Panel discussion with several prominent women in the cannabis industry: AC Braddock, CEO of Eden Labs; Autumn Karcey, CEO of Cultivo, Inc.; and Tracy Ryan, CEO and founder of CannaKids and founder of the 501c3 SavingSophie.
Karcey: It’s true the cannabis space remains male dominated; this is also true for construction. Knowing this, I chose both industry’s and combined them because it’s what I’m most passionate about. I never cared that the statistics were stacked against me. I work with mostly men, which I enjoy. Roadblocks will always be there, this is true for most industries. I’ve found that if you work hard and you’re great at what you do, people will respect you for who you are as a professional. However, breaking through to any level of respect in this industry takes many years of blood, sweat, tears, and tenacity.
The thing that excites me most about the cannabis industry is how fast it’s advancing medically.
The thing that scares me most is watching smaller operators with many years of valuable experience pushed out by big businesses that care more about money than the positive impact this plant has for our planet and its inhabitants.
Ryan: Luckily, I have been in a situation where I, as a female, haven’t endured a lot of roadblocks to date. However, I do believe there needs to be more mentorship programs out there for women who aspire to become CEOs. I was already a CEO when I got into cannabis and had my own media agency that I’d been running for many years. I had that experience already locked in, but had I not had that experience, there really aren’t many programs I could have jumped right into to help train me to become the entrepreneur that my dreams may have set me up to be.
What most excites me about this industry is how fast it’s moving and how passionate people are becoming about this plant. I’ve met so many people who have heard me speak or have read our story that quit their career path and decide to move into the cannabis space because they believed this to be such a profoundly important movement to contribute to.
What scares me the most is the politics around this plant. What has happened in California has devastated our industry. We’re still suffering and struggling to get our brand back to where it was before recreational legalization. It has become so difficult and expensive to operate that many of the businesses have died. There are also stats out saying that by 2024, that from the cannabis industry in California, $8.4 billion will be credited to the underground market while only $3 billion will be accredited to the legal market.
I’m really hoping that the federal government gets it together and completely deschedules this plant, so that we’ll have better access, fewer laws, and definitely much lower taxation. Currently, the taxes are so high in California—for example, around 35% to 40% in certain instances—and the patients just can’t afford it anymore.
- J. Crossney, Cannabis Science and Technology 1(2), 52–54 (2018).
About the Interviewees
AC Braddock is the CEO of Eden Labs, an internationally known and respected 25-year-old technology company that specializes in research and development of products in biofuels, flavorings, environmental remediation, functional foods, natural products, supplements, nutraceuticals, distilling, and more. While Eden Labs serves many industries, in 2009 Braddock envisioned that the purity of supercritical CO2-derived products would be a necessity for the legalization of medical applications for cannabis and cemented Eden’s reputation as the pioneer of extraction for healthy cannabis concentrates.
Autumn Karcey is the CEO and founder of Cultivo, Inc., a firm specializing in cultivation and lab facilities design, located in southern California. Karcey takes a logical, consistent, and scientific approach when she designs cultivation sites. She combines the use of modern clean room technology, industrial agricultural equipment, custom fabricated equipment, high-end security systems, and sensor systems to create world-class facilities of enduring value.
Tracy Ryan is the CEO of CannaKids and the founder of SavingSophie.org. After her infant daughter’s brain tumor diagnosis in 2013, Ryan dedicated her life to helping patients with her line of CannaKids’ medical cannabis oils. Now in full swing with preclinical human trials involving CannaKids’ cancer patients, including an animal model trial on her own daughter, it’s her mission to bring non-toxic drugs to market for patients suffering from cancer and other life altering diseases.
About the Columnist
Joshua Crossney is the columnist and editor of “Cannabis Crossroads” and a contributing editor to Cannabis Science and Technology magazine. Crossney is also the president and CEO of CSC Events. Direct correspondence to: [email protected]
How to Cite This Article
J. Crossney, Cannabis Science and Technology 2(5), 32-37 (2019).
Editor's Note: The print version of this column that appeared in the September/October 2019 issue was edited for length.