Ally Founder Story

Founder Series: The Eager Greenthumb

Alexandra Verello
October 03, 2022

Who knew a Horticulture 101 class would shape my career? 

As I trotted to my class in the greenhouse, I was all too eager to embark on my new major of Plant Science at Rutgers University. I sat giddily, with color coordinated pens and highlighters at my disposal for note taking. I retained every word of that introductory lecture, eager for the moment I could apply it in person. At the end of the three hour lecture, the professor got to what was on every college student's mind: cannabis. The posture of the room changed as the stoner plant lovers stood at attention. It was then that Professor G talked about the obvious link between the horticulture industry and the cannabis industry and what it could mean for New Jersey, and it was at this moment that I saw my first opportunity to enter the industry- I was not going to let it slip past me!

After that first class ended, I b-lined over to professor G as students filtered out and immediately asked how I could form a path that would lead me into the cannabis industry. He was hesitant to elaborate, as I had not proven myself to be a good student just yet, but alas, our professional relationship grew over the semester and I found myself maintaining several of his research projects by the end of my first year at Rutgers. Once that year flew by, He and I believed I was capable of beginning my career in cannabis from a student horticulturalist perspective.

Enter: my first dispensary job. It was January of 2018 that I began my role as a cultivator intern at a local NJ dispensary, where my skills and knowledge were amplified by the real world experience. Over the next four years I went from a part time cultivation intern to a senior cultivator responsible for training and maintaining standard operating procedures for incoming growers. High quality was not an option, but a requirement; loving my work wasn’t just for the good days, I had to be present in every action I took on the job regardless of my personal circumstances. This thought process is what made me into a quality oriented cultivator, a quality oriented cannabis connoisseur, and a quality oriented sourcing manager. 

My mission is to keep the ANJA banner associated with high quality, local cannabis. I look forward to exploring the New Jersey scene for passionate cultivators and manufacturers alike to infuse our business with the principles this industry strives to uphold; Quality, culture, education, and inclusion.

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