I thought was important to showcase the bud itself. Our logo is actually an untrimmed bud. And it's in such a way where someone could represent it on a shirt, or a bag, etcetera, but not have to feel that they need to get into the conversation possibly with someone that's not going to respect it. And we really wanted to make sure we had a lot of education. So our website is just full of education, research that I did for about a year-and-a-half before we opened. And I actually did make our website as well. When walking into the dispensary, we just wanted it to be warm and welcoming, but still extremely professional where felt that someone was really going to listen to you and understand where you were coming from and guide you to the best possible option or options. And also extremely mobile-friendly, just because of course, my grandfather, between a wheelchair and a walker, and my grandmother with her walker, we didn't want people bumping into each other. So it was nice that we tried to pull from just classical medical model and then just what we felt would be a really comfortable setting.
I can vouch, your store is very welcoming. You went through all the trouble to get your license to build out your dispensary, to get your doors open and now you've been operating for about two years now, correct?
Almost three. We're coming up on our third in January.
I know, it's crazy! We were the 22nd opened in the state.
Wow. Three years open, what hurdles and obstacles do you still see yourself maneuvering, with the MMCC or just patients alone?
I think with patients, it would just be brand new patients that just know nothing about cannabis, which I love brand new patients that know nothing about cannabis. But at the same time, they want us to prescribe something, which of course we only recommend and really educate them based on what they tell us that we believe might work best for them. [We see this] especially with some older patients that maybe their daughter or their friend told them they just had to [sign up as a patient], or sometimes even their doctor, which is incredible, [to] go [this] route. [Often these patients] just want [to be told to take a certain product] two times a day, [or] this [one] three times a day, and it's more we have to work with you to figure out what's gonna work best since we [can only recommend products]. [Many patients do not realize that we] are always navigating this federal framework of a Schedule I substance, and we have to be careful not to over-step."
Right. Trying to be interpersonal with the patients while still trying to keep all our ducks in a row as far as Code of Maryland Regulations [COMAR] and compliance and all that stuff. I think that's definitely gonna continue to be a hurdle for everybody, but we progressed and we're learning and the program is definitely expanding. What things do you see on the horizon for Positive Energy? What are you looking forward to in the future?
I'm really looking forward to expanding our footprint, to better cater to patients and still offer them that experience they love, but on a larger scale. So looking to build out very soon.
Big plans! That’s exciting! And you yourself, you medicate? Are you a patient?
Yes, I am a patient.
I have to ask what your preferred way of medicating is.
It's a balance between a few. It kinda depends, which is just another reason why I love cannabis as a medicine and how tailored it can be. Personally, I'm a migraine patient. I was on upwards of eight migraines a month, and now I get it down to almost zero, or at least I can totally manage it. Tinctures are probably one of my top just because I love the precision in dosing, but then of course I love flower, so a really great pre-roll is always a good way to go.
Through and through, sometimes it's nice to have just classic flower, something about burning and smelling that lit flower is a little... It's cathartic for me at least.
Absolutely. And it's getting back to cannabis at its purest form.
Absolutely. So, now I have to ask you, any favorite CULTA products?
Oh my gosh, yes, of course. I probably have one from each category, to be honest. And just CULTA's done such a great job bringing in really awesome brands as well. From creating your own, to also just bringing in really great brands in regards to like... Greasy Grapes is a flower I love because of the pinene content that it always has, it's just super happy and mellow and really helps with my migraines. And of course, Cookies coming out, I love the Soap. The Soap is an excellent strain, but I'm also partial with the topicals, like the face and body oil from Apothecanna. I use that probably everyday, and the calming lotion.
I couldn't be more proud. That makes me so happy. I'm glad that you're enjoying the stuff that we're bringing to market and that your patients know that they're getting a primary experience when they talk to you because you actually do use the products.
We definitely appreciate you guys as a client and as a partner. We get a lot of questions from people trying to figure out, "Well, how do I get into the cannabis industry? Where do I start? Where am I supposed to go?" Being somebody who's been able to open their own doors and their own facility, what kind of advice would you forward their way on how to get their foot in the right places or the mentality to have as they really progress through the industry?
I would say probably figure out if you want to first touch the plant, which is of course your processor, dispensary, your lab, grow, which can be extremely rewarding and exciting, but of course, high barriers to entry with licensing. But the cannabis industry needs everything that a normal company would need or a normal industry. We need all the technical support, even just down to accessories, like something that empowers someone while they're using their medication. It could be as simple as like... I'm trying to think of a good example of something we carry, or... It might just be something that we haven't been able to carry yet. But really knowing the industry and where it stands legally, and also understanding what you could possibly bring to the industry. I think it's pretty open and you're kind of creating something that maybe doesn't exist yet. So it's hard when someone's like, "Well, I'm looking on Indeed and I don't see anything that suits me." Well, maybe it's because it's not real yet.
Yeah, we have the power to start from scratch here and really create the industry that we want to see because it is so new. So I definitely get that piece of advice, you know, see what you can bring to the cannabis industry, not necessarily what's already existing here for you.
Yes. You said it a lot better than I did.
No worries, I got your gist. Well, I thank you so much for having a quick little short interview with me.
Yeah, of course.
We definitely appreciate you guys at Positive Energy, you and your entire staff for continuing to uphold the quality of the brand and for knowing our product and getting it out to your patients, and we couldn't be more thankful for you.
Cool. Thank you.