Q&A With Tatev Oganyan of the Oganyan Agency: Changing the Game in Cannabis
The 360 Magazine had the honor of interviewing a woman who is changing the game in the cannabis space as well as luxury consumer goods as one of the top attorneys in California. She is a force to be reckoned with due to her many accolades and talents. Mrs. Oganyan speaks on gender equality, balancing her professional and personal life, her favorite hobbies including her successful “Happy High Hour” events in Orange County, the future of the cannabis industry, and which A-list celebrities are investing in cannabis companies. Read the informative interview below and keep up with Tatev on INSTAGRAM and her website TheOganyanAgency.com
As a powerful female attorney in the cannabis space, do you find being a woman has made it harder for your success? We read all the time about actresses not being paid the same as their male co-stars. Would you say the cannabis industry is similar or not at all?
I think being a woman has its challenges in most industries including acting and cannabis, especially as you move up the corporate ladder. I have seen my fair share of gender inequality, which could be detrimental to cannabis companies. Without a doubt, there are a lot more hurdles for women to overcome but we are stronger because of it in an industry that requires thick skin. You must know your worth and advocate for yourself, negotiate your pay and work hard to get what you want because it will not be handed to you.
How do you balance your professional life and your personal life? 360 read that you work with your husband, what are your tips on leaving work stress at the office?
My husband is of counsel at The Oganyan Agency for corporate and commercial real estate matters so it’s not uncommon to talk business while we brush our teeth.
We just got back from our honeymoon in Croatia, which we had to postpone for eight months due to work deadlines. We powered through and our clients were very grateful. Here are some tips that work for us
- Get organized and coordinate scheduling for work and personal time on a regular basis.
- Respect professional boundaries and personal space at home and in the office, which is important for privacy and comfort.
- Find ways to instill passion in each project and have fun. Your clients will appreciate it.
- Make time for nature to unplug and stay active.
- Be present.
Our readers would love to know some of your favorite hobbies.
My creative outlet is drawing, painting, and curating unique experiences through experiential marketing. This week, we hosted a Happy High Hour, which was an exclusive taste testing event for industry insiders and influencers to meet Trendi, an indoor premium California flower brand that launched this summer.
Where do you see the Cannabis Industry within the next year?
Without federal legalization, sound regulation, and tax breaks, the market will continue to be volatile as the illicit market thrives. Large operators will continue to buyout challenged operators. Mergers and acquisitions will accelerate as larger companies expand their footprint to boost revenue. The stigma will reduce as education and research improves and more states legalize cannabis. A lot more Americans will be open to using cannabis regularly for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Do you believe cannabis will be legalized on a federal level? If so, when do you see that happening?
I believe cannabis will be legalized but no time soon, unfortunately. I am optimistic about the prospects of full federal legalization in the long run because I believe it has broad popular support from the American people.
Just look at how long progress takes at the federal level with the SAFE Banking Act which was first introduced in 2013. It would be a huge boom to the legitimacy of the cannabis industry if cannabis companies could bank like every other legitimate business.
It’s 2022 and despite the Act’s continued bipartisan support, we see it held up for one reason or another by both Democrats and Republicans. Overall, we believe the momentum is there for the bill to eventually pass, but it is not a priority for this legislative season.
Tell us who inspires you and did they help influence you to pursue your career in the cannabis space?
My cannabis backstory happened largely by chance. I applied for a job on Indeed fall of 2016 and the industry was not disclosed to me until the final interview. I requested time to consider the offer since I was unsure if cannabis was legal at the time. My husband (then boyfriend) helped me research California laws on cannabis and encouraged me to pursue a legal career in cannabis. He also believed in my entrepreneurial spirit since law school and motivated me to start my own business in 2020. Today, we tag team our largest projects together.
What are 3 tips or professional advice you have for our readers who are looking to open a dispensary and have never been in the cannabis industry before?
- Only the cream of the crop makes it. Don’t expect to get rich overnight. The heavy tax burdens (up to 40%), ever-changing regulations, and competing illicit markets make it challenging to operate a profitable dispensary.
- Know your market. Integrate yourself into the cannabis culture for long-term industry success.
- The industry is not for the faint-hearted. Learn to eat bad news for breakfast because you must be relentless to survive when navigating unseen waters.
Since 360 is a lifestyle magazine and also focuses on celebrities, do you see a shift in celebrities being open publicly about using cannabis recreationally?
We are seeing more celebrities openly discuss cannabis or CBD consumption especially celebrities who want to get into the cannabis industry. Fans expect authentic ventures and collabs. Cannabis consumers are very quick to reject cash grabs.
In order to succeed, celebrities must connect with the culture and lifestyle by openly sharing their story and relationship with weed. Otherwise, their involvement will seem merely opportunistic.
Do you think celebrities will start investing in cannabis companies?
Cannabis is an emerging industry and a hot commodity with strong ties to Hollywood, hip-hop, and reggae cultures. In recent years, more celebrities are investing in cannabis-connected businesses. Many like Mike Tyson, Bella Thorne and Seth Rogen are already creating their own cannabis brands. Brands that exemplify celebrity personas capitalize on an existing fan base, which can help drive retail sales. It’s exciting to see how celebrity-backed products attract new cannabis-curious consumers and audiences.
Lastly, if you could give advice and inspiration to your younger self starting off in law school, what would you say?
I would tell my younger self to enjoy the ride as much as the destination. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun because the work will always be there. Trust your instincts and stop doubting yourself. Use your fear as fuel to learn. Being scared and uncomfortable is a sign of personal growth.