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Hidden Gems: Meet Tracey Lancaster Miller, Nate Miller, & Warren Lemley of Peake ReLeaf

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Lancaster Miller, Nate Miller, & Warren Lemley. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Peake ReLeaf is a locally owned and operated, independent medical cannabis dispensary in Rockville.

The idea of Peake ReLeaf started in the summer of 2014 when Nate, Warren, and Tracey sat around a campfire and started discussing possibilities. The legislation had just passed that would create the medical cannabis program in Maryland.

All three of us grew up in Maryland (Warren in Rockville, Nate in Baltimore & Phoenix, and Tracey in Parkville). All three of us share a passion for the cannabis plant and its medicinal benefits. And all three of us had a unique set of skills to bring to the table.

Warren’s expertise came from years of working in the restaurant industry throughout Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. He has worked as a server and bartender and also moved into restaurant management along the way. This experience gave him the necessary skills for managing operations, safety and food standards, inventory, and people.

Nate and Tracey had moved out to Colorado in the summer of 2008. Throughout nearly the next decade, we worked and participated in the fledgling cannabis industry.

Much of Nate’s expertise came from his experience working at a hydroponic supply store, first as a part-time warehouse worker and then moving his way into sales and management at the company. He consulted with customers on cultivation build-outs large and small and honed his skills in supply chain management.

Tracey’s experience began in a few entry-level jobs in the cannabis industry – from bud-tending to trimming to processing. She loved learning all she could about medical cannabis from those jobs and was given the opportunity to be trained in the compliance department. There she really found her niche and quickly moved from inventory specialist to compliance manager for both large and small facilities.

Once we realized that, together, we had the skills necessary to open a medical cannabis dispensary, we quickly moved forward, incorporating Peake ReLeaf and using each of our lifetimes of connections to friends and colleagues to ensure a successful application. In the end, we won the license to dispense right in Warren’s hometown, in the district he went to high school.

Today, Peake ReLeaf has been open for just over 4 years and employs almost 30 people. All Peake ReLeaf staff have been hired at the entry-level position and then we promote them into leadership and management positions from there.

This is the way that all three of us came up through our respective industries, and we feel that the perspective of working those jobs is invaluable in leadership roles. Cannabis industry experience is not necessary to work at Peake ReLeaf. In fact, many members of our team have started with no experience and a strong passion and respect for the cannabis plant.

We also must also give credit to our two Directors who have been with us since 2017, Emily Carden – Director of Operations, and Kevin Johnson, Jr – Director of Marketing, who have worked tirelessly over the years to get Peake ReLeaf’s doors open to the public and to grow Peake ReLeaf into the company that it is today.

Peake ReLeaf would “t be the company that it is today without the dedication of Emily and Kevin and all Peake ReLeaf staff, past and present.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The first challenge that we had as a company was the multi-year-long road to opening our doors. After waiting over a year to hear if we would have a successful application, we were finally able to begin the work to build out the facility.

Despite a relatively welcoming local community, we hit bump after bump in the road due to zoning and parking-related issues. The timeline pushed longer and longer until it overlapped with the winter holidays, further delaying build-out.

In the meantime, we were doing all the necessary business to ensure that we had the structures in place to be able to open our doors once build-out was complete and final inspections from the state were approved.

Even in this, the road was bumpy, as company after company assured us they could work with a medical cannabis company, only to tell us that they in fact could not work with us after months of planning. We like to say that whatever takes one step in normal businesses takes five additional steps for a cannabis business. And always multiply all time estimates by at least three!

Eventually, the stars aligned for the build-out to be complete, inspections from the state complete, and the final approval from the state handed down. We opened our doors to the public in May 2018. We experienced the normal ups and downs of a new business as we solidified operations and found our stride.

Then came the second major challenge, the challenge that affected everyone – COVID-19. Our operations had to change completely to ensure the safety of our team and our patients. At the very beginning of the pandemic, we had to balance extremely reduced staffing onsite while seeing an increase in demand from the community.

Operationally, this was a challenge. We like to compare the workflow shift to the restaurant industry – we went from basically a sit-down restaurant to 100% carry-out. In the end, we were able to become incredibly efficient and even explored new opportunities to reach patients in the most vulnerable communities, which led to the roll-out of our delivery service in the summer of 2020.

We are also very proud that we never had to lay off anyone during this challenging time and created and continue to enforce a safe environment for both staff and patients.

As you know, we’re big fans of Peake ReLeaf. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
There are a few areas that set us apart from other medical cannabis dispensaries in the state. We are independent and locally owned.

We have a huge selection of products with rotating daily and weekly specials. This includes bulk flowers weighed to order, where we can offer scaling discounts for higher quantities of flowers purchased.

We now sell hemp CBD products in our lobby, including Peake ReLeaf brand CBD gummies and tinctures. Patients and caregivers must be registered and certified with the state to purchase medical cannabis at Peake ReLeaf, but anyone 18 or older can purchase hemp CBD products at Peake ReLeaf.

We offer a same-day delivery service. Our delivery radius is set by zipcode and is approximately 12-15 miles. Patients and caregivers can give us a call to see if their home zip code is within our delivery radius.

Our loyalty program. Every dollar spent is a point and points can be redeemed for rewards like $100 off a purchase, vaporizers, and even some products like cartridges, shatter, and more. Most unique to Peake ReLeaf is that points never expire, so patients can choose the best rewards for them without worrying about losing points.

Our knowledgeable and compassionate team. They have a deep understanding of the products we carry and how those products can help ease symptoms to improve quality of life. Whether a patient is new to cannabis and needs help getting started, whether they have been a patient for a while and know what works for them or are somewhere in between, our staff will guide them through the process

We believe it is incredibly important to support the community, and we do this through regular donation collection drives (such as book drives, food drives, coat drives, toiletry drives, and more), donations to local non-profit organizations, sponsorships of community events, and support to environmental initiations.

As well as hosting community events that range from educational to interest-based meetups to connect patients in the cannabis community

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
We’re always happy to educate the community to help combat the stigma of medical cannabis and to provide information to help register patients and caregivers.

Call or come by the store to talk with our staff about the process of becoming a patient or caregiver. We also love to get out into the community to talk with groups about medical cannabis. In the past, we’ve spoken to senior centers, medical support groups, and community organizations.

If you work with or collaborate with a group that would like to learn more about medical cannabis, reach out to Tracey at info@peakereleaf.com

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