A Sacred Journey

 

Starting a new job is a bit unsettling at first — especially as a seasoned marketing professional completely “green” to the New Mexico medical cannabis and burgeoning recreational cannabis industry. There was a huge divide between what I thought I knew as a medical patient, and what I actually understood about Sacred Garden “Day One” as the new marketing director.

So it seemed logical that with multiple grow sites, a kitchen and five stores throughout the state (and growing), the only way to truly absorb it all was to hit the road and see it all for myself. The endeavor would be a marketing assignment: video as much as I could before ‘Rec’ so we could tell Sacred Garden’s story come April.

And while I initially thought I knew what made the company New Mexico’s top medical cannabis producer — the organic grow, high-quality flower and huge selection of in-house products available to patients throughout the state — it was meeting the kind, fun and knowledgeable staff that made me understand what made Sacred Garden so special. I left thinking like an employee and returned feeling like part of a family. The Sacred Garden Family.

We started out visiting SG’s amazing grow sites! Janell DuPont, SG’s Operations Manager graciously received us, providing a comprehensive tour of all the moving parts at the grow. From pre-rolls to harvest to packaging and everywhere else, employees took time out of their busy day to greet us and proudly demonstrate what went on in their respective departments.

Cultivation Director, Chris Gonzales, brought us to meet his amazing team, showing us all the rooms where various strains were in different growth stages. We even got to see all the amazing tissue cultures stored to maintain the integrity of the strains. Science! Chris, a native New Mexican, is also the brain-child behind Gonzo Farms, the company that provides the organic nutrients to fuel Sacred Garden’s unique grow.

Next up, we stopped in at the Santa Fe location where I had shopped as a medical patient. It was great to re-introduce myself as a co-worker, learning more about the people who’d served my medical needs in the past. Don, the store manager and his staff were eager to meet me, even offering to help me with social media. Score! Don himself seemed familiar to me … turns out he’d managed all the Regal theaters in Santa Fe for thirty years. Small world indeed. Post-Regal, Don (husband to Janell) had worked out at Sacred Garden’s grow, so his knowledge runs deep.

The next day we hit the road for Albuquerque, starting our day with Nick, dispensary manager at Sacred Garden’s San Mateo location. At only 27 years old, Nick is one of Sacred Garden’s longest serving staffers. Quick, knowledgeable and patient, he was so welcoming to us while we filmed during his busy morning. Patient Care Consultants, Scott and Sophie, were also eager to help amid the morning rush.

That afternoon we made our way over to meet with Lesley, dispensary manager at Sacred Garden’s location within Green Jeans Food Hall. She and her staff juggled their busy afternoon with taking turns being interviewed on camera. Ask Lesley how many SG products she can name off the top of her head … turns out all of them. Ha!

Formerly on the top level of the complex, Sacred Garden at Green Jeans recently moved to the ground floor and Lesley was happy with the additional patient traffic they’re receiving from the improved exposure. Turns out Sacred Garden is a perfect fit for Green Jeans, which offers a variety of businesses and dining options as well as Santa Fe Brewing Company.

Built from shipping containers, Green Jeans’ unique vibe makes you wanna hang out for a bit. We wrapped, and grabbed a bite, chilling a bit at SFBC where my assistant grabbed a much-needed beer. The day had been long but fruitful. We said our goodbyes and hit the road for Ruidoso.

We arrived late and awoke to a rainy, misty mountainous vista. A rare but much needed late summer storm was making its way across the southern half of the state. It was my first time in Ruidoso and I was bummed that the rain kept us from getting all the B-Roll we had intended to shoot. The Ruidoso location is Sacred Garden’s newest. Dispensary manager, Rusty Poe, had been part of the crew, along with Sacred Garden’s Retail DIrector, Matt Baker, at the Las Cruces dispensary location. Rusty and I had worked together during my first few weeks on the job so I was aware of the breadth of his knowledge, both in cannabis and in the Ruidoso and Las Cruces markets.

 

And like all the other managers, Rusty and his incredible staff, including on-screen interview phenom Ocean, took time out of a very bustling morning to accommodate our filming pursuits. We said our goodbyes, shot between the raindrops to get whatever B-Roll we could before heading to Las Cruces.

The rain had intensified, ushering us out of town sooner than we wanted, so we made haste to White Sands National Park on our way to meet the team in Las Cruces the next day. As we dropped in elevation to the valley floor, the rain subsided. The low cloud level cooled the day, casting a flat cinematic light across the dunes. Feeling grateful to take a bit of time off the grid, I realized just how uniquely-positioned Sacred Garden was across The Land of Enchantment. To tour the stores was to truly see much of the splendor of New Mexico.

As we left White Sands for our hotel in Las Cruces, I got a text from Matt Baker about arriving in the early morning to shoot Las Cruces’ breathtaking sunrises. I am an early riser so I was game. At his suggestion, we dined that night at La Posta de Mesilla and had an amazing New Mexican meal to complete our day. The chile was fantastic!

We met Matt in the morning to tour the dispensary and get footage before it opened. Dispensary manager, Carla Padilla, was also there and had taken time away from her weekend to meet us and be interviewed. Carla had been so helpful with providing Sacred Garden content for me to use on social media that I was glad to thank her in-person. She was so great on camera, too, and was definitely able to name all of Sacred Garden’s products … although we stopped her before she was through. We’d seen that movie before and didn’t have enough card space on the camera.

Weary, but grateful, we said goodbye and headed north back to Santa Fe. Sacred Garden and all it’s glory had been revealed to me and I looked forward to telling the story.

One response to “A Sacred Journey

  1. Interesting tour of a company destined for growing greatness. Thanks for your description and tour report, clear and focused to enhance the readers’ attention.

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