In this Cannabis Creative Blog, I sit down with Christine Stio, founder of Buzzado’s Delivery. We talk about how she uses cannabis in her family, her experience navigating the New York market so far, and the excitement she has for the “last job of her life.”
You never know where a cannabis journey will take you.
Christine Stio came to cannabis in high school, as many people do. She recognizes now that she felt the benefits of the plant even then, but was unable to articulate them. Fast-forward to 2017 and Christine made the decision to try CBD, not just for herself, but for her kids too. Her son Aiden has autism, and she had been digging into the research surrounding the benefits. It helped for a while, but when his anxiety spiked, Christine knew she needed to try something new.
A podcast episode with Honey Walls Smith and Dr. Leah Johnson was the spark she needed. Aiden met with Dr. Johnson and was given a suggested dosage and administration routine. Christine says it transformed him. Aiden went from suffering from multiple panic attacks a day to being functional.
This experience, combined with her existing love for the plant, convinced Christine it was time to dive into the industry. She had left her teaching position and was ready to start something new – what could be better than joining New York’s newly legalized market?
And so Buzzado’s Delivery was born. Buzzado’s “brings the buzz to you.” Christine is currently awaiting response on her CBD delivery license, and has partnered with well-known NY brands like Tonic and Beak & Skiff. Her dream for the business is to expand into THC delivery and an ecommerce store, but it’s not all about expansion.
Christine wants to spread the healing power of cannabis with as many people as possible.
“For me, it’s about getting the message out to people helping them realize, hey, this can be a help. This is good for all of us. It’s good for the earth.”
The New York Office of Cannabis Management is taking their sweet time rolling out regulations and industry standards for the numerous license types they named in the MRTA. Understandably, they’ve been most heavily focused on growers, which leaves business owners like Christine, who are applying for other license types, left waiting.
It can be challenging and frustrating to join into an immersing industry, but Christine doesn’t let it get her down.
“I’m just gonna keep moving forward and just pushing through. My heart and soul are already here. I’m not leaving anytime soon. This is where I see myself for the rest of my life.”
What has your experience been like navigating the NYS market so far?
CS: It’s been interesting for sure. I’ve always been a person who perseveres and keeps moving forward. I’m a positive spirit, I don’t give up easily. However, there’s a lot of hurdles out there in order to have access to this industry. It’s very capital reliant, you definitely can’t be without a lot of money in the bank. And so a person in my situation- I’m single parent, I don’t receive any child support, so it’s a lot of hurdles financially.
I’m an educator by trade, I’ve been teaching since 1998, so I understand how to gain resources, how to reach out to people and say, hey I heard about the incubator, or I have questions about this, or how to write a business plan, what lawyers to talk to, different professionals to connect with and network with
I feel blessed to have that piece in me, that educator that knows, don’t give up, keep reaching out, keep asking questions. But it’s been a blessing too. I’ve met some of the most amazing people by jumping into this industry. I’m 50 years old, I’ve been trying to enlighten people my whole life. And I’m finally in this industry where this is where my heart and soul. Plant-based medicine and bringing people together, educating them about the things we should have all known our whole lives growing up you know, getting rid of that stigma.
I feel blessed, even though I’m not really like earning an income from the industry yet, it’s not about that for me. I was interviewed by channel eight and they were like, oh, where do you see Buzzado’s delivery in five years? The question wanted an answer more like, I’m gonna be in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo. And that’s not my goal.
My goal is to help people. Even if it’s on a small level. For me, it’s about getting the message out to people helping them realize, hey, this can be a help. This is good for all of us. It’s good for the earth.
You’re applying for a license – ecommerce or delivery. What’s the status of that in NYS?
CS: The regulations for delivery have not been released yet. Obviously their [NYS Office of Cannabis Management] focus has to be on cultivating processing and retail. The dispensaries will be the ones to open before delivery launches. You’ve gotta have a succession of priority. Because without product, what are we gonna do? Nothing
We got the product growing, we’ve got the processing going to create all the cool edibles, cartridges, and the different things the processors will help us with. And then retail is gonna be opening up. I’m just kind of waiting and seeing if this makes sense for me at this point, I’m still waiting on my CBD license to come through.
