Hiking the Cannabis Trail: A Mammoth Mountain Metaphor

As the early morning sun peered through the pine tree forest, I glanced up the path just in time to see an eagle soar above. I knew from the moment that I arrived at the trailhead that this would be an awakening hike, and a much-needed trip to unplug. As many of us in start-up companies we know, the daily grind needed to move the needle can be strenuous and take a toll on our minds, our bodies, and even our spirits.

Those of us in cannabis have the added pleasure of being in an entire startup environment without the fall-backs or constants of other industries. In fact, its mostly unknown territory as boundaries and standards are being developed that can be shared and expanded on. I quickly realized why I traveled to the mountains of the high sierras in the first place. I often compare the building of the cannabis industry to climbing a mountain. When the trail is well marked, you can enter with confidence but when the trail is not clearly defined, it’s about preparing for the cautions that can come around any turn. Sure having your eyes set on the goal is just the first step, its the constant ebb and flow or literally the ups and downs as we hike from one pass to the next. As I stood at the base of a pristine glacial lake surrounded by rising granite peaks, it’s visible how much work still needs to be done and how much farther there is to go. That in itself is daunting, but if you use those moments to step back and take the side hike, you might just see the path from a different perspective and discover an alternate solution. We are explorers. entrepreneurs and pioneers. 

We have a monumental task ahead of us, and hitting each mile marker means we have that much more experience and knowledge of what we can expect on the path. With the goal in the distance, I felt like I could take on the world. Now that might have been pure adrenaline or could have also been the uplifting effects of the Kiva Camino I took earlier but I felt great. As I made my way up the mountain pass and into the Duck Lake Basin I knew not to let my guard down. 

Though things are going my way now, I can’t take it for granted because one small step could have a disastrous outcome. Much like in cannabis. As we become accustomed to everything from local and state legislation, market demand, and payment capabilities – we know any small move can take an operation by surprise. Its forecasting those problem areas before they arise. Tighten your boots, hydrate, and look ahead – and for goodness sake, don’t cut the switchbacks.