Q & A with Dylan Shropshire, Founder of Big Island Grown and Advisor for the Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control Program

Our next blog post that spotlights members of the Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control’s Industrial Advisory Committee is about Dylan Shropshire, founder of Big Island Grown, a premium medical cannabis dispensary. Read on to learn more about him!

About Dylan Shropshire

Dylan Shropshire is a fifth-generation farmer raised on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, where he currently lives. After graduating from the Hawaii Preparatory Academy, and prior to starting his career and family, Dylan pursued an education in international business and finance. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, magna cum laude.

A successful entrepreneur, accomplished real estate professional, restaurateur, and investor, Shropshire has now permeated the cannabis industry of Hawaii by founding Big Island Grown, medical cannabis dispensary. Big Island Grown has quickly become one of the largest private employers in East Hawaii and as of 2020, was number one in total cannabis sales for the entire state of Hawaii. Big Island Grown operates vertically with a state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot cultivation, manufacturing, and extraction operation which is nearly 100 percent renewably powered by privately permitted hydroelectric and photovoltaic power generation. Big Island Grown was also the first to max out their vertical license with three active locations surrounding the Big Island in Kona, Hilo, and Waimea. Shropshire also created history by opening the first dispensary on the Big Island, which is one of the only medical cannabis dispensaries in the world located on an active volcano.

As a student of Hawaiian history and culture, Shropshire integrates the Hawaiian principles of “Mālama,” meaning “to care for nature, community, and ourselves,” and “Ho’omau,” to “persist and persevere no matter the obstacle” into his daily life.

Q&A with Dylan Shropshire

Q: In your own words, how do you think Excelsior’s Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control program will benefit students?
A: Cannabis is the fastest-growing industry in the world and is here to stay. The limited rollout, lack of normal business practices (i.e., banking), and inconsistent regulation create an extremely complex business environment. This program will help students navigate this complexity and give them an upper hand in launching their cannabis careers.

Q: What do you hope students will take away from this program?
A: How to adapt to changing regulations and operate in a complex business environment. Compliance is everything in this industry.

Q: Please tell us how you started in the industry.
A: I founded a company that was awarded one of the eight extremely competitive medical cannabis dispensary license in Hawaii.

Q: What’s something unique about you that others would find interesting?
A: I’m a fifth-generation farmer and my family moved from Alaska to Hawaii when I was 9 to expand our interior plant business. I was 27 when I put together a winning application for one of the eight Hawaii cannabis licenses and transitioned away from house plants to cannabis plants.

Q: Please mark your area(s) of expertise within cannabis.
A: Compliance, Finance/Business, cultivation, manufacturing, extraction, real estate

Q: What is a piece of advice you’d offer someone getting into the industry?
A: Adapt, adapt, adapt.

Q: What is one thing you wish you had known before entering the industry?
A: How to properly set up funding and company structure with multiple stakeholders

To learn more about Dylan Shropshire, check out the article in the High Times 2019 October Issue at
https://hightimes.com/news/big-island-grown/ and in the Bezinga article, “A Snapshot Of America’s Medical Marijuana Markets: Hawaii” at https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/20/08/16996169/a-snapshot-of-americas-medical-marijuana-markets-hawaii