Jacquie Cohen Roth, MS: Launching a New Industry with the Power of the Plant

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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 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 an example of 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. Still, 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 more traumatic occurrences than I consider any human should until my early 50s. My 50s included a divorce, launching two startups, being hit by an SUV as a cyclist, significant multiple personal losses, and closing an award-winning conventional healthcare startup.

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 …

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 the legacy cannabis industry. It was cannabis that calmed me and treated what I now understand to be layers of trauma and PTSD, and ADHD. It was cannabis, and it still is, which works far better for my brain and body than any pharmaceutical or alcohol.

I’m an award-winning conventional healthcare entrepreneur, now an award-winning cannabis industry entrepreneur with distinction. I have a Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics and am an adjunct professor 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 finding 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 while I figure things out my 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 social enterprise and a nonprofit organization that I know is 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 decades of trauma and have 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.

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