Christina DiPaci of Paradiso Gardens on Big Sur Living and an Inclusive Cannabis Industry

Also, creating an art NFT fundraiser for Last Prisoner Project and Nina Parks' work

Christina DiPaci is founder and CEO of Paradiso Gardens, one of the largest independent craft cannabis farms in California. Well-versed in the cannabis trade for more than 10 years, Christina does it all from compliance to finance, while also having a hand in strain selection, package design and brand development. Her focus on seizing opportunities to be more fun, creative and productive encourages a vibrant and happy workplace—one supported by lifelong friends and founding partners who've worked in the cannabis trade their entire lives.

Christina holds a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Parsons School of Design and a graduate certificate in scientific illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay. Christina enjoys living in Big Sur with the ocean, her two horses and beautiful garden. She also loves drawing and painting in her spare time, and occasionally kicking back and watching movies.

We spoke with Christina for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.

Christina, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in a small town along the Hudson River not far from New York City called Nyack. I loved growing up there, and love all my childhood friends. I now live in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean with my two cats and two horses.

Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you're based.

As CEO of Paradiso Gardens in Monterey County, I'm involved in everything from irrigation to sales and everything in between. I love growing plants, developing our team onsite and interacting with dispensary buyers and budtenders. 

A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.

I can't believe how lucky I am to have been born in a time of cannabis legalization. For me and my co-founders, cannabis has been a force to align with to create impact in the world by doing what we love—growing and selling weed! We have such a wonderful opportunity to create an inclusive industry that creates wealth for women and POC while providing the people of Earth with some medical and adult-use relief from the realities of living. The story of my life has been written by the positive impact of cannabis.

A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.

Rose Delights edibles are my absolute favorite product, and the founder Nathan is a dear friend. I eat them every day. When I am out of Rose, I dive into Kiva Lost Farm gummies and chews.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

As a cultivation company and brand, it is very difficult to get any data on our actual consumers—those who are buying our products at the dispensary. Because of this, it's difficult to know the best ways to market and improve our products. It's also kind of a delight because without this data driving our decisions, it allows us to market and do things we think are cool and fun, hoping the consumers think so too!

One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

We are so excited to see more packaging options available to cannabis brands that take into account our planet! We use PLA material (fully compostable), recycled ocean plastics and fully recyclable mylar for our packaging. I hope others do the same.

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

Success Centers out of the Bay! We love working with its Equity for Industry Program run by Ms. Angela White. By helping illuminate different aspects of our operations to constituents interested in joining the cannabis industry, they can better understand opportunities available to them.

It's fun to share insights about not only our grow, but our branding processes as well. It’s been a dream come true to build this company and we want to help others understand what we are doing, so they can realize their dreams are accessible and closer to their reach than they might think.

A recent project you're proud of.

We are currently working on an art NFT fundraiser to support Last Prisoner Project. We are auctioning off an artistic rendition of a weed nug "painted" out of emojis and created for us by our friend Yung Jake. All of the proceeds go to Last Prisoner Project. I am so proud of this because we, a cannabis company, are helping fix the wrongs caused from the war on drugs through our love of the arts. Bliss!

Someone else's project you admired recently.

I am always in admiration of Emerald Queen Farms. Hannah, Riley and the whole team up in Willow Creek, Humboldt, are fabulous people. Starting with building a half pipe in the middle of their grow six years ago, they have supported the local community by advocating for a skate park and most recently taking over a skate park in Arcata. They are truly invested in creating spaces for the community to be expressive and creative, leading to more opportunities for the next generation. I love them.

Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.

We are all doing what we can to further this industry, but Nina Parks is someone who comes to mind. She works extensively to help create more equity within the cannabis industry through policy. I admire her so much because it takes much patience to deal with lawmakers and she selflessly does this for the greater good!

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

I would be painting and riding horses, but something tells me there's no way that I wouldn’t be part of the cannabis industry.

Higher Calling is a weekly series, publishing on Thursdays, where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.

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