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Author | Photos Esteban Lopez

Women & the Weed Revolution: Kirstin Wood, VP Marketing and Communications at Emblem

It’s no secret: Canadian cannabis culture has changed drastically over the last few years. Legalization is expected by next summer, and Torontonians get to bask in some of the coolest dispensaries in the country. What’s more? There are even formal award ceremonies (!!!) to celebrate everything and everyone that has to do with cannabis – and they’re happening TONIGHT.

The Canadian Cannabis Awards and Lift Co. are taking place this evening at the Carlu. Now in its fourth year, the CCAs honour the best and most innovative products and people in Canadian cannabis.

We wanted to chat with some of the women at the helm of cannabis culture and find out what’s behind the progress of this exciting and enigmatic industry. For this installment, we spoke with Kirstin Wood, the VP of Marketing and Communications at Emblem.

SDTC: What are the roadblocks you have overcome in the marketing of medical cannabis?

KW: I find the government’s understanding of cannabis frustrating, especially when cannabis is recognized by our government as a medicine. A person would have to consume 15,000 lbs. of cannabis in fifteen minutes for a fatal overdose. Let that sink in for a minute.

Why do tobacco and alcohol not have to have the same strict regulations as cannabis? (Do they have child resistant packaging, and no colour or logo on packaging, which is in the newest proposal?) Yet they are available conveniently at many stores in every city.

Tobacco and alcohol kill how many a year and cost the healthcare system how much a year? Can you imagine how up in arms Canadians would be if the government imposed the same restrictions for packaging and purchasing to the alcohol industry as they do to cannabis, which hasn’t killed anyone to date? It’s absolutely ridiculous! I would love to see cannabis treated like echinacea or aloe vera. It’s a plant that’s been used for thousands of years – enough already!

Another frustrating roadblock is that the Canadian cannabis industry is very male dominated, more so than the IT industry, in my opinion. I was just at a major event in the US, and it was probably 95% men. It’s the end of 2017, and I know of five women on the Canadian publicly traded cannabis company boards. Last time I checked, women made up 51% of the population – yet only five sit on the public cannabis boards. 

Why should we choose Emblem over other suppliers?

Emblem has the best customer service in the industry, and pretty cool and informative content. Please check out emblemcannabis.com, or visit one of our social media channels, like @emblemcannabis on Instagram. Emblem also currently has over fifteen strains available, and we are launching cannabis oils in December!

What was your trajectory in Marketing and Communications before stepping into this position? What are the advantages that come along with working in the cannabis industry?

I went to university in England for phyto (plant) medicine and have been using cannabis since my early teens. From there, I created and took to market a line of herbal formulas for a company. Then I started and ran my own company selling organic, plant-based skincare products and built that into a large business for over ten years.

After that, I worked for a major publicly traded ERP company in their e-commerce and retail vertical, running hundreds of ERP, e-commerce and POS system implementations. Then I ran e-commerce for a major retailer before jumping into the licensed producer world in 2014.

The advantages of the cannabis industry are that I get to do what I love, and I’m a Vice President at Emblem. When I travel internationally, that comes with a certain VIP status; how many other people can legally move volumes of cannabis? I also get to talk about what I love all day, every day.

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