Laurie Light said:
“Cannabis is an ancient, non-toxic medicine that I believe can help reduce or replace many commonly prescribed toxic pharmaceuticals.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I would describe myself as a health science educator with a focus on excellent customer service. I have worked as a project manager, trainer, and reproductive health and youth health educator before working in the cannabis industry. I’ve always loved the human body, how it works, how to nourish it, and how to care for the mind, body and spirit.
An entrepreneur at heart, I am currently focused on building a retail cannabis store and community center with my husband. There are many challenges still ahead due to the conservative nature of where we live, but we are determined to bring safe, legal access to our home county.
What is your vision for your professional cannabis endeavors?
My mission from Day One has been to help seniors – and those new to cannabis – learn about cannabinoids for greater health and wellness. Four out of five seniors live with insomnia, anxiety and depression, chronic pain and memory impairment. Cannabis is an ancient, non-toxic medicine that I believe can help reduce or replace many commonly prescribed toxic pharmaceuticals.
In 2016, I joined the founding team at Octavia Wellness, a senior-focused cannabis sales and consulting company, to create our Wellness Consultant program that was named “Best Personalized Service” by the SF Chronicle’s Green State in 2017. We provide guidance and sales to those new to cannabis in the privacy of their home. I especially love facilitating group classes when the “canna-curious” come together to share their stories and learn from each other.
Additionally, I moderate monthly women’s gatherings in Walnut Creek for Ellementa, a women’s cannabis health and wellness community.
My vision is for women of all ages to come together socially to learn how to integrate cannabis into their health and wellness routine.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
In early 2015, my mom was diagnosed with a terminal blood cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Though she wasn’t in pain, she did suffer from high anxiety, Willis–Ekbom disease (restless leg syndrome), chronic insomnia, high blood pressure and other age-related conditions. Knowing some people used marijuana for anxiety & sleep, I thought maybe it could help her.
I got my medical cannabis recommendation card and began exploring the cannabis retail market. It was awful! Most dispensaries were dark, full of unmarked, high THC products, smelled strongly of weed, and had budtenders who didn’t understand seniors’ needs. We needed delivery and patient education, and there were few options in our area.
To educate myself, I turned to Rossmoor’s Medical Marijuana Club and began to learn about the medical compounds in cannabis and how seniors were using topicals, tinctures and vaporizers to alleviate their pain, anxiety, insomnia, etc. It was incredible to hear their stories!
After my mom passed away, I joined Viva, a cannabis home party business and began selling cannabis products to my parent’s senior-aged friends. At that time, I met Carrie Tice, now CEO of Octavia Wellness. She and I shared a passion for helping seniors through medical cannabis, and I came onboard as a founding member and early adopter, working as both a Wellness Consultant and Director of Client Services. Today, Octavia Wellness is the premier senior-focused, in-home sales and consulting business, reaching seniors all over CA and expanding beyond. Octavia has opened many doors for me, and I am grateful to have helped to build such an engaged, positive cannabis community.
What is your Superpower?
I am a connector. While that may not sound like a Superpower, it most surely is! I love connecting people to health-focused cannabis brands, medical experts, and teaching what I know through educational gatherings.
While this Superpower can be hard to monetize at times, it fills me with great joy to see people shift from a place of pain and unrest to joy and wellness. I especially enjoy supporting women-owned businesses and connect with those first, whenever possible.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
The transition from medical to adult use in California has been hard. We’ve seen many incredible brands close due to the high cost of regulation and a lack of affordable retail property in green zones. It’s been exhausting to constantly pivot and keep up with all the new changes and laws. Many compassionate programs have suffered through this process.
My priority is working with local city councils to allow safe access to cannabis at an affordable cost.
I am on the steering committee for the first cannabis education day with my local NORML group in Contra Costa County. Our goal is to educate, empower, and bring our community together. “CARE Day” stands for Cannabis, Advocacy, Resources and Education, and this event is scheduled for Saturday, September 8th, 2018 in Concord, CA.
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
Don’t sit in the shadows and wait for an opportunity come to you. If you have a passion for cannabis but don’t know where to start, take a class and network. If you want to open a retail store in your city, attend city council meetings and use your three minutes at the podium to state your intentions. Sign up for Ellementa’s educational gatherings, and meet with other women like yourself.
There are often social advocacy groups who need unpaid volunteer or board positions filled. Let your voice be heard, and don’t be afraid of what others think. There is an abundance of opportunities in the SF Bay Area, but you need to be proactive and go for them.
I truly believe in collaboration over competition. Women seem to get this in this industry.
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