Julie Berliner of Sweet Grass Kitchen
The future of cannabis is female! December is DOPE Magazine’s Women’s Issue, and we wanted to continue to highlight women across the industry on all our platforms. We sent a questionnaire to outstanding women in cannabis—some familiar to us, some new—and will be showcasing their answers in individual blogs this month. Check out our December Mag for more profiles of the badass women you need to know!
Today’s story highlights Julie Berliner, Founder and CEO of Sweet Grass Kitchen.
Q: Who are some of your greatest role models?
A: My mother, of course—a Hungarian refugee who became a doctor against all odds, beat cancer twice, and just summited Kilimanjaro at age 71.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
A: A good friend of mine said to me, “If you can make it in cannabis, you can make it anywhere.” Luckily, the cannabis industry is all I’ve ever known in my career, so I wouldn’t know the difference! I’d have to say that this past year has been the most challenging for me, though. I became a mother in February and it rocked my world in every way. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be THIS hard!
Q: What’s something someone would never guess about you?
A: I had a business in college called Julie Camille LLC (which today is Sweet Grass Kitchen’s legal business name). I sold my own handmade beaded jewelry. When I started Sweet Grass Kitchen after graduating in 2009, Julie Camille LLC became a cannabis company!
Q: What’s your go-to self-care routine?
At least nine hours of sleep, midday Lagree class, a hot eucalyptus bath every night…just kidding. I’m a mom now. EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED. I didn’t brush my teeth this morning.
Q: Favorite “guilty pleasure”?
A: If you know me well, you’ll know the answer to this one: boxed mac n’ cheese.
Q: Where do you see your career/business headed in five years? Twenty?
A: Sweet Grass Kitchen makes cannabis treats, but we stand for freedom. In five and twenty years, that will still and always be true. The specifics all depend on federal legalization, of course.
Q: How do you feel about the industry-wide assertion that cannabis is a female-friendly space?
A: The cannabis industry is arguably the newest industry around. For that reason, I believe it is more diverse than, for example, banking, which began with social stigmas and far less of a minority presence. It’s proven that businesses are simply more successful when they have a diverse pool of employees.
Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 14, I started working at a local bead shop in Sarasota, Florida, called Beauty and the Beads. The owner hired me to help her string beads and repair jewelry, I loved it. I worked there until I moved to Colorado for school.
Q: If you could talk to yourself five years ago, what advice would you give?
A: I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the last five years, but there’s no piece of advice that I would give myself in order to avoid making them. I’m glad I got to learn those lessons.
Q: What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cannabis space?
Women can do anything they put their minds to. So, my advice is: jump in! The water’s warm.
Q: Recommend a book, album, and movie you think everyone should read/listen to/watch while stoned!
A: Book: I love reading, but not while I’m high. Album: Stop Making Sense (but watch it live), by the Talking Heads. Movie: Planet Earth, the entire series.
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: My husband’s grandmother used to say, “The worst they’ll say is no!” In short, that’s how I ended up convincing the City of Denver and State of Colorado to let me build the very first, (dare I say the only and maybe even the last!?) cannabis bakery in a race-car trailer. We’ve since then expanded into a true production facility, but our candy apple red trailer is still parked inside our warehouse as a reminder of humble beginnings…and as our after-hours smoke lounge (MED Disclaimer: it’s not in the licensed facility anymore!)
Q: What’s your favorite cannabis product?
A: I love the new PAX vaporizer.
Q: What’s the one thing you would bring if you were stranded on a desert island?
A: My husband.
Q: What do you hope for the future of the cannabis industry?
A: My best hope is that the stigma around cannabis is gone. When it is, the rest will unfold.
Q: Fill in the blank: I could never live without ________
A: My family.
Q: What do you think needs to happen before we achieve federal legalization of cannabis?
A: Social intuition around cannabis and its effects need to be well-established. It’s my responsibility as a cannabis-infused product manufacturer to educate consumers through marketing, product design and best business practices.
Q: What’s your smoking/cannabis consumption ritual, if you do partake in cannabis?
A: I’ve always been a microdoser, even before “microdosing” was a thing. 2.5mg at a time throughout the day, it’s just perfect.