Several weeks following a protracted battle with marijuana activists over his company's drug-testing policy, Todd Mitchem has left Denver hash-oil maker O.penVAPE. He was chief revenue officer and the company's public face.
“Leaving was kind of surprising, and I’m making the most of it,” Mitchem says in a press release. “It was a fun, exciting and often unpredictable ride at O.penVAPE. I'm proud of what I managed to accomplish and am proud of the success this team has achieved. I want to keep working around the industry to make things happen.”
Mitchem, who joined O.penVAP last year, plans to stay in the cannabis industry as a consultant. "Todd has made many valuable contributions to our company, and we wish him the greatest success in all future pursuits as we grow and innovate in this exciting industry,” the company offered in a statement.
Mitchem got caught up in a maelstrom in April and May when O.penVAPE announced it would start testing employees at the company's Denver headquarters for "dangerous drugs." This ticked off activists, who wouldn't accept any form of drug-testing at a marijuana business. After weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions with a number of reformers, O.penVAPE backed off from their initial plan and switched to a new policy of computer-based impairment testing. But the damage to O.penVape and Mitchem, who sparred with activists on Twitter, was done.
"Someday I will share all of the many experiences," Mitchem continues in the release. "While I am excited to help other companies achieve the same level of success and thrilled to acting as a bridge to mainstream acceptance, make no mistake; I will miss this team greatly. It's like leaving a family behind, but I know they will all be very successful. It is truly an amazing time for the cannabis business world and I hope to help by guiding more companies into powerful mainstream acceptance with a better articulation of business practices that the consumer, the state governments and the employees will appreciate. Like I have said before, it's not a new industry it's a new way of doing industry, and I am excited to now be working with other companies in the space. I did what I came here to do and now it is time to head for 'greener pastures.'”
Mitchem tells CelebStoner: "This was about a mutual decision to go onto new things. I accomplished all I came to do. I helped take the company from small start-up to top brand. I built an amazing PR machine that landed us on every major news outlet. I helped make the company a mainstream viable company. I worked to build the government affairs and public affairs sectors. The timing was right for me to move into some new and amazing opportunities. I am about to take a couple of companies on a very exciting journey."
Mitchem declined to say if his departure was specifically related to the drug-testing controversy or which companies he'll be working with.