Keeping Cannabis Accountable with Medisi Ventures
Cannabis is all around us, from the lotions we use to CBD infused candies, you can even get your favorite strand delivered with a few simple clicks. Historically, being in the cannabis industry has been taboo and selling could get you real time behind bars. Nowadays CBD gummies are all the rage and celebrities are hosting “canna-treat” parties. Everyone is dying to invest in the cannabis industry. But what does it all mean?
We sat down with TiYanna Long CEO and Founder of Medisi Ventures to find out just that. Miss Long is a Business Strategist, Impact Advisor, Real Estate Agent and Accountability Coach focused on the sustainable development of the cannabis industry. She has also been featured on The Young Money Podcast, RUNGRL.co, Estrohaze.com, Cash Color Cannabis, and in HoneySuckle Magazine.
Tell Us About Yourself
I founded Medisi Ventures, a Social Impact Enterprise re-imagining cannabis culture-from policy to profit, to the consumption experience. I’ve helped build teams and companies in and outside of the cannabis industry, and advise on projects across sectors. My unique background, along with my passion for community, has enabled me to discover a niche that is vital to helping cannabis avoid the trap that has befallen most industries in existence to date—being disadvantageous to the nation’s most vulnerable. The time to engage is NOW, and I’m helping to create and connect the pathways to upward mobility utilizing cannabis as the catalyst.
What is Medisi Ventures?
Medisi Ventures is the first Social Impact Enterprise focused on the sustainable development of the Cannabis Industry. We provide premium Business Strategy Consulting, Impact Advising, and Operational Services for companies looking to have a positive impact and achieve sustainability. We focus on how legalization is, and will, affect The Eight Pillars of Livable Cities (Housing, Transportation + Accessibility, Childcare, Engagement + Politics, Employment, Technology + Innovation, Education, and Health + Environment ). Medisi has a steady growing roster of clients and projects under its umbrella including, but not limited to, dispensaries, a delicious edibles company launching Fall 2020, and Synergy Sessions -- the leading Learning & Development company catalyzing positive social impact and upward mobility for entrepreneurs, businesses, and the previously incarcerated.
How did you decide that you wanted to get involved in the cannabis/social impact space?
Long story short, I recognized a shift was starting to occur back in 2010/2011 when the conversation surfaced around adult-use legalization in Colorado . My background in process efficiency and quality assurance made me begin thinking about how this might work where I live, Oakland, CA; and similar cities across the country--urban, metropolitan cities, densely populated by people of color. Who would have access to be able to take advantage of the huge opportunity that was on the horizon? Disadvantageous circumstances were, and still are, stacked up against people of color to create the type of movement needed to end cycles of poverty that have hindered our economic progression. I knew I had to jump in! I had to be and create the change I wanted to see.
What was the journey like for you in creating Medisi Ventures? (talk about the good, bad, pretty, and ugly parts)
The journey has been one of constant discovery. I established Medisi while in grad school, utilizing that time dedicated to research and analysis to incubate the focus of what problem(s) the company would solve. Medisi is an acronym for Marijuana, Education, Development, and Investment, for Social Impact; and I feel that we do exactly that. Solving how, though, was one of my early challenges. As a Social Impact Enterprise, our most important goal is being a catalyst for equity, progression, and sustainability in each of The Eight Pillars. As a business, the goal is to generate revenue and see profits--legally, by way of the advancement of a currently federally-illegal industry. I’m extremely proud of where we are and how we’ve been able to navigate; yet remain conscious to the fact that there’s always going to be another challenge to face. It’s an unavoidable component of progress. One of the greatest lessons this journey has taught me is to always be prepared to come up with a solution. For myself, my clients, and ultimately the community at-large.
What made you want to create Medisi Ventures?
There was no other pathway for me to create the change I want to see in the world. My journey from college to corporate America helped me uncover my purpose, and acknowledge that I would have to take a different approach to see my wants and dreams actualized. I needed to be able to maneuver without the draining corporate politics. For me, that meant I had to create a vessel that would provide full, creative and strategic control of my time, energy, and the projects I worked on.
How do you think the cannabis/social impact space has evolved? How do you see the future?
People are definitely becoming more actively aware of ALL the impact the cannabis industry is going to have--both positive and negative, on physical health and the environment. However, we still have a lot of work to do in order to create the great industry that so many advocated for. You can go to any cannabis conference and see a wide range of products, most of which lack eco-friendliness. The packaging industry hasn’t caught up--another example of how all the components that go into creating success in the industry are not yet aligned. From pre-rolls to the countless amount of vape oil cartridges that are now adding to the tons of waste in landfills around the world. This represents just one of many great opportunities for companies to create better and more accessible solutions to the industry’s negative externalities.
I see a future filled with opportunities. Because the industry is growing faster than it’s foundation is able to solidify, I can see rushed federal legalization potentially creating more challenges, as opposed to being a solution. I also see the future where the industrialization of the cannabis plant has created new pathways for people to live, work, and heal in a more harmonious way.
What has creating Medisi Ventures taught you about yourself and your business?
Creating this business has taught me to remain steadfast in my purpose. There isn’t a day I wake up where I’m not excited about jumping into the mystique of this industry as it evolves. I’ve learned live in the joy of knowing that no one else possesses my unique skills, and no one can execute with my swag and level of detail.
I’ve learned to never forget that business is about evolution, so it’s important to flow with changes in the surrounding, but not to let those same external forces dictate HOW my business should move.
I’ve learned to always take my time and do as much due diligence that I feel is necessary before making any commitment, but especially a commitment that will have long term implications. It’s in the best interest of firstly my mental health, and secondly the longevity of my company and the decisions I make for our clients.
Keep up with TiYanna and Medisi Ventures @TiYannaLong, @MedisiLLC, @SynergySesh
Photo credit : Corey Daniels (@shotbyarkitect)