Ashley Manning lives in San Diego, California, and has distinguished herself through her work in the cannabis industry. She is a passionate business advisor inspired by creating a better world through alternative medicine.
Ashley has faced challenging moments throughout her life; however, she had the strength to overcome them. Her strength lies in being a resilient woman, who took advantage of a difficult situation in her life to find her real passion and inspiration to find her professional path. “After being assaulted, seven years ago, I suffered from PTSD and found cannabis extremely helpful in conjunction with prolonged exposure trauma therapy. Additionally, I had undergone 9 surgeries in my life for various issues from my femur to my back, which had led me to take 6 or more pharmaceuticals at a time”. Ashley said encouragingly about these tough times.
“With the help of cannabis, I was able to stop taking all those medications and even have some hardware removed from my body. It was a long process, but I eventually weaned off the medications, which was the most difficult part. While some people may criticize my use of cannabis, I believe it’s a safer alternative to other pharmaceuticals” ”. Ashley assured that thanks to cannabis she improved her life quality and defends it by questioning the status quo.
First, we would like to get to know you and your story. Who is Ashley and what does inspire her?
I have a very long story; it has been a challenge during my life to find what does inspire me until recently. For this past seven years, I have been dreaming of a better world/planet through the use of medical cannabis for health & wellness & Industrial hemp for fuels, fibers, textiles, plastics, paper, and hempcrete.
I have heard something about “Do what you love and never work a day in your life” I find out the opposite in truth because when you are passionate about your job it is like never stopping in your head, everything you look at you are thinking of how it can better improve your skill sets and your resources so you actually work more even if you enjoy it.
How do you feel you can get a work-life balance?
I am still working on it, is very challenging. Everything I see and do… revolves around making the world a better place so any time I see anything in my head immediately I think “Oh, I got a solution for this” so I am thinking about finding that work-life balance yet, but I must find it.
How did you learn about Cannabis industry?
I was able to get an internship to learn about it, at that time there was not any education about cannabis. There were few certificates, so I got a cultivation internship, working alongside Dr. Allison Justice PhD. I was able to learn everything about growing and caring for the cannabis plant. So, when I learned how to care for the cannabis plant, I realized I could make a career path for myself. I evolved from there, I just did not want to stop learning… I wanted to know how products were made from the plant, I wanted to know how they were selling it, and then I want to help change policy and regulation… so I got my experience working on the field.
As a business advisor in the tech and cannabis industry, what are some of the leadership qualities you believe are essential for success in this fast-paced and ever-evolving field?
To ensure success, it’s important to be ready and able to take on multiple tasks, projects, and responsibilities at any given time. In both the tech and cannabis industries, everything can change extremely quickly so it’s important to be adaptable and flexible in order to keep up with the pace of change. It’s like building an airplane while it’s already on the runway.
It’s important to question the way things are done, question the status quo and not be afraid to suggest new ideas because everything is emerging. Both the tech and cannabis industries are relatively new, and things are constantly evolving. Business plans need to be reviewed and updated regularly, and it’s crucial to challenge the status quo, think creatively and explore new approaches to stay ahead.
What about the challenges? How do you think is the best way to get overcome them?
Leaders in the tech and cannabis industries need to be resilient in order to navigate the challenges and stress that come with these fast-paced and often unpredictable fields. They need to be able to maintain a positive attitude and remain focused, even when faced with setbacks or obstacles.
We have seen you supported the WomenInCannabis Study. Can you please tell us about this important project?
Yes, A colleague of mine Jennifer Whetzel is the founder/author of the Study which is a mixed-methods research project intended to document the stories of women working in the cannabis, CBD and hemp industries in order to improve equity and inclusivity. The study provides a comprehensive, in-depth analysis on Industry Insiders: their cannabis use, their personalities, their sacrifices, and how they define success for themselves. It was initiated due to a lack of existing data on the subject as well as a way to ensure women are a part of the cannabis narrative. I participated as well to share my experience.
And.. What about #QueerInCannabis?
Arcview’s Queer in cannabis webinar I participated on a few years back that provided a platform for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are involved in the cannabis industry to share their experiences, challenges, and successes. It aimed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the cannabis industry by highlighting the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals and addressing any barriers they may face.
With your experience in the cannabis industry, what do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing businesses in this field?
- – The presence of individuals who are still incarcerated for crimes related to cannabis.
- – Classification of cannabis in the same category as heroin
- – Regulatory uncertainty surrounding the industry.
- – Difficulties with banking and financial services, as cash-based businesses are vulnerable to crime.
- – Restrictions on marketing practices
- – Struggles with talent acquisition and retention.
And… how do you think can they overcome these challenges?
Participate at the front end of policy making and government relations as a company or through supporting industry trade associations who are working at the front end to address and provide solutions to the challenges below:
- – Legal reform: Reforming laws and regulations that criminalize cannabis can help address the issue of individuals still incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses. This includes legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis at the federal and state levels.
- – Reclassification: Cannabis should be reclassified to a lower category, which will help reduce the stigma associated with the substance and ease regulatory restrictions.
- – Regulatory clarity: Creating a clear regulatory framework that defines how the cannabis industry can operate will help provide certainty to businesses and investors.
- – Banking and financial services: Allowing cannabis businesses access to banking and financial services will help reduce the reliance on cash-based transactions and reduce the risk of crime.
- – Marketing: Relaxing marketing restrictions will help businesses promote their products, reach a wider audience, and compete more effectively with other industries.
- – Talent acquisition and retention: Offering competitive compensation packages, professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment can help attract and retain top talent in the industry.
By implementing these strategies, we can address the challenges facing the cannabis industry and create a more sustainable and successful future for the industry.