Company: Agate Dreams
Location: Suquamish, Washington
When Calvin Medina got called into a meeting about marijuana with his bosses at the Suquamish Tribe, he was more than a little bit uneasy. The last thing he expected was a promotion.
“It’s one of those things because you want to keep marijuana use under wraps,” he says. “You don’t know how it’s perceived if you’re a marijuana user or if it’s going to cost you your job. So the meetings were very awkward at first until they gave me assurances that we changed the rules on how we view marijuana and marijuana use so you can be open about it.”
A graduate of the Minority Business Executive Program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, Medina was, at the time, next in line to take a management position with Port Madison Enterprises, the Suquamish Tribe’s business entity.
His education, which included the NACS Executive Leadership Training Program at Cornell University, along with his experience in the service industry and knowledge of the parent corporation’s operations, made him a shoe-in to take over responsibility of the tribe’s latest — and perhaps boldest — venture: operating a marijuana retail store.
The Suquamish were the first tribe to sign a compact with the state of Washington, allowing Native American business operations.
The tribe opened the Agate Dreams retail store in December 2015.
But the Suquamish have plans in place to expand operations into processing.
“In our compact is vertical integration, so under one corporate umbrella we can have all three license types,” says Medina.
“It was nice to have a chance to help build something. It turned out quite well for us.”