Women in the Industry – Kimberly Campbell

by Kayla Johnson

People become involved in cannabis for different reasons and at different stages in their life. Some people have just discovered the benefits of the plant for the first time in their twenties, while others have been finding relief in one way or another for a few decades now. Some remain patients and consumers, while others turn their passion for cannabis into a career focused on clean medicine and helping people.

 

Kimberly Campbell is one of those people. A native of Dallas, the unexpected and tragic loss of her baby brother at six months played a major role in the separation of her parents and the subsequent move to Oklahoma in 1971.  Campbell shared, “We needed to be by family at that time, so we moved to Choctaw, and then in 1980, mom moved us out to Harrah as a single parent. I graduated from Harrah High, and I really had an amazing childhood with many friends that I’m fortunate to still be friends with to this day.”

 

Campbell says that her first introduction to cannabis was a less-than-pleasant one, though looking back, she views it differently now.  She said, “My first experience was when my mom told my baby sister and I that our dad smoked pot, and now they couldn’t be married anymore. I have no doubt that he used cannabis medicinally to cope with the death of our baby brother.” 

 

Despite the taboo nature on the subject of cannabis while growing up (something most of us can relate to), Campbell admits that for her, it was an instant connection. She admitted, “It really was love at first toke for me and we smoked Mexican brick weed in high school.  I even had a best friend who’s parents grew cannabis out back with their chickens, and cured and dried them in their barn. I was fifteen when I saw my first live cannabis plant, and I was 27 when I dropped my first cannabis seed into soil.”

 

In 1995, Campbell was given the opportunity to work with Rita Holder, president of the Oklahoma Herb Society, and says her passion for growing really began to take root.  She said, “I had always been an earth seed, so I started taking online herbal courses from the California School of Herbalism, then in 2007, I received a degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University.” By the time 2012 rolled around, the possibility of medical legalization was first becoming a rumor to be whispered about in hushed voices.  Campbell says that year she began growing, saying, “I dove into growing and formulating topicals and edibles.” It wasn’t until two years later, when she encountered Amy Hildabrandt and her son, Austin, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, that she joined the fight herself. “I saw what cannabis oil did and what they were fighting for…,” she explained, “…and they had to move to Colorado to become medical refugees, and that is when I became involved in the fight to get our community to vote.”

 

In 2017, just before the final push for State Question (SQ) 788 began, Campbell traveled to Colorado, where she had the opportunity to train at Hippy Mountain. “I learned how to make edibles…,” she explained, “…and they taught me how to grow commercially and work on an outdoor cannabis farm.”

 

Now, in post-SQ788 Oklahoma, Campbell is a licensed processor for Sacred Flower, the cannabis company owned and managed by herself, her husband Casey, and her best friend from childhood, Angela Brewer. Campbell and her husband purchased an acreage of land adjacent to their home of 21 years and constructed an extraction and processing facility. They received their license in August 2019, and they were able to begin product delivery on the first day of 2020.   Now that their business has come to life, Campbell says that there’s just no other line of work for her. She said, “There’s no other choice for me. Cannabis medicine will always be something I’m involved in. I’ve been putting cannabis into soaps, bath bombs, ointments, topical creams and food for decades, and I knew that when we legalized cannabis, that this was something I would do, and would also do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

 

Campbell, like many other women in the industry, has become an example of women being able to thrive in a cannabis-based career. She was invited to the National Women of Cannabis Conference in 2019, and was even one of the finalists for the Women’s Entrepreneur contest. She admits that while she has had a positive experience so far, there are also many opportunities for women to further support their fellow women in the industry. “I feel respected in my craft, and have not experienced any negativity towards me just because I’m a woman who owns a cannabis business. When you are confident in the work you do and always exhibit the highest standards, it shouldn’t make a difference if you are male or female,” she said, “I do think that there should be more support for women from other women.  I’m really interested in mentorship and I would like to be involved in helping future women, in cannabis, get what they need to survive and thrive in a fast paced, and competitive market.” 

 

For those who are considering joining the cannabis industry, Campbell has some advice for women who are considering the plunge.  She said, “I would say jump in with both feet, work hard, never give up on your dreams, be kind, don’t gossip, avoid drama, and don’t be the mean girl. It’s a female plant, we are females, and we all need to stick together and help each other for the betterment of all.”

 

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