Military Veterans Are Finding Careers, Community, Purpose, and Treatment in the Cannabis Industry
“When I was in the military, cannabis was never a thought for me. It’s not an option and it’s very taboo,” says former Marine Captain and cannabis pioneer Ben Madden. “As you probably know, cannabis use is grounds for immediate dismissal from the service.”
When Madden was still active in the military, he was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2011 with fellow Marine Aeron Sullivan, who later founded the online cannabis marketplace Tradiv. The two didn’t know it then, but around four years later they would be operating the world’s largest wholesale cannabis e-commerce platform together. The distribution platform connects cultivators, product manufacturers, and dispensaries in a streamlined and automated fashion. It’s essentially the Amazon for wholesale cannabis, but just for business-to-business (B2B) purposes.
While a rising number of military veterans are making a living providing security for marijuana businesses, others like Madden are getting fully immersed within the cannabis industry. As Tradiv’s director of operations and supply chain, Madden’s job is to facilitate the delivery between cultivators and the customer in both California and Colorado. From planning out all of the logistics and ensuring that the product finds its way from seller to buyer, the ex-Marine knows how to complete a task efficiently.
“Initially the veteran presence in cannabis was largely limited to security and jobs that translate more directly to military service, but what the industry is realizing is that when you hire a veteran you get a lot more than that,” Madden explains. “When you hire a veteran, and that person comes across an obstacle, it’s just, figure out how to get around it, over it, under it, through it. The bottom line is we have a strong sense of getting the job done no matter what we face.”