Bethany Moore, Communications and Projects Manager, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)
I swear by the combination of traditional Western medicine with the complement of the natural healing properties of cannabis.
Describe yourself and what you do.
I often use the word “beatnik” when describing myself, and consider myself a poet, a witch, and an activist. There’s certainly a spiritual and creative side to me. I’m currently in the midst of finalizing the book layout for my poetry collection that I will be publishing later this year.
My interests and talents center around media production and communications work, as well as some project management. Here at the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in my role as Communications and Projects Manager, I manage NCIA’s public content, such as our website, blog, newsletter, video projects, and media partnerships.
What inspired you to get involved in the cannabis industry and when and how did you land your job?
It was about a dozen years ago in 2004, when I lived Washington, D.C., and I was involved in some interfaith activism work at another organization I was working for. I met a friend at that time, now very prominent in the cannabis industry, who was then heavily involved in pro-marijuana activism through the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative and other reform organizations. Troy Dayton, who now runs The Arcview Group (an investor forum for the cannabis industry) inspired and eduated me even more about what I already thought was an amazing, sacred, and healing plant, as well as informing me about all of the social justice issues surrounding the failed war on drugs. It was then I started watching even more closely as the cannabis movement expanded, and watched as groups like Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) worked to create change across the country, state by state.
Fast forward to 2011 when I heard that National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) had been recently formed, and I kept an eye on the growth of the organization for the next couple of years until 2013 when I was hired. At first, I started out doing membership development and other executive assistant work, but as we grew, I moved up into my current role which truly excites me and engages more of my skill-set and talents. I absolutely love working with members to communicate our many-layered messages out to the world and to each other.
What is the Origin Story for your Cannabis journey?
I was a freshman in college when I experienced severe depression and crippling anxiety. I had tried taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, but those left me feeling not quite like myself and dulled down my senses and even creativity and intellect. It was that year I started using cannabis regularly and it became a calming, centering, relaxing experience I could look forward to in my day while I navigated my overwhelming thoughts and emotions. I truly developed a relationship with this plant at that time in my life. The psychological and medicinal benefits were becoming more clear to me.
Not only that, but I also was fascinated to find out that scientific studies done abroad revealed that compounds in cannabis have the ability to eradicate MRSA, the “superbug,” 100% across the board in all studies. When I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in 2008 and contracted a MRSA infection myself from that, I was hopeful that my regular cannabis consumption would help me get through that frightening six weeks of being treated by an infection specialist at the hospital with intense intravenous antibiotic concoctions. I made it through, and I swear by the combination of traditional Western medicine with the complement of the natural healing properties of cannabis.
What is your Superpower?
My greatest superpower is also my greatest burden. I’d like to say that I can see the future, but that’s not exactly right. And it’s not quite X-ray vision either. I do have incredibly high empathy and sensitivity, which gives me rare insights into people and circumstances. It enables me, compels me, to feel everything intensely and deeply at times, which can be both an asset as well as a hindrance. I know the darkness, therefore I honor the light.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry to date – and how have you overcome it – or are you still working on tackling it?
Well, really overcoming the industry’s greatest obstacles is what we’re working on at NCIA every single day. Our full-time lobbyists and government relations firms in Washington, D.C. tackle the issues on the federal level that hinder cannabis companies from flourishing, including having access to banking services, reforming section 280E of the IRS code so these businesses can take normal operational tax deductions, not to mention de-scheduling cannabis by removing it entirely from the Controlled Substances Act.
While we’re gaining ground on these issues all of the time and have many Members of Congress who are champions on our issues, we still must constantly be educating our representatives on cannabis issues and showing them that we are responsible professionals and active members of our communities who care for the right reasons. The stigma against cannabis is long-standing, so it’s a constant effort to overcome the stereotypes and misinformation.
One way readers can help is to join NCIA’s social media campaign, and to use Twitter to reach out to your elected officials about cannabis industry issues.
We’re using a few hashtags to support the effort which I encourage others to join in on as well:
What is your vision for women in this industry? What would you like women to know about entering the Cannabis industry?
There’s lots of us women here. A blooming cannabis plant is female, too! Our industry has higher percentages of women in executive-level positions than most other industries. There’s room for all kinds of businesses in this growing industry, so figure out what you have to offer this movement, do some research on the history and current landscape, and if you don’t yet consider yourself a “cannabis activist,” then now is the time to do so, as business, politics, and social justice all intersect at this point.
Connect with Bethany
Facebook: /BeatnikBetty, /TheNCIA
Twitter: @BeatnikBetty, @NCIAorg
Instagram: @BeatnikBetty, @nationalcannabisindustry
Main photo by Kim Sidwell, Cannabis Camera