By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record
Morgan Hutchinson, co-owner of High End Market Place, a recreational cannabis store in Vancouver, Washington, said she was honored that her business was nominated for a Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Award.
The company didn’t win in the category of “2015 Start Up to Watch” at the Chamber’s annual awards banquet Thursday night, but Hutchinson said even being nominated was a huge positive step for any business in the cannabis industry.
“Recognition like this, even just to be nominated, is vital,” Hutchinson said. “I think things like this will help shift our industry away from the stigma. If we were represented in bigger numbers in business organizations, I can’t tell you how much further that would help our industry grow.”
Hutchinson, who once worked for the Chamber, said that for the most part her company has gotten a very positive reception from the Chamber and other local business organizations. High End Market Place also recently joined the Vancouver Uptown Village Association and the Vancouver Downtown Association, she said.
“I’m just really excited to work with their programs and reach out more to the community,” Hutchinson said. “There’s just so much going on out there.”
She only just joined the Downtown Association and hasn’t attended any meetings yet, but the Uptown Association so far has been extremely welcoming, Hutchinson said.
“They’ve welcomed us with open arms,” Hutchinson said. “Everyone has been so nice. It’s great to see us gaining acceptance as a marijuana business in the larger business community. I think we’re all really moving in a positive direction.”
She said she hopes to see more cannabis industry participation in business groups in the future – but she realizes how hard it can be for the companies, which are mostly startups, to find time.
“I think we haven’t seen more of them just because they’ve been too busy,” Hutchinson said. “Just keeping up with compliance is extremely hard, and takes a lot of time. But I think participating in the larger business community is a necessary step in normalizing our industry.”