By Patrick Wagner
AUBURN, Maine – Tim Smale got his first taste of the cannabis industry while living on a sailboat off the Californian coastline. Smale and his wife, Jennifer, came to California to work under Steve DeAngelo, of Harborside Health, and learn the inside of the dispensary business. After returning to Maine, Smale was armed and ready to begin his career in cannabis. He founded the first medical marijuana dispensary east of the Rocky Mountians, Remedy Compassion Center in 2010.
After 22 years together, the Smales already had enough experience between them to manage a business. Tim Smale, who has a degree in human resources, said the company’s hiring practices have been key to the business’ success.
“We try to hire people smarter than us that are qualified in specific areas,” Smale said. “We just train them and then get out of their way and help and support them to do their job. So we have a culture here that I think is pretty unique amongst other companies.”
A good example of his corporate background is demonstrated by the series of checklists Remedy has created for internal metrics of success. The focus on refining production could probably be traced back to Smale’s experience working in the automotive industry. The checklists serve to ensure that every plant and process can be repeated at the same level indefinitely. The same goes for how the patient treats its dispensaries.
“That’s pretty much what we started doing day one and now we’re up to 17 employees and that’s what everybody does,” Smale said. “We want them to feel very happy and welcome. We want them to feel better going out the door even before they try our products.”
“I think you can sum up our mission statement in two words: ‘I’m third,’” he said. “And that’s just to say really, that we put other people ahead of us. We serve other people for a living. It just happens to be that we’re serving medical cannabis to them.”
Maine has a vertically-integrated structure for medical marijuana, so Remedy has the benefit of handling all its cultivation and processing on site.
“The biggest challenge for us, I think, is to have standards in the industry,” Smale said. “When you have good standards that are developed from within the industry, you can show regulators that you’re doing a good job. At the least this industry can be self-re