Visibility matters. Growing up in a traditional Cuban household in Miami, Florida, I knew many strong women, but most of them were not leaders in business. I want to inspire the next generation of Latinas to dream big and be confident that they too can become executives, build their own companies, and lead large teams of employees. If I could inspire even just one other Hispanic woman to bet on herself and join the cannabis industry or start her own venture, I’ve succeeded.
Cristina Aranguiz is Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Cannabis & Glass and Iowa Cannabis Co. As a multi-state operator, she operates seven cannabis retail dispensaries in three states and a large cannabis manufacturing site.
Cristina co-founded Cannabis & Glass in 2014 with one retail location as one of the initial winners of the cannabis lottery in WA. At the time, she was the youngest recreational dispensary operator in the nation. Using the cash flow from that initial location, she purchased additional WA retail licenses from operators in 2016 and 2019. She lobbied multiple city councils to overturn moratoriums and relocated those licenses to optimal retail locations. Her Washington locations are ranked among the highest-grossing retailers in the state.
In 2018, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced its intent to issue five retail and two manufacturing licenses. Cristina successfully competed in multiple merit-based applications for those licenses. As a result, she was awarded three retail licenses and one manufacturing license, effectively positioning her Iowa enterprise as a duopoly within the state.
In 2020, she expanded operations into Eastern Oregon by opening an additional retail location. This was made possible by solely funding and managing a ballot initiative campaign to expand cannabis access to Eastern Oregon in 2018. Riding on the success of that campaign, her Oregon location is ranked among the highest-grossing retailers in the state.
With no investors to date, Cristina has funded all growth and expansion with the profits of her enterprise. In just eight years, she organically grew an 800 sqft retail location with $500 of inventory and no employees into an MSO directly competing with other better-capitalized cannabis companies by focusing on customer service, product selection, and profitability.
With millions of transactions and over 10,000 5-star reviews, Cristina’s cannabis companies have developed a loyal customer base that appreciates a consistent commitment to variety, value, and excellent service.