As much as contemporary perceptions shift around cannabis usage and legalization, old stigmas and opposition still linger. It isn’t always easy to inform co-workers or family members that you use cannabis. For other who want to enter the cannabis industry, that disconnect can grow even larger. It’s one thing to use marijuana, but another thing entirely to make it your livelihood and work full-time in the marijuana industry.
That was the dilemma facing Leone Posod. Growing up, she was taught the “Just Say No” campaign so prevalent through the 80s and early 90s. Throughout college she never tried cannabis as a result. It seemed taboo.
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You might be surprised to learn Posod eventually entered the cannabis space with her childhood best friend Cindy Pinzon. Together they run Treat Yourself, the women-centered edible company that sells healthy, vegan treats. Based in California, it’s become an influential brand because of Treat Yourself’s thoughtful philosophy to producing approachable products aimed at women.
But that wasn’t always the case. For a long a time Posod didn’t try marijuana. She was shocked to learn Pinzon did upon a college visit as she revealed in a recent CNBC op-ed.
The first time I went to visit Cindy at UCLA, her roommate informed me that Cindy had a secret to confess: Cindy tried marijuana, and she enjoyed it. I was shocked—I could not believe that she would do that! I was also puzzled that she looked healthy and was maintaining good grades. I didn’t understand it, but I trusted that she knew how to take care of herself.
Posod would later take a job as a police dispatcher. Her duties included directing 911 calls and police radio, and her dedication would lead her into crime and intelligence analysis training. Posod intended only to work as a police dispatcher through college, but soon a decade would pass. It became her full-time job, and she eventually realized she was deeply unsatisfied.
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So she thought of changing careers, starting over as a yoga instructor. To remove the temptation of stability her previous job offered, Posod would move to San Francisco. At the same time her friend Pinzon was earning her health coach certification. She had plans of starting a healthy marijuana edible line and planned a move to San Francisco as well. When the two shared their plans together, Pinzon asked if Posod would partner with her in entering the cannabis space.
I agreed to Cindy’s proposal, but with reservations. If I tried cannabis, I would be abandoning any chance to return to my old job. And what would I say to my former co-workers, whom I told I was leaving to teach yoga? Many of them were vocal about their views against marijuana. I spent three more months researching and deliberating before trying any cannabis. I enjoyed it, and grew even more excited about starting our business. But now I had a secret that I needed to share with the rest of my friends, family, and former co-workers.
When Posod informed others of her change, she was met with some shock and disappointment. She worried she had “damaged some of my relationships beyond repair” while some of her former co-workers were nothing but supportive.
Now Treat Yourself, which intends “to inspire women to indulge in a little self-love, every day,” is struggling to meet demand. Posod and Pinzon are successful in every sense of the word. As Posod wrote, “[W]e are confident in what we’ve created. And I won’t be looking back.