Veronica Santarelli, Senior VP of Business Development and Government Relations for Grassp
One of my main goals is to get rid of the social stigma surrounding cannabis users. We are not lazy, degenerates.
Describe yourself and what you do.
I am the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations for Grassp. I also am an advisory board member for Women Grow – the San Diego Chapter.
What inspired you to start your company?
My first inspiration, came around the age of 22, when I saw a documentary called “In Pot We Trust.” I will never forget the story of a young girl with a severe speech impediment, who lived in a state where access to cannabis was illegal and very difficult. This young lady had a neurological disorder that prevented her from speaking normally and within minutes of consuming cannabis, she could speak in complete sentences without a stutter or pause, whereas before, it was painful to hear her attempts.
Right in front of me, I could see the medicinal benefits of cannabis working on the part of her brain that controlled speech, and I immediately became an advocate for legalization and safe access.
What is your vision and mission for your Canna business?
When I moved to Los Angeles from Maine, I became a patient right away, because my family has a history of dementia and I wanted the neuro-protective properties that cannabis provides. I was excited to participate in the legal market, so I got my card and used a popular website to find local dispensaries. Unfortunately that website directed me to the black market, which led to quite a few unpleasant experiences.
Many of the dispensaries I visited were poorly run, the medicine had mold and the delivery services were extremely unprofessional. After time, I became motivated to provide a safe, trusted pathway for patients to access top tier, licensed providers that operate in accordance with local laws and regulations. I knew there were other people out there like me, who were having terrible experiences acquiring their medicine and wanted a better experience.
So I teamed up with some friends from the tech industry and we built Grassp, an on-demand mobile application, that connects patients to legally licensed operators, for seamless delivery in under an hour. Our mission is to put a better industry within Grassp and set the standard of excellence. We want the industry to move forward in the right way and we’re on the forefront`of pushing for sensible legislation throughout the nation.
We’re taking a scientific and health-minded approach to the industry, and we truly care about helping people with their medical needs.
What is your Superpower?
Manifesting my goals, through hard work and dedication.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date – and how have you overcome it?
I’ve found that even though cannabis is a safe and natural medicine, there is still a stigma surrounding people who use it. One of my main goals is to get rid of the social stigma surrounding cannabis users. We are not lazy, degenerates.
We are health-minded, successful, motivated, professional people and we should be talking openly about it. I call it “pulling people out of the cannabis closet.” I am constantly networking in professional environments and people are often quite surprised when I openly discuss my cannabis use. When I encounter another cannabis user who is “still in the closet,” we end up talking endlessly on the topic and it’s obvious to see how much they enjoy speaking about it, yet are afraid of being judged by society in general.
This industry was created out of compassion, and since women tend to be empathetic, compassionate creatures, we need to see more women in leadership roles.
What is your vision for women in this industry?
I would like to see more women take on executive roles and start their own businesses. This industry was created out of compassion and since women tend to be empathetic, compassionate creatures, we need to see more women in leadership roles.