Mary | From Herbalist to Cannabis Pioneer

By Kayla Clements

The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement.



I was born and raised in Oregon where I became fascinated with nature. I began studying herbalism around the age of 15 which inspired university level training in Community Health Education. However, I also spent the better part of eight years in business school studying Mission-Based Management. I designed education programs for herb shops and naturopathic clinics in my spare time. The switch to cannabis happened when a dear friend took me to visit her family’s medical garden. I knew the second I stepped foot in the field that this is where I belong.

I knew the second I stepped foot in the field that this is where I belong.






I began to notice a pattern during my time as an herbalist. I would see the same kinds of people at the same kind of events over and over again. At a certain point, I realized that if we wanted to share this knowledge with the world something had to change. I knew that we needed to find people outside this niche we had carved. But plant medicine is a tough sell as it takes time and self-discipline to see results. Cannabis was such an obvious and undeniable plant to introduce people to. As soon as I realized I had this door to herbalism that I could pull new people through I knew that I had to build a bridge.



I am now a solopreneur and the founder of Sativa Science Club, a cannabis university and intellectual community based online and in-person in Portland, Oregon. We offer everything from mission-based business workshops to budtender training but most people know us for Cannabis Science Certification, a 20 credit program offering an in-depth look at all things cannabis.

Education that takes you higher.



I knew that, in order to attract the attention of a fresh demographic, I was going to have to approach outreach from a new angle. I began offering in-person classes back in 2015 but my attention quickly turned to the internet where plant people definitely are not hanging out. This is when I learned about infopreneurship. I became obsessed with the idea of multimedia marketing as its own education model and I loved the idea of reaching someone at their office with information about nature. I spent a good year taking as many infopreneur courses as I could before I designed one of my own courses that specifically focused on cannabis. I got to meet and collaborate with many amazing educators along the way and each of them had on influence on the program. I launched SSC in June of 2017 and I started my business plan the year before. I'll let you in on a secret though....... I'm still working on it!

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I seeded the business with my savings from a full ride scholarship, and I balanced the rest on credit cards.



Sativa Science Club is 100% bootstrapped. I seeded the business with my savings from a full ride scholarship, and I balanced the rest on credit cards. But it is so hard to estimate investment because the majority of what I put in was time. And I mean a lot of time. While I collaborate with educators to write the content, I do all of our strategy, social media, marketing, editing, branding, curriculum development, and design myself. I just taught myself via youtube as I grew. I like to think that it cost me a few thousand dollars and one full year working 16/7 to make SSC what it is today. But I will admit that I've got another 20k worth of investments I would like to make in the nearby future. Everything I have still goes back into the company, but I am the sole owner, and I am blessed to be making enough that I can do what I love full time. Ask me again in a year!



I wish I would have taken the time to do my research on all of the possible software out there. I would have done things a little differently had I been aware of some of the quirks of the various hosting programs. I was just so excited to dive right in that I made more work for myself in the long run.

In order to keep the business running, you do have to make some big personal sacrifices. In an ironic twist of events, I don't make it to the woods to explore nature as often as I would like and I haven't had time for a personal garden in two years.

You do have to make some big personal sacrifices.



Everything is a teachable moment to somebody out there.Don't skip any details. If you are interested in learning more about herbalism, go read everything on flexible and open to change. Create a fluid model and pay attention to how your audience shapes you over time. Don't be so hard on yourself. If you are doing it right, you will never feel like your work is truly 'finished.'



Headshots by Jennifer Skog




Kayla is the founder/creative director of Una Volta Studio, a creative consulting and design studio that specializes in working with fine artists, commercial photographers, and stylists. She is the author of ‘Daytripper: 60 Days on the Road Exploring America’s National Parks’ - a woman-written, thoughtfully-designed coffee table book inspired by 60 days of #vanlife. She lives between Brooklyn, NY and San Diego, CA.