How a course changed her career: Meet Shannon

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Meet Shannon.

A marketing director for a Maryland vertical cannabis brand managing a team of five professionals. This wine enthusiast believed her future was in the wine industry until she was gifted a free course from Trichome Institute. This is her story. 

Chef Brandon Allen was at Big Cork Winery with friends enjoying a wine tasting in mid-2019. While tasting the muscat, he started talking about the terpene profile with the sommelier. Shannon was walking behind the bar just when the word terpene was spoken and immediately joined the conversation to learn that Brandon is an Interpener (cannabis sommelier) and a partner of Trichome Institute. Intrigued, she smiled, pulled out her phone, and began showing him screenshots of the Trichome Weed Wheel, Interpening Loop, and website. She had just come across the site several days before while searching to see if there was such a thing as a “cannabis sommelier.”  

Talk about coincidence.

After a few more tastings and a major geek-out session, Brandon offered to give Shannon free access to the Interpening course to earn her certification and learn more about the similarities between cannabis and wine. Shannon started the course within a few days and took her time completing it over the next couple of weeks. Once she passed the exam on her first try with a 92.5%, she immediately went to work. 

Shannon received her medical marijuana card in August 2019 and started The Stoned Sommelier, a blog about cannabis, wine, and pairings. She took her knowledge and enthusiasm for wine and slowly replaced it with cannabis. A fire was lit.

Shannon decided to follow her new passion and began her entry into the cannabis industry. She grabbed an opportunity as a trimmer within a Maryland vertical medical marijuana company. Although Shannon wanted to get into cultivation or marketing, she had to work her way up, as most have to do. Her break came in 2020 when medical marijuana was deemed essential in Maryland, and she joined the cultivation team. Over the next few months, Shannon learned all she could about the growing process and propagation.   

Shannon decided to move back to her hometown to land a marketing job with a local cannabis brand. She took a job knowing she had to start again as a trimmer for 90 days. Undeterred, Shannon trimmed for 90 days and showed up on the 91st day with a full-blown marketing proposal that was well-received. For the next 18 months, Shannon built out their social media presence, designed marketing materials, visited wholesale accounts in the community, and educated patients in dispensaries.

In early 2022, Shannon took a new position as the Director of Marketing and Wholesale Sales with a new cannabis brand. She manages a team of five and is scheduled to continue hiring throughout the year.

Shannon and Brandon reconnected three years after their terpene chat. When Brandon asked what lit the fire for her to pursue the cannabis industry, she told him it was the Interpening course. However, what’s important to understand is that lighting a fire is one thing; keeping it lit is another. Even with life’s challenges, moving, and navigating a new world, she created a new career within the cannabis industry.

Shannon is a fantastic example of someone who understands the importance of discipline, hard work, and following a dream. She hopes to run one of the first consumption lounges in Maryland and eventually own a micro-grow.

Trichome Institute is incredibly proud of Shannon and all of her success. We wish her a prosperous career in the cannabis industry and hope her willpower, focus, and determination will inspire others.  

Remember, what’s more important than what you learn, is what you do with it!

Fun Fact about Shannon:

  • Shannon first tried getting a job at Big Cork Winery and failed the drug test. A few months later, new management took over, and they stopped testing applicants, so she applied again and landed a job.

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