Cannabis Career Path
Nani works as in-house counsel for One Cannabis Group, a multi-state operator and also the nation’s first cannabis franchisor.
“I started my career with One Cannabis while finishing law school at The Ohio State University. I initially was brought on as their legal intern because of my prior research and experience and was offered a full-time position when I graduated.”
Each day, Nani reviews recent cannabis events to understand how they’ll impact the cannabis markets. This helps his company position itself for opportune moments. Throughout the day, Nani may work on contracts or leases, but more often than not he’s doing his favorite thing: working directly with clients.
“I help our franchisees through the initial stages of franchising by helping them develop their applications so they can win licenses to operate dispensaries,” Nani Explains.
Cannabis Market Analysis
Daily, Nani provides an analysis of new and upcoming markets, negotiates contracts, and helps franchisees start their businesses. Nani is also passionate about social equity and occasionally speaks about in his research.
“I developed the only equation to grade the efficacy of social equity programs and have found there is growing interest in developing better and smarter social equity programs,” Nani explains.
Nani is currently working with other thought-leaders in the industry to develop a book explaining the impact of social equity. They’re expecting to publish by end of April.
Q&A with Chris Nani
Q. What motivated you to get into the cannabis industry?
A. My grandma “Diby.” She has arthritis and other conditions that make it difficult for her to do the things she used to do like sewing. I once asked her to try CBD and she found relief in it. Ever since then, it’s been my mission to ensure all the grandmas in the U.S. have access to medical marijuana because I’ve seen the benefits different cannabinoids can have.
Q. How does the cannabis industry compare to other industries you’ve worked in before?
A. The cannabis industry is like no other industry. The community and culture are both extremely friendly and people want to see others succeed. Coming from the legal industry where everyone wears suits and works 50+ hours a week, the cannabis industry is more than a breath of fresh air. It’s an industry I wake up happy to be a part of every day.
I don’t wear suits and I don’t “go to work.” Our office is casual and everyone enjoys their work; it doesn’t feel like work and that’s the biggest difference for me. I truly enjoy every second of my job and the old adage “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” has never been truer.
Q. MedicateOH was founded by a woman and support promoting women in cannabis. Do you think it’s more difficult to break into the cannabis industry as a woman?
A. I have noticed the difficulties women face in entering any industry at executive or management positions. I think the cannabis industry is more welcoming [than others,] but the lack of women in executive positions and ownership is shocking. It’s more than an industry issue. It’s a larger discussion that requires all of us to acknowledge the discrepancy exists so we can begin a conversation on how we can fix it.
Q. What do you both love and hate about the cannabis industry?
A. I love and hate how each state gets to decide its own rules for how it wants to regulate cannabis. Some states have done very well in drafting regulations that are comprehensive and well thought out, while others have enacted regulations that don’t address common parts of the industry – such as how cannabis can be transported between businesses. In both cases, regulators have been keen on feedback and criticism. Thankfully, regulations change and regulators understand the high speed the cannabis industry is evolving at.
Q. How do you envision a future for cannabis in Ohio?
A. I believe Ohio will vote and pass adult-use this November and will have its first adult-use sales in mid to late 2022. I think regulators are starting to feel pressure from other midwestern states such as Illinois and Michigan because of how successful their adult-use programs are. If the ballot initiative doesn’t pass in November, I expect Ohio to introduce an adult-use bill next session.
Q. Do you support federal legalization in the US? What would be the biggest implications on your business if cannabis is federally legalized?
A. Absolutely, but I think it’s going to be very sticky. The biggest implication for all cannabis businesses would be how the federal government legalizes cannabis. The federal government could leave regulations to states which would create the smallest impact on businesses. While on the other side of the spectrum, the federal government could completely preempt states and develop new regulations for all states to follow causing a complete shakedown of the industry.
Q. What is the most exciting way you’ve seen cannabis help a patient?
A. I’ve seen my grandma find joy in things she couldn’t do again. After she started using cannabis, she could bend her fingers and could sew without pain. It means the world to me to see her happy.
Q. Has the state of Ohio’s strict laws surrounding cannabis affected your business?
A. Yes, Ohio’s current limits on licensing and the timeline for processing those licenses have impacted my company. It’s difficult to create a medical marijuana market when the majority of operators aren’t operational.
Q. Where do you see the cannabis industry in America in five years?
A. I see the cannabis industry becoming more and more mainstream and accepted as time passes. Within five years, the stereotypes and norms of cannabis will be erased and replaced with modern views such as the benefits of cannabis. I see the industry at least doubling in size and being normalized.
Executive Board Membership
We’re so excited to have Nani help Medicate OH analyze Ohio’s regulations and developments as they occur. With a comprehensive analysis of important changes or proposed changes to Ohio’s medical program, we’ll continue to provide patients with the best resources available.
“Regulations aren’t always written in the most digestible form which can cause confusion (just look at law enforcement’s grapple with the legality of CBD.) I plan to explain regulations in plain English so all of our readers can stay up to date on new regulations and proposals.” promises Nani.
Alex Perry is an Executive Board Member and the Editor in Chief at Medicate OH. Outside of cannabis writing, branding and advocacy, Alex works in the bridal fashion Ann’s clean beauty space within her PR agency, Perry Rose Media. Catch up with Alex on Instagram @alexperrypr and stream her podcast, The Perry Rose Report, everywhere podcasts are heard.