What’s your role at Grupo Flor?
It’s changing all the time, but technically it’s HR and Legal Operations. Right now I’m working under Gavin mostly, who is Grupo Flor’s General Counsel (and also my brother!), to set up a lot of the legal and HR procedures, and to make sure processes are in place. I’m also doing a lot of compliance work to ensure permits are in order.
What is a typical day like?
A typical day is putting out fires and getting everything set up, as we’ve started from scratch. Right now my work involves a lot of meetings and a lot of organization. We’re also spending time focusing on our company culture and defining what type of company we want to be. For example, we just formalized policies to hire locally from Salinas whenever possible, to promote diversity, and to promote and hire from within whenever possible, which is really exciting and important.
Are there any challenges that come with working at a start-up?
I mean, everything. It’s just that nothing is in place when you are in a start-up. Other times that I’ve gone into jobs it’s sort of like, “oh, use this template” or “oh, call this person.” None of those systems are in place at the moment, however, so we have to make up a lot of it ourselves.
When you were finishing law school did you ever imagine you’d be working in the cannabis industry?
No, no way. My brother Gavin has been working in cannabis for years, so I always considered it “his thing.” I’m also sort of a city rat – I’m from LA and lived in New York and San Francisco for a long time – so I never expected to be living in Monterey County. That being said, it’s really a fascinating industry in which to work. Similarly to how this company is being started, the whole cannabis industry is also getting started, which is cool in my opinion because there’s a lot of creativity involved.
How does your generation view the cannabis industry?
I’ve found that all generations like cannabis! I’ve noticed, for example, that a lot of Baby Boomers are pretty hip to cannabis, which is great. I was recently at an event where there were a lot of Baby Boomers around, and when they asked me what I did for a living and I replied, “I work in cannabis, in marijuana”, these seventy-year-old women were so excited! They talked to me about how in the Sixties they used to sit in their “vans” or in “drum circles” and “smoke grass.” With Millennials, I think cannabis is a little more commonplace–it seems to be a lot more ubiquitous, a given in social situations.
What excites you about being in the industry?
I would say the creativity that is required to succeed in cannabis is exciting right now. Like I mentioned, the industry is so new that there are fewer rules, so people have to kind of start from the ground up with things. In cannabis product development, for example, we look at the product and the packaging (which is common in most retail), but we also look at the smell, taste and the psychoactive effects of the product. There are all of these different components to our products, and how we think about, produce and communicate these components to our consumers is really important.
Is there anything that surprises you about being in this industry?
It’s been really interesting to work in an industry that is required to operate solely within the state of California, especially in the realm of banking and distribution. It’s also been interesting to see the cannabis regulatory framework unfold, both locally and nationally. To be perfectly honest, I’m faced with something new everyday.
Millay Kogan is a Los Angeles native. She is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S.), Columbia University (M.S.) and Golden Gate University School of Law (J.D.). Millay has worked in a number of sectors and industries, including tourism development and operations in Latin America, affordable housing development in California, tenants rights and more. This is Millay’s first experience working in the cannabis industry. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in Carmel Valley, visiting art museums and galleries, and consuming new cannabis products.