Ganjier ProFile: Corporate Executive to Cannabis Entrepreneur ~ Cultivating the Plant Connection

Name: Dharshini (Dharsh) Casinathen, Certified Ganjier

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Ganjier Graduating Class: May, 2023

Favorite Cultivar(s): Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, Royal Highness Supreme

What was your position before joining Ganjier?

I grew up in a traditional South Indian immigrant home that instilled in me a simple equation: Hard work + good education = a promising institutional job. Throughout the initial 20 years of my career, this equation guided me. I began my career as a CPA at KPMG Canada, and later joined PepsiCo (“a promising institutional job”) – Fortune 50. Over the course of nearly 13 years, I steadily ascended the corporate ladder, assuming various roles that provided invaluable insights into people and operational processes.

Within PepsiCo, I had the privilege of holding multiple leadership positions. As my journey with PepsiCo drew to a close, I held the esteemed position of Sr. Director of eCommerce Finance, where I contributed to the development of the US ecommerce business, preparing the business for what would pose a new challenge: COVID. 

In 2020, an exciting opportunity presented itself in the Cannabis industry, and I embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming the SVP of Strategic Operations at an MSO (East Coast). The first half of my career was primarily focused on thriving within large publicly traded institutions, where I not only climbed the corporate ladder, but also managed people and processes to achieve outstanding outcomes.

What is it now?

I currently hold two fulfilling roles that allow me to make a meaningful impact in the cannabis industry: I am an educator in the field of cannabis. As @CannaDharsh, my mission is to guide individuals to create a connection with this remarkable plant. I firmly believe in the importance of understanding history, intricate botany, scientific foundations, business dynamics, and its potential to serve. By equipping people with knowledge, I empower them to make informed decisions about cannabis. 

The Ganjier Certification has been an invaluable asset, providing me with the necessary tools, resources, and framework to bring these principles to life in my teaching and experiences.

In addition to my educational endeavors, I am also an entrepreneur driven by the passion to actualize these principles in the real world. Currently, my focus is directed towards building a Cannabis Retail Dispensary in New Jersey. As the Co-founder and President of Joy Leaf NJ, I am committed to creating a vibrant and welcoming space where individuals can explore, empower and experience the plant. With a target opening in the Fall of 2023, we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to serve our community and contribute to the ever-growing cannabis industry.

These two roles, as an educator and an entrepreneur, intertwine harmoniously, allowing me to share my love and knowledge of the plant.

Why did you choose the Ganjier Program?

After thoroughly evaluating numerous programs, I chose the Ganjier Program due to its strong alignment with my mission and beliefs. This program excels in emphasizing the meaning of creating a relationship with the plant and defining quality. What truly captivated me about this program was its comprehensive syllabus, which encompasses a holistic approach to the plant, spanning across social sciences, scientific principles, and the philosophy of customer service. 

The program’s vast range of knowledge not only broadened my understanding but also provided a solid framework that resonates with practices we want to bring to the overall experience at Joy Leaf. By selecting the Ganjier Program, I not only gained access to a wealth of knowledge and a

comprehensive framework, but also became part of a vibrant community dedicated to advancing our understanding and appreciation of the plant.

What did you expect going into the Ganjier course?

I was seeking education that would deepen my relationship with the plant. I discovered a program that laid out a holistic approach. This program delved into various facets of establishing a connection with the plant, encompassing its rich history, scientific aspects, and how to bring service to the experience for patients and customers. Furthermore, the program emphasized the crucial skill of evaluating and understanding quality.

What did you find?

In my journey for education, I not only discovered a comprehensive approach but also found a deep connection to a vibrant community. Engaging with fellow Certified Ganjier Noah Marcus from New Jersey, I realized that our diverse backgrounds were united by our shared passion for the plant. 

This program provided more than just education; it created an opportunity to form a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Further through Ganjier, I found confidence to embrace a growth mindset, knowing that there is always more to learn and explore. The content and discussions within this empowering community nurtured my self-assurance, encouraging me to approach new challenges with a sense of curiosity and openness. This program not only enriched my knowledge but also instilled in me the belief that with dedication and the support of a thriving community, I can continue to grow and make a positive impact in the world of cannabis.

Were there any game-changing, “A-ha” moments for you during the course?

Absolutely! The moment that truly transformed my understanding and deepened my relationship with the plant happened during the in-person training session. As we gathered together learning how to calibrate the quality of flower, something extraordinary occurred. All eleven of us, in perfect harmony, consistently calibrated our assessments. It was in that precise moment that it hit me – this was real! 

The impact of that moment cannot be overstated. It was a pivotal turning point that elevated my understanding of the plant and its nuances. This game-changing revelation not only expanded my knowledge but also fueled my passion for the plant, intensifying the relationship I shared with it.

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

The philosophy of creating a relationship with the plant has been a guiding principle that I learned early on in the program. This philosophy, reiterated by the Ganjier Council members, has informed my mission in helping others establish their own meaningful connection with the plant. By delving into its rich history and understanding its impact, I can bring compelling stories to our business and shift societal norms and regulations. The skills and knowledge gained from the program extend beyond technical expertise, empowering me to facilitate transformative experiences with cannabis.

What impact did the Ganjier Training have on your cannabis future?

The Ganjier Program has made a profound impact on my cannabis career. When I initially ventured into the industry, my knowledge was sourced mainly from the internet and Instagram. 

However, everything changed when I seized the opportunity to join this program. It provided me with the invaluable tools to craft the right language and framework necessary for effective communication in my new retail operation and other endeavors. The program offered a solid foundation that can be continuously built upon through ongoing learning.

The most remarkable aspect of this experience has been the extraordinary community I have formed with the Ganjier Council, Certified Ganjiers and students. The support, camaraderie, and shared passion for cannabis within this community is beautiful to be a part of. I am immensely grateful for the connections I have forged through this program, as they have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.

The Ganjier Program not only enhanced my knowledge and skills, but also provided me with a vibrant and inspiring community that continuously motivates me to strive for excellence. It is an experience I cherish deeply, and one that has significantly shaped my cannabis journey.

To those considering the Ganjier Certification course, what advice would you give?

Just Do it! If not now, when?

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