Most of the time, people search out specific career paths.
But sometimes, passion for a specific career path eventually finds the person.
For Margo Vesely, Illinois NORML Executive Director, working in the cannabis industry was not always a career goal.
When the Illinois cannabis industry started rolling, Vesely worked for a state senator and constantly advocated for marijuana legalization. The state senator suggested she apply herself to the cause as a career.
Vesely, a lifetime Illinoisan with a degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois of Chicago, followed the advice she now gives others who want to be a part of the Illinois cannabis industry: Get creative.
Vesely’s strategy to enter the cannabis industry was to contact each person she could find on LinkedIn at the company she applied to when she hadn’t heard a response to her application in more than three months and had no follow-up contact information.
So if a job in the Illinois cannabis industry is not immediately available, Vesely suggest serving the cannabis community, such as volunteering at Illinois NORML, to gain experience for a stronger resume.
While working in the industry, Vesely also took advantage of other cannabis opportunities by attending events to network and learn more about the industry. She attended several cannabis conference and events, including the canna female entrepreneur conference Women Grow, Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, and various events hosted by Chicago NORML, IL NORML, Chicago Cannabis Company, and Illinois Women in Cannabis.
“I also won a scholarship to attend Females to the Front, an incredibly immersive cannaprenuers conference developed by The Initiative from Oregon,” she said. “As well as the Emerald Green Conference, a canna stability science conference.”
At the end of February 2020, Vesely was voted in as NORML Illinois Executive Director.
“We’re here to represent the canna consumer whether it is a medical patient or recreational,” Vesely said. “As I develop this new board, they will be taking on more initiatives that we proposed last year. The most important duty is to stay up to date on all bills and policies in the states. After circulating those with the board, we then make statements and amendment suggestions and develop press releases.”
Vesely has not stopped there with her passion and commitment to the plant. The more she dove into this space the more she understood that science-backed evidence is what will push for research and legislation to help move forward.
“We don’t have accessible education without paying a price,” Vesely said. “That’s why I decided that this information needs to be provided in digestible ways for free to the public. That way more people can relate to the plant and will demand more access to it.”
So Vesely has created a new space (or two) as a podcast producer and cannabis coach at Margojuana.
“We’ll be launching a podcast video series called PhytoEndoConnection, where I’ll dive deeper into the canna science acting as a Bill Nye-type character and feature segments from individuals who are game changers in the industry. I’ll be hosting conversations featuring physicians, nurses, scientists, engineers, and groundbreakers in the industry all applying this canna science.”
Vesely’s ultimate goal as a cannabis coach is to make smoking a joint after a hard day to be seen as normal as grabbing a glass of wine.
“This plant deserves to be in our ecosystem,” she said. “We’ve been struggling without it. Why do you think anxiety and debilitating conditions are so common? There’re a number of things that could be aiding in that, but I think a big component is cannabis is missing from our diets.”
Through her travels and understanding of the plant, she knows there is room to grow, and many businesses that can and will develop and benefit from of this plant, not just cultivators and dispensaries.
“I want to help amplify the voices that have been working so hard for us to get safe access to this plant,” she said. “There’s enough room for everyone in this space.”
For more information about the services Vesely provide and to share her journey with cannabis in and out of the industry, sign up for her email list on her blog Margojuana here. She also can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Clubhouse @margojuana_ and can be reached at Margo@illinoisnorml.org for questions about IL NORML or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the podcast.