Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It began around the same time my lifelong fascination with the cannabis plant started. From a very young age, I was always attracted to growing things — I had a vegetable garden in my suburban backyard in middle school — and when I discovered cannabis, I realized that I could combine two things I really loved: cannabis and gardening. What followed was decades of learning more about this incredible plant.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In the early days, I was a guerrilla grower, always looking for a good, secluded place to put down a patch. One year, early in the Spring, I scouted a great location, cleared a path to the patch, and prepped everything. I started the seeds indoors, of course, and moved them out just as quickly as possible, because I wanted to grow some huge plants. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize until I visited the plot again, was that I had picked a location that was literally overrun with poison ivy. I’m extremely susceptible to poison ivy and remember standing at the end of the path, seeing the poison ivy, and thinking, “How bad do I want this?” Turns out I wanted it bad enough that I spent that entire summer covered with welts and blisters from a severe case of poison ivy.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
The things that excite me the most are the obvious things. Growing up, and in the early days of cultivation, I used to say I would never see legalization in my lifetime. When it started to shift, I couldn’t believe it, and then all of a sudden the floodgates opened up and suddenly it seemed like cannabis was a mainstream thing, as more and more people recognized what I felt like I had always known: this plant is a powerful good. That said, what concerns me is the lack of credible research into some of the biochemical properties of cannabis and specifically CBD. I feel like we won, those of us who have been advocating for some type of legalization for a long time. So it’s on us now to enforce good science and responsible use. This means we need good research into how cannabis interacts with the body, how it affects different disease states, and what effect it has on development. And please keep in mind, I’m not in any way advocating a return to prohibition or putting up barriers between cannabis and consumers. What I am saying is that we deserve good information and we should always advocate for responsible use.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I could inspire any movement it would be to increase the acceptance of cannabis among the older generation. The other day, my 82-year-old mother told me that she knew a friend who sold her house and moved to California so she could work in a dispensary. My mom was shocked and not happy with her friend’s decision. She still thought of cannabis like the government talks about it: a class-1 narcotic without any benefit. I’d love to reach people like her and say, “This isn’t what you think. This isn’t a bunch of people sitting around in dirty clothes, puffing on joints, and shoplifting.” Instead, I’d want her to know that cannabis could make her life better. It could ease some of the aches and pains that come with age. It could give her a moment of peace and stillness and good humor. So if there’s anything I could do, it would be to help older people understand they don’t need to fear cannabis — if they embrace it, the plant will love them back.