After years of working for large pharmaceutical companies, Sherry Strong left the industry declaring that their priority by law requires them to answer to shareholders rather than to patients. Forging her own path in line with the values she strongly espouses has led to her current role as the quality systems and compliance manager and a partner at Khemia, Whole Plant Plus, an environmentally conscious brand of “Cannabis for Women by Women,” per the company’s motto. The female founders and leaders are cannabis experts who love sharing their knowledge about its healing properties. The company selects each flower for specific effects and symptom relief to give customers the ability to cater the cannabis to their body’s natural chemistry.
Part of Ms. Strong’s area of expertise is microbiology and finding root causes of contamination. Her responsibilities include writing standard operating procedures, overseeing training and manufacturing, reviewing every document, and ensuring high standards of safety and sanitation as well as adherence to all local and federal regulations. She also is a cannabis medical researcher and promotes Khemia, Whole Plant Plus, by making formulations and sending them out for feedback. Making an impact on the business community, Ms. Strong is affectionately referred to as “the cannabis queen” by the local Davis Chamber of Commerce. In the coming years, she wants her topical products to be released to the public while continuing to educate the public, especially seniors, about medical cannabis. Understanding that people often approach cannabis with caution, Ms. Strong wants it to become normalized so that individuals can seek it for potential health benefits.
One of Ms. Strong’s most notable career achievements was in 2020, helping to open Velocity Island Park in California, performing safety controls, and enabling its successful launch. She first became interested in learning more about cannabis in the mid-1970s while working on political campaigns. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, she recalled, was promoting the criminalization of marijuana. Living in a community of mostly dark-skinned people, she witnessed this population being unfairly arrested most often for marijuana use, seized an opportunity to distribute literature about cannabis, and became a permanent freelance cannabis advocate. The first in her family to graduate from college, Ms. Strong earned a diploma with honors in cannabis from Oaksterdam University, Wise Education Technology, Inc., and a Bachelor of Science in food science from the University of California, Davis, where she collaborated with a physiologist on the study of cannabidiol and exercise.
Ms. Strong is a certified pharmaceutical auditor, an advisory board member of the Kratom Vendors Association, and a past member of the Yolo County Cannabis Association. Before joining Khemia, Whole Plant Plus in 2017, she was a consultant, quality control associate, and an environmental quality assurance professional at Genentech, Inc., a quality control microbiologist in project management specializing in Mylan at Viatris Inc., and a microbiologist at Dey Pharma L.P. Crediting her success to hard work and having supportive family and friends, Ms. Strong believes her experience in science, manufacturing, and working in the big pharmaceuticals industry makes her ideal for her current profession which applies science and natural healing. Trusting that her awareness of natural therapeutics has increased over time, she is determined to ensure that the ingredients in both traditional and natural medicines are safe and available to people who need them.
As a dedicated volunteer, Ms. Strong is a cannabis advocate serving more than 40 people. In addition, she regularly works with hobby growers who give her free plants for people in medical need. In her leisure time, she enjoys making topicals in her kitchen, traveling, hiking, reading, and cooking.