In this episode of The Cold Truth, Cyro Cure CEO Tracee McAfee sat down with Heidi Teutsch, Founder and CEO of T420 Consulting and a former regulator in Massachusetts. Teutsch is fighting to end cannabis stereotypes and push back against stigma.
On the podcast, Tracee spoke with Heidi about cannabis compliance and all the moving parts around such important work, including team morale. Read a quick summary of that conversation below, watch the full interview on YouTube, or download this podcast episode from platforms like Spotify and Google Podcasts.
Approaching cannabis with care
With a background in law enforcement and mental health services, Teutsch has dedicated her career to helping others. She spent her undergraduate years studying sociology with a concentration in anthropology and earned her Master’s in Criminal Justice.
On the podcast, Teutsch shared her experience working for a mental health unit in the greater Boston area. During her time as a milieu therapist for children and adults, Teutsch saw firsthand how many people she encountered made cannabis a part of their mental health routine.
“Some of the medications out there right now have a lot of side effects,” she expressed on the episode. “I’m encouraged and hopeful that with federal legalization, we’ll be able to get people to research the wonderful benefits of cannabis. It’s going to help the greater population overall,” she continued.
The status of compliance
As the interim director of the compliance and investigation portion of the medical marijuana program in Massachusetts, Teutsch was responsible for visiting all of the grows in the state and checking for compliance with state standards.
“We were looking at every aspect with a very critical eye.” Heidi noted regarding her experience, “And while there are many companies doing it right, many companies are struggling.”
Teutsch’s team would conduct unannounced visits to investigate the compliance of medical cannabis facilities. “We weren’t going in with white gloves, but we did have to see everything that was going on,” she shared. “We weren’t looking to shut people down. We were looking to make sure they were doing it right.”
One piece Teutsch expressed about her experience is the common struggle within cannabis facilities concerning staffing and turnover rates.
“It was always tough to get inside an organization and get complaints from workers who were happy. It’s when the workers aren’t happy… [like] when one person comes in and changes the culture, then there are all these disgruntled employees calling me,” Teutsch said.
Teutsch also noted a strong balance between personalities within a cannabis facility to be another essential ingredient for success. “While those on the inventory side might be more meticulous and less people-friendly, those on the retail side have to be super friendly and understand the plant,” Teutsch said.
Keeping employees happy
According to Teutsch, successful cannabis facilities are rooted in knowledge and care, and that ethos translates to a content workforce.
“When top management really understands what entry level employees are doing and have a good eye on it, they are more likely to succeed,” Teutsch said. “This includes understanding the plant’s needs for cleanliness, or really that these plants are living. Even after harvesting the product, the plant is still continuously evolving. When people are slowing it down a little more, it gives them a longer, healthier plant base that they’re able to get more out of.”
Teutsch also noted a strong balance between personalities within a cannabis facility to be another essential ingredient for success.
“While those on the inventory side might be more meticulous and less people-friendly, those on the retail side have to be super friendly and understand the plant.” Utilizing the right team members in the right places to balance differing skill sets is critical.
Both host and guest agreed on the importance of a positive company culture. “I think these plants pick up on the energy of the corporate culture,” Teutsch noted. “Happy environment, happy plants.”
Compliance advice for new cannabis businesses
Backed with knowledge from previous investigations, Teutsch offers consulting for start-ups.
“I, fortunately, know a lot in this industry, and I’m proud to say I’ve had a lot of unique experiences that have given me a particular insight,” she expressed regarding her consulting. “I don’t know all the answers, and I don’t have all the information all the time. I likely know who does, though.”
“One of the things that I do is help people sort out if a project is sound or not if they want to invest in it,” Heidi explained. “And I think that part of the myth is just taking that pretty shiny wrapper off and looking at cannabis for what it is. Then you can value the industry for what it has to offer.”
Overall, Teutsch credits herself as a “forever student” who’s learned from every cultivator she’s ever met. “It’s really just understanding the looseness of this industry and that what’s right today isn’t necessarily going to be right tomorrow.”
Moving forward, Teutsch said she is excited to be a part of a group of people genuinely inspired by the plant and working together to build this industry. “Cannabis should be super functional and accessible to everybody without stigma,” she noted. “[There’s space] to make plenty of money and have a career you can work 30 years in.”
Listen to the whole interview with Heidi Teutsch
Heidi and Tracee tackled some of the dos and don’ts of cannabis compliance and maintained success in this pressure-some industry. And while Heidi ultimately says there is no one way to grow, it’s clear that positivity in the workplace can result in higher success rates.
“Happy environments, happy plants,” Heidi noted.
Listen to the full episode of The Cold Truth. Subscribe to Cryo Cure on YouTube or to The Cold Truth on your favorite podcast streaming platform.