It’s no secret that if you’re working in the cannabis industry, you need to be on top of everything coming your way. One woman who’s dominating her role in the industry is Stephanie Arakel, Vice President of Strategy and Product at Viola Brands. Arakel’s journey into cannabis grew organically starting with her culinary college career, to a few post-college cannabis enterprises after recovering from cancer, which eventually lead to the current position she holds now at Viola Brands.
Highly successful and tenacious, Arakel manages many things behind the scenes at Viola Brands, including all six markets that it currently operates in. Aside from the daily management requirements of those markets, Arakel was also given the responsibility of choosing the first strain to be a part of the recently released Iverson collection, aptly named ’96, which celebrates the official partnership of Allen Iverson with Viola Brands’ Founder Al Harrington (’96 being the year that Iverson joined the NBA). In fact, she very proudly shared that she took over the role of working on Viola Brands’ products in all markets earlier this year.
High Times spoke with Arakel about her cannabis industry roots, her experience being diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, how she ended up at Viola Brands, and the state of women in the industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Did you attend college? Was it with the intention of pursuing a career in cannabis, or something else?
Well, I am a born and raised California Valley girl. I grew up in Chatsworth, California, [and went to] Chatsworth High School. I went to culinary school for college. That’s how I kind of got into marijuana; I started making edibles. I majored in pastries and cakes, and I had a friend that was really into weed, so I started …
Author: Nicole Potter / High Times