Looking for a job in the cannabis industry? Sativa diva Lisa DiFrancesco worked her way up from budtender and edibles connoisseur to distributor and social media manager before landing at Cream of the Crop GardensCOTC Gardens is a top shelf seed-to-seal brand supplying many California dispensaries including Urbn Leaf and Golden State Greens. COTC Gardens products are known for potency: they often test around 30% THC, well above the average amount of 14%. The company also offers budtender education classes for hands-on experience and a chance to discover new and unique flavors.

What got you into the industry?

Says Lisa, “I was looking for a new career at the time when a close friend was hiring at a local dispensary. I became a budtender and started learning every angle of the industry from the supplier, consumer and patient’s perspective. I unexpectedly found my passion, helping people in a way they may have never considered and educating people with the opportunities.”

What new products are you looking forward to?

“Our latest product line is called ‘The Chill Pill.’ It is unlike anything else on the market. We currently have four different bottles made with Full Spectrum Oil (FSO), also known as (RSO), originally curated by Rick Simpson. You’ll be able to find this new line at local Southern California dispensaries in the near future.”

Can you share do’s or don’ts for beginners?

“If you’re a beginner ‘do’ start slow. You can always have more, but ease your way into it. Don’t be afraid to try top or bottom shelf qualities.The more you acquire a cannabis palate, you may begin to prefer the top shelf. Don’t skip reading the label, especially on edibles, as many of them will recommend starting with a quarter of a gummy opposed to eating the whole thing at once. Lastly, don’t feel like you have to know all the right questions to ask! Your budtender is there to help and knows which products are worth a try.”

How is the San Diego market unique?

San Diego is a rapidly growing market, but still focuses on flower quality even with increasing demand. Los Angeles is a gradual moving market that tends to focus on what is trendy. The involvement with the community also makes San Diego stand out. COTC Gardens, for example, does treatment sponsorships for medical patients. We’ve sponsored recovering alcoholics and addicts, a breast cancer patient and a brain tumor patient. It was incredible to be a part of their recoveries.

We’ve witnessed the brain tumor diminish in one of our patients and a breast cancer patient who is getting close becoming a survivor. The community support is what drives us to produce the cream of the crop. We were recently voted in the top 10 best flower companies in California.”

*All photos provided courtesy of COTC Gardens @toking.tigress



Erica has a background in Marketing, Content Curation, PR, Psychology and Business.  In her free time you can find her at the beach, traveling the world or doing bikram yoga.  She is always open to happy hours and new adventures.