Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. Oklahoma's Flower Therapy Dispensary
August 7, 2021 | By Mieko Hester-Perez
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What is your personal story and mission that motivated you to work with cannabis?
My story and mission that motivated me to work in cannabis probably started originally back in 2004 when I came home from school at Florida A&M University.
That summer, I was incredibly focused on breaking into the music business industry, so much that I felt confident enough to walk into my father’s private practice office and let him know that college wasn’t for me and I wanted to pursue starting my own business.
Long story short, it did not go over well and I was faced with a dose of reality. Making this decision led to me to moving out and figuring things out on my own like how I would make money and pursue my career goals.
I will touch on this lightly over time, because of course in 2004 -2005 the laws were nowhere to the point they are now. However, during this time was when I learned how good I could be as a knowledgeable resource for what people needed and how I could go about it relatively unseen and unheard.
I had an internship that turned into a job in Hollywood so my mobility around the city allowed me to be of service to all different types of individuals, that this plant connected me to.
Entrepreneur and patient advocate, Terence "Future" LeMaile.
Genuine conversations and interactions with people from different walks of life began to show me how much positive energy was provided with this plant.
I was able to observe California implement medical marijuana laws and start to see a framework that could make sense, instead of the risks I was previously taking.
Fast forward to life around early 2018, I found myself in Ohio trying to land a marketing job with a start-up company. In preparing for the possible relocation, I asked about how the medical cannabis policy would be handled and the job offer was pulled.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise and one of the primary moments in my life that led me to pursue what it would take for me for me to be able to capitalize in this new emerging LEGAL recreational market in California.
I was aware that less than one percent of people that looked like myself were represented in this new business. However, at the core of what this is, I couldn’t accept not trying. I told myself if I couldn't find a way to talk to people about the health benefits of cannabis then maybe I need to reconsider everything I’m doing and reset.
I then stumbled into another much larger start-up dispensary in southern California.
It was a humbling experience compared to a lot of the management work
I had previously done. However, I was able to get exactly what I was
looking for out of it. I learned about the process of retail and at the
same time talked to people from different communities about the shift of
how cannabis was becoming mainstream in the retail environment.
I later transitioned into other jobs in the industry. One of the former store managers at the dispensary let me know about a new opportunity at an ancillary company called, Greenlane.
At Greenlane I was able to capitalize on the relationships I had built throughout Los Angeles that helped me carve out a new position with them focusing on dispensary relationships when a majority of their clientele were the smoke shops.
I was responsible for the entire California region and had just finished doing a Bay Area tour with a rolling paper brand and an edible company. One week before the pandemic hit, I was wrapping visits to dispensaries and consumption lounges in the Bay Area. When I got back home I was furloughed and that eventually turned into being let go from the company.
Because of my industry experience over the last two years, when my cousin in Oklahoma told me about her plans for a dispensary things began to gel together. The opportunity presented itself for me to take my industry skills and put them into action managing my own store.
So now, I'm based in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the new home of the Flower Therapy dispensary!
What is your role at Flower Therapy? What have been some of your challenges working in Oklahoma?
My role at Flower Therapy is as the operations manager.
I am responsible for the overall success of the store dealing with: employee hiring, inventory management, vendor and product selection, marketing, branding and customer satisfaction and retention.
I would definitely say the employee staffing so far has been a bit of
a challenge due to the current economic situation going on in the
country. In addition to our location, finding employees in the area or
from North Texas has been somewhat of a struggle but nothing that cannot
Where do you see Flower Therapy making an impact in the next five years in Oklahoma?
With Oklahoma being in year three of medical cannabis, I see us being able to make an impact in this community and setting the standard for patient experience at a dispensary.
With a focus on education and a high level of customer service, we want to offer Oklahoma residents more services such as: camping and lodging as well as a consumption lounge on site to be able to offer a one-of-a-kind experience in the state.
Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals in Oklahoma specifically is lacking?
In the five months that I’ve been here I can’t necessarily say that
it’s lacking from a professional standpoint. I have met some
well-informed doctors that do patient-focused events with different dispensaries to educate and provide
medical cards for the residents.
The cannabis community that I have encountered so far is all about making sure that quality brands and products are represented. I feel like education will always be evolving and it seems that the professional and community here are open and willing to learn and grow.
What is the best advice you can give to a first-time cannabis user in Oklahoma?
The best advice I would give to someone trying cannabis for the first
time would be to research either the dispensary or brand
you are thinking about trying.
With Oklahoma still being an emerging marketing, just like anywhere if you are not
informed, it is easier to run into a less than quality product.