What separates the cannabis industry from the rest is the number of women executives. According to a 2017 Marijuana Business Daily reader survey, women hold 27 percent of executive-level roles in the cannabis industry. That’s a healthy edge over U.S. businesses as a whole, where women comprise 23 percent of executive positions. Orange County isn’t just home to a buzzing cannabis industry, it’s also home to some of the women who make up that 27 percent. Darice Smolenski, the CEO of the former Reserve OC—one of Santa Ana’s first Measure BB dispensaries—is involved in a new project. Although the storefront is no more, the legacy and devotion to health and wellness lives on with the Reserve label. We caught up with Smolenski to get the update on the new brand, product line and ethos of the company.
Pot Plus: What makes the Reserve unique?
Darice Smolenski: The Reserve brand has always been geared toward all walks of life that enjoy the benefits of the cannabis plant. Whether using cannabis to treat uncomfortable symptoms, diseases or wanting to deeply fall into the relaxation and joy of the psychoactive benefits, the Reserve has products for everyone.
What does the Reserve bring to Orange County?
Our whole ethos is about helping people live a healthy lifestyle and be the best, healthiest versions of themselves. You can achieve this with cannabis, as long as it’s clean. It’s heartbreaking to see the cannabis growers out there put profit in front of quality, which is still happening despite the new regulations. It’s no different than the produce that’s in the grocery
store: You can pay a lower cost for fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides and harmful chemicals, or you can pay a little more for organic, clean produce. When it comes to cannabis, the intention of the plant is the opposite of what pesticides do and are. You get what you pay for, and the same holds true with our products. They’re safe and clean, which at the end of the day should be the most important thing to the consumer. In addition to that, though, you will find that our flower is loaded with flavor and offers a potent experience. At Reserve, instead of focusing on maximizing profit, we have focused the last 10 years of our lives developing a regimen that produces a high quality look, smell and effect, while keeping it natural and clean.
What does the Reserve brand give to the cannabis community?
We are currently working with multiple cities to provide ways to give back to multiple communities of California. Being a former military dependent, it was natural to support the veterans that put their lives on the line for us, and show them that we care for them—something that’s not always shown when vets come back from war. We’re also working alongside multiple children’s groups to help families understand how they can assist their children with ailments, diseases and how to achieve and maintain a healthy life. We want to encourage the community at-large to participate in the movement. Let us help you become educated about the benefits of this amazing plant! Knowledge is power. It’s also a key component to breaking the stigma. If we can break the deeply rooted stigma, I truly believe that we can help provide each other with relief and spread love to everyone around us. Although cannabis may not be for everyone, it is a go-to solution for a lot of people. And those who choose to use it shouldn’t be condemned for doing so.
What kind products are in the new line?
Our specialty is ice water hash. But we also make amazing hash rosin and live rosin made from our freshly frozen whole plants. We’re also about to roll out a skin care line and a fitness CBD line. We’re successful in making these high-end products because our flower isn’t ridden with chemicals, therefore allowing it to produce some of the highest quality concentrates. After experiencing the Reserve products, you’ll know that we truly care and that our products are made from a place of passion and love. In addition to our line of consumed and topical products, the Reserve Lifestyle concept was created to give our consumers accessories, gear and apparel that reflect the lifestyle of a healthy cannabis user. We are currently working with exclusive designers in LA that produce one-time pieces for celebrity events. So, we also create quality accessories.
How has it been being a woman in the industry?
It’s an exciting time to be a woman creating history in this industry! The sky is literally the limit. There are a growing number of women in the industry—as it should be. The healing cannabis plant is female. The entire industry is built around a female plant, so we women should make up a large percentage of business owners and leaders. There’s a synergy between women and the plant, which I think is part of what makes it so exciting to be a female in this industry. Also, the more we empower each other, the better this industry will become.
Sometimes the same obstacles all women face come up; or there will be an initial shock when people realize they’re having a meeting with a woman to potentially do business with. Although, I do believe that because I have a strong standing in how I handle business, it’s quickly understood that I’m all about producing good results.
But more than anything, I love that in this industry it’s not so much a female/male issue. Rather, you rise in the ranks if you can produce results and prove your progress. I would encourage all women who have an idea or concept to go for it full heartedly! Honestly, I’d encourage any person to do that who’s looking to get involved in the industry.