My motivation to make cannabis accessible to those who need it the most
Helping those who cannot help themselves & this will always include educating & promoting the beneficial uses of cannabis, for every person & animal who needs to recover from within
Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, I was always one who felt most at home outdoors, in nature and always with my animals, which is not easy in a city with a concrete back garden. I was fortunate to start horse riding and have a mother who enjoyed having pets, so I broke into the countryside outside of town as often as possible to get my fix. The power of nature intrigued me and inspired me to be a vegetarian and lead a natural lifestyle. As I grew older, I started to develop an awareness of how traditional natural remedies were brushed under the carpet, with western medicine being pushed front and center in the ‘traditional’ American lifestyle. It wasn’t until I reached the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I could be not only in the countryside, but in better control of living the lifestyle that I yearned.
I graduated with Psychology and Sociology degrees and kept my hand in the animal care industry with years of volunteering, eventually creating a career working with animals in traditional veterinary clinics. It was at this point I saw that Pharma push and medicines prescribed actually debilitated animals and masked the issues they were experiencing. These painful encounters reminded me to never lose my focus and re-birthed my desire to keep natural plant-based solutions top of mind as I set off on a path to define my role on the planet.
Cannabis was always present in my life. My father grew and smoked it, self-medicating his depression after he lost his father at an early age. I was the last of my friends to understand the powerful effects of this wonder drug but at aged 17, also battling anxiety and insomnia,
I found the plant to be a saving grace. For me it represented a true solution and not the scary “gateway drug” which was pushed into our minds as children.
Indeed, it was this natural remedy that got me through University; albeit quietly so as not to get into trouble! Fast forward one and half decades and a revolution is underway. Cannabis is reemerging into a burgeoning market which was once loaded with stigma and fear. Living a holistic lifestyle, I’ve grown with this movement, treating myself and my animals with natural remedies as a complement or alternative to Pharma drugs.
In 2017, I decided I wanted to turn my passion for plant-based solutions into a business which was focused on animal and human wellbeing. Together with my husband, we left Europe for California, to deep-dive research into how we could bring the CBD revolution to our home in the UK, and offer products for pets made from Cannabis, which was an industry first. In 2018, after much research and due diligence, we created a brand for people and pets, Naked Leaf. Dreams do come true, and defying the odds we launched within three months of brand inception and sold out at our first show in America. At the time of our brand launch, the UK denied CBD products for pets so our success was pushing my dog and owner, cat and human and horse and rider model in the USA and catering to our UK and EU human customers.
In 2019 we sold our beloved brand to a group which was seeking a route to market for their vertical operation. It was a wild ride and I stayed on board until I felt it was time for me to move on, and tackle the next level of cannabis health, medicinal cannabis. 2021 was monumental as I had a vast network of industry stakeholders aligned with my views and ethics at my fingertips, and a broad understanding of the global market and where each aspect of the cannabis revolution stands. Perhaps most significantly, I had built a community of people and businesses who FINALLY realised, when I spoke of cannabis for pets, I was not wrong. I felt respected and was honoured to be asked to lead discussions on the topic on platforms and webinars.
Making a difference and paving paths has always been my passion. I lost my dad to cancer in 2000, a Gliobalstoma; a nasty tentacular brain tumour which ripped him from earth at the young age of 56. I knew cannabis had helped him with his demons and yet, when he was diagnosed, I could not provide it for him. The VA hospital would not allow me to provide him his medicine. There lies my motivation to make cannabis accessible to those who need it the most.
Everyday I work with my team at Avida Global , UK and Colombia in my current position as Global Strategy Director to GET THE PATIENTS THEIR MEDICINE and I cherish this incredible opportunity I have to help people gain access to natural solutions when they are suffering. I will always be passionate about helping those who cannot help themselves, and for the foreseeable future, this will always include educating and promoting the beneficial uses of cannabis, for every person and animal who needs to recover from within.