"Always remember why you’re doing this. I travel over 4 hours a day to do this and it’s because it’s truly what I love. This industry isn’t easy. It wears on your body, mind, and spirit. I deal with patients that have been told they may not be here in six months. I have patients that are dealing with PTSD triggers on a daily basis; while at the same time dealing with my own. If you don’t have a passion you’ll get burned out. You’re going to have difficult days so you need a good support system. It’s hard work knowing you’re dealing with sick people every day and you just have to be ready to help every single one of them with the same passion and want to make them feel better."
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mickey Nulf, a Cannabis Educator/Patient Consultant with Columbia Care Illinois, a medical cannabis dispensary in Chicago, where is he also a card holding patient. In this role, Mickey assists each and every patient in gaining their access to cannabis as medicine. He educates patients/caregivers in medical marijuana strains, strain selection methods of use, Mickey designs medication regimens that best fit the patients needs at the moment and will assist them get the most relief. Mickey is no stranger to cannabis, having spent the past 15 years researching and studying the cannabis industry first as a hobby and then as a career. Mickey has worked in many different areas of the industry to become extremely well versed in all things cannabis to get to where he is today. A big believer in cannabis as a plant that saves lives. Mickey watches and helps patients every day to regain their health through cannabis. He recognizes a community of people who merely want to be off pills and be themselves.Their authentic selves. The fight is a hard and long one, but his passion and desire will never waver.When Mickey is not working in the dispensary, you can find him blogging about current products to hit the market, reviewing new products about to hit the market, talking about current topics in the cannabis industry and so much more! Mickey is a current patient participating in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program and is here to help bring as much information about Illinois Cannabis Businesses and cannabis products to the patients. To read Mickey’s blog click here for more:Talking Cannabis With Mickey. You can also find Mickey on his Podcast where he goes by his Influencer Moniker “Professor Budz” there you will listen to content If it has anything to do with the cannabis world they are going to talk about it! Explore The Professor Budz Potcast with Mickey Nulf. Last but not least check out Prof_Budz on Instagram from product reviews, thoughts of the day, Instagram Live video sessions and so much more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My specific story is truly a long one, but truly it all started with the trials of my life. I watched my mother deconstruct her life because of addiction. I saw my dad devastated my life and his family around him because he was undiagnosed bipolar until far too late in his life. But the true moment I knew cannabis was going to be a major part of my life was the first day I smoked. My mother at the time was not into hard drugs and I was a young child and she asked me if I wanted to partake. And once I did my whole entire life changed. I took my first hit, she made me and amazing meal, we had one of our last coherent conversations I can remember, and just enjoyed the moment. It was a time in my life I was actually in the moment. Wasn’t worried about the next few minutes, hours, days, or years that were continuously plaguing my mind at the moment. When I felt like me. It has continued to make me feel like me ever since and my passion is bringing that feeling to everyone looking for it. Just to be them. Happy.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In this career it’s all interesting, but I think I’ll go with the most recent discovery in cannabis I have made that I’ll share! I just found out you can medicate through your belly button! I know; it sounds absolutely crazy but it’s true. We have a gland in our belly button that can absorb the medication through cannabis and because I have very important people in my life that struggles with nausea it was so interesting. It doesn’t have to pass through your system and creates a higher bioavailability for the patient. I don’t know, but cannabis is always surprising me! Always interesting.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think that my funniest mistake was ever thinking I knew a lot about cannabis. I have been researching for years and I still find myself learning every day. When you have confidence and you think you know everything the plant has a way of humbling you every single time. When I think I know something absolutely I have a patient come back to me sharing an opposite reaction to what my previous belief was! The greatest mistake in this industry is people stop learning. We are in a continuously changing industry and it’s so very important to keep reading, listening, and truly taking in the information to process! People’s lives depend on it in my eyes and sadly it isn’t seen that way by many in the industry!
