Women On Top: Women Of Color Reveal All About Working In The Cannabis Industry

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As more markets enter the cannabis industry, the social inequalities that exist in the United States workforce are likely to roll over into this new field. Indeed, the burgeoning industry is not immune to the domination of rich white men. It’s not immune to excluding people of color, especially women. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Politicians are upping their game and talking more about legalization. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act as a scheduled drug. Booker’s move recently won the support of California Senator Kamala Harris, who tweeted May 10: “The fact i, marijuana laws are not applied and enforced in the same way for all people. That’s why I’ve signed onto @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Ac to make marijuana legal at the federal leve. It’s the smart thing to d.”

The Congressional Black Caucus introduced the Jobs and Justice Act, which includes creating a “reinvestment fund for communities most impacted by the war on drugs.” New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has called for cannabis licenses to be a “form of reparations,” as pushed forward by The Movement for Black Lives.

Within the cannabis industry, women of color are paving the way for innovation, inclusivity and progress. Many have generational roots in the black market, which we don’t pay enough tribute to (even though what was and is underground helped shape the legal marketplace), as well as to cannabis-related incarceration. These women are bringing holistic approaches to nonprofits, health and wellness, tourism, media and entertainment, and more.

While it’s critical to understand the full picture of cannabis, which includes policing and prisons, it’s just as important to celebrate marginalized people. To help amplify their voices, Big Buds talked to 33 women of color working at some capacity in cannabis — whether it’s through a dispensary, publication or advocacy organization — about their favorite parts of the industry, as well as what and who inspires them. Here is what they had to say.

Women Of Color Making Waves In The Cannabis Community

 

The women of Zen & Kush, founded by Lizzy Jeff, aim to redefine cannabis stereotypes through performance and art. (Image courtesy of Zen & Kush)

“I enjoy meeting people and exposing them to the health and investment benefits in the cannabis industry. As someone who greatly benefits from [cannabis], I have found it to be extremely life changing. Excitement wise, I like meeting people that care about creating standards, advocacy for persons of color, and high-quality product. Believe it or not, it’s a small group.”

– Mary Pryor, co-founder of Cannaclusive

“Being able to talk openly and honestly about cannabis and it’s healing attributes has always been my favorite part of the industry. As someone who has always worked in the area of alternative healing, I am so grateful to be able to connect with others on how to approach using cannabis in the best way they can to heal themselves. Honestly, what excites me most about being in this industry is having honest conversations about plant prisoners. There are so many people of color who are unjustly imprisoned because of their connection with this plant, and I hope we can all rally around creating policy and protections for past and probably future plant prisoners.”

– Loretta Maps Bolt, founder of Cannatunes

“What excites me most about this industry are the endless possibilities. The fact that you can just pick up your skillset, place it right in cannabis, and potentially thrive from there is awe-inspiring. The newness of it all makes the terrain explorative, ever-changing, anxious, thus exciting. To be a part of this journey is more than can be asked for. I’m completely inspired by the moves being made by women in the industry right now. We are not letting this pass us by — in fact, we’re opting to take over. You can’t beat that with a stick!”

– Safon Floyd, co-founder and CCO of EstroHaze

“By far, my favorite part of the cannabis industry is seeing people healed by this sacred medicine. For us at the 99 High Tide, this is a daily occurrence. We have patients with so many varied ailments and illnesses, and after consulting with us and taking cannabis for even a short amount of time, we see them return like new people. Happy, healed, alive. It’s nothing short of miraculous how cannabis helps so many people with so many different issues.

“Being around this plant has always been one of my favorite parts as well. I love how beautiful cannabis is, how it smells, it’s vibrational energy. It is truly a sacred plant. I’m consistently inspired by the stories of healing that we see firsthand [from] patients and people and animals using cannabis. My mother is alive today because of cannabis.

