Director of Cultivation
Silver Spring, MD
At a young age I realized I would likely be successful as an adult if I did something working with my hands.
Despite some struggles in the classroom, I played off the strengths of my outgoing personality and went on to graduate from University of Maryland College Park with a degree in communications. After graduation, I followed my love for cannabis to a public relations job in Washington, D.C., where I focused on legalizing hemp, legalizing cannabis in the district, social justice movements and natural body care products by Dr. Bronner’s. I was thrilled to work on issues I truly cared about and to see our team successful in helping legalize hemp at the federal level and pass I-71, legalizing recreational cannabis in Washington, D.C.
These were huge accomplishments, but after years in the shadows behind a desk, I felt my natural leadership skills and ability to work with my hands were going to waste.
In 2016, when D.C. passed I-71, I took up my right to legally grow cannabis at home. I fell in love with cannabis again and dove deep into the research, learning everything about growing cannabis in organic soil. After about two years, my system was dialed in and in 2018 I won 2nd place indica at the D.C. State Fair “Best Cannabis” competition for a strain I bred called Purple Helmet.
At this point, I was about to turn 30 and felt unfulfilled with my career path. I kept thinking back to my child self, “You’ll be successful if you work with your hands.” So, I took my childhood advice and spent the next year applying to every available Maryland cannabis job (trim, cultivation, sales) without getting a single reply email back.
Determined to get my foot in the door, I saw Maryland producer CULTA was holding a meet the growers “Harvest Party” at their dispensary. I attended the event and asked around until I met the growers. We talked about my passion for cannabis, and they explained CULTA was building the first legal outdoor cannabis farm on the East Coast that spring and it was going to be all organic … I was sold.
In spring 2019, I took a leap of faith, left my job and moved to Cambridge, Maryland, to start as an outdoor cultivation laborer for CULTA. I worked hard and in just two years was promoted from outdoor assistant manager to indoor manger to director of cultivation.
Today, I spend most of my time planning, making production schedules, strain plans, yield projections and researching products to improve plant and facility health. While my plant time is more limited, I still hold weekly meetings and facility walk-throughs with the cultivation team.
Looking back on my cannabis journey, I learned a few key lessons I want to share: First, don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams. Second, you can work harder than you ever imagined possible when you truly love what you’re doing. And finally, don’t be afraid to fail.
Tom Moylan is the director of cultivation for Maryland-based multi-state operator CULTA where he oversees daily operations of the indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities and manages a staff of more than 40. Moylan is a self-taught grower who graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in communications and worked on several legalization campaigns for both hemp and marijuana prior to joining the industry full-time in 2020.