Allay CEO Featured In Authority Magazine
This is an excerpt from an article found on Authority Magazine FULL ARTICLE
As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Stuck.
Kimberly is the first Marijuana Specialist for a public health authority in the nation in Denver CO. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition/Biochem, is a Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS), a Certified Quality Auditor (CQA), and is a leading expert in Cannabis food safety. Kim is the Founder of Allay Consulting LLC, a consulting firm that helps the Industrial Hemp/CBD industry overcome compliance pitfalls in FDA Compliance, cGMP certification, ISO 22000 certification, OSHA, and Fire code. Kim has spoken at several different Hemp/CBD and marijuana industry conferences including; Hemp and Hops, INDO Expo, NCIA, Speaking Food Canada, Food and Beverage Innovation Summit, and Imperious Expo. She is also a judge for the Colorado Manufacturing Awards who has recently allowed a Cannabis/Hemp manufacturing product award. She is a member of Cannabis Sustainability Board in Denver, the CDPHE Science and Policy work group, DDPHE Cannabis Health and Safety Advisory Board, the CDA CHAMP Initiative work group, and the ASTM Cannabis Standards work group.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
Istarted as a restaurant health inspector for the Department of Public Health and Environment with the city of Denver. Here I gained all of my knowledge about food safety and auditing that I hadn’t previously received with my BA in Human Nutrition. While I was there, cannabis became recreationally legal. The department realized the public health implications of this, so the restaurant health inspectors started to regulate all of the cannabis facilities. With the number of public health issues that started to arise, it was clear that an investigator dedicated solely to cannabis was needed. I proposed to be that investigator.
I became the first Marijuana Specialist and from then on, all of the cannabis facilities were my responsibility. I conducted inspections, signed off on all licenses, investigated public health threats, and conducted many recalls and disposals. After doing this for a while, I fell in love with the industry and the people in it. I realized that the majority of businesses weren’t out of compliance because they were being malicious, it was due to a lack of education and guidance. I knew I could make a bigger impact on the greater good of the industry if I started my own company to assist companies with their higher level compliance, hands-on. What was once an idea, became a dream, and then my reality.
We have been in business now for almost 3 years and have two different locations, one in Denver, CO, and one in Portland, OR. I could not be happier with my decision. Helping people is in my nature and this is the perfect industry for me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I learned that there were a lot of snake oil salesmen in the ancillary area of the cannabis industry. Many consultants that had been in the industry for a couple of years didn’t really know what they were doing. They were leading cannabis businesses in the wrong direction. I spent a lot of my time, especially at the beginning, cleaning up messes others had started.
For some reason, in this industry people believe they are capable of anything, even if they do not have the background or education to justify it. I easily learned to not take anything for face value and just to be true to myself.
When I was speaking at a conference in Texas recently, a gentleman came up to me and said, “I do what you do, just in Texas.” I was excited because there aren’t many food safety or compliance experts in the cannabis industry, so I was intrigued and wanted to geek out. When I asked him what his background was, he told me that he had recently been released from prison and owns an event company…
He had no background whatsoever in what I do, nor could he even tell me what I do, but was thoroughly convinced he could do it. Instead of reacting, I wished him luck. This kind of thing happens all the time, especially in new markets.
My team and I strive to bring real value and knowledge to our clients, and no matter how well those other people can spit a big game, when it really comes down to it, we provide results. This early realization taught me not to sweat the small stuff and trust in myself, and it results in great confidence.
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