Legends of Cannabiz: David Choi

Dave Choi (right), with fashion designer Olivier Grasset of Dr. Collectors in LA

David Choi is a Canadian cannabiz player.

He is an early mover in a new era of legal cannabis sales and professional marketing. A digital agency veteran on his second career, Dave is simultaneously bursting with energy and quietly grateful for the place he’s found himself.

The son of Korean immigrants, Dave was born and raised in all areas of Toronto, from Parkdale to Flemingdon Park; Scarborough to, now, Trinity Bellwoods.  A graduate of Western University, stumbled upon the dawn of the digital age first in the finance sector, and then in the exhilarating whirlwind of the dot com boom at acclaimed digital agency Blast Radius.

At 44, he’s once again found his way into something big. “I had a good friend who founded a cannabis startup and I knew I needed to be a part of it.” Now Director of Marketing at Up Cannabis, Dave has helped launch one of the first cannabis brands in the Canadian post-prohibition era. With creative collaborators and investors The Tragically Hip, Up is backed by Newstrike and has already made plenty of headlines.

When asked what attracted him to the industry, he says it was all about the opportunity to blaze new trails. “It was a chance to shape a small piece of this industry in the vision that’s my own; to see if I can look ahead of the industry to create new ideas.”

We also asked Dave what advice he had for those looking for their own second career in cannabiz:

  1. Get educated. “There’s enough info on the internet to get educated before you talk to anyone. Sites like Lift.co and leafly.com are a great place to start. There’s no excuse not to get smart about the business before you even think of getting in. Learning is free.”
  2. Network, network, network. Leaf meetups are a great way to learn and start to make connections.” The Toronto based conferences are typically held monthly and attract a wide cross section of industry professionals. “Also, trade shows like O’Cannabiz and Lift Expo are great places to learn from others’ experiences.”

  3. Put the work in. “Passion for the space is great, but it’s more than that. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and validate any assumptions you have. Putting in the work is the only way to get ahead and be able to pivot quickly as the legal framework evolves.”

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