Creating cannabis connections

A Q&A with Jamie Cooper
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Jamie Cooper. Courtesy photo.

Jamie Cooper is making her mark on West Michigan by building bridges and creating connections in the cannabis industry. We talked with her about where the business is today and what’s next.

GR Mag: How did you get into the canna-business?
JC: I became a cannabis consumer in Colorado while living there, and I was there when legalization was voted on and the first year it got rolled out. When I moved to Michigan in 2014, I started getting involved in legalization efforts. I started a Women Grow chapter, which is an organization that started out in Denver to connect, empower and educate women who are interested in starting businesses in the cannabis industry, and I started hosting monthly networking events for women entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids. Then I launched a company called CannaBIZ Connection and was speaking to city councils and townships and hosting weekly networking events and getting business professionals together throughout the state, and eventually started Sensi Magazine – a cannabis lifestyle magazine.

GR Mag: What’s going on in the world of weed right now?
JC: It looks very different than it did 10 years ago. On a national scope, half of our country has adult use at this point and the federal government is looking at rescheduling cannabis. We’ve really come a long way. It’s a breath of fresh air to see how much it’s changed in just a decade.

GR Mag: How do you think things will look in five years?
JC: The industry looked a lot different even two years ago. The market has hit saturation. Right now, it’s a tough world to be in business because there’s just not a whole lot of profit. People think there is, but there really isn’t. There are companies going under every single week and there are lots of mergers and acquisitions happening. I think we’ll see a lot of turnover.

GR Mag: A lot of the dispensaries seem to leverage interesting architecture or bold colors. Why do you think that is?
JC: A lot of these businesses want to fit in the areas around them, and they also want to stand out because the industry faces a lot of challenges around marketing to consumers. We don’t get the same marketing avenues as a traditional business, so it’s about really standing out and honestly building relationships with the consumers.

GR Mag: What are your top three cannabis dos and don’ts?
Do:

  1. Do experiment and find your sweet spot – find what works for you.
  2. Do ask those around you how they like to consume. You could learn a lot from your peers before just jumping in.
  3. Do try different stores; give everyone a try and see what places you like most.

Don’t: 

  1. Don’t judge a product just by the THC percentage.
  2. Don’t consume for the first time if you are on alcohol or a prescription medication.
  3. Don’t give it to a child. Lock it up and make sure you’re very responsible with how you store your cannabis. You don’t want your pets to get into it either.

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Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.