Women in Weed: Lori Gonzalez

Women in Weed: Lori Gonzalez

We have a lot of exciting things in the works here at High Minded, and we’d like to spotlight one of our team members working hard behind the scenes: our Kitchen Manager, Lori Gonzalez. Lori is in charge of everything edible here – she creates the recipes, sources ingredients, manages the kitchen team, and more. We talked with Lori to learn all about her work here at High Minded and why her approach to making edibles is one of a kind. Read on for details about her craft and her journey to the High Minded kitchen.

Lori Gonzalez got into the cannabis industry by complete accident. In 2007, her father in law was diagnosed with cancer. They were living in Washington at the time, which had a medical marijuana program. Lori’s father in law was not able to smoke, so they went looking for edibles. These were the early days of cannabis legalization, and there were no consistent products on the market, none that had been tested, and none that could reliably help her family. So Lori decided to take things into her own hands and make her own, starting with THC infused banana bars. The bars were a huge hit, not just with her family, but with others in the community. Her momentum grew and soon after she was selling edibles back to dispensaries wholesale and quit her day job to make edibles full time for a while. Lori eventually took a comfortable job that paid better, but didn’t love it, so she started looking for jobs in the cannabis industry and we are so glad she landed with us!

As our Kitchen Manager, Lori starts her days early, gathering ingredients and preparing everything to be made in batches. She leads a team of three who can churn out up to 20,000 individual gummies per day from their 300 square foot kitchen! Lori creates all of the recipes, experimenting with local ingredients as much as possible including incorporating teas, beet sugar, and other local flavors. Lori’s 16 years of experience have helped her cultivate an incredible palate, enabling her to create uniquely flavored and consistently dosed THC infused candies. Lori’s work requires a deep understanding not only of how to create delicious and satisfying products, but how to recreate precise flavors over and over to ensure consistency. The level of expertise and precision required is akin to the work of a master blender or master distiller in the liquor industry! Lori credits her mastery of flavor with having grown up on a tight budget. She spent a lot of time in the kitchen, learning from her mother how to can, pickle, and get creative with food pantry groceries, turning bland foods into culinary masterpieces.

The journey hasn’t always been easy. Not only has Lori navigated a burgeoning industry with changing regulations, but it has been challenging to be a woman in the cannabis space. She has experienced her fair share of sexism and has not always been given the same opportunities as men. But Lori is proud to take charge of her work and advocate for her talents and expertise. When asked what she wants women to know about working in cannabis, she says: “I’ll go toe to toe with anyone. You can have a skill and be proud of what you do in this industry.”

You can find High Minded Gummies at Timber Cannabis Co. and Cloud Cannabis.