Alumni Stories: Jacob Policzer, President, The Cannabis Conservancy – a career of an IIIEE alumna
Jacob Policzer, President, The Cannabis Conservancy – a career of an IIIEE alumna
Home country: United States – Miami, Florida
Currently living in: United States – Denver, Colorado
Batch number: 18-7 (MESPOM)
Tell us a little bit about what you do professionally.
I co-founded The Cannabis Conservancy with two other alumni, Brittny Anderson and Erin Loughney. I am currently our Director of Science and Strategy. We are a standards development and certification body that focuses on certifying sustainable legal Cannabis cultivations that adhere to Good Agricultural Practices, are free of harmful chemical inputs, utilize waste reduction methods, are energy efficient, and conserve water. Our mission is to empower and assure that the regulated Cannabisindustry achieves environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Essenitally, to move the industry to become a global leader in sustainability.
How did you get from the IIIEE to where you are now?
The IIIEE gave me the educational background and confidence to start the company. This was not in my purview when I went to school, but after returning to the U.S. I saw the environmental impacts of the Cannabis industry and realized I could make a difference.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Starting a small business and STAYING in business! It hasn’t been easy to get up and running but we’ve been in business now for four years and actually made a small profit last year. I am also proud to have become a recognized sustainability expert in this field.
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
Quitting my job and taking a personal loan to start this business. Announcing to the world that I was in the cannabis business and not just a “legal drug dealer” as my family suspected. Once I started appearing on main stream media and picking up contracts - like undertaking the first state funded study on the energy impacts of cannabis production for the Colorado Energy Office – we got more legitimacy.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Enjoy what you do and don’t take things super seriously all the time.
Who was your favourite teacher? Why?
Thomas Lindqvist put things into perspective for me. I enjoyed our philiosophical conversations and his appreciation for the small successes.
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve been?
Kruger National Park in South Africa and Siem Reap in Cambodia.
What’s an inspirational book you’ve read recently?
The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone. I saw a lot of myself in this book and it validated my life choices. It’s about David Fairchild, a 19thcentury food explorer, who travelled the world and brought back a lot of different crops to the US that now form part of our staple diet. I grew up in Miami and going to visit the Fairchild Botanical Gardens was, and still is, one of my favourite places to visit.
What album would be the soundtrack to your time at the IIIEE? Why?
Hard House, Dub Step! Just so I could work up the motivation to get out of the house and bike to campus in the middle of Swedish winter. You wake up in the dark, get out of class in the dark. It’s tough, so the music helps!