What’s the status of Buzzado’s now?
CS: I can launch Buzzado’s because I had already partnered with companies like Beak & Skiff, Tonic and different companies to be able to sell their CBD products on my e-commerce platform. However, going through the process to gain banking in Buzzado’s name and my business name for the e-commerce was quite the hurdle. Took me about four months, but I finally got it approved.
I know how hard it is to get banking. And when I finally got the banking, I had to get payment processing for the credit cards. And I was very close to getting that, but I put it on pause because I can’t launch my website in good faith knowing I don’t have my license for CBD yet.
So the bank is pretty much like holding my account. I have a tiny little bit of money in there, and they’re like, we’re not gonna charge you any kind of fees until you’re actually up and running. And then the payment processing said the same. We’re not gonna officially do this yet, we have to wait because I want my license first.
Do you know what the status of your CBD delivery license is?
CS: I’m hoping to get it soon. I applied for that in January, I reached out to them probably about four weeks ago, and they said, we’re working diligently. And I think with everything they’re doing with the adult rec program, it’s easy to probably just push this stuff aside. I’m just gonna keep reaching out and asking and calling and emailing. The squeaky wheel usually gets the grease
What do you see the future of the NY market as?
CS: I’m excited to see what’s to come. I wanna see all my colleagues succeed.
I really want New York to come through for social equity. I don’t want social equity to be a buzzword because, it’s easy to throw these words around, but I always say actions speak louder than words.
Incubators are great; however they don’t fund people. What social equity applicants need is both. You need incubators, but you also need funding opportunities. And I know they had the funding opportunity for dispensaries, which is amazing. The $200 million is important, but I’m hoping they follow through with all the other license types.
We have a lot of great advocates here in our state. And I feel like with the advocacy and the people speaking out on our behalf, like NYCGPA and different associations, I feel like we’ve got a really great group of really intelligent, brilliant people that are speaking up for this industry and wanna see it go the right way.
What’s next for you?
CS: The next year, I’m just gonna keep moving forward and just pushing through. My heart and soul are already here. I’m not leaving anytime soon. This is where I see myself for the rest of my life.
Once the regulations come out for the rest of the license types, I’m hoping to figure out whether to go delivery or ecommerce. There’s been several professionals I’ve been talking to that said delivery is going to be a great model, they believe in delivery. But I need to make sure it’s going to work for me as a social equity applicant and that I will have sufficient funding opportunity to apply and make it happen.
This is my last gig where I could live the rest of my life, no matter what capacity I’m able to do that in, I will still be doing it.
What’s your personal favorite way to consume cannabis?
CS: I love variety. I’ve been learning and experimenting with different varieties, but for convenience, I guess I would just say the vape cartridge.
I love real flower, but Aiden’s very sensitive to smell, so I can’t consume it in my home because he hates the smell. When I do consume real flour, I enjoy using a bong, because a bong delivers a really smooth experience.
I’m a lightweight- it doesn’t take much cannabis for me to feel the effect. The bong high for me is better, but that’s a macro dose situation. For micro-dose, I love my gummies. I take a five-milligram gummy just like Aiden and I cut it into fourths and take it as needed. Some days I need two little bits, some days I need three, some days I need five or six through the day.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
CS: This is good for women my age. Did you know cannabis reduces your metabolic body temperature? So women my age, we get hot flashes. Some people suffer from hot flashes worse than others, but because it reduces your metabolic body temperature when you consume cannabis, it squashes your hot flashes. I was noticing as I was taking my micro-doses more regularly (not with macro) one would start coming on, and I would take a hit of my vape. And it’s gone. I’m like, my hot flash is gone! So I looked it up, and it is scientifically valid.
And I always did notice certain different types of flower could make me actually cold. Depending on what type of flower it is, the strain, the terpenes it could actually make me shivering cold.