Stirring the pot: This veteran went from the Air Force to the cannabis business By: Joshua Axelrod
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Stirring the pot: This veteran went from the Air Force to the cannabis business By: Joshua Axelrod

Shon Williams knew almost nothing about cannabis a few years ago.

The Air Force veteran’s only personal experience with marijuana was “one little puff” when he was in the ninth grade, which he said he dutifully put on his military security clearance. But when a cannabis company reached out to him on LinkedIn with a job opening, Williams gave it a look.

What he found was a product that he believes in and an industry where he could put his military skills to good use. He is now the chief development officer at Westleaf, a company based in Alberta, Canada, that grows, extracts and sells marijuana products.

“If you go into it with an open mind, you’ll see that people are really benefiting from this plant,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s nirvana and can solve all the world’s problems or anything, but there’s definitely a place for it.”

Williams graduated from West Point in 1994 with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He would later pick up two master’s degrees, one in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and another in military operational arts and sciences from Air University’s Air Command and Staff College.

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