Higher Collective

About Us

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What is the Higher Collective?

The Collective is dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable cannabis industry, and our retail concept, which operates under the name “Higher Collective,” embodies just that. These thoughtfully designed and intentionally curated adult-use retail stores champion social equity while providing a space where people can feel welcome and comfortable exploring their relationship with cannabis. In addition to providing exceptional customer service and high-quality products, our team provides a unique and welcoming environment for everyone. What’s more, each Higher Collective retail store represents a different story that grew from our collaboration with each store’s social equity partner, thereby taking the first steps toward a more equitable future in the cannabis industry

Core Values

Social Responsibility and Inclusivity

A commitment to promoting social equity and justice in the industry as we believe in equal opportunities and resources for all. We value diversity and aim to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community.

Community Engagement

A dedication to supporting the local community via partnerships, charitable donations, and other initiatives, while also valuing diversity and striving to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community.

Education

A commitment to educating customers and the public about the benefits and risks of cannabis use and best practices for safe and responsible consumption.

Integrity

We operate with honesty, transparency, and accountability and strive to build trust with our customers and the wider community.

Empowerment

We are committed to empowering underrepresented groups to succeed in the cannabis industry and to promote their voices and perspectives. 

Our Team

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Patrik Jonsson

Founding Member, The Collective

CEO, Higher Collective

The Collective and its retail component, Higher Collective, were founded by Patrik Jonsson, who developed a unique business model for working with minority, veteran, and women-owned companies. A cannabis industry veteran since 2013, Patrik has dedicated his career to advancing cannabis’ potential to transform healthcare and improve the lives of patients and adult-use customers. He began his journey in the cannabis industry in Massachusetts where he became the state’s first operator with five licensed dispensaries and joined Curaleaf, the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in the world. From there, he assumed the role of Regional President for Curaleaf’s Northeast region, overseeing Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont,. Patrik’s personal passion has always been supporting social equity in the cannabis industry, and with his leadership, the Higher Collective promises to promote social equity and foster a more inclusive cannabis industry.

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David Bernier

Head of Retail - Operations, Higher Collective

With over three decades of experience in the supermarket, wholesale, and cannabis sectors, Dave is a seasoned professional in shaping operational strategies for retail stores. He began as a grocery clerk and progressed to various leadership positions, demonstrating expertise in creating customer-centric businesses. Notaly, Dave oversaw the opening of 65 stores over a 5-year period during his time as Vice President of Retail at Fresh Thyme Market. His commitment to creating positive change in people’s lives through cannabis was realized when he joined the industry in 2019 as the Director of Retail in Maine for Curaleaf, where he streamlined operations and provided exceptional customer experiences. In addition to his professional pursuits, Dave actively supports causes including veteran suicide awareness, workforce re-entry programs, and addressing the homeless crisis, aligning with Higher Collective’s mission to make a positive impact on the cannabis industry and the community.

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Brianne Dezzutti

Head of Brand & Marketing, Higher Collective

Bri blends design, marketing, and PR to shape brands, with a background spanning multiple sectors including cannabis, wellness, beauty and design. Her portfolio boasts esteemed companies such as L’Oreal, P&G, Unilever, Google, Orangetheory, Charlotte Tilbury, OPI, and Sony. While at Kiehl’s, Bri led the launch of their Sativa Seed Oil line. This eye-opening experience, coupled with the transformative impact of cannabis on a family member’s life, ignited her passionate advocacy for the plant and its various applications. Consequently, she joined the team at Select in 2018. Following Select’s acquisition by Curaleaf, Bri excelled as the Senior Director of PR and Senior Brand Manager on the company’s entire brand portfolio across all 23 markets. Outside her professional endeavors, Bri is a wish granter for Make-A-Wish and is an Advisor for the Women in Leadership Program at UC.

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Kerin Orlandi

Head of Human Resources, Higher Collective

Kerin brings over 20 years of diverse experience in human resource roles across the cannabis, food and beverage, and professional services industries. She has demonstrated exceptional capabilities in driving organizational success, and she possesses extensive expertise in executive leadership, change management, labor relations, and employee relations. For the past five years, Kerin has played a pivotal role in shaping HR strategies and practices specifically tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Her in-depth understanding of the regulatory landscape and HR management intricacies within this space has enabled her to navigate complex compliance issues and foster a positive work environments for employees. With her collaborative and strategic approach, she has facilitated smooth restructuring transitions, promoted change initiatives, and fostered positive team dynamics, serving as a trusted advisor to executive leadership. 

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Nate Perez

Head of Compliance

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Kevin Henry

Government and Community Relations Advisor, Higher Collective

Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective, Hartford

Kevin T. Henry is the founder of KTH Advisors, a concierge professional advisory practice established in 2014. He has negotiated and provided counsel for a wide array of business and real estate clients during his 17 years of practicing law. Kevin received his B.A. from Hamilton College and J.D. from the University of Connecticut. He has always been committed to advancing economic and workforce development opportunities throughout Connecticut and served as Vice President of the Hartford Partnership for the Metro Hartford Alliance Chamber of Commerce, where he was responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing economic development strategies for the Office of the Mayor for the City of Hartford and the Hartford Chamber Board of Directors. He also managed all aspects of the thousand-member Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, a networking initiative aimed at the retention, recruitment, and optimal utilization of young professionals in the Hartford Region. Philanthropy is part of the fabric of his life and he is actively involved in numerous nonprofit organizations, including serving on the Boards of two organizations that were integral to his own success, the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford and the Hartford Housing Authority.

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Angie Lewis

Store Owner & Manager - Higher Collective, Killingly

Angie is on a mission, dedicated to empowering others, fostering teamwork, and championing education around cannabis use. In her exciting journey within the cannabis industry, she’s determined to pave the way for other women to open dispensaries and to elevate Higher Collective Killingly to the town’s top adult-use destination. Her unique cultural blend, rooted in her Filipino and Mexican heritage, enriches her perspective.
With a cosmetology degree, Angie enjoys working with clients at a nail bar and a beauty lounge in New London, which she will continue to do in addition to steering the ship at Higher Collective Killingly.
 
Outside of her career, Angie’s heart beats for community service and volunteerism. She draws inspiration from her cherished family, including her two children, aged 23 and 20. Angie’s unwavering vision is not just about creating a thriving dispensary but also about cultivating a strong and supportive community, making others feel their best and promising an enriching experience for all no matter where they are in their cannabis journey.
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Yanira Wolfgang

Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective, Willington

Yanira, in addition to being the Dispensary Owner of Higher Collective’s  Willington dispensary, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has devoted her life  to helping people address their mental health needs. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Hartford, Yanira strongly supports causes including Mental Health, Women’s Empowerment, Recidivism, Leadership Development, and Cultural Competence within the Latino population. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from UConn and began her career as a mentor in the YMCA’s respite & therapeutic mentoring program. Later, she worked as a Multisystemic Therapist (MST) at NAFI, focusing on youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, Yanira has  served at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Crec Polaris Center, Adelbrook, and Intercommunity. Presently, Yanira operates a private practice in Manchester, Connecticut, making a significant impact on people’s lives. Her compassionate nature and wealth of experience showcase her unyielding dedication to positive change, particularly in the realms of mental health and cultural competence.

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Keanaha Abrams

Store Owner - Higher Collective, Bridgeport

As a Hartford County native, Keanaha is fueled by a passion for community wellness and is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and diversity in her professional field by opening doors for minority leaders. She actively champions causes like cannabis and healing, holistic medicines, women’s health, and inner-city youth economic development. With a keen interest in healthcare and business management, Keanaha pursued and earned an MBA, becoming a Connecticut Life and Health Broker. Currently serving as a Senior Client Manager at Sun Life, she brings her expertise from previous roles at Travelers Insurance, The Hartford, and Sedgwick. Keanaha’s collaborative spirit and unwavering dedication earned her the prestigious “Collaborator of the Year” award in 2022. Her unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive industry continues to inspire, making her an invaluable asset to our dispensary team.

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Jose Perez

Store Owner & Manager - Higher Collective

Jose Perez, a Hartford resident that spent over 9 years working for the Hartford school system, with a focus on students with behavioral issues. He is also  a small business owner with experience in managing small groups of individuals. At the  age of 18, Jose was arrested for marijuana possession. Growing up in a neighborhood negatively impacted by the War on Drugs and experiencing its effects firsthand, he was ecstatic to learn that the State of Connecticut made it a priority to ensure that this new industry would do all it can to partner with members of the communities hit hardest. Jose joined The Collective as an SEJV partner, hoping to connect with other individuals and  local organizations that can provide a platform for growth and development in this industry.

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Tori Garrett

Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective, New London

Tori Garrett, a lifelong Connecticut resident, is a woman of diverse passions and unwavering dedication to several causes. As a loving mother of three children, including Tylee, Xye, and the cherished memory of Xori, she understands the unique challenges and joys of parenthood, particularly with special needs children.  Tori has also been a professional makeup artist for over 25 years
 
Tori’s inspiration to enter the cannabis industry came from two different life experiences. The first was her personal journey as a cannabis consumer in her 30s, where she discovered solace and creativity,  especially as she explored her journey as an artist. Second was witnessing her daughter’s positive response to cannabis as a medical patient, offering comfort and relief in the face of seizures, even after numerous pharmaceutical trials.
 
Tori envisions her dispensary making a profound impact on the community, serving as a positive and active partner. Whether through financial contributions, event coordination, or offering support, her retail store in New London aims to be a dependable source of help for the community. Her ultimate goal is to create an environment where customers and guests can walk away with a genuinely energized experience, feeling heard, understood, and appreciated.
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Michael Sanders

Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective

Michael Sanders, also known as Michael Mizzwerk, is an American former professional basketball player, author, actor, movie producer, and pro basketball trainer. Born in Waterbury, CT, he played college basketball at Iona College and Shaw University before embarking on a successful 10-year international pro career. In 2015, he founded his own training business called Mizzwerk Training. Throughout his career, Sanders has produced and cultivated numerous professional male and female athletes, both past and present.

Monique Stallings

Owner of Higher Collective Torrington

Monique Stallings is an accomplished individual with over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Post University, she has held various senior accounting positions, which laid a solid foundation for her meticulous attention to detail and strategic thinking. However, it was her passion for the cannabis sector that ultimately shaped her career path.
Monique’s journey began in Hartford County, where she was born. Growing up on a military base, she, like many others, developed a negative perspective on cannabis. This viewpoint shifted dramatically when she met her husband, Zerrell Stallings, who introduced her to the health benefits of cannabis. Witnessing firsthand its potential to improve lives, Monique was inspired to help communities leverage this natural remedy over harmful pharmaceuticals.
With a commitment to promoting responsible consumption and advocating for the safe use of cannabis, Monique aims to break stereotypes and redefine the plant’s role in society. She envisions cannabis as a beneficial resource for overall health and well-being, contributing to healthier, thriving communities.
As a new business owner in Litchfield County, Monique is dedicated to making positive changes through education, advocacy, and collaboration. She believes in the power of community and is determined to create environments where individuals can flourish physically, mentally, and emotionally. Monique’s leadership at Higher Collective Torrington reflects her passion for cannabis and her unwavering commitment to community wellness.
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Judy Marie Prisco

Micro-Cultivation Owner - Higher Collective

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Suzan Nickelson

Dispensary Owner, Holistic Solutions

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Danielle Wilstein

Dispensary Owner, Blue Oak

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