PHOENIX — BEST Dispensary CEO Susan Hwang started learning about cannabis more than a decade ago.
“I am a biochemist," Hwang explained. "Studying the science of cannabis and applying the scientific knowledge and education I received is why I got into the medical cannabis industry.”
Hwang is the woman behind the luxury dispensary with a philosophy centered around using cannabis as holistic and natural medicine.
She comes from a family of immigrants and sees how the industry has evolved from both a social and business perspective.
“What I saw lacking in the industry was diversity, and also providing the etiquette for sufficient information about cannabis products and the knowledge," said Hwang. "I don't see many people who look like me running these businesses, there is a lot of opportunities."
Her staff includes a medical director who is a licensed physician in Arizona, along with registered nurses, pharmacists and a diverse sales team.
The cannabis industry has evolved quickly but still carries a negative stigma from decades of viewing marijuana as a gateway drug with no medical benefits.
However, science has provided a different storyline.
Hwang says industry experts are now using science to re-define cannabis, some no longer using the term 'marijuana,' due to the stigma.
“It’s just the Spanish term referring to cannabis, but cannabis Sativa is a scientific term so in the industry those who care about equity issues do our best not to use the term marijuana,” said Hwang.
Hwang says there are a lot of opportunities to enter the industry for those considering a career change.
“Do not hesitate. You can bring your own expertise, your background, your education," said Hwang. "You do not have to consume or use cannabis to work in the cannabis industry.”
Read the Leafly 6th Annual Jobs Report here.
The report found the cannabis industry employs more than 428,000 Americans, up 32% in the last year, the fifth consecutive year in annual job growth.
"Leafly’s report shows that America’s cannabis industry sold nearly $25 billion in products and continues to be the most prolific job creator in America."
Arizona became the 13th state to legalize cannabis after passing Prop 207 in 2020.
Marijuana in Arizona
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