40 Under 40
For the past five years, the Marijuana Venture staff has compiled an annual list of some of the brightest young leaders and influencers in the cannabis industry. As in past years, we have narrowed the list from hundreds of worthy candidates to present 40 individuals from the vast and ever-changing business in the United States and Canada.
It is our honor to share their stories.
Company: Uncle Ike’s
Title: Store Manager
Neil Lequia had worked several cannabis industry jobs before joining Uncle Ike’s as a budtender and quickly working his way up to store manager of the company’s Lake City location in Seattle.
“It’s been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life to be able to look after this store and these people,” he says of his current role.
But in his spare time, Lequia has also been building what is, to his knowledge, the only LGBTQ organization in the cannabis industry for cannabis industry professionals. Lequia founded Queers of Cannabis in October 2018, before changing the group’s name to The Full Spectrum in November 2019.
The Full Spectrum currently has about 30 members nationally and is in the process of establishing bylaws and a board of directors to become a registered nonprofit. Anybody interested in joining or learning more can find information on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thefullspectrumorg) and Instagram (@thefull.spectrum).
In addition to being a voice and resource for the LGBTQ community, The Full Spectrum does a lot of volunteer work, including partnering with Seattle nonprofits Entre Hermanos, to gather census data, and Lifelong, which delivers food and meals to homebound seniors and people with illnesses through its Chicken Soup Brigade.
Lifelong was started to provide services to people with HIV and AIDS, but has branched out so serve a wider community of patients in recent years. Lequia says it’s also important to note that the history of medical marijuana in the United States is directly linked with the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and activists like Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary.
“It’s a huge piece of the inspiration and direction of the organization,” Lequia says. “It’s why I feel such a need to give back to HIV and AIDS communities specifically. It just feels right to be giving back to this group of people who helped us come into fruition.”