Name: Lisa Tran
Occupation: Event Planner for Denver NORML since Sept. 2016, Budtender since 2015
When and how did you become an advocate for cannabis?
I first got involved with cannabis around the age of 13, when my best friend’s uncle used to smoke on a regular basis in the garage. Of course at that age I didn’t really comprehend what the benefits were other than getting high, but started understanding it once when I got into the industry. After researching what cannabinoids were and going through training, I am 100 percent for cannabis as a medicinal relief.
How has cannabis benefited your life?
Cannabis has benefited my life in two lights: One during my dark times and one during my bright times. I became a heavy consumer of marijuana after a heavy break-up during my college years with someone I was with for years. I began to have appreciation and gratitude towards cannabis after recognizing that it’s not the plant itself harming me, but saving me from all my troubled times.
What’s your greatest achievement for the cannabis cause?
[That] would be lobbying for bills through the Senate and House at the Capitol. I’ve never lobbied before, but from the beginning of the year until the last day of legislation, which was in May, that’s all Denver NORML did! This became an eye-opening experience for me on the political side of how marijuana is viewed in our government system, and it’s so important to get involved, even if you get scared out of your mind!
How did that manifest?
[It] actually began at the very first budtender appreciation party I went to. Joining the industry meant there were exclusive parties to those with a badge in the industry [ . . . ] I decided to go and check it out, and that’s when I ran into a booth for Denver NORML. I decided to make my way to a meeting, and I guess their persistence paid off, because here I am, one of the board members now!
Who do you look up to or admire?
I definitely look up to those who are mentors whenever I go to a seminar or workshops, even if I don’t know them personally. On a personal level, I do look up to my executive director from Denver NORML, she’s a pretty spunky person, and females actually don’t get much of the professional representation when it comes to the cannabis community! I also admire all the ladies I’ve worked with at the dispensary I’m currently at. My mama’s also someone I look up to of course [ . . . ] Last but not least, my significant other is my everyday motivation.
If you could change one thing about the way cannabis is viewed and/or treated right now, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the way cannabis is being presented right now, it would definitely be educating people on how cannabis works medicinally. I want the system changed in a way where the skeptics become aware of what good comes from cannabis and disengage them from the stereotype that gets presented among people who use cannabis. It is awfully frustrating with how the education system works in schools by teaching students how pharmaceutical pills work, but not include the research behind cannabis. I want to see that changed. I want those who are training to be doctors, nurses or pharmacists to get an education program that includes cannabis.