Chief Impact Officer, Ispire
Luna Stower was employee No. 1 at Ispire. Under her leadership, the company grew to an 85-person company and completed an IPO on the Nasdaq. With that move, she became the only female exec of a cannabis vape company on the American stock exchange.
Luna is active in driving and developing social justice initiatives and educational and service-oriented campaigns at Ispire. She won best activist of 2023 award for that California cannabis awards, Cannabis Culture Advocate of the year in 2022 from the California Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, and the global legalization award by CannaPortugal.
2023 Notable Leaders in Cannabis
Interviewed by Brooke Bilyj
As a cannabis executive and educator, Luna Stower has been instrumental in building and scaling dozens of cannabis brands. Raised and based in the Bay Area, Stower advocates for social justice in the industry through government relations and give-back campaigns.
Stower currently serves as Chief Impact Officer (CIO) at Ispire Technology, a vape manufacturer in Los Angeles. She also judges the Emerald Cup Cannabis Competition Awards and speaks at international cannabis expos, while advising cannabis brands on responsible growth strategies.
Why did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
I got involved after leaving the public school education space, when I realized that education was at the core of normalizing and promoting plant medicine.
My experience in the traditional cannabis market, combined with expertise in curriculum development and psychology, puts me in a unique position to build market share and revenue for cannabis companies.
What challenges do you help cannabis brands overcome?
The biggest issues facing the cannabis industry include overregulation and over-taxation of what was already a thriving, economically rich industry. Many brands experience debilitating obstacles such as costly regulations around labeling and testing, expensive and limited licensing, market overproduction, and a ‘race to the bottom’ on prices.
Lobbying and education of the general public are vital to moving the legislative needle. I urge us as an industry to do a better job of teaming together to advocate for our common interests at local, state, and national levels. If we aren’t on the same page with our strategies, we’ll continue to fuel market confusion.
Why is social justice central to your mission?
Growing up in the Bay Area, I’ve seen the decimation of my community, especially those of color and in marginalized groups, by the racist and unfair drug war.
Many people in this space are so focused on making money and surviving that they forget that this entire industry was built by activists and advocates for AIDS patients and chronically ill people. We often leave these legacy leaders behind when we make business plans without giving back.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Becoming a C-level executive at a publicly traded cannabis company (Nasdaq: ISPR) was a highlight. Also: knowing that a woman could rise the ranks in such a saturated and competitive space.
Being acknowledged by several cannabis chambers of commerce and people’s choice awards as an outstanding and inspiring activist has been another highlight of my career. Working with women’s organizations and campaigns supporting people of color and marginalized folks has brought so much meaning and satisfaction to my work.
I’ll never forget the day that a team of us helped pass the law decriminalizing the use of entheogenic plants in the city of Oakland. Watching City Hall erupt in joy—surrounded by wonderful people who hold high standards as gatekeepers for this industry—keeps me motivated and tells me I’m on the right path.
What lessons can other businesses learn from the cannabis industry?
The way we collaborate with the community and the consumers is extremely unique. There’s a very blurred line between consumers and industry insiders, which keeps the industry down-to-earth and also keeps consumers on the cutting edge of the larger global conversation.
Connect with Stower and learn more at www.LunaStower.com
Sponsored by Ispire Technology