Priscilla Vilchis is a self-made businesswoman who has been rocking the cannabis industry for quite a few years. She is the owner and CEO of Premium Produce, which called for a lot of firsts in this industry. Her unswerving demeanor has led her to be one of the more recognizable names in the cannabis world. Though her rise may seem like it was quick to some, she had to set her strongest foot forth to overcome obstacles especially since she was a double minority — a member of the Latinx community and a woman.
Vilchis, also known as “The Queen of the Desert” and “The Hollyweed Queen,” medical marijuana career took off in Nevada. However, Nevada didn’t always offer this commodity to cannabis entrepreneurs. Nevada’s voters had approved the legalization of medical marijuana in the year 2000, but it wasn’t until 2014 when these laws went into effect.
Keeping up with everything that was happening, Vilchis registered Premium Produce LLC in 2013 to eventually help future patients gain access to safe medical marijuana products in states where cannabis laws had been approved. This was the foundation that she needed to jump on board when Nevada announced they were taking applications for running cannabinoid establishments that allowed for growing and distribution.
This announcement called for a strenuous process, which brought in over 500 applications, Priscilla Vilchis being one of them. But The Hollyweed Queen made it a point to set herself apart from the rest. She made sure she had the best legal team on her side, the best location, and of course, the ability to fund the application, which was about a quarter-million dollars. Thankfully, her efforts weren’t wasted away since she became the youngest and first Latina CEO to be awarded two of the more difficult licenses anyone could get in the state of Nevada.
Prior to making this decision, Vilchis worked in the healthcare industry where she managed and guided physicians in their day-to-day activities. During this time in her life, she realized how much the healthcare industry was dependent on opioids and how it was fueling an opioid epidemic. Witnessing that, she felt compelled to work against that and work through a safer alternative, hence her interest in cannabis.
Of course, being that she is Latina, her decision to join this industry also came with some hesitation from her family. She comes from a generation, like mine, where anything concerning marijuana was deemed as bad. Or even worse, it was thought out to be a death sentence for someone. However, as she told Telemundo, she educated her family by explaining the difference between THC and CBD.
Whereas THC is mind-altering, which is why you hear people about getting “high,” CBD is the component within cannabis that does not affect anyone’s psychoactive state. Instead, CBD has proven itself to have a lot of health benefits; it can be used to combat epilepsy, as a natural pain-reliever, and to relieve some ailments caused by cancer, among other conditions.
Undoubtedly, Priscilla Vilchis is a strong-minded individual with views that mirror her persona. Proof of that can be found below in the interview she had with BELatina.
What do you think is one of the worst misconceptions people have about the medical marijuana industry?
I believe one of the worst misconceptions about the use of cannabis is that people will be enticed into a life of crime and degeneracy by consuming it. My parents warned my sisters and me to stay away from that drug and reminded us how dangerous it was when we were growing up. They would tell me I needed to get home early after school or the “marihuaneros” would get me — I was terrified. But, when I worked in the health industry and was put face to face with the opioid epidemic, I began to research and study alternatives. This is when I came across marijuana. From that moment on, I was fascinated by the plant’s benefits. I saw its benefit work on children with epilepsy who were able to have a normal life because of cannabis. I’ve also met people with anxiety, depression and chronic pain who have seen progress in their conditions thanks to cannabis.
I notice that you have created a very eco-friendly environment within your business. You use a reverse-osmosis water filtration system, failsafe CO2 delivery system, and other environmentally sustainable processes. What inclined you to create such an eco-friendly environment for your production?
I entered the industry with the best of intentions — to fight the opioid epidemic and to provide patients with medical marijuana of the best quality. In order to do so, I couldn’t cut corners or be cheap. I also wanted to be mindful and respectful of our environment and future generations by building a business that was as eco-friendly as possible. We also package most of our products in glass jars to reduce plastic waste.
Do you feel that using cannabis products will help combat the opioid epidemic, especially since it has recently become some prevalent to the Latinx community?
Absolutely. We always think that opioid addiction is a white problem when it’s just as prevalent in our Latinx community. I believe we must continue to educate Latinos on the benefits of cannabis and work hard to remove the stigma from consuming it. We trust doctors and medication, but we also need to question it and research alternatives. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to sometimes to get certain sub-communities to approve the use of marijuana or to not be ashamed to use it. I find irony in this since our ancestors previously used “remedios” like topical creams and tinctures with cannabis leaves. However, I have faith that we are closer to acceptance. Part of the reason why I’m so passionate about this is that my ultimate goal is for marijuana to be reimbursable by insurance providers.
Any message you want me to relay to the young Latinx entrepreneurs of BELatina magazine?
If you have a goal and the vision is there: work hard, stand firm, speak up, never take no for an answer, and invest in it until it becomes reality.
So, there you have it. The wonderful Priscilla Vilchis; young Latina dominating an industry that was once composed of mostly men. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about this. Or in the words of nostalgia-filled hip-hop: I got five on it.