Entering the Cannabis Space with Adelia Carrillo of EventHi

Adelia Carrillo, CMO of EventHi, connected with Candid Chronicle to share her experiences in healing with cannabis, leaving her job, and carving her own path in cannabis tech. Carrillo’s San Diego-based tech company, EventHi, is a ticketing platform for the cannabis event space.

How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?

It started off with me getting re-introduced to cannabis from a patient perspective. About 5 1/2 years ago, I had pregnancy complications that led to being rushed to the hospital and having to have emergency surgery. The doctors automatically began prescribing an assortment of prescriptions; however, the medicine didn’t help, so I ended up not taking them. My fiancĂ© recommended trying cannabis, and honestly, I laughed. I used to smoke cannabis when I was younger but was naive in the medicinal benefits, so when he said smoke some cannabis, I automatically went to thinking about the munchies and stoney moments.

Looking back, I realize how uneducated I was around this plant. As I began my journey as a cannabis patient, I began studying this plant and wanting to learn as much as I could. Now coming from the consumer electronic industry and loving tech and startups, I didn’t really find a platform that I could resonate with, which led to my first startup in the industry called Direct Cannabis Network (DCN). For over 4 1/2 years, we covered the latest tech, startups, and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, helping remind the professionals about the importance of this plant and the community aspect.

However, building a media company was very challenging when it came to finding a stable revenue model, and unfortunately, I had to come to a decision close down the company. It did, however, open up a new array of opportunities, and now I am the CMO of a San Diego Cannabis Tech company called EventHi.

How and why did you join EventHi?

My journey in the cannabis industry led me to taking the CMO position at EventHi. Honestly, it was the timing. I was looking for a company that had a mission I believed in, was solving a real problem and believed in community.

So what is EventHi? EventHi is an online ticketing platform for the cannabis culture. We provide event hosts with a safe hosting platform to sell tickets and sponsorships for their cannabis-related events and provide a marketplace for event-goers and brands who are looking for unique experiences and events.

Many may not realize it, but ticketing platforms like Eventbrite, Splashthat, and mainstreaming ticketing platforms shut down cannabis events due to cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug. They look at it as a prohibited transaction, prohibited merchant, and prohibited event. Even events that are currently on there are putting themselves at jeopardy. Those platforms can flag them out of nowhere, which still happens all of the time.

At EventHi, the team worked for over a year to solve that problem and did so by finding a bank that they could be completely transparent with and was able to be provided with a Marijuana-Related Business Bank account. We have to go through in-depth reporting and have had to build out due diligence internal processes, but in the end, knowing we are transparent with our financial institution is something we strongly stand behind as a cannabis company.

Lastly, is the community approach, EventHi’s tagline is bringing people together, and that is exactly what we are helping doing each day. We are bringing people together to unite and find their tribe around these unique experiences and cannabis events, whether it is an educational event, workshop, health and wellness event, or a dinner. Each event highlights it’s own perspective and connection with this plant, and to me, that is an amazing mission to be part of.

What sets you apart in the cannabis industry?

One thing I admit to everyone is that cannabis completely changed me. I have done a 180 from the human that I once was. It’s not like I was a bad human, but the superficial things, how I looked, and materialistic things were so important to me. As my cannabis journey continued, I transformed and healed as a human. This change allowed me to approach my journey in cannabis as authentically as can be. I share the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, I share the challenges and successes, while also taking an inspirational approach to my peers. My goal is not to have the most likes in life, but it is to inspire and motivate others to become that better version of ourselves; not for anyone else but for ourselves through this journey of life. And those components I believe set me apart from everyone else.

What life changes occurred when you entered the cannabis industry?

Everything. First, the way I realigned with cannabis was through a traumatic experience that led down to a path of healing. Next was publicly announcing my stance for cannabis. See, my parents both worked for the District Attorneys Office, so growing up in our household, cannabis was very looked down upon. On top of that, I turned away from an industry that I had the opportunity to really build an amazing career in. I had an amazing salary, health benefits; I had a stable life. But, when I made the decision, I really was all in. When I made the announcement, many of my peers were shocked, and some were concerned, stating that I was jeopardizing my career. My parents, although shocked, saw the connection and saw how cannabis actually helped me as an individual. Now looking at the reality, my personal life has changed dramatically. Many think if you are in cannabis, you must be rich. That is far from the cash, and there are endless hurdles. Many of us continue to sacrifice so much, but it is all because of the passion and mission we are on. I, for one, would never change this journey. I am thankful as I faced so many fears I would have never tackled and have experienced so many amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have been apart of in any other industry.

What about the cannabis industry and community do you love?

I love the passion so many people have behind this plant. I love seeing how so many diverse humans from all walks of life are coming together, whether it is professionally or personally. Many may not realize it, but the reality for me is, I know my previous journey would have never allowed me to connect with the majority of amazing humans I have met along the way. And the second thing I really love is knowing that we all are apart of history in the making. It has its hurdles, and at times I see the industry at odds with the community. Still, I believe we will overcome that as I think the majority of us understand that importance of community and how it is vital to the industry.

