Emma Chasen has a mission to educate people on the science behind cannabis so that they may take charge of their own healing.
She is also a cannabis industry consultant and helps brands develop educational marketing collateral and educational programs to further elevate their brand presence in a competitive industry.
She also helps struggling cannabis businesses with business organization and sets them up for success in the competitive adult use market. Emma continues to seek ways to spread cannabis education through consulting, writing, speaking and teaching.
Emma Chasen was recently named Portland’s Best Budtender of 2016 and featured in Newsweek, MG Magazine, Stoner Magazine, High Times Magazine, The Oregon Leaf and Teen Vogue for her work with cannabis and patients.
She is also a regular guest on many cannabis-focused podcasts and has been featured on television for her ability to explain scientific concepts around cannabis in a way that is accessible and helpful to the general public.
We recently invited Emma for a Q&A session to talk about her background and her company. By the way, we are loving the green hair!
Ganjly: What is your background and what made you decide to pursue a career in cannabis?
Emma Chasen: I have a background in medicinal plant research and pre-medical studies. I graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a specialized biology degree that focused on the study of medicinal plants. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to formally study cannabis in my program. However, I did do a lot of personal study with the plant and have always seen cannabis as the “all-star medicinal plant.” After graduating from Brown, I worked in oncology research and naively thought that could be my opportunity to study the anti-proliferative effects of cannabis. A brilliant professor actually did propose a cannabis trial to the research institution where I worked, but my supervisor laughed him out of the office. That was the moment that I knew I had to leave the allopathic field of medicine. Quickly thereafter, I quit, packed up my car, and drove across the country to Portland, Oregon. I serendipitously happened to arrive in Portland just a month before the early onset of adult-use sales of cannabis, so I immediately found a job at Farma and that definitely sealed my fate and career in cannabis.
Ganjly: What reliable websites can people go to when they want to be educated about cannabis and healing with cannabis?
Emma Chasen: I have two websites that are my go-to for cannabis research – NICER and Ethan Russo’s ResearchGate. NICER has a research library organized by ailment, so you can find research on cannabis’ potential to alleviate symptoms of the disease. And Ethan Russo’s ResearchGate is one of the best sources for the most recent cannabis research. If you want something a bit more digestible than scientific articles, Hempsley is one of the most beautiful and informative cannabis education sites on the web.
Ganjly: What is the most challenging experience you have had in the cannabis industry so far?
Emma Chasen: I’ve had my fair share of challenging experiences in the cannabis industry thus far. And I think it all boils down to the fact that the cannabis industry is in total startup culture. There’s a lot of excitement, innovation and creativity in the industry, but there’s not much money for fledgling entrepreneurs. In my experience, this creates eagerness to partner with others and I have definitely been approached by many people offering me partnership in their endeavors. When this first started happening, I was excited and flattered, but I soon realized that not all people and partnerships are a good fit. I’ve learned so much through these experiences about business, boundaries, and personal/professional relationships.
Ganjly: What is your proudest moment since you started down this path of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
Emma Chasen: Landing a feature in Forbes was a very surreal moment for me. I was proud to see that and proud to be able to share it with my family and friends. But really, I am proudest when I get great feedback from a client or a student of mine starts to understand the material because of the way I’m explaining it. I am my own harshest critic, so to hear positive feedback and watch people’s lives change because of my work makes me so damn proud and encourages me to continue.
Ganjly: Do you have plans for new products, services or events and would you be willing to drop any hints about what we can expect from your company in the future?
Emma Chasen: The Oregon market is currently in disarray. Businesses are closing left and right. It’s difficult, to say the least. But, I’m working on a big project that should hopefully help the market stabilize. That’s vague, but it’s all I can say for now.
Ganjly: What is your advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who are considering joining the cannabis industry? What are the positives and negatives they should expect?
Emma Chasen: If you are passionate about cannabis and truly believe you have an idea or expertise that would help advance this industry, please come take part! However, be aware that this is a difficult industry to make it in right now. This is not the “Green Rush.” There’s hardly any money to make due to impossible tax brackets and market oversaturation. But, there is a strong sense of community and an overwhelmingly inspired, passionate group of people working to make this industry into something that we can all be proud of.
Thank you so much, Emma, for taking out the time to do the interview despite your busy schedule!
More on Emma:
Emma Chasen began her cannabis career at Farma as a budtender and was quickly promoted to General Manager after only a few months. She oversaw the operations of the shop and continued to uphold the pillars of esteemed customer service and cannabis science education during the rocky regulatory transition from OHA to OLCC governance.
After over a year as Farma’s General Manager, she stepped down and carved out a role for herself as Director of Education. In this role, she was able to focus on educational efforts and create a robust training curriculum that focused on cannabis science, product knowledge, and empathetic patient care.
After over two years with Farma, Emma left to join forces with Sativa Science Club to expand her curriculum into a certification program for the cannabis community at large. She launched the Core Science Certification program both online and in the community in Portland in the fall of 2017 with Sativa Science Club.
Her mission is to educate people on the science behind cannabis, so that they may take charge of their own healing as well as to address the need for training and education of budtenders, medical professionals, and the general public.
We love her mission! Get to know her more by heading over to her website, https://www.emmachasen.com.