New Mom and CEO Sara Gullickson is Changing the Face of the Cannabis Industry One Enterprise at a Time

Taylor Transtrum | September 11, 2019 | People

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With just $3 to invest, Sara Gullickson founded international cannabis consulting company Dispensary Permits shortly after 2010’s Proposition 203—which legalized medical marijuana in Arizona. “I’ve always had a passion for health and wellness, so when medical cannabis was legalized in Arizona, it felt like the right opportunity to start my own business,” she says. Now, the 36-year-old, who gave birth to her first child in May, is the CEO of Item 9 Labs. As a leader in her industry, Gullickson’s accolades include receiving Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award in 2018 and recognition from several other publications. “Attaining a C-Suite position as a woman is a challenge in any industry,” she says. “I believe the reason I’ve been so successful is that from the beginning, I’ve been committed to growing this industry. There have been multiple times where I’ve thought about giving up, but I always felt I had a higher calling to be involved for not just myself. When you see how people are benefiting from the plant, it feels selfish to stop what you’re doing.”

With an asset portfolio that includes Dispensary Permits, Dispensary Templates and Strive Life, Item 9 Labs continues to push the industry forward. “We’re truly committed to advancing the industry by developing products that cater to different medical cannabis demographics,” she says. “The brands that we create are built to channel consumer diversity and foster inclusivity.”

Gullickson encourages other women pursuing a career in cannabis to take a leap of faith. “It’s really important to be realistic and stay true to yourself,” she says. “There’s definitely no easy way to the top—it all comes down to hard work, time and research. If you put the energy and effort in, you’ll ultimately gain expertise and eventually move up the ladder.”



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Photography by: Carl Schultz