Women to Watch: Kayla Sanchez
Kayla Sanchez was born and raised in St. Louis. Missouri, and has an Associate in General Studies and was one of the first to complete her Certification in Cannabis Operations and Science from Saint Louis University.
Sanchez initially went to college for nursing, that changed her freshman year in college, when she was told that she had an immune disorder that would prevent her from pursuing a nursing degree. For Sanchez, cannabis felt like a natural shift, a patient who found cannabis and plant medicine to be her preferred treatment. The change in direction allowed her to care for patients’ health in a different capacity.
“I have a love for all things plants and using them as medicine. When I realized being a nurse was no longer an option, Saint Louis University was just starting its cannabis program. I applied and was accepted to be in their first class. The program incorporated multiple avenues of the industry but I really resonated with the cultivation side of things. Upon completion of the program, I was hired on to work as a cultivator for a medical facility.”
Now Sanchez uses that educational foundation and an earned understanding of the complexities of the cannabis industry to try to help operators.
Sanchez founded Guided Green Solutions in late 2023, noticing a need for education, proper training, and compliance within the cultivation space while working at a medical marijuana facility in Missouri. Guided Green’s goal is to bridge the gap between education and grower. The company curates fully customizable SOPs and educational material for cannabis cultivation facilities to help properly train their growers while staying in compliance with state regulations.
As a new company owner, there are many hats to be worn, from technical writer to marketing. However, Sanchez says her favorite role is sitting down with cultivators and helping them curate materials that fit their facility in training their growers.
Now. with the legalization of adult use and the expansion of many operations in Missouri, Guided Green Solutions is positioned to help operators grow. Sanchez sees the legalization of marijuana in Missouri as being one step closer to federal legality.
“This is huge for compliance. We are in desperate need of national standards like Europe has with their EU GMP. For legalization in Missouri specifically, it’s exciting to have started my company right when recreational hit. It has definitely created an opportunity of growth. As Missouri companies are expanding and multiplying proper education and training are more important than ever.”
What if any challenges have you faced that you feel men in the industry don’t generally deal with?
I feel lucky to have for the most part felt very supported and encouraged by the men in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the effects of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. I have had men not take me seriously in meetings, I have dealt with men asking me out and making inappropriate advances on professional platforms, as well as being told my success comes solely from the way I look.
What motivates you?
This industry often feels like a roller coaster. I have found that having a pure passion for the plant and its power has gotten me through a lot of rough patches. I also often look up to the women in this industry. They have played a huge part in my success from supporting me and my business to inspiring me. In my opinion, they are the real trailblazers. Fighting stereotypes of what it looks like to be a woman in business while in an industry that is still being rejected by parts of society.
What advice or encouragement would you give to other women in the cannabis industry?
My best piece of advice is to connect with other women in the industry. I found that the cannabis community is built on strong connections. Some of the strongest of which I have found are the ones where women are supporting each other.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment has been creating Guided Green Solutions. I found a need within the industry and decided to take a huge leap to help create a solution. I am proud of how far my company has come in the few short months of being open and am extremely excited to see where it goes.