We’re super pumped to introduce you to our Director of Sales, Brooke Carpenter. Without Brooke, we just wouldn’t be who or where we are today.
How did you get into the cannabis industry?
I was fresh out of college when I moved to San Francisco. Before and after graduating, I had worked a few campaign jobs and decided to dive head first into SF local city politics. I took a job as campaign coordinator for a district supervisor’s race and went into it very wide-eyed and idealistic. It was a four month roller coaster ride of emotions, culminating electoral/emotional defeat. But fortunately, it was also on that election night that both Colorado and Washington passed adult use cannabis laws. I knew it was time for a career shift.
Moving to San Francisco from Davis, it was a bit of shock to see how developed the cannabis industry already was by that time. The hoops that the city makes you jump through and the amount of community support required to get a dispensary permit inherently means that people from the industry are interwoven into the fabric of the local political scene. So I met several cannabis activists and individuals from the industry in my first few months in the city, as volunteers and donors to the campaign. Shortly after the election ended I met with a dispensary owner, asked him for a job and, as luck would have it, he liked me enough to give me one.
As a subject, I’ve been interested in cannabis for my whole adult life…and then some. Morally, I’m a firm believer not only in health freedom, having the right to choose or influence one’s own treatment course, but that cannabis is a medicine. So it was a really natural transition for me.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced working in the cannabis industry?
Oh boy – there’s been so many! I used to get paid in envelopes of cash, for a start. It’s pretty unsettling to walk around with over a thousand dollars in your purse in the middle of San Francisco. There’s a lot of cash floating around in general, which comes with a ton of challenges. The whole cannabis businesses not being able to have bank accounts thing is really getting old.
Hiring has been another. The talent pool is more limited, because of the perceived risks. In the Bay Area especially, there are a lot more lucrative opportunities in tech, where you don’t have to worry about the possibility that you could get raided by a federal agency or that you could get your kids taken away. On the other side of that, there are a lot of people floating around just looking to make quick money. People that don’t have the level of passion you want them to. At Flow Kana, we’ve been lucky enough able to assemble a killer team in spite of this challenge. It’s never a quick or easy process though.
But the biggest challenge that I’ve faced by far has been stigma. Especially from others when I tell them what I do for a living. I once got in a loud verbal argument with a gentleman in a bar who was just certain that there was no medical benefit from cannabis that could be applied to sufferers of PTSD. It gets tiring having to constantly explain to people that yes, cannabis is a medicine and no, it’s not just a joke so that stoners can get their weed. But it’s a labor of love and something that just comes with the territory. Just working in this industry every day is a form of activism and I hope to do my part to erase the stigma within my lifetime. Luckily, we are already making good progress on this front!
Why Flow Kana?
Since its founding, I have always admired the impact that Flow Kana makes on the world. Flow Kana did the opposite of what a lot of companies in cannabis (and in general) try to do. They started with their values and then figured out the business model around that. The mission is clear and believing in it makes it so much easier to get up and go to work every day. It’s not just easy, it’s fun and exciting!
I wanted to work here because I saw the opportunity to work with the best cannabis in the world, to do my part in promoting sustainable cultivation practices, and to give back to the pioneers without whom our industry would not exist. That was a no-brainer. It’s a ton of work, but I have never felt as professionally fulfilled as I do working with this company.
How has your experience been getting to know the farmers who grow the medicine that you sell?
Getting to know the Flow Kana farmers has been an incredible experience. I’m fortunate to now call many of them my friends and they have showed me tremendous generosity. They have invited me to their homes, shown me their gardens, taught me about the sustainable practices they use to keep our medicine clean and pure. I still have so much to learn, but fortunately have a network with over a hundred years, cumulatively, of sustainable cultivation knowledge to draw from.
Going to the farms has become the way that I decompress. You get sucked into a time vortex when you’re up North, that’s actually sort of beautiful. You can really only plan to do 2 – 3 things max in a day. It’s a sharp departure from how I plan my days in the city, where it’s not unusual to stack up 7 or more meetings before noon. The distance from farm to farm, all hidden away in the hills and down winding dirt roads, forces you to move at a slower pace. You take your time, you dive deeply into meaningful conversation, you enjoy the nature and you smoke so so much. I make excuses to go North as often as I possibly can. It’s a huge perk of this job.
What is your all-time favorite flower?
It’s so hard to choose just one! I’m going to pick two instead.
First, Exodus Cheese. I first tried it on recommendation from a friend in the industry and love it! When people say that cannabis is a social lubricant, they’re talking about this strain. It’s gotten to the point where my boyfriend and I have tried to smoke it during movies and had to pause them every 5 minutes because we couldn’t shut up.
My other favorite would be Love & Hope, a proprietary genetic from Hope Springs farm. Aside from the breeder, who sadly just passed away, and her partner being some of the most badass women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, the strain itself is outstanding in every category. It has the most beautiful structure, coloration, smell and best of all is a 1:1 ratio strain testing upward of 20% total cannabinoids. It’s a powerful but relaxing smoke, perfect for when you’re in pain or just want to take a load off at the end of a long, hard day. I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Jude and can confidently say that she created some of the world’s best CBD-rich strains.
What 5 emojis best fit your life?