My first decree as president is free weed for everybody!!
Oh wait, I don’t have that kind of authority? Let me back up then….
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Danielle Rosellison and I’m your first democratically elected president of The Cannabis Alliance, the largest cannabis trade association in Washington State. The Cannabis Alliance was created as the merging of four different associations who realized that we were more powerful as one collective unit rather than separate factions. We are a non-profit trade association that understands that the war on drugs has created misperceptions, mistrust and even fear about the industry and legalization. We want to change those perceptions and improve the business environment for our members, through education, advocacy and helping set the highest possible industry standards.
I feel like I should tell you a little bit about myself before we start moving full speed ahead to create an industry which will set the standard for all future industries.
I grew up on Orcas Island in a log cabin made from the trees from the land. A wood burning stove was the only source of heat, and there was only one door inside the house….and it wasn’t to the bathroom! I learned a lot about respecting people’s space, community, slowing down, and doing things different than what mainstream America told us was the “right” way. When I was 17, I was accepted via early decision to the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Northwestern University. To help put myself through school, I participated in America Reads, which basically put college kids in public elementary schools to help disadvantaged students learn to read. I was dumbfounded by the blatant segregation I saw, and decided I was going to change the world through teaching. At that point there was no national teaching program, you had to get certified in the state you wanted to teach, so I transferred to Western WA where I got my teaching certificate and graduated with a fancy BA that in layman’s terms means I understand how people learn.
I’ve got to be honest here, the only reason I got my degree was to get my mom off my back who had told me I was going to go to college since I was 3 years old. I had absolutely no interest in getting a real job at 22, so I travelled and bartended and made age appropriate decisions. I met my husband, Juddy, that year, and we’ve been together ever since. Many of you have heard this part, but for those of you who haven’t, in 2009 I got knocked up with our first child. Juddy and I sat down and decided I would be the bread winner. However, as the domestic engineer, he got kind of bored, so he did what any domestic engineer would do: he moved the washer and dryer out and moved four cannabis plants into our laundry room (we had our medical cards). Four turned to fifteen. Fifteen turned to thirty. Thirty turned to sixty (all with the appropriate amount of medical cards of course). So it only seemed natural when Juddy came home with another “great idea” to apply for 502.
Juddy and I are the owners and operating managers of Trail Blazin’ Productions, a Tier 2 grow in Bellingham. Without going into detail, this has been the CRAZIEST three years of my life. Period. I’ve never worked so hard for so little. I’ve never had to come up with so many creative solutions. I’ve never had so many ups and downs. I’ve never had to dig so deep within myself and figure out what’s best for ME. And I don’t mean that in a greedy sort of way. I mean that I can’t take care of everything and everybody else, unless my core, my soul, my needs, my heart are taken care of first. I know every one of you can relate because we’ve all been on this roller coaster together.
So, I’m done writing my personal memoir; let’s talk about the future.
For me (I guess I’m not done talking about me), I believe the cannabis industry has a unique opportunity. Those of us who have been involved with the Cannabis Community, since before it was legal, all seem to steam from children of the sixties, and because of that, we share a few values. We care about the environment. We care about one another. We know that the pie is big enough for all of us.
These are attributes that are not currently valued in corporate America, but times are changing. And mainstream America is ready to integrate these values. Millennials care about these things. The retiring hippies care about these things. Heck, most of the world cares about these things! The cannabis industry, and I include hemp in that, is primed to set the stage, not just for cannabis in WA or the world, but for how all industries could be elevated. What if we as an industry decide to use environmentally friendly packaging? What if we as an industry decide to pay a living wage instead of a minimum wage? What if we as an industry decide to put people and communities and the environment in front of corporate profits? What if we as an industry decide to put resources to helping those who may be disadvantaged, not because it helps our pockets