In less than 24 hours, Maryland’s adult-use industry will launch. I will make my first adult-use cannabis purchase tomorrow morning at Trulieve in Rockville, Maryland. I will not be surprised if I cry when that bag is handed to me. That moment has been decades in the making. It’s deeply personal from my first experiences with cannabis as a 13-year-old.
Yes, 13 years old. My exposure to the plant continued in high school, with a couple of nickel bags and Thai sticks here and there, and on to college, where I met friends with greater access and more money to spend on “weed.” While I was raising my three beautiful, highly productive human beings who each impact the world personally and positively, I kept “Mommy Spices” in the freezer. While that big stupid giant DARE dog (the to-date most expensive and failed U.S. education program) walked the halls of their elementary school, I was at home teaching them about substance abuse, including their alcoholic great-grandmother, and mental health disease that was present on both sides of their family tree. I didn’t know enough of the science on how or why cannabis can or cannot impact mental health, but I did know enough through my “Mommy Spices” that it managed the trauma I first experienced at age 13, both at home and at school and continued on until my early 50s. My 50s then included a divorce, launching two startups, being hit by an SUV while riding my bike, significant personal loss, and closing an award-winning startup in conventional healthcare.
I was the parent who shouldered most of the parenting and household maintenance while caring for neighbors’ kids, studying architecture for some time, and always working, including launching my first entrepreneurial projects, including in the legacy industry. It was cannabis that calmed me down and treated what I now understand to be layers of trauma and PTSD, and ADHD. It was cannabis, and it still is what works far better for my brain and body than alcohol does (I now know the science behind that).
I’m an award-winning conventional healthcare entrepreneur, now an award-winning cannabis industry entrepreneur with distinction, a Master of Science Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics, and now an adjunct in that same program at The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
The photo shared is one of me, full of joy while climbing a tree with my perpetually untied shoes because of my dyslexia. That dyslexia gave me the gift of many things, including figuring out a way to tie my shoes like no one else. That’s pretty much the way I am today, utilizing the power of the plant to support my brain in figuring things out my own way. The power of the plant has gamed my brain, figuring out things in my own way. The plant has introduced me to many of the smartest and kindest humans I know. Cannabis has helped me to found a for-profit and a nonprofit organization in the world that I know are changing the world for the better. That’s my tikkun olam – repair of the world. And, me. With the power of the plant, I’ve healed that trauma and found my way back to my joie de vivre.
Jacquie Cohen Roth, MS, is the Founder/CEO of the social enterprise CannabizMD and nonprofit The Tea Pad Foundation LTD.