Chrissy Hadar co-founded Oregrown with her husband Aviv Hadar as a small grow in 2013 after regulations passed in Oregon allowing for medical marijuana dispensaries. As the company’s senior vice president of retail and branding, she is leading the way out of prohibition by taking the brand global, increasing its retail footprint and brand awareness through initiatives like a clothing line.
What changes have you noticed in the way cannabis users are treated or perceived since the end of prohibition in Oregon?
Chrissy Hadar: Since the legalization of recreational use in Oregon, which we prefer to refer to as “adult use,” we’ve found our customers not only debunk the stereotype of the unmotivated and unemployable “lazy stoner,” but completely squash it. They are young professionals, acclaimed athletes, mothers, fathers, doctors, teachers, lawyers, businessmen and women. They are using cannabis in lieu of the evening cocktail, or exploring it as a holistic alternative to overprescribed and addictive pharmaceuticals that claim to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Cannabis use is more widely accepted and embraced as a lifestyle as opposed to something only done behind closed doors.
What is Oregrown doing to further the abandoning of that stereotype?
At Oregrown, we believe in being an asset to our community. We’ve accomplished this by sponsoring local family friendly festivals and concerts, partnering with our local Humane Society, volunteering for park clean-ups, sponsoring the nonprofits that help maintain our public trail systems, and sponsoring athletes who will ultimately inspire the next generation to live an active and healthy lifestyle.
By going out into our community, setting up our booth, selling our clothing line and being available to answer questions, we are giving the locals and tourists of Central Oregon the opportunity to get a taste of Oregrown on their home turf. So, if or when they decide to explore cannabis one day or try a new dispensary, they will think of Oregrown.
Do you find that the power dynamics and gender inequality of the business world at large extend to the cannabis business? Is cannabis more welcoming to women entrepreneurs, executives, etc.?
I will say that the women I have come across within the industry are some of the strongest, most outspoken, intelligent, independent, motivated, powerful and inspiring women I have ever met. And because of these women, and in light of the fact that the legal cannabis market is so young, we have what some consider a “once in a generation” opportunity to build an emphasis on equality and inclusion into the industry, and set the standard for other industries to live up to. It’s up to us to be the change we want to see in the world. Cliché, but true.
At Oregrown, half of our top executives are women. But, the cannabis industry at large is not some utopia exempt from the perils of American corporate greed and the “good ol’ boys’ club” as many would like to claim. I believe there is just as much equality in the cannabis industry as any other burgeoning sector, and more work needs to be done across the board.
Read the full story at Newsweek here.