I had no idea

Cannabis. Marijuana. Pot. Weed. Dope. Ganja. Medicine. 

Whatever you call it, this plant is pretty freakin’ amazing. It heals. It cures. It powers cars! It’s been around for millennia and used by cultures around the world — it’s only the last decades of prohibition and propaganda that have vilified cannabis, taken it from an accepted medicine and viable industrial product and shoved it in a dark, dank closet. (More on that for some other post.)

Thankfully, the power of the plant and the passion of the countless people behind it are bringing it back into the light. The majority of Americans think marijuana should be legalized, and all signs point to national policy reversals and full legalization by the turn of the decade. In 2015, legal cannabis generated $5.4 billion in revenue (forecasted to be $22.5 billion by 2020)…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the number is only for medical/adult-use marijuana, not all the services and businesses surrounding it, and not for the black market.

When I chose to commit my professional and personal life to this industry, I thought I knew about cannabis and its potential.

I had no idea.

There are so many layers to the story. Dimensions to explore and explain. Misperceptions to overcome. History, science, culture, ecology, spirituality, economy, society, medicine—they all impact, and are impacted by, cannabis.

I want to help people see, truly see, the potential of the plant. To educate and evangelize, explain and engage. Inspire and inform. I want to explore the layers and change perceptions. To bring cannabis out into the light so that it can help more people heal, and even help the world heal in ways big and small. I want to contribute and be connected to this ecosystem.

This isn’t to say I think everyone should go out and get high (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) There’s so much more to cannabis than that single dimension. I’m not trying to convert a cadre of cannabis consumers. (But I do believe this is the next big market, and intend to be part of it.)

I am, however, an optimist about this plant and its potential. (So much so that it was the spark of inspiration behind the name for this blog…) Every day I hear more stories and read studies about how cannabis is helping people in ways pharmaceuticals cannot. How people are unjustly incarcerated, kept from life-changing medicine. I read ignorant and inaccurate statements from our politicians and policy makers. I try to tune out the bald-faced lies out of frustration and avoidance of toxicity. 

But I feel a responsibility to use my voice and share my perspective from within this wildly exciting and transformative industry. I am a patient, a consumer, a brander and marketer, an advocate, an entrepreneur, and now a writer. I’ve been involved with cannabis for roughly 20 years and committed my life to it about six months ago. (I’m currently living in Boulder, CO and trying to create brand and communications experiences for marijuana and hemp businesses.

I want to shout from the mountaintops (achievable given my current home base!) and get people to listen. I want to break through the clutter and misinformation. Put simply, I just want people to ‘get it.’ To acknowledge there is value in this plant, that many people can benefit from it and that it has a place in this world. Because when you can see what I, and so many others, see — or experience what I, and so many others, have experienced — it’s just a no brainer. 

And so I’m starting this blog, a place to synthesize what I’m learning and seeing along the way, from the front lines and the front row. To share amazing stories and experiences. To help people make more informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Changing minds, changing perceptions.

So, let me know how this can be better and what else you want to see. Join in the conversation. Share your stories. Be a Potimist, too. 

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About Stephanie Byer

I am an author, entrepreneur, consultant and former strategy and communications executive who found a ‘higher purpose’ in cannabis.

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