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
My most interesting and exciting project I’m working on right now has to be my campaign for Budtender of the Year awards! I have been working and have been helping patients for over 6 years full time in Illinois but for more than 15 years all together. From simple beginnings to where I am now has been a struggle and done through hard work and persistence to be recognized for that work is priceless. It’s one of the many things I have going on, but also just recently I hit a milestone in my career I thought I was a fat way off of. I was quoted in Hightimes Magazine and feel incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to share my story. Even if it was only a tidbit it was a start in the right direction I’m trying to go.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I think the most interesting people I have dear with in this industry thus far has been Manny Mandoza of Chicago and The Wine Sommelier of Canada! Both amazing people but with my background in food and culinary arts it’s been so interesting to watch these two individuals grow as the industry has grown. I have done several dinners partnering with Manny and Herbal Notes here in Chicago and every single time it’s an adventure. Being able to teach the connection of food and cannabis is so incredible and so important for the full health medication that cannabis is! I have to say the full pig roast was my favorite dinner by far and just was so amazing as an experience. The Cannabis Sommelier is very similar in the sense of connecting cannabis to wine or spirits and I love this concept and idea because i truly believe part of being accepted is bringing cannabis into accepted places. But he goes much deeper in the sense of picking up notes of cannabis just like you would through wine! I was able to work with him during a dinner with Manny and Herbal Notes and was able to work together in making pairings for the first time with wine and cannabis. It was so fun to hear what his notes were on the wine and to find cannabis strains to connect in both flavor and body! So much fun!
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I use everything. Instagram, Twitter, podcasting, blogs, and doing events all over the state and country to market myself and what I do. I think that the gorilla type marketing is what is working today. Using the social media platforms to influence what you want a group of individuals to do or purchase. Respect the younger crowd because we know how to market to the audience well.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
- Acceptance throughout the country, or an increase in acceptance
- Being able to truly capitalize on my passion to help people in the industry that I love legally and out in the open. I don’t have to hide anymore.
- Legalization (it’s happening fast and I don’t want it to get ahead of us. The ones who built this community are being lost because you have to pay to play and we have been struggling to get by and don’t have it typically like that)
- Big cannabis business. I don’t need a Monsanto of cannabis. I don’t want a Walmart of cannabis. Cannabis is a curative medication. I believe that the love put into the growing and curing of cannabis makes a huge difference in the potency and effectiveness of the flower.
- People that don’t understand or haven’t done the research giving advice to patients. Because this is happening so quickly I see a lot of people influencing or working in the industry that don’t know THC from CbD or what they do for a patient. Information that is not based in fact or experience is the greatest slight to patients we can make as a community.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
- You’re going to deal with a lot of laws that don’t make much sense but that doesn’t matter
- Not everyone that has gotten jobs in this industry deserve to be in this industry nor care about it
- A lot of this industry is sadly who you know and what they know about you. I have seen people who deserve to be in this industry get passed over for friends of owners or something of that sort.
- You’re going to be tired some days. But the patients need you and you’re gonna have to suck it up. It’s not about me. It’s always about them.
- Investors aren’t the ones using the product. You need to be willing to work this industry in your way. If you don’t and tried to get shaped by those around you you’ll lose yourself. And if you lose yourself you’ll lose your passion and that’s everything in this industry.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Always remember why you’re doing this. I travel over 4 hours a day to do this and it’s because it’s truly what I love. This industry isn’t easy. It wears on your body, mind, and spirit. I deal with patients that have been told they may not be here in six months. I have patients that are dealing with PTSD triggers on a daily basis; while at the same time dealing with my own. If you don’t have a passion you’ll get burned out. You’re going to have difficult days so you need a good support system. It’s hard work knowing you’re dealing with sick people every day and you just have to be ready to help every single one of them with the same passion and want to make them feel better.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would just love a platform. A platform for patients to be able to come. Ask their questions and get answers from someone as passionate about knowing the answer as they want to know it. To set up and have panels in different towns. To get out and be a voice for the patients. For the movement in the medical sense. My goal has always been to share and to meet as many patients, advocates, and people not for cannabis as I can. To shake their hands. To help them in any way I can. Giving myself to this plant and industry has always been the dream. I just need the means to do that.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can find me everywhere
Twitter — @DrBudz
Instagram — @prof_budz
Blog and Product Review Site — https://talkingcannabis.wordpress.com/
Podcast — “The Professor Budz Potcast” found on almost all podcast networks