his article was originally published via Voyage Phoenix on May 31st, 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lilach Power.
LILACH, PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US. HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I was born and raised in Israel and moved to the US after my military service following my (now) husband. In 2010 I knew wanted to open a wellness center to provide alternative therapies, but when I ran the numbers and realized it was not financially feasible. When Prop 205 came on the Arizona ballot, I immediately knew this is how I’ll make it happen. I have always believed in the medical properties of cannabis and have been an advocate for legalization, so it was the perfect timing combined with the perfect opportunity to make a difference.
We are a vertically integrated company. We grow, extract, package, wholesale and retail medical grade cannabis products. Starting a cannabis company in 2012 was a challenge for a variety of reason: there were no experts; it was hard to recruit there is no data we can use and we had to figure it out by ourselves. It has been an interesting and expensive learning curve… but I’ve loved every second of it.
My latest project is the one I am most proud of, it is called Kindred Cannabis and it is a brand that offers unique innovative products designed to change the stigma of the cannabis user. Kindred Cannabis is a brand with a purpose, a portion of all sales is donated to fight human trafficking. We are now available in Arizona and expanding to Puerto Rico shortly with a few more markets in the making.
Being part of an emerging industry, having a passionate team, and changing patients’ lives, makes all the challenges worth it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. We are changing history
GREAT, SO LET’S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER INTO THE STORY – HAS IT BEEN AN EASY PATH OVERALL AND IF NOT, WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME?
Definitely not a smooth road We are a start-up company in a start-up industry… It started with opening and running a company without any previous knowledge, no one had the experience, and there are no articles or data collected. We had to create it all. This challenge became our advantage, we did it all ourselves, we have learned a lot from our experience.
There was also the issue of hiring professionals, any professional in the cannabis business was underground and illegal … it was a rocky and expensive road building the team I have today, which is my biggest victory.
Another challenge we face is the banking situation – cannabis is legal on state level but not on a federal level. We have hard time finding banks that would work with us, we can’t take credit cards, and we can’t apply for bank loans. It makes every step of owning a business harder.
One of most challenging struggles is understanding where this industry is heading, pivoting when needed and getting the whole team to row in that direction. I feel the most valuable resource I have is my team. They are passionate about the industry, about The Giving Tree and about giving back. They get it, they get the need for evolution in our industry and they are excited to lead it. Couldn’t do it without them.
ALRIGHT – SO LET’S TALK BUSINESS. TELL US ABOUT THE GIVING TREE WELLNESS CENTER – WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW?
The Giving Tree is one of the longest standing and well respected cultivator and retailers of premium cannabis products in Arizona. The Giving Tree provides one of a kind selection of consciously sourced cannabis products with an unmatched retail experience.
More than any other licensed retailer, The Giving Tree lives the mission of giving back through curated selection of other conscious and lab-tested brands, philanthropic campaigns, patient advocacy and educational community activation.
I am most proud of The Giving Tree team. An amazing group of people who really cares, they truly come to work to make a difference. They change the conversation about cannabis and what we do every single day. All I need to do to get inspired is to walk around the building and see them in action, talk to them and listen to them. Our really can’t find a better group of cannabis professionals.
We are known for being a philanthropic company. We are leading the giving back trend in Arizona and we are happy to see many other dispensaries joining this trend. We have risen over $85,000 since we opened our doors in 2013 and we have donated many hours of our time. It is who we are, it is what we do and it is what we are known for.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE OUR CITY IS A GOOD PLACE FOR BUSINESSES LIKE YOURS? IF SOMEONE WAS JUST STARTING OUT, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THEM STARTING OUT HERE? IF NOT, WHAT CAN OUR CITY DO TO IMPROVE?
Well… We operate in Phoenix, I also live in Phoenix and raise my boys here, I love the city! But – I don’t recommend trying to open a cannabis company in Phoenix; it is not as friendly to our industry as others.
Zoning is the first and main issue we face in our industry and Phoenix isn’t making it easy. The zoning restriction have zoned out dispensaries from the center of the city to industrial areas. Making patient drive to industrial areas to buy their medicine doesn’t make sense to me.
The city needs to look at the facts and relax the zoning restriction. Embrace us as part of the city, we are part of the community, we are what people voted for, we are helping patients every day.