Back to Our Roots: The Evolution of Canna Advisors
“We started with a few thousand dollars and a quarter pound of cannabis,” recalls Jay Czarkowski.
November 14, 2009, was a special day for Diane and Jay Czarkowski. They opened the doors to Boulder Kind Care (BKC), one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Boulder, Colorado. They had been awarded the first license in the city of Boulder and the seventh license in Colorado to operate a cultivation facility and a medical marijuana dispensary.
Early Cannabis Community
The couple owned a real estate development business in Boulder prior to opening BKC and came to realize that getting into the cannabis industry would be an opportunity to combine their business background and desire to do something that would truly help people live better lives. Instead of shutting down the real estate office, they turned it into a dispensary. Back then, there was very little information or support for people seeking treatment with cannabis, and Boulder Kind Care was focused on education and customer service from the beginning. Many customers would drive hours to not only get their medicine, but also hang out at the dispensary because it was a safe place to talk openly about their problems and how cannabis usage helped in a variety of ways. Many had families who were unsupportive, so BKC became their community of support. This safe haven led to patients sharing their life-changing experiences that Diane and Jay still remember to this day.
Within four months of opening, BKC was awarded the “Best of Boulder” by the community. The dispensary won the “Best of Boulder” the next two years running and received the Boulder County Gold Award in 2011. A few months after opening Boulder Kind Care, they built their first cultivation operation, followed by three more, eventually becoming one of the first state-licensed vertically integrated businesses.
From Operators to Consultants
Diane and Jay never had any intention of starting a consulting company. However, toward the end of 2012, they were approached by a group of five men from Westport, CT. Connecticut was the first state to have a truly competitive license application process. There were only four licenses up for grabs. When they started Canna Advisors back in 2013, they had this one client paying once a month.
They worked with this group for a year, and in the last week of January 2014, they received notification from the state of Connecticut that their client won one of those four competitive licenses. On Friday of that same week in early 2014, they received notification from the state of Massachusetts that another client they had helped won three of the original 20 vertically integrated licenses in the state. These licenses were the first of many that Canna Advisors would win for clients in states across the nation.
It took two years to get used to being consultants. Jays says, “The way I looked at consulting back then, it was like the old adage “those who can’t do, teach” kind of thing, but we’ve done it. We were operators with experience in the day-to-day of running a cultivation facility and retail dispensary. We transitioned to give others the opportunity to live their dreams.”
“We recognize that clients are putting it all on the line. There are no second chances for years (if at all) when clients lose, but we understand the stakes and how to navigate the industry to give our clients the best chance to succeed.” -Diane Czarkowski
Our company history builds, guides, and defines who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. Originally established to help cannabis entrepreneurs pursue local and state licensing 5 years ago, Canna Advisors has significantly expanded our services and our team over the last 5 years. Whether you need full-scale support through the entire process or focused efforts during critical phases, our approach is catered to your specific needs. Our experts guide clients from idea to reality and help navigate the complexity of the industry to drive sustained, long-term success.