Do you have any frustrations, hopes, fears as cannabis changes?

My hope is that we don’t lose compassion. Many individuals coming into the space are only seeing dollar signs and unfortunately, don’t have a connection with this plant. I don’t think people need to necessarily consume cannabis, but I do believe they need to at least educate themselves on the history of this plant and have some sort of understanding and connection with it. I get frustrated at how inconsiderate people are coming into this space, I don’t know how many times I have met someone, and they mention the words, that they are going to show those people how to really build an industry or how they use the word stoner in a negative tone. It’s disappointing, and I hope that mentality gets cut really quickly. As an industry, we can never forget about those who have risked their lives, and those who are still risking their lives for this plant behind bars while so many people actually are making a living off of the same plant.

What were some of your challenges getting started in cannabis?

The challenges were more on confusion. I still had a lot to learn when I was coming into this space and especially building a media company. I had to realize trust was going to be a huge factor. Even five years ago, walking around with a camera and doing interviews was not a normal thing in this space, and if it was, it was with people who had already put in the time. On top of that due to the landscape, the normal steps you take to build a business does not follow in the cannabis industry, I had trouble with banking, with insurance, with many basic business requirements because I was in the cannabis industry.

Where would you like to see yourself in the cannabis industry three years from now?

I envision that I helped EventHi move from a startup to a viable business, that is not only profitable but recognized Nationwide. I see myself beginning my journey of becoming an investor in this space in three years and also finally starting a non-profit business that I have been slowly putting together over the past few years.

What does the future of cannabis look like to you?

I see cannabis disrupting many industries, I see cannabis and technology really bringing innovation to the forefront. I see a future where all those with minor-cannabis offenses being released, and their sentences expunged and see an industry that naturally embeds diversity.

How do you plan to make a positive difference in the cannabis industry?

I plan to make a positive impact in this industry by continuing to be me. I will continue to share the ups and downs of this journey, I will continue to speak and educate about this plant where and when I can, and I will continue to help destigmatize this plant from a professional and personal approach.

What makes you proud or gratified to be a part of the “legal” cannabis industry?

I am proud to know that I/We are all apart of history in the making. This is something that will go down in history as a new industry transforms, all while a community that aligns with it and helps connect humans even more deeply through this plant. And that is where the beauty lies, see cannabis has the opportunity to help humans while hemp has the opportunity to help our planet. I don’t know many industries that have the opportunity to help both, and to be that is an amazing path to be part of.

Do you consume cannabis? If so, how do you prefer to consume?

Yes. However, I prefer only to consume during non-business hours or if during business hours it is for a creativity project. And even then, I prefer something that is a 2:1 ratio. My favorite go-to evening ritual is a joint. However, I also enjoy tinctures, infused snacks, and infused beverages.

What’s your favorite strain, cannabis product, etc?

My favorite cannabis product is the Hepburns, it has been a while since I have enjoyed a Hepburn, but I did hear she is coming back. Now what is so special about a Hepburn, each Hepburn is an artisanal terpene-paired herbal joint made with the highest quality cannabis and ice water hash.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or EventHi?

We do have an amazing event coming up that I would love to share! As many of you now know, EventHi is an online ticketing platform catering to the cannabis culture. Our main focus is on bringing people together through cannabis-related events. Being a ticketing platform for the cannabis event landscape, we quickly saw how much this current landscape was going to affect not only our company but the event host community as a whole, and we wanted to find a way that we could bring people together, online, and give back. This led to the launch of Hi Day 2020, the largest cannabis event, online, on April 11th. Attendees from all over the world will be able to join us for a day with back to back unique experiences hosted by the event host community.
Some of the events that attendees will be able to attend consistent of:

– Stoned Yin Yoga + Sound Bath, with Jessy Chang of Local High Society

– A short history of cannabis concentrates with Frenchy Cannoli

– CBD Mocktails with Sailene Ossman

– And 20 other unique experiences With the help from each of you, this event will allow us to make a huge impact together.

We have incorporated a $15 ticket, this ticket will give you access to 23 hours of event hosts hosting a unique experience for you on the hour every hour. All ticket sales will be used in the following ways: We will be donating 20% of the proceeds to No Kid Hungry Organization to help support their mission in providing meals for kids who have lost access to meals as they are no longer in school, due to school closures.

We will be using the funds to provide each event host with compensation to help each of them during this time, where each of them have had events and contracts cancelled due to gatherings being forbidden. Lastly, to help keep our startup alive during this time so we can continue with our mission to bring people together online and offline (once things go back to normal). We hope you will tune in, to learn more visit the link below https://www.eventhi.io/event/hi-day-2020-online-event-3602