“Continuing to help others is what inspires me. I also get very excited about the continuous healing applications of cannabis. It is never ending. Every day we hear of someone trying cannabis for something we hadn’t even heard of before and it miraculously helps them as well. We are dealing with a very powerful, benevolent spirit medicine, and this knowledge keeps me always standing up for this plant and for those who need its healing benefits.”

– Yvonne “99” DeLaRosa Green, co-founder/CEO of 99 High Tide Collective

“My favorite part about the industry is finding a way to educate someone new about cannabis each day. Making sure I find a way to incorporate it into any conversation speaks volumes toward my passion for the plant. I travel a lot, speaking about the future of activism and cannabis tourism, and more countries are coming on board each day. This excites me the most because I have new places to visit and explore. I love to immerse myself into the culture and learn about cannabis through local eyes. I’m always inspired to learn international legislation as well, so that I can create cannabis destination experiences that tourist and locals can enjoy alike.”

– Tanganyika “Tangy,” CEO of Jayn Green, director of outreach and development at Coral Cove Cannabis Health & Wellness Resort

“My favorite part [is] all the amazing people I have met who are so supportive of the work I do. The potential to create true social change through the creation of a new industry. Organizations like The Hood Incubator [a nonprofit aimed at empowering POC in cannabis]. Equity programs like the ones in Oakland, California and the state of Massachusetts. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. All these things are aiming to empower communities that have suffered the worst of the war on drugs. While marijuana legalization isn’t going to solve this country’s problems with institutional racism and our criminal justice woes, it does present a huge opportunity to remedy decades of racially disparate drug enforcement.”

– Mona Zhang, founder and editor of Word on A Tree

“My favorite part of the cannabis industry is the innovation and creativity that exists in the space. This ingenuity and creativity is also what excites and inspires me in the industry. We are in the beginning stages of formalizing this industry, we can really make it what we want. People working in this space to make this industry unlike others, an inclusive and diverse space, is truly inspiring.”

– Amber E. Senter, director and co-founder of Supernova Women

“My favorite part about working in the cannabis industry is the community and camaraderie. Everyone in every sector is going through similar trials and tribulations regarding legalization, banking, compliance, etc., so we all share the burden. On the same token, we all have victories that are celebrated together. My success is my alliance’s success.

“Lucky Box Club is built on the idea that we are stronger together — with LBC being the common denominator. Seeing so many brands and companies delve into the unknown of legalization and reform is inspiring and, quite frankly, a labor of love. Love for the plant. For the medicine. For the patients. No one understands what a startup in the cannabis industry deals with until they actually dive in! I am grateful for the women’s groups that I’ve been invited into, and can’t wait to grow together.”

– Eliza Maroney, co-founder of Lucky Box Club

“I’m consistently inspired by people of color and women demanding their space in the cannabis industry. While the economy is expanding and becoming more sophisticated in its practice every single day, we’re still in a very infantile place in terms of legality. There’s time for our voices to be heard, expressed, and put into action. We’re demanding reform after years of inequality, oppression and prohibition, and it’s beautiful to see everyone come together for one common goal.”

– Shanel Lindsay, founder and president of Ardent Cannabis

“Working in the cannabis industry is amazing, it allows me to be my authentic self. I have always been good at whatever I was doing, but I feel good about what I am doing now, too! I am excited to help build and improve this industry through business and advocacy. I am inspired daily by the girls and women living their best lives, because this plant is healing them physically or mentally or creating business opportunities and generational wealth. Most importantly, I am inspired by the families and individuals affected by the war on drugs that now have the opportunity to live a better life without the burden of a cannabis conviction holding them back.”

– Shanita Penny, president of the board of directors for Minority Cannabis Business Association

“I’m very rateful to my formative years n the cannabis industry. In 2005, fresh out of journalism school, I learned how to grow and harvest annabis, erb nd y own oo. I evelope strong ntrepreneuria kill. I learned authentically what trust, loyalty and responsibility was. hese elements of the cannabis industry are, combined, my favorite part. These are the values that I associat ith the industry and hold to a high regard. moking, vaping, eatin, nd adorning y body with anja is also igh on my list of favorit.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. The judicial system punishes black and brown bodies for taking part in the same cannabis industry we’re speaking about right now. My initial feelings of ange have evolved nt nspiratio. I’m inspire to ork toward fairness and inclusivit in this industry. What excited me? I’m excited about cultural linkages and enlightened human connection. I’m inspired to know that when we combine these with cannabis advocacy, we have the ability to hea ourselves as for of self-care and self-preservation.”

– Mennlay Aggrey, content and communication manager at Whoopi & Maya and more

“My favorite part of working in the cannabis industry is knowing what parts of the industry I can recommend to those adversely affected by outdated, draconian laws that prevented people of color from licensing and being employees. I first thought working in a dispensary would be great and highly recommended it, but quickly learned it’s identical to the retail environment but maybe worse: long hours and standing, poor communication and leadership, volatile customer moods, the lack of human resources, and nonexistent employee protections to name a few. I’d like to encourage ownership, but know now that the responsible thing to do along with that is also [encourage] access and resources to great business practices and financial literacy.

“Being a voice for the youth has been super powerful and humbling at the same time. I’m always the youngest and least educated (no college degree), African-American female speaker on the panel — sharing my story in the cannabis space, my career thus far, and the importance of holding public servants accountable. Representation matters, so now in a few years there will be much younger black women speaking out about injustices that have affected them and someone they know and love that they could not just sit by and allow any further.

“Since I’ve started, I want to make being involved in your community look cool, easy and fun! Social media has been my outlet and I’ve been fortunate enough to not only activate the youth, but [also] adults [with] the importance of civic engagement. I’ve never wanted to be the face of this movement but the catalyst, and encourage others to use their voice to create a culture shift.

I recently launched a company — Table or Menu, LLC, where I am holding organizations accountable for socially responsible initiatives, community organizing, and managing people in the marijuana and political space. I’ll be launching my first ever political campaign this weekend! I’m 25 years old! I also have the honor and privilege of a lifetime to manage a retired African-American female judge in the cannabis industry. The coalition we are building and the generational wealth we are about to inherit is only the start.”

– Sabria Melina Still, ommunity liaison for Table or Menu

“I really enjoy the creators who gather in this industry with the intention to embrace, educate and empower others. As a Nigerian reiki healer and cannabis sommelier, my work is already different in the typical aspect of what someone getting into the industry would normally gravitate toward. I came into this industry with the work I have been doing for almost a decade in the holistic and metaphysical community and was embraced with open arms.

“This industry helps you find your tribe. I am extremely inspired and excited about the women and the movement that is the Ganja Goddess Getaway! It is more than an all-inclusive women-only weed retreat in California, and now Oregon. It is a community of badass cannabis advocates, entrepreneurs and leaders who are smashing the parameters of what a ganja goddess looks like. With four more dates this year, I highly recommend a girls’ trip for the most fulfilling excitement you can experience at a weed event.”

– Maggie Murphy, founder and CEO of The Stoned Housewife

“My favorite aspect of working in the cannabis business is seeing the [industry] evolve and watching opportunities abound for everyone. I’ve been amazed at the rapidity of the maturation in the industry and the number of women taking significant roles in cannabis. The other factor I love is the camaraderie shown and felt between industry veterans and newbies. That is not common in other industries.

“What inspires and excites me is the ability to use my past executive corporate experience and my current entrepreneurial spirit to develop meaningful opportunities in cannabis. My organization specializes in food and beverage, and sees this industry at the cusp of becoming mainstream. Food and beverage have always brought divergent talents and interests together, and infused food and beverage will only take it to the next level.”

– Wy Livingston, president and CEO at Wystone’s World Teas

“I don’t work in the cannabis industry anymore. Now, I work for the cannabis industry. At least, that is the way I see it. I was fortunate to have the opportunity that I did to work at Farma, and to learn so much in a very short amount of time. Just being a budtender was never the goal, though. For me, budtending was a stepping stone to learning and then being able to take that knowledge and do something greater on behalf of the cannabis industry for the benefit of the community at large, and especially for communities of color. That’s what I’m doing now through story with High, Good People, my podcast about cannabis from the perspective of people of color. That is my favorite thing about being a part of the cannabis community!

We are definitely a minority, but the more I involve myself, the more I find people of color who are working in the cannabis industry or in areas adjacent to it. They aren’t regularly recognized, though. Or if they are, it is often in tokenizing ways. That frustrates me, but it also inspires me to do the work I’m doing. This way, I can give them space to share their experiences, and in turn, take away the excuse I’ve heard so often from would-be allies that they would include more people of color in their work if only they knew where to find them.”

– Tiara Darnell, producer and host of High, Good People

“I am passionate about re-educating the communities most affected by the war on drugs with the truth about cannabis, how and why it became illegal, as well as the benefits of positioning in this industry, whether as business owners, employees or investors. My mission is totally aligned and in line with my partners and that is to help level the playing field for minorities seeking entrance or expansion in the legal cannabis and hemp industry. I’m inspired seeing more minorities — namely, people of color, veterans, women and the LGBTQ communities waking up to the vast array of opportunities the legal cannabis and hemp industry offers.

“I’m extremely inspired knowing that [minority-focused business consulting firm] C.E. Hutton will touch many business owners, entrepreneurs and investors in these communities — and I get to be a part of that! I’m excited knowing that people who look like me, my diverse group of business partners, team members and colleagues, are making history in this industry. Some are speaking up for social justice, some for patient’s rights, others for our elderly, for our veterans, but all speaking up for equality and inclusion. That’s exciting!”

– Khadijah Adams, vice president and COO of C. E. Hutton

“My favorite part of working in the cannabis industry is the ‘we’re all in this together’ approach I encounter every day. Sure, there is some competition, but more often than not, everyone is warm, welcoming, and eager to partner with or simply support one another. Everyone seems to be working toward a similar vision of cannabis legalization in every state, easily accessible to those who need it, and just another natural remedy in our medicine chests.

“I’m excited by the possibilities for women in the cannabis industry. I believe that the window of opportunity will eventually close, but that right now, the cannabis industry is pretty wide open to anyone with an idea, a little creativity, and the desire to work hard and collaborate. I’m inspired by the women who are involved in the more technical side of cannabis — cultivation and manufacturing. The women with their own cannabis farms and the female cannabis scientists are awesome!”

– Aliza Sherman, CEO of Ellementa, publisher of HerCannaLife.com

“There are a few [favorites], but the top one is educating people about the benefits, while dispelling the myths (and there are many) about [cannabis]. I grew up believing it was a gateway to more addictive and dangerous drugs. I grew up when former President Nixon waged his war on drugs, classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug. I believed it for one main reason: I had proof — or so I thought.

“When I was in high school, my middle brother overdosed on cocaine laced with PCP. He was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night because he started convulsing and then he stopped breathing. The story ended well — he lived, but my parents used this as an opportunity to reinforce the ‘truth’ that pot is a gateway to more dangerous drugs. ‘Your brother was a pot smoker for years and he graduated to cocaine.’ I believed them.

“A few years later, I had an accident and injured my back. I was given the usual battery of drugs, Vicodin among them. I believed it was safe because my doctor prescribed it. I took Vicodin for 30 years for my back. In 2011, I was hired to write for a client about addiction and mental health. The more I researched and wrote about marijuana, I realized what I was told about pot was a big lie. But not just me; the world was duped. I read about the myriad medicinal benefits of marijuana and all I could think was, ‘How is it possible something so beneficial is so demonized?’

“When my doctor suggested I use it instead of Vicodin and that it was legal for medicinal use in Puerto Rico, I jumped on it and I have had tremendous success on it. I now call myself the cannabis evangelist. I love the irony. Whenever I read about another person who has learned about the lies and is now using it for x, y or z, this excites me. I’m inspired by the stories people share with me about how cannabis transformed them.”

– Sarah Sarita Ratliff, eco-organic farmer and writer

“I transitioned to the cannabis business from being the founder and CEO of The Linda Greene Group since 1989, a full-service public relations firm. Most of our work has been in the public affairs/government relations areas. Even though we represented clients on a wide range of business and policy issues, the tasks were no longer challenging.

“I co-founded BCG Holdings, Inc., in 2015, which enables me to utilize my many years of public relations experience and resources in the cannabis industry. My favorite part of working in this field is the challenge of learning and participating in an entirely new domain, uncharted and unproven. Following and influencing the ever-changing regulations while meeting and interacting with some of the smartest and most energized people in the world is incredibly exciting and fulfilling.

“What inspires me [is] the intense determination and commitment of those actively involved in the cannabis community to educate and level the playing field for equality, inclusion and diversity, whether they be licensees, policymakers, advocates, professional services providers, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers or patients.”

– Linda Mercado Greene, president and CEO of BCG Holdings, Inc

“My favorite part about working in the cannabis industry is how mission driven the POC community can be. Almost every minority-owned and operated cannabis business has some element of education or advocacy. We’re not just about selling a product or service — we want to re-educate folks that over 60 years of prohibition has been a lie and rooted in racial and discriminatory tactics. Furthermore, we’re here to inform you cannabis is a harmless plant that does more healing than anything else. And as we build out the space, we want to see an equitable industry that includes the very people who’ve been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

“What excites me most is that there are avenues to enter the cannabis industry without touching the plant. Not everyone has a green thumb, cultivating may not be your calling, but something else could be.

“When I became a medical marijuana patient in 2014, it was to deal with postpartum depression. Eager to get to know my local cannabis community, it became apparent pretty quickly that there were very few black and brown people in the industry who were out of the cannabis closet. That got me thinking, what if those who work in the industry shared their story to encourage and empower people of color to do the same?

“I founded the podcast One On One with the idea that through storytelling, we can destigmatize cannabis consumption, and six seasons in, we’ve received nothing but love and acceptance on what we’re trying to do.”

– Takiya Anthony-Price, founder and producer, One on One podcast

“It is still a nascent industry and there is freedom, which you cannot find anywhere else. You have an opportunity to collaborate with amazing people and implement strategies and ideas to create something of your own. There is no other industry right now that allows you to do choose your own adventure.

“My sector of the cannabis industry is processing technology. I’m super excited to see a renaissance across all STEM sectors! There are amazing innovations happening with cultivation and in the labs. I’m inspired to see all the conscious implementation of sustainable cultivation processes and advances happening from R & D in the labs. My hope is that these innovations resulting from being the most highly regulated industry will eventually be implemented across other legacy industries!”

– Lulu Tsui, founder and CEO of AMBR Technologies

“My favorite part of being in the cannabis industry is the opportunity to be a pioneer in such a rapidly evolving space. The endless possibilities for people of all racial backgrounds, sexual identities, genders, ethnicities, nationalities who all come from different socioeconomic backgrounds is a breath of fresh air. Women executives are dominating our industry, and as a self-proclaimed feminist, this is what has stood out for me. Everyone can be involved. We are witnessing the end of prohibition and a shift in policy and legislation on a state level that has changed the quality of life for so many in these past few years; this is truly the most rewarding.”

– Tenisha Victor, project manager at MPX Bioceutical Corporation and founding partner of CBD For Life

“It is so exciting to be part of a new, emerging field! The possibilities are endless and there is so much to learn! What inspires and excites me is working with patients to find solutions to their health care needs, integrating traditional and Eastern modalities with nutrition and cannabis.”

– Victoria Starr, director of advocacy and public relations, Gesundheit Foods

“My favorite part of working in the cannabis industry is setting an impression of the industry that breaks stereotypes. People outside of cannabis have an idea of what a typical cannabis user or business would look like or act. I want to break those conceptions and normalize cannabis. I want to show people outside of our industry that cannabis can actually help people and that users are contributing members of society — parents, teachers, nurses, engineers.

“I’m most inspired and excited to make a difference in the world through the entrepreneur avenue. I have a lot of compassion and realize that we are not all born into the same opportunities. I’d like the success of the business to allow us to help and work with organizations that try to better the world. We need a lot more love and compassion in the world and a lot less hate and judgment.”

– Randa Shahin, owner of Home Grown Apothecary

 

Randa Shahin of Home Grown Apothecary wants to show the world that cannabis consumers are contributing members of society. (Image courtesy of @homegrownapothecary Instagram)

“[The industry is] unchartered territory. There are so many unknowns, which means there are limitless opportunities for brave people to step into the unknown and create solutions and achievements in so many areas, including cultivation methods, processing, research, healing and technology. There’s a thrill to it, I suppose, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can accomplish as an industry.

“I get bored easily, but with this industry there’s always a new problem to solve or a new approach to consider. And it’s chaotic, which is great for me because I can think outside of the box and create the unimagined. I’m never bored!

“I’ve seen multiple examples of women of color owning businesses and in other leadership roles in the cannabis industry. While they each have their own style, they are all living and working to fulfill their own purpose, their life’s mission. It’s not just work or a career. When I get a chance to see them in person, face to face, I can feel it! They exude strength, confidence, knowledge, and passion. And as a female engineer, I can only think of two examples of colleagues like this in my 15-year career. In the cannabis industry, I’m surrounded by these powerful women of color. They give me strength and I hope that I do the same for them and other women of color working in or considering entering the cannabis industry.”

– Aja Atwood, co-founder and CEO of Trella Technologies

“One of my favorite things about working in the cannabis industry is the sense of community that working in cannabis creates. Since I have been in this industry, I have formed relationships, both professional and personal, that I know will be lifelong. I have tapped into a network of canna family members that are innovative, intelligent, fearless and groundbreaking human beings determined to make a difference in this world. It is amazing to watch this community grow like the plant we all know and love!

“What inspires me are the patients that I serve in my community. As a cannabis nurse educator and owner of CannaHealth — a health and wellness center specializing in medical marijuana evaluations and certifications, where people can obtain medical marijuana cards — I have seen the effect that PTSD and complex urban trauma has had on inner city communities and the damage caused to communities of color by the war on drugs. I am inspired by their stories to find ways utilizing revenue and resources from cannabis to help end the cycle of poverty, violence and addiction, by creating opportunities for these communities through education, advocacy and economic development.”

– Kebra Smith-Bolden, owner of CannaHealth

“My favorite part about working in the cannabis industry is impacting lives. As a registered nurse, it is my passion to impact and make differences in people’s lives. Those individuals living with chronic diseases such as cancer, lupus, diabetes, seizures and hypertension — to have medical marijuana as a medicine, with minor side effects and no overdosing causing harm, is absolutely amazing.

“What excites and inspires me about cannabis is that it is a new industry and people in the world have little to know knowledge about cannabis. I love to be able to knock the cannabis stigma down and educate about medical marijuana from a nursing perspective. I love to be creative, open-minded and passionate about cannabis. As a result, people feel my passion and are drawn to me and want to learn about cannabis.

“I love advocating at a federal level for those that can benefit from cannabis medically or recreationally. It is the choice of the individual how they will like to consume cannabis. There are so many deaths pertaining to alcohol and other drugs, but there are no reported deaths pertaining to cannabis — the plant that cures and not kills!”

– Kimberly Jones, wellness and cannabis educator, host of The Kim Majesty Show

“The people. I work with some of the most brilliant and dedicated activists in this space. I stand on the shoulders of giants, who long before I was even aware a war was being waged on people, stepped forward and said, ‘No more.’ I’d like to say that this is where I saw myself when I was a kid, but it’s so far from the truth. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up here, in this movement, working on an issue ahead of its time. I could be doing anything else in the world, but I’m glad I get to spend my days ending marijuana prohibition.

“Most people don’t believe in what they are doing or selling. I, on the other hand, believe wholeheartedly that our work is critical toward improving human relationships. Young people [excite and inspire me]. I’m only 24, so I’m not that old, but it certainly feels that way sometimes. Young activists have so much more energy than I do. Young people are not bound by the limitations of office politics or decorum. If there isn’t a young person in the room when discussing cannabis, then you’re in the wrong room. I’m excited to see what young adults will do with the opportunities offered to them in this new industry.”

– Stephanie Izquieta, membership coordinator for Marijuana Policy Project

“Community. I have been a creative director, photographer and artist for three decades and I have not found a community that is as altruistic, philanthropic and care based as the cannabis community. Nor have I found so many people of so many walks of life bonding together to bring a plant out of prohibition to end sickness that is not pharmaceutical based. It is a plant from nature, evolved from the beginning of the first hint of life on this earth. I am honored and proud to say I work in cannabis and I hope that the sincerity in my words bring a bit of light to others.”

– Ophelia Chong, founder and COO of StockPot Images

“My favorite part of the industry is also the part that excites me and inspires me the most. It’s the people. We’re advocates, activists, patients, caregivers and entrepreneurs, all ages and walks of life. I’ve met inspirational people that have used cannabis to heal. I know innovators that have developed new technologies to further launch a burgeoning industry. I’ve met activists that use their privilege to protect others, and other activists who have stood up, despite the risk and their own lack of privilege. It’s the courage and inspiration of these people in the cannabis industry [who] I call colleagues and friends that move me. I love my industry and my canna family. they’re my motivation to do what I do.”

– Amanda Reyes, president of the Cannabis Cultural Association

“Cannabis is not an entrance drug, it is an exit drug from pharmaceuticals, narcotics, alcohol and nicotine. I ask people, please open your hearts. You don’t need to use this medicine, yet you know somebody that can benefit from it. Open your minds because we all have an endocannabinoid system. My mission is to change the stigma regarding cannabis and for everyone in the world to know about the endocannabinoid system, and I do it through education.

“My mother had an illness known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease. I never got to use cannabis as a medicine for her. It was after her death in January, 2012 that I got much more involved … when I started to write recommendations for medical marijuana. At Total Health Care THC, we educate, embrace and empower our patients to improve their quality of life by incorporating cannabis as a tool. Cannabis is not the problem, it is part of the solution. We are facing an opioid epidemic and people are dying from taking prescribed medications the way their health care providers told them to.”

– Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, physician at Total Health Care THC

 

Uma Dhanabalan (right) and Sue Sisley (left) are both doctors and cannabis advocates whose mission is to change the stigma regarding marijuana. (Image courtesy of Facebook)

“’d have to say my favorite part of the cannabis industry would be my ability to create a space, an environment, a home for the hundreds of thousands, and universe willing, people wronged by the United States’s war on drugs. In addition to creating safe and healthy alternatives for people of all types, the cannabis plant is, hands down, one of the most versatile! Colors, flavors, tastes — pretty much anything [about cannabis] excites me. I’m very childlike in that way. I want my creations to get people excited and I want them to get a tingly feeling inside, like they’ve walked into their soul. My customers excite me. My customers inspire me.”

– Flower, founder of Stoner Girl Treats & Eats

“My favorite part about working in the cannabis industry is the opportunity to curate spaces for healing and teaching people about the spiritual, medicinal benefits of lady ganja. There is an entire community that exists that’s all about self-love, wellness and creative expression. I’m blessed to not only be tapped into that community, but to also be building my own tribe. I’m surrounded by healers and medicine women/men from all over! It’s beautiful to see how cannabis is bringing so many people with different stories together in the name of healing. It’s truly inspiring to see all of the art, medicine, culture, music and small businesses being sparked by the presence of such a wonderful plant. Everyday, I meet someone new in this industry that is not only eager to help inspire change in the world, but also in themselves. That is the gift of cannabis. What a blessing!”

– Lizzy Jeff, founder of Zen & Kush

Aja Atwood