Once she’s put her mind to something, Ellen Brown is not easily deterred.
Veterans in the Industry
As Marijuana Venture celebrates its four-year anniversary with this issue, we profile nine veterans who have made their mark not only in their service to this great country, but also in the cannabis industry. It’s safe to say that not everybody in the marijuana business is a consumer. But stories like these highlight the outrageousness of Jeff Sessions’ infamous statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
The following article is from the March 2018 issue of Marijuana Venture, © 2018 Marijuana Venture.
Throughout her life, Brown has made a series of headstrong decisions, ranging from enlisting in the U.S. Air Force to diving headfirst into the cannabis industry. When other people told her she couldn’t — or shouldn’t — she became even more committed.
Two weeks after graduating from high school in 2007, she left her New England home to join the military. Her family opposed the decision: “No, that’s for boys,” they told her.
“I told them it’s too late and that I’m leaving,” Brown says.
Brown worked in nutritional medicine for an Air Force hospital, ensuring patients had proper counseling. She also taught classes for soldiers who struggled with physical training and received a Nutritional Medicine Airman of the Year award for her service.
After her discharge from the Air Force, she drove from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho to her friend’s dorm in Boston, then immediately began to plan a move to California to become a part of the cannabis industry — again, to the chagrin of her family.
“When I left to join the cannabis industry people said, ‘You’re crazy, don’t do that.’ There wasn’t anything here (in New England) for the cannabis industry so I saved up — I worked two jobs from 2009 to 2010 — and went out to Northern California,” Brown says. “I didn’t know anything. I only knew what I read in High Times, so I just went out there and started handing out my resume and going to events.”
Her drive to be in the industry started with trimming, then working as a budtender, followed by managing a dispensary. After that she started growing and running a garden. Within a few short years, Brown had worked nearly every position in a vertical operation. But after all the experience, she realized, her passion was for educating — something she had first dipped her toes in while in the Air Force. Brown returned to New England in pursuit of her doctorate while also starting Sinsemilla Seminars, a series of traveling educational events where she teaches the “ins and outs of cannabis.”
This time, her family was supportive.
“Now when I tell them that I am making a career out of it, they are saying, ‘Go for it,’” she says. “Because they know I am going to do it anyway.”