When Rina was in eighth grade, she wrote a report on cannabis legalization. Some of her conclusions, she admits in hindsight, were ill-informed. But over the years, her views on cannabis became more nuanced. Now, she’s packaging supervisor at Emerald Health Therapeutics, and on the day recreational cannabis was legalized, she thought about that flawed but impassioned essay, and how far she – and the rest of Canada – had come.
“I remember thinking, ‘It’s really cool that this is where we are,’” she says. “We’ve made it to this point in time where I can say, ‘This is what I do, this is legal, and we don’t have to hide in the shadows.’”
“We’ve made it to this point in time where I can say, ‘This is what I do, this is legal, and we don’t have to hide in the shadows.”
Being a packaging supervisor means Rina is in the middle of it all. She says it takes certain skills to manage these transitions: Organization is one of them, flexibility is another.
“It all comes down to being innovative and solving problems,” she says. “This job has taught me how to go with the flow. It’s innovative in the sense that we have a set of rules we need to follow, but we need to find a way to work within those parameters and still get our work done in an efficient and creative way.”
Packaging supervisor is a new title for Rina, but she’s been with Emerald for nearly four years. Like most people in the cannabis industry, her career path hasn’t been linear. Rina has always been enthusiastic about health care, and she grew up wanting to be a doctor or a nurse. She wasn’t great with blood or emergency situations, though, so she went to college to become a medical office assistant.
Eventually, she found herself working for a company that managed data for big pharmaceutical companies, and she became interested in seeing how different patients had different results. Then, six years ago, she entered the cannabis industry in a customer service role.
Rina was eventually drawn to Emerald Health Therapeutics, impressed by how much of its executive team came from the biotech world. She started off as an administrative assistant to the CEO and CFO, and even in her early days remembers thinking, “This is the kind of company I want to work for,” she says.
“People here are interested in making sure cannabis is going to work in mainstream society, and they’re coming up with all different kinds of applications for it.”
What’s kept her at Emerald Health Therapeutics? Not surprisingly, Rina says the focus on their clients’ well-being is what makes her excited to come into work every day.
“Helping people who are sick, and seeing who can gain from the effects of cannabis, is what interests me,” she adds. “As the company gets bigger, and as we get more recognition for who we are and what we do, that’s what makes me most proud to be part of this team. Now that I’m here, I can’t imagine where else I’d want to be.”