Kevin Kuethe went through childhood thinking he’d be a fitness trainer or a professional athlete. He landed in cannabis instead, but his upbeat personality and cheek-to-cheek smile suggests he found his true calling.
Kuethe, 36, is part of an executive team that oversees 870 employees across 22 retail stores, 50 acres of outdoor grows and 250,000 square feet of indoor grows at Lume. He joined the Evart, Michigan-based company in 2017, and worked his way up to his current position as the company’s chief cultivation officer.
At this year’s annual Cannabis Conference, held Aug. 24-26 in Las Vegas, the Montana native was honored with one of six leadership awards given to the some of the industry’s most influential and successful people.
“I’m really grateful, honored and motivated,” Kuethe said of receiving the award. “I appreciate that I’m being recognized for the things I’m doing in my community and to my employees.”
Many leaders in legal cannabis have taken unique paths to the industry, and Kuethe is no exception.
He admitted that growing marijuana was never in his plans when he majored in exercise science at the University of Montana. He was more interested in body-building and personal training. Within months of graduating, he’d built up a clientele of 40 people who he worked with one-on-one, helping them lift heavier and live healthier.
Kuethe liked the job, but he wanted more. He didn’t know what that next step was, though, until a childhood friend invited him down to Arizona.
Matt Morgan was the CEO of Bloom Dispensaries and wanted Kuethe, just 28-years-old at the time, to be the company’s chief operating officer. Kuethe says his first time laying eyes on a cannabis grow was inside Bloom’s 30,000 square-foot cultivation center — one of the