Name: Jane West
Occupation: Founder, National Events Director of Women Grow
When and how did you become an advocate for cannabis?
In October 2013, I decided to start Edible Events Company, combining my passion for throwing a great party with my love for cannabis. I was immediately swept into the media tornado that descended upon Denver on January 2014, the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales. When the cameras stopped rolling and the dust settled, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. With the public listening and watching, my actions and words mattered. I learned to make the most of that opportunity to be heard. I use my voice strategically, to support legalization, normalization, and consumer and industry responsibility. Moving the dialogue forward benefits everyone invested in this movement.
How has cannabis benefited your life?
Simply put, I am better with cannabis. At 40 years old, I am healthier and fitter than I have ever been. I am present and embracing my daily life as a wife and mother of two running two startup companies, and I am dialed in. I consume cannabis in some form every day. It brings me mid-life wellness in times of crisis. It also specifically helps me sleep more soundly, which is something we all need.
What’s your greatest achievement for the cannabis cause?
With only two years in the industry, I don’t think I have reached my greatest achievement yet for the cause. I am very proud of the impact of the Women Grow team, who have encouraged thousands of women to join and lead in the legal cannabis industry as we have expanded to 44 cities across the U.S. and Canada. I am also honored to work with Steve Fox, one of the architects of marijuana legalization, pushing social use initiatives forward. He was a key player in our Colorado Symphony Orchestra “On a High Note” Red Rocks Event, which was my greatest milestone thus far. In everything I do, my goal is to combat stereotypes and help people see the benefits of responsible cannabis consumption. Any time I can spark a conversation about cannabis, or inspire someone to question their preexisting notions about consumption, that is an achievement for the cause.
Who do you look up to or admire?
The cannabis industry we see today wouldn’t exist without decades of work invested by activists in the drug reform movement. The system that they created at great personal risk is now falling into place across the country to end marijuana prohibition. Legalization activists worked tirelessly for a cause they believed in because they were dedicated to drug policy reform and the rights of patients, not because they wanted to cash in on a billion-dollar industry. I admire those leaders who remained steadfast and motivated in the face of great adversity and endless change.
If you could change one thing about the way cannabis is viewed and/or treated right now, what would it be?
I dream of a future where social adult use is completely normalized. Cannabis is magnetic. It brings likeminded people together and creates community. I entered the industry with the dream of producing experiential cannabis events and ended up in a criminal courtroom as a result. Permitting the legal, social adult cannabis use is about liberty, not legalization. I should have the right to alter my own consciousness as I see fit and consume a safer substance of choice outside of the confines of my home.