In 2018, De La Vega became a receptionist at STIIIZY, a premium cannabis lifestyle brand. She gained hands-on experience when she was promoted to budtender and shadowed the cannabis buyer at STIIIZY’s Mission location in San Francisco. The brand flew her out to its flagship store in downtown Los Angeles for two weeks to teach her the general manager duties and how the business works. Additionally, she took it upon herself to learn more about the industry by taking courses at Oaksterdam University, the U.S.’ first “cannabis college,” to study budtending and other cannabis topics. Then, she decided to apply to the Equity Program, which is designed to lower barriers to cannabis licensing for those hit hardest by the War on Drugs, and began the application process in May 2018.