Certified Ganjier ProFile: Executive Session

Name: Samuel (Sam) Richard, Certified Ganjier

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Ganjier Graduating Class: November, 2021

Favorite Cultivar(s):

I’m in a lucky position because cultivators are starting to see labs as partners more than just service providers. Being a Certified Ganjier in this role allows me to serve as a trusted sounding board, bringing narrative to the seemingly straightforward and dry analysis in the form of a pass/fail binary and obscure chemical analyte readings calculated to the fifth decimal. All that to say, I sometimes get a chance to see all the stuff in the research and development phases.

Currently, I’m enjoying the results of the hard work that Sublime Brands is putting into their flower. In particular, their Nightman OG is worth a spotlight. If the reference to “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” didn’t already have you smiling, this cultivar will have you giggling in no time. 

What was your position before joining Ganjier?

Executive Director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association

What is it now?

Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Laboratories

What was your primary motivation for joining the cannabis field?

I first approached the regulated cannabis ecosystem through a criminal justice reform policy lens. Arizona was one of the last places in the nation where *any* amount of cannabis possession was a felony. Today, that reality is well on its way to being flipped right-side up. Tens of thousands of folks have had their cannabis-related charges expunged, and Arizona’s medical cannabis program remains one of the strongest in the country from a personal privacy and protection perspective.

Why did you choose the Ganjier Certification Program?

The chance to learn from the Ganjier Council, an incredible list of thinkers, doers, and luminaries across disciplines – all while in the magical confines of ethereal Humboldt County. I think this question answers itself… 🙂

What did you expect going into this course?

I expected to learn a little bit of history and some additional appreciation to stack on top of the admiration I already had for the grueling work of cultivation, along with a true and shared understanding of how to talk about excellence in craft cannabis.

What did you find?

All of that and more. Hard to put into words. But suffice it to say that it was – and continues to be – well worth the time, energy, and resources to become a Certified Ganjier and beyond.

Was there a game-changing “A-ha” moment for you during the course?

Absolutely, but like the best experiences in life – it was ineffable. The entire Ganjier Certification journey had a sense of pilgrimage. Learning about the 30,000+ year history of our species’ relationship with cannabis in the storied valleys and hillsides of The Triangle among like-minded students of the plant was exhilarating.

What skills/knowledge/philosophy have you been able to take away and apply to your cannabis career?

The Ganjier Certification Program allowed me to work through the forbiddenness of cannabis and achieve a sense of genuine and fearless curiosity. For far too long, every slice of the cannabis experience has been made taboo, but the combination of the curriculum and the hands-on experience cast a vision of the future that’s ripe with routine, normalcy, and a return to the universal appreciation of the plant.

The more we can help our friends and neighbors remember that cannabis always has been and always will be, the sooner it can stop being a spectacle. Being “boring” isn’t normally a goal along the path toward commercial success, but the reason why coffee, wine, chocolate, and cheese have internationally recognized connoisseur designations is their ubiquity. Indeed, recognizing craft assumes the existence of mass production, which is why the demeanor of the Ganjier is so needed in these nascent beginnings of full-scale federal adoption.

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