Like many members of the Cannabis community, I am spending it in quarantine due to the  coronavirus.  To celebrate 420, I am going to grab a cup of my CBD infused vanilla chai and reflect on my cannabis journey from a curious researcher to educator and cannapreneur in the Cannabis Industry.  

My journey began out of curiosity as a lifetime student in herbalism.  I was introduced  to the uses of plants, by my mother, at a very early age.    She taught me that most herbs and plants are gifts from God to help sustain our life.  One of my favorite herbs are oats.  Oats were almost as valuable as gold to my family when I was a kid.  My mother would buy gigantic bags of oats and use it for cooking, cleaning and medicine.  I remember eating oats porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast  and soaking in oats baths to relieve sunburn, poison ivy, chickenpox, or ring worms.  This was the inspiration behind Empress Herbal Products’ oatmeal body butter and oats bath tea salts. Research suggests that the ingredients in this our body butter (found at https://empressherbalproducts.com/shop/ols/products/cannabis-sativa-hemp-body-butter) are effective for moisturizing your skin; reducing scaring and aging lines; relieving acne, eczema, psoriasis, and anti-inflammation, and more.  Evidence suggests that the ingredients in our bath salts (found at https://empressherbalproducts.com/shop/ols/products/cannabis-sativa-hemp-bath-tea-salts) are great for relieving your ache muscles while addressing your skin ailments.  My mother’s kitchen pantry was always stocked with many varieties of herbs and spices. However, I don’t ever remember any cannabis being in her kitchen pantry or anywhere else in my house.  

At a very young age, I was taught and shown that cannabis could result in death or imprisonment.  In fact, cannabis was extremely taboo in the majority of American minority communities because these communities were decimated by Americas 1970’s and 1980’s “War on Drug”.    Families were destroyed with parents and other key family and community members being jailed.  Neighborhoods were not safe because the cannabis plant was so valuable that people were willing to kill each other to make a profit from cannabis sales. Because of this, I had my reservations with cannabis. 

Nonetheless, I was still very curious about the cannabis herb because of what my mother taught me about herbs and plants. If what my mother said was true, the cannabis herb should be used to sustains life.  This is where my research began.  Through my research, I began to grow in my understanding of cannabis usage and culture.  I learned many things and began to feel comfortable enough to use cannabis to address my own health issues.  I was particularly fascinated with how well it addressed my ailments without the side effects associated with traditional medicine or getting me high.  

At this point I found myself doing a lot of cannabis advocacy and education.  Then I began using cannabis to formulate remedies for family and friends.  My family and friends were very impressed with the products that I made.  This was affirmation that I needed to share my knowledge and products with the world.  As  a cannaprenuer, I have met some very interesting people that are lawyer, doctors, realtors, bankers, chefs, etc…  They are all all focused on this one herb called cannabis.  The Culture of the Cannabis Industry contains a wealth of knowledge.  I have met and befriended many people from different backgrounds.  I am particularly grateful for Carolyn King, owner of Roasted Baked and Glazed.  Initially, we bonded as two minority women doing business in the cannabis industry.  Today, I call her my sister.  Even though she lives in a totally different time zone, she always finds time to pick up the phone and make me laugh until my belly aches.   The Cannabis Industry is so diverse that it allows you to connect with and help many different people.  Despite the negativity that I have seen and experienced along my journey in the Cannabis Industry, these are the thoughts that allow me to stay active in the Cannabis Industry.  Happy 4/20!!!

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