The Higher Path
L to R: Back row: Alessandra Beaton, Buyer; Jessica Martin, General Manager; Adrienne Airhart, Marketing Director
Middle row: Karen Sosa, Assistant Buyer; Megan Fisher, Social Media Director; Jenna Baeza, Shift Leader
Front row: Crystal Korabek, HR Manager; Jocelyn Sanchez, Shift Leader; Sara Berthiaume, Curation & Distribution
The Higher Path is a licensed medical and recreational cannabis dispensary that educates clients about proper cannabis use and other alternative health approaches. Jerred Kiloh opened the business in 2013 and is assisted by a team of women who operate the store. The Higher Path offers a wide selection of products including flower, edibles, tinctures, concentrates and CBD.
Tell us about The Higher Path.
“We believe that access to cannabis should be simple and that having the knowledge and tools to integrate it into our health care regimens or lifestyles is an important part of that. Our team is united in our love for cannabis and our mission to provide an exceptional experience for all who encounter The Higher Path.”
What challenges are specific to your industry?
“Like any newer industry, working out the kinks takes some time. Taxes are intense—starting with the growers and ending with our customers. The stigma attached to cannabis has been slowly lessened but is ever present. Finding the right people to do business with has been a journey, but we are proud of the brands we support and the community partners we’ve made. No challenge has been too great to overcome, and we are thriving and expanding while supporting our fellow businesses in the industry.”
Which personality traits are most important to be successful in your field?
“Fortitude and manners. There is a lot of rejection when the pool is so flooded with competition, and you must remain strong and carry on. Take the feedback and apply it, then come back better.
Manners go a long way! Courtesy emails, polite speech and small favors will get you ahead far more than name-dropping and boasting.”
What could women be doing to better advance their careers?
“Ask. More often than not, a position or task hasn’t been assigned because someone hasn’t stepped up and offered to do it. The cannabis industry is a conglomeration of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Something from your background will be useful to someone if they know you have that skill. Ask to take on a project, sit in on a meeting, help make something more efficient, offer a connection in your network, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for new responsibilities!”
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made professionally?
“One of the biggest mistakes was treating the shop like it was an ordinary retail establishment. It is not. With sick patients, OG cannabis users and amateurs coming in every day, our operations and training must change frequently. New information pours in regularly regarding the positive effects of cannabis. Adapting and understanding that no standard operating procedure stays standard for long— and that the ebb and flow of customers will alter our selling practices—has been the biggest lesson.”
How has having a mentor influenced your success?
“The owner of our shop, Jerred Kiloh, is our mentor, and the freedom he’s given us to be ourselves and add our own personal touches to the shop has been such a phenomenal experience.”
Is risk-taking usually worth the reward?
“Just being in the cannabis industry is risky, so yes, it has paid off for us. We strayed from the norm with the design and vibe of our shop, which sets us apart from many other dispensaries. We will continue to take calculated risks in the future, as long as they coalesce with our mission and brand.”
Do businesses have a duty to give back to society?
“Absolutely. Not only do we pay our taxes, we clean up our neighborhood, support local businesses and keep our carbon footprint as small as possible. We’re members of the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce and can be seen all over town picking up trash, giving speeches at events and patronizing local businesses.
Jerred is the president of the United Cannabis Business Association, and they help women, minorities and LGBTQ+ get their taxes paid, their paperwork sorted and their feet off the ground. We always prefer to do business with small, local brands.”
How are you staying green in such a wasteful industry?
“Apart from lobbying for regulations regarding packaging to ease up, we have many in-store solutions for waste. We use biodegradable trash bags, electronic air dusters (replacing aerosol cans), recycled toilet paper, we clean with cloth rags that are washed, we ask vendors to reuse as much packaging as is legally allowed, and we’ve gone as digital as possible to reduce our reliance on paper. Expect more eco-friendly actions from us in the future!”