Passion. It’s a word we hear A LOT in cannabis, from those already in the industry to those desperate to become a part of the industry. People who are passionate about the plant, the medicinal benefits, the patients, the movement, legalization, the list continues. Natalie Brown, a self-proclaimed nerd, is the Director of Operations for MoCann Testing and she has passion in spades for ALL of the above.
Natalie claims that cannabis found her – and like so many of us hope to, she found a way to take her passion for cannabis and turn it into her career and find fulfillment. EKG Labs, which has historically been revered for medical device and pharmaceutical testing excellence, began a new arm of their business after Brown identified the opportunity to partner with cannabis in Missouri and sold EKG on the idea of being the first testing laboratory operating in Missouri in September of 2020. Brown and the founders at EKG collaborated to complete the arduous application process to receive a testing license and today they celebrate ISO 17025 accreditation in 2021. The mission – help individuals across the state access safe medical cannabis through accurate sample testing and quality results.
We would be remiss if we didn’t ask about Brown’s views of the representation of women in Missouri cannabis, after all, this is Women to Watch. “The women in the Missouri cannabis industry are some of the most intelligent and educated people I have ever met. They represent well and ensure they are well represented. Additionally, I am beyond proud to be a part of a women-owned and operated business (CEO, Katie Grayson and Director of Regulatory and Compliance, Jennifer Eagan) and feel blessed to work with such amazing, strong, and dedicated women on a daily basis.”
Far less controversial is the interview question asking about Natalie’s favorite part of her own role in the industry. She gave two examples with instructions to use whatever works for the article, but was quick to point out how difficult it was to narrow it down to just two. We thought that was worth including both.
“1. The people I have met and the connections that I have made is something I will cherish forever. From cultivators, to manufacturers, to patients, to bud trimmers, to attorneys, to state representatives; It is not unbeknown to me how blessed I have been and how absolutely amazing my job is. I am reminded of that every day when I get to communicate with these individuals. What I am doing through my work and through my position on the HET committee is very humbling and so rewarding.
2. Handling and developing methods for infused products. There are no “standardized methods” in this industry and as manufacturers are becoming more creative with their products, as a testing facility, we have to do the same in sample preparation techniques to make sure we are accurate with our results. With chemistry, sometimes continuing to try to fit a square peg in a round hole won’t work. We have to develop specific methods for all matrices (gummies, brownies, rice crispy treats, granola bars, peanut butter cups, the list goes on). I find this developmental aspect of my job very exciting!” gushed Brown.
If only we could grant wishes and magic wands, think of what we could do in Missouri cannabis. Given her druthers, Natalie would use hers to increase educational resources to patients and ensure their comprehension. “Education to patients should be more readily available and received appropriately by the patients/consumers. It is not all about highest THC%, hell it may not even be about THC at all. Depending on your symptoms, conditions, etc. There are so many other cannabinoids and combinations of certain cannabinoids and terpenes interacting at different ratios to help treat specific ailments. It is truly about accuracy of results because of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. That is what needs to be heard,” she explained – with passion.
Those seeking a role in the cannabis industry often ask what it takes to be successful in cannabis and Natalie provided her best advice, a gift from her parents growing up. “Regardless of what industry, how old you are, where you come from, etc. there are 3 things I always reply with when asked what it takes to be successful. Three simple things that I live my everyday life by that I give full credit to my parents for as they have always been my confidants and inspiration.
- WORK REALLY FREAKING HARD!! (WORK YOUR A** OFF* Do not let anyone outwork you. Put yourself in positions to be the absolute best and stop at nothing until you are.
- Be passionate about what you do. Without a passion for something, you have nothing.
- Never forget your core values and remember God above all else.”
She certainly takes her own advice as Natalie not only serves as a busy mom, full time career superwoman, but also as an integral part of the MoCannTrade Health, Education and Training committee. Her advocacy for safe medicine is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing to watch her star rise.