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Life & Work with Michael Raya

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Raya.

Hi Michael, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
My name is Michael Raya. I am an Arizona native who grew up in south Phoenix with my grandmother in her home. As I grew older, my grandmother would have me help her in the garden to work on her plants. In 2004 my whole world flipped upside down when the only parent I had, my grandmother, passed away. I was only 14 when it happened for the next 6 years. I struggled to find my passion until one day. I realized how much I enjoyed working with plants and playing music. I loved how I felt connected to my nana once again, so I went to get schooling on plants at the desert botanical garden. I pursued a career in agriculture; as years went by, I bounced around from the company trying to find what I wanted to do with plants, until one day in 2018, I got a call to interview for a plant nursery position. Little did I know I would finally find my purpose; thankfully, the giving tree dispensary gave me my first opportunity to be a part of something amazing. I felt it in my soul that this is what I wanted to do forever, so naturally, I excelled and worked my way up to a lead grower. I had a sense of self-worth, like I was doing something to make a difference in someone’s life. Being in the cannabis industry was eye-opening because I knew I had found my calling and purpose. For the next 4 years, I worked hard and got even better at my skills and understanding of the plant and its environment. I started to think about starting my cultivation and getting licensed. I learned there was an opportunity for people affected by cannabis to have their dispensary, cultivation, and manufacturing company. Still, it was a lottery style with very little chance I would win, and to enter it also cost five thousand.

To win one of these licenses in this industry would be life-changing. It’s called “the golden ticket.” Once I heard about it, I knew I was meant to win one of them and started looking for my partner. I went to Lilach Power, owner of the giving tree, and she agreed it was a great opportunity, but the odds were stacked against me. Even with the odds, I never lost hope. It was like I knew this is why I’m here. At the time of drawing, I was visiting my grandmother’s grave. I said a prayer and hugged a tree right next to her gravestone, and instantly felt peace. 10 minutes later, the lottery took place on 4/8/22 at around 1 pm; there was 26 social equity license being rewarded and about 1200 appliances with less than a 2% chance of winning. I was the 25th winner. In a blink of an eye, my life changed. I’m here to say everything comes full circle. For one of these golden tickets, these licenses carry an estimated value of 10-20 million dollars. My goal now is to help as many people as possible with this opportunity I have been given. That’s my purpose in supporting the cause. I know what it feels like to struggle, and now all I want to do is give back. As I start my cultivation and brands, I aim to be the best in my city.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s never been smooth. I faced a lot of adversity with the passing of my grandmother and my daughter. And my brother being gunned down by the phoenix police in 2016, I almost gave up, but thankfully I had a great support team to carry me when I could not get through the hurt.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I have been into plants and music my whole life, I have been creating for 10 plus years and counting, and I’m only getting better. I’m great at a few things: growing plants and creating good music. I’m known for being a hard worker—a great leader. I’m most proud of the little ones; they have helped me in more ways than I can explain; they helped me get up and keep pushing forward; they showed me life is still beautiful. What sets me apart is I go all out when it comes to my work, no cutting corners, no compromises, just hard work, and dedication.

What characteristic of yours would you give the most credit if you had to?
Hardworking, dedicated. Humble, loving, faithful, and hopeful are the key qualities to my success. Some I had to learn along the way; others I always had thanks to my family.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: Humble_ones_rising

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