Priscilla Vilchis | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Priscilla Vilchis

Background:  

Premium Produce was the first medical marijuana company licensed in Nevada for cultivation and production. Priscilla Vilchis also owns Cali Premium Produce in the Los Angeles area, the first medical marijuana company to receive the same license in the state of California. She is making history in the industry as the youngest female in Nevada and the only female and minority in California to receive these competitive licenses.

The Mistake:

I was not prepared for – and had to learn the hard way – something that’s very common [in the industry] now.

I remember applying for these very difficult licenses in the state of Nevada in early 2014. And I had just gone through putting the team together and all the information. The amount of information was about the size of an encyclopedia – that's how much was needed for all these separate applications, and I was so overwhelmed.

I thought, "OK, right before we submit, I'm going to go away with my mother, grandmother and aunt to Rome. I've worked so hard. I'm just going to go out there and relax because everything is going to be submitted."

I remember getting a phone call in the middle of the night in Italy and it was my lawyer calling me very frantic. He said to me, "Priscilla, we have a problem. There was an oversight. The property we had agreed to apply with and build our facility, well, the banks do not finance medical marijuana properties. I had assumed that I would be able to get any of our local banks to open escrow on this, and they will not."

So here was my leisure vacation and I'm thinking everything's OK, and I had to buy a $2 million property instantly and close escrow in less than 15 days. These are things that people fail to think of, and whose fault is it? Was it my lawyer's? Was it mine? Technically, it was no one's fault because we all agreed to go into a new industry where nothing is very certain. It's all trial-and-error and we're all discovering it together.

This was pretty big for us. On top of that, we had to submit the capital for the build-out at the same time, separately from having to buy the building. It was all very unexpected. It was a $2 million day for us when I thought I was going to have a beautiful little vacation.

With all of these unknowns, you also get to make history.

The Lesson:

I learned that with all of these unknowns, you also get to make history. We get to be front and center to all of this. That has allowed me to continue on ahead.

You have to know things are going to happen and be prepared for that, but when you succeed and excel, everyone will then look at us as the first ones to ever make history in this industry. It's very exciting, in a bittersweet way.

Photo courtesy of CMW Media/Christian Rodas

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