More Than a Hashtag: It Feels Good to Do Good

Here at Avitas, we love what we do. We work hard to create excellent, pesticide-free cannabis products, and we’re passionate about getting them right. But that’s not all we think about. Flower and oil may be our focus, but we believe it’s our responsibility to make sure our vision is broader than just our products, and we actively seek out ways to go above and beyond the demands of our business. Joe Bergen, General Manager of Avitas Oregon, puts it plainly, “I think we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our resources and the profits that we derive from those resources. We want to make sure that we’re taking steps to make our products better, but also keeping an eye on the larger picture.”

As a company, we love to give back. It’s built into our DNA. Our co-founder, Adam, says “Part of what I wanted when I built Avitas was a company that I could be proud of. How we run the company matters, not just the products we’re putting out into the world but also, how we treat our employees, and how we use our success to give back to the community.”

It feels good to do good isn’t just a slogan for us. We’re always on the hunt for ways to put even just a little bit of tangible goodness into the world. That’s why, this year, we’re continuing to give back. We’ve partnered with several local food banks who work tirelessly to ensure that all Washington residents have access to food while respecting their dignity and promoting good health. One in six Washingtonians relies on their local food bank for the meals and one in seven Washingtonians relies on SNAP (food stamps), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is severely threatened by budget cuts. What’s more, half of all people on SNAP are kids. We don’t think anyone should ever go hungry, but especially not during the holidays, which is why we’re proud to partner with these organizations because we know they are committed to nutrition and healthy eating while reducing hunger.

We’re always looking for ways to help give back to our community. If you know of a need in the community or a local charity or nonprofit organization that we might be able to help, send us an email. We love being able to support the community that’s helped us grow.

After all, it feels good to do good.  

Serendipity & the Science Director: Amber Wise's Avitas Journey

At Avitas, we think it’s incredibly important that people understand the chemistry behind the cannabis. That’s why we’re transparent about our methods and are committed to integrity in everything we do from testing for pesticides to our full-spectrum extraction process in our oils. That’s why we try to go above and beyond in our scientific approach to cannabis, which brings us to our talented Science Director, Dr. Amber Wise.

An Unlikely Journey

A few years ago, if you’d told Amber she’d be the Science Director for one of the leading cannabis producer/processors in the Pacific Northwest, she wouldn’t have believed you, but now she laughs, “Nineteen-year-old Amber is really excited about what’s happening right now!” A little over a year ago, Amber, burnt out on academia and looking for a change, met our co-founder, Adam, at the Cannabis Science Conference in Portland. Adam was immediately impressed by Amber saying, “We’d been on the hunt for a Science Director for a while, and I was thrilled to run into Amber at the conference. I thought she’d be a great fit for Avitas.”

Amber brings a vast field of knowledge to our team. She has her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She finished off her studies with postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco studying chemical exposure risk and toxicology and a stint as a science policy research intern chemical exposure, risk and toxicology with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Her command of chemistry is far-reaching and much-needed in our growing industry.

Cannabis + Chemistry = The Perfect Match

There are quite a few Ph.D.s in analytical labs, but it’s relatively unique to have a Ph.D. in this position at a producer/processor. Amber believes that as the industry continues to grow, having Ph.D.s in this area will become an industry standard. She explains, “There’s a real need for scientists--and good ones--in this industry. There’s so much basic research that needs to be done on everything from extractions, to profiles of strains, and genetics.”

She continues, “Most typical commodities have had tons and tons of scientific research done on its different properties, but cannabis is lagging way behind for a variety of different reasons.” She reveals that this has to do with the fact that cannabis research is still illegal at the Federal level and that though there are interesting studies ongoing abroad, most of the research that’s being done is within private industry, so very few people are particularly interested in sharing information because it’s proprietary. The secretive nature of cannabis research needs to change. Some of Amber’s focus is on networking. Reaching out both on a peer level, through educational seminars for budtenders, and giving talks at cannatech meetups. And, to be honest, it’s a lot of hard work.

Work Hard, Play Hard, Work Harder

That’s something nineteen-year-old Amber might not have counted on, but Dr. Amber Wise takes the challenge on with a smile. “There’s a lot of misconceptions from outsiders about the cannabis industry. We start early, have a very strict work schedule, punch in punch out. It’s not like we don’t have a good time. It’s just very professional.”

The cannabis industry still has a long way to go in terms of fully understanding the wonders of the cannabis plant. A great deal of research is still needed to help guide processes and procedures across the board, but we’re sure glad to have Amber onboard to help lead the way in chemistry as we continue on our journey.

If you ever have a science-related question about our process or products, Amber is happy to answer them--just send her an email!