Alan Gertner, a corporate strategist working for Google, decided to leave his lucrative career to become an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.

For The Globe and Mail, Gertner describes his journey from Silicon Valley to entrepreneurship, which began as a conversation with a Ghanaian tour guide. Gertner wrote,

“I reflected on my career path, admitting to him that I’d lost focus and felt unfulfilled. What he told me changed the course of my life: “You either work on something you love, or work because it supports the people you love.” That’s when I quit Google.”

Gertner is one of many executives who has left his career at a Fortune 500 company to join marijuana’s budding industry.

“I believe cannabis is the next Internet – an immense and untrammelled new market opportunity – and Tokyo Smoke is gearing up to take advantage of it. At least 10 per cent of North Americans consume cannabis on a regular basis and consumer product brands have yet to enter this enticing, mainstream, rapidly legalizing space.”

To develop his new concept, Gertner drew upon his father’s small business experience and his mother’s creative spirit:

“My mother, a designer, has been a huge creative influence in my life and pointed me in the direction of branding and retail. I flew back to Toronto to work closely with my father to develop a brand that would redefine the cannabis marketplace.”

Tokyo Smoke, a brand which “redefines the coffee shop” held a pop-up retail experience in Venice, California, and has plans for locations Washington, Oregon and California.

kristin kloc

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