HOW THIS WOMAN-OWNED CANNABIS BRAND IS TAKING ON THE INDUSTRY – AND WINNING

Megan Souza, Founder and CEO of Megan’s Organic Market, and her partner Eric Powers at their Central Coast farm.

EARLY DAYS OF ORGANIC

Megan Souza’s story is a lot like many of those who have journeyed into the cannabis industry: she discovered the power of cannabis in a desperate search for natural relief from chronic health conditions and anxiety. Thankful and vocal about the incredible relief she experienced, the local cannabis community of California’s Central Coast welcomed her into the fold with open arms. The reputation of the community’s accessibility, advocacy and altruism rang true as Megan found herself supported in her journey of wellness and plant education, relishing in the friendships she made and the wealth of knowledge area experts were happy to share. As a professional academic who is naturally curious, a grateful Megan decided to learn as much as she could about different cannabis products and their effects on the body. What she quickly found along the way was – what was then – a big gap in the industry when it came to transparency into the growth and cultivation practices of the plants.

In 2010, together with her partner Eric Powers, Megan decided, for their own safety and that of their friends, to do something about it. With Eric’s passion for agriculture, they quickly learned and adopted practices from neighboring organic food farms for use in their own burgeoning cannabis grow. Soon, news spread about Megan and Eric’s humble hemp farm, and the couple received overwhelming support from friends and acquaintances wanting to be customers.

NEIGHBORHOOD INSPIRATION

In 2013, Megan and Eric founded a delivery service for their special brand of clean cannabis products. Having grown up among other women entrepreneurs, she knew that to be seen, she’d have to be better. Inspired by the joy and history of neighborhood markets, she created a band of delivery professionals clad in old fashioned aprons, carrying products in baskets for her customers to peruse before buying.

Within five years, Megan took her love for clean cannabis products and community to San Luis Obispo, opening a 100% woman-owned dispensary that included not only her own products, but a carefully curated selection of other high quality brands. Thanks to the helpful reputation she earned from her various volunteer efforts in deserving neighborhoods, this new business was viewed as trustworthy and healing from its inception.

NEW FACE FOR AN OLD PLACE

One such neighborhood was in Hollywood. Mary Jane’s Collective, at 4901 Melrose Avenue, was an OG dispensary for its medical users. And as permits became available for recreational use, Mary Jane’s was one of the first to capitalize on the opportunity, due to its outstanding reputation and deep love from its community of customers.

In 2021, Megan Souza met Megan Hanley – who was managing the group of loyal and caring budtenders at Mary Jane’s – and the two immediately bonded over their shared interests. Megan Hanley had never been “into” cannabis until she had the opportunity to work as a caregiver for patients with ALS. She saw first-hand how high quality products made massive improvements in patients’ lives, and was immediately converted. But it was more than the industry that inspired her – it was the people.

IMAGE CAPTION – Mary Jane’s Collective General Manager Megan Hanley assists a customer with product selection.

HELPING HOLLYWOOD

Local customers became more like family to Megan Hanley. They had grown with Mary Jane’s – from its seed-to-shelf medical dispensary days to the tumultuous experience of being permitted for recreational use. They saw her navigate the business from one of many, to one with a vision to grow not only in its breadth of offerings, but as a partner in impact on the local community. Hanley shared her passion for budtenders participating in more community service, and to become activists in the reformation of jail time for the wrongly convicted. In the same year they met, Megan Souza invited Mary Jane’s into the MOM brand family and promoted Megan Hanley to General Manager. Together, the dispensaries continue to reshape the cannabis shopping experience through five core commitments to its customers.

GAME CHANGING BUSINESS PRACTICES

100% WOMEN OWNED

The Megan’s Organic Market parent corporation is owned by women. As an original source of differentiation for Megan Souza, the empathy, sensibility, design eye and deep connections to neighborhood shoppers touches every element of the business from store site to staffing to product selection.

VALUES-DRIVEN Though it’s gained new importance today, MOM has always been a values-driven organization that focuses. on the health and welfare of its customers, communities, employees and the world. You will find staff at all levels volunteering at the most important causes in their communities, supported by time allowances and MOM’s culture of philanthropy.

INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY

MOM staff and products represent the look and culture of the communities we serve. They actively support women in leadership, diversity in hiring, BIPOC-owned brands, and strive to make a joyful, loyal customer out of everyone they meet, inclusive of all age, race, gender and economic status.

IMAGE CAPTION – Megan’s team attending a monthly community service event.

OPEN SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

MOM dispensaries are unlike any others you’ve been to, with open displays (just like a neighborhood market) for shoppers to explore products before purchase. Plus, employees bend over backwards to make each customer feel like the only person in the room, sharing their wealth of knowledge on every product and helping clients to make the best selection for their unique needs.

HIGHEST QUALITY PRODUCTS

Having pioneered the use of organic farming practices, MOM maintains its focus on the most transparently produced, highest quality products available. They actively seek out new and innovative products, and those from the best quality producers who may be underrepresented in the marketplace. In fact, MOM continues today to make its own exclusive, in-house brands where it sees a need for better, cleaner cannabis experiences. Check out Megan’s brand, SoHi and VOID, available at Megan’s Organic Market and Mary Jane’s Collective, as well as other select dispensaries!

Stay Connected

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@sayhighmom

LA Weekly