Gretchen Giles

Gretchen Giles

Vice President

Human Nature

Tell us your canna-story. What led you to this industry? What was your first endeavor and what piqued your interest about cannabis?

I live in Sonoma County, the Wine Country area just south of the Emerald Triangle. As a recovering journalist (I was the EIC of the altweekly in my market for nearly a decade), I’ve been aware of the lure of the Triangle all my adult life. With Prohibition lifted and California coming online as a legal market, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the stories and people now able to stand in the light. I absolutely adore the people I work with in cannabis. The legacy, equity concerns, struggle for success, and the hurdles and challenges that California in particular places on this industry make it a daily fascinating space in which to work.

What is your favorite thing about working in cannabis and what keeps you excited about continuing to work in this space? What do you find to be unique about this industry?

The people in cannabis keep me interested. Cannabis welcomes such a creative cohort of professionals from all backgrounds who are united around a singular plant and the power it has to provide both solace and joy.

What do you think is the next BIG THING in Cannabis?

I’m incredibly excited about the appellations program that the state of California instituted on Jan. 1, 2021. I worked with the CDFA in 2019 to help develop the guidelines for this program and am convinced that it is a durable way to protect small operators and legacy farmers from the ‘Marlboro-ization’ of the industry. It also unlocks the incredible economic and job creation engine that cannabis offers. The opportunity for legacy growing regions to welcome tourists and educate visitors about this remarkable plant will be as indelible as wine tourism has been for our market. I’m thrilled to be a part of this transformation in ag and tourism.

What is a little known fact about yourself? What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I’m awfully chatty, so there are probably no ‘little known’ anythings about me, but in addition to my passion for my work, I have a serious yoga practice that’s very important to me; am fascinated by food systems and farming; am striving hard to be a better seasonal home cook; love to garden, camp, bike, and hike; am an avid reader; and am just beginning to explore the solitary pleasures of having grown children who are educated and married and don’t need my fretting. My sweetie and I are excited to travel again and study Italian together to prepare for our next trip — whenever that might be!

Who is someone that inspires your work?

The simple truth is that my business partner Holly Aubry teaches me something new about our work every day and keeps me invigorated to be as excellent as she.

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