Rico Lamitte, Dopest Dad on the Street - Employee Spotlight

We want you to get to know some of the amazing people that make Happy Cabbage so special. However, Rico Lamitte is so well known and respected in and out of the cannabis industry that it’s likely you already know him.

He’s a co-host of the High at 9 News show, a TEDx speaker, a former Northwestern football captain, a very proud father (Rico Lamitte, Dopest Dad on the Street™), and currently our leading Account Executive at Happy Cabbage.

However, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the depth of experience Rico has had over his life, and what led him to the cannabis industry. We’ll briefly attempt to capture some of what makes Rico amazing in this blog, knowing we’ll be leaving tons on the cutting room floor for another time.

Originally an east-coaster, Rico grew up in both Virginia and Germany before college. He went on to play college ball at Northwestern outside of Chicago, a top ten university in the nation.

There’s a whole chapter here to explore that we won’t go into, but if you Google Rico and Northwestern, you’ll see the impact he made on the team as a captain and what he endured while there.

However, during training for the NFL, he suffered an injury, was prescribed opiates to cope with the pain, and ended up developing an addiction that almost took his life from him.

He was living on the streets of Chicago, selling weed to pay for his prescription. Before the cops had the opportunity to destroy his life with a prison sentence, a friend of his found him a corporate finance job that helped get Rico off the streets.

Unfortunately, he got the right job at the wrong time; the financial crash of ‘08 happened just a month after he got the job. What was supposed to sum up to $200,000/yr in pay ended up being just $42,000/yr, the base salary for the job.

Naturally, Rico kept selling weed while in finance to help fill the gap, pull him up, and afford his addiction. In the process, he got incredibly good at sales. The financial institution he was working for shipped him out to close all their biggest accounts, most of them in California.

Discovering medical cannabis

While in California, he was exposed to the medical cannabis world. He remarks at how funny it all is to reflect on, as he felt the medical cannabis program at the time was really “just a copout for people trying to get high.”

That was until he got called out by a friend and medical cannabis provider for being an opioid addict. His friend gave him a few tinctures and some flower strains Rico had never encountered before in an effort to cut out the need for opiates.

7 months later, Rico was addiction free. Cannabis had liberated him.

Within 3 years he had closed out his career in finance and jumped into the cannabis industry, joining Baker Technologies in late 2016. He was an early employee, and was staked deeply in what they were doing. In the meantime, his family and friends thought he was crazy. Rico had faith in the power of the medicine, and at the worst he figured he could always fall back on being a personal trainer, so what was really the risk? All in, he forged ahead.

Baker went public in 2018, and like many early tech employees over the last decade, Rico was promised a bunch of stuff that didn’t happen. Watching what he'd helped build at Baker crumble around him, optimism turned to gloom as the people behind the brand’s IPO betrayed their commitments to him.

After this experience, Rico was not keen to ever work with another cannabis tech company. Ever an entrepreneurial spirit, he set out to start a few businesses, one of which was a live events company he ran for the next two years.

From COVID to Rico Lamitte, Dopest Dad on the Street™

You probably see what’s coming next a mile away: COVID killed his event business and he went from making great money to being in debt.

To boot? He had a baby on the way, who would be due 6 weeks after the “shutdown”.

Rico found himself in his darkest moment. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He had just shelled out $5k he didn’t have to a birthing center. Zora was born early after an emergency forced them into the hospital urgently. Fortunately, she was born without incident.

He reflects on this with humor. “My OGs called me up to give me tips about tending to diapers and babies. Imagine some hard dope boys saying ‘look dawg, you gotta get this kind of cream for diaper rash.’”

Zora is now the guiding star in Rico’s life.

After doing consulting and media work, an old Baker colleague called Rico about meeting Andrew Watson, the CEO of Happy Cabbage.

“What was supposed to be a 30 minute chat turned into a 2 hour call about data trends, where the industry is going, and was just a dope, interesting conversation I was not prepared for.”

Rico went from having no interest in working for cannabis tech to landing a role as an Account Executive at Happy Cabbage. What changed his mind?

“It was for me the fact that Happy Cabbage was building AI tools, and I was super interested in that. I wanted to see two of my biggest interests intersect with AI and cannabis. Also to work for a black-founded company, that really interested me as it was entirely different from almost all the other cannabis tech companies.”

Rico has been kicking ass in his role ever since, rising to the highest-performing sales person on the team, and an inspiration to his colleagues and peers. He’s harnessed his sales skills from selling weed, the processes he learned in finance to excel at sales, and the lessons he learned in football to be dedicated and disciplined in the off-season.

Football Captain Wisdom for Sales

Hearing Rico talk about how he applies his football experience to sales is enlightening.

“As a defensive back, you learn you gotta have a short memory. The guy on the field across from you, he’s getting paid as well, he’s on scholarship as well, in the NFL he’ll have a salary to earn too.

People too often take sales personally. It’s not personal, you have no idea outside of the 45 min you’re talking to someone about what they’re going through in their lives, their background, what kind of day they’re having. Keeping that perspective helps ground me.”

On how he has built his processes for success, he has great advice to others trying to excel in sales:

Rico’s Vision for the Cannabis Industry

With so much experience around cannabis, both as a means to earn money to survive as well as a medicine that saved his life, and with his career experience in the industry, we wanted to know what the ideal industry would look like if he could wave a magic wand and have it his way.

This is what he had to say:

“Medical science would lead the industry - not the medical industry, just medical science. You don’t even have to go much deeper than that.

If you base it on medicine and science and go to where the numbers take you, you go to the most affected communities, the ones that need the medicine the most, first. Take it to the communities that have the most urgent need, these are communities of color and communities without wealth.

Cannabis saved my life multiple times over, it’s a communal plant that brings people together, breaks down social barriers that existed prior to experiencing the plant, healing on so many levels.

I would make sure the people that discovered the true power of the plant were honored, elevated, and that they were the elders that helped push this into a more traditional business realm.

Everyone has a place in this industry. The cannabis industry has 3 lanes:

The legacy realm of this industry should be championed. A lot of the folks that are still underground should be elevated, there is so much we can learn from them. I truly believe a lot of the large corporations with no background in that street shit should have at least one former D Boy on their board.”

It’s clear we can all learn from Rico Lamitte. We’re proud at Happy Cabbage to call him a colleague and to work alongside him, learning all he has to teach.

If you know Rico or if you find his story inspiring, please reach out to let him know, and share his story with your colleagues. He has a message we all need to hear, and one we forget at our own peril: this plant saves lives, especially the ones that need it the most.