The High Impact Report – A Therapeutic Alternative: Compassion, Activism, Impact, and the Woman CEO Who Does It All
Kimberley Cargile, the founder and CEO of A Therapeutic Alternative (ATA), demonstrates her care for her community and the patients that visit the dispensary in many ways. Even when the tides shifted, and Prop 64 introduced adult-use cannabis in California, A Therapeutic Alternative has remained focused on medicinal cannabis, patient advocacy, and social responsibility.
The award-winning dispensary located in Sacramento has been providing high-quality products and services to its members since 2009. Reviews of the dispensary commonly include the words “home-run” and “family”; even the location feels that way, as the dispensary is operated out of a house-turned-office space.
“We have over a decade of experience as a complete holistic health center, keeping our focus on health by outreaching to doctors and medical facilities,” Kimberley explains. “We are known for being the place to send your mom and grandpa to.”
In a photo from their website, the staff is standing on the stairs to the porch. You would think they were related if it wasn’t for the immense diversity of the small group. Some members of the staff at ATA have been there for over 20 years, which also says a lot about the company.
The Charismatic (Woman) Leader
On the afternoon we talked for this interview via a video call, Kimberley was incredibly calm, joyful, and enthusiastic. She was glowing and didn’t seem tired, even with her new baby sleeping in the background. Kimberley exhibits many of the traits of strong women leaders in the sector. She is knowledgeable, experienced, and charismatic, while also possessing a warmth that draws you to her.
Having grown up primarily with her dad who was an artist and big thinker, Kimberley learned about the medicinal uses of cannabis at a young age. She went on to study pre-med at Humboldt State University, along with natural remedies on her own where her relationship with cannabis deepened. After graduating, she started working for cannabis companies back in Sacramento. At the same time, she joined NORML and Americans for Safe Access in the early days of medicinal cannabis, supporting compassion programs and the fight for federal legalization- a fight that she remains dedicated to today.
“When I was offered the job as the CEO of Therapeutic Alternative, I would only take the job if I could also do advocacy as a primary part of the position,” Kimberley tells me—and she’s serious! She has never lost sight of her values, and even with the business growing (along with her family) continues to devote time and energy to support cannabis advocacy and impact.
One Lucky Community
A Therapeutic Alternative is a business to look toward for inspiration about community impact. The dispensary has won several awards over the years, upholding its values in the midst of uncertainty around them, all while creating life-changing opportunities for its employees.
The Employee Ownership Incubator program has changed the lives of many, many people. Through the incubator program, staff members are supported in the effort of opening their own businesses. Some have started new companies that range from manufacturing edibles to running cannabis delivery services. They are offered assistance in the process of registering their license, writing business plans, obtaining investors, and every other aspect of starting a new venture.
The program costs very little to nothing for ATA to run and makes a HUGE impact. Not only are new businesses formed that support a thriving ecosystem for the dispensary—new brands on the shelf with trusty vendors, for example—but this is also great for the local economy. These are companies that pay taxes, hire employees, and even participate in their own forms of philanthropy.
Speaking of philanthropy, A Therapeutic Alternative is a shining example of what a brand can accomplish when leading with a strong value system. ATA has a history of donating to up to 20 organizations at a time. Every year they engage in a ‘Compassion Day’, closing down the dispensary and taking the staff to volunteer at a local community center that serves children, teens, and seniors.
“Therapeutic Alternative has built a good reputation of what a dispensary could be,” Kimberley explains.
Being a strong part of the community also means being in touch with the community’s needs, and ATA has recently partnered with the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ program. In response to crime in the neighborhood, the program is aimed at helping kids get to school safely when they are walking in the neighborhood.
A Therapeutic Alternative is helping by ‘loaning’ their guards out to accompany the children to class. This is another way that ATA is leveraging their resources, and addressing a need in their neighborhood for absolutely no out-of-pocket cost to their bottom line.
Activism & SAFE Banking
Kimberley Cargile is not only a leader in community impact but also activism. She looks forward to when federal prohibition ends, but in the meantime, she encourages every cannabis professional to support the national legislation that can solidify the cannabis industry’s future.
The SAFE Banking Act passed through the House of Representatives six times, including again recently on July 14, 2022. However, it has not yet been taken up by the Senate, despite broad bipartisan support.
Kimberley sees the SAFE Banking Act as a turning point for the cannabis industry because it will be easier to get bank loans and investors.
“Call your state senator today to show your support– we are stronger when we have a shared voice,” she implores.
Check out Samantha’s previous Kind Philanthropy article on Beard Bros Pharms here!
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