Meet Omari Mitchell, General Manager of family-owned dispensary, Mile High Green Cross in Denver, CO.
Originally from Columbus, OH., Mitchell advocated for the legalization of cannabis in Ohio last year, but unfortunately the measure was suspended. Sadly, shortly after the measure failed, Mitchell’s cousin was murdered while illegally selling cannabis. Deciding it was time for a fresh start, Mitchell and his girlfriend moved to Denver during the summer of 2016 and he’s been working in the cannabis industry ever since!
How did you get a job at Mile High Green Cross?
Omari Mitchell: Once we arrived to Colorado, I immediately got my badge– MED Occupational License– to work in the cannabis industry and walked to Denver. Literally, I walked 20 miles over the course of five days to Denver. Along the way I applied at over 100 dispensaries until I landed at Mile High Green Cross which turned out to be the perfect fit.
When Mitchell first got to Mile High Green Cross he admits there wasn’t much traffic coming into the store. “From my prior experience working in the hospitality industry, I knew coming into Mile High Green Cross customer service was going to be my main focus,” says Mitchell.
Just a few months after moving to Denver and working as a budtender at Mile High, Mitchell was promoted to manager. In less than a year span Mitchell went from being a budtender to recently being promoted to General Manager of Mile High Green Cross.
What’s a typical day as General Manager?
Early mornings. I usually get to Mile High between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. to check inventory and see how sales went. I’ll analyze which inventory is moving, and which [inventory] isn’t, and create new deals to increase foot traffic into the store. As the GM, I also deal with every vendor that comes into our store and is interested in sales. A large part of my day involves talking to various vendors.
What skills do you find necessary to be a successful General Manager in the cannabis industry?
Patience and attention to detail because compliance is key in the cannabis industry. In Colorado, compliance updates happen regularly; rules and guidelines change and sometimes we have to completely change how we do things here at Mile High from labeling to packaging. But it’s part of the cannabis industry and just one of the challenges.
What are your favorite strains?
Banana Kush from Mile High Green Cross is my favorite strain. It’s consistently awesome, and a very relaxing strain perfect for night-time use. But if I’m going sativa I really love Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson’s first signature strain. The strain was named after [Nelson’s] album. Red Headed Stranger is such a blissful and euphoric sativa, yet very functional. I find it perfect at any time.
What do you enjoy most about working in the cannabis industry?
I enjoy seeing how we help improve the quality of people’s lives. I wear many hats, but I’ve realized I’m a friend and at times even a psychologist. I’m listening to people and their problems and suggesting what strains and products I think may help them.
During my time working in restaurants and retail, I noticed people were a lot more closed off when it came to making suggestions. But with cannabis people are a lot more open because people are being re-introduced to cannabis. What gives me the most satisfaction is hearing customers tell me they had a great experience from our recommendations.
Which cannabis products do you use and recommend?
I’ve always been huge on flower, but since I moved to Denver edibles and topicals have become my thing. I love the CODA Signature chocolate line here in Denver. They’re from the same purveyors as Godiva, so their edibles have very complex, distinguished, and balanced flavors.
The coffee and doughnuts bar tastes like you’re drinking a verona coffee and eating a cinnamon sugar doughnut and the cream and crumble bar– I don’t like cheesecake and I don’t like white chocolate, but that bar right there, man that bar right there is fire!
I also recommend MarQaha, a line of tinctures available in 90mg and 100mg. There are 9 calories in the entire bottle, and they use agave, no sugar. Being somebody concerned about health and ducking diabetes, that is huge for me and those drinks are great. High absorption, quick onset, it does help to avoid anxiety and if you’re interested in managing dosage.
The entire Mary’s Medicinals line is awesome, but their CBC compound cream is a wonder product. It’s good for everything, from post-surgery rehab and fibromyalgia to general pain and irritation. It’s just fantastic.
What are your goals for Mile High Green Cross?
My focus is just to continue to improve myself, my crew, and my store. We’ve doubled sales within the year I’ve been working there and I look to double sales again next year. Hopefully we get more stores opened. I just want to continue to progress and stay blessed.
What advice would you offer to people looking to get involved or start a career in the cannabis industry?
DO IT! Whatever you’re doing now STOP, and get involved in the cannabis industry. The cannabis industry is still in its very early stages. I would encourage people to either move somewhere where they can get involved in the legal cannabis industry, or push for marijuana reform and the legalization of adult-use cannabis where they live. I constantly hear from tourists visiting our dispensary, ‘I wish I had this back home.’ And I always respond, why don’t you push for the change? It’s extremely important to remain knowledgeable about cannabis to encourage marijuana reform everywhere.
What has your experience been like working in the cannabis industry?
From my experience, I’ve noticed that African-Americans are generally perceived as “low-ticket”or “average” customers. Minorities are not necessarily given the red carpet treatment at dispensaries. For example, being given full explanations or patience. It’s more of a hurry up and go type thing. But as more people of color get involved in the cannabis industry it will add to the cannabis industry’s complexity and increase knowledge of cannabis across all communities.
One day I want to be a consultant in the cannabis industry and ultimately, I would love to own an establishment that incorporates fine-dining and cannabis.
Follow Mile High Green Cross on Instagram to stay up to date with deals, specials and everything going on at the dispensary located at 852 North Broadway in Denver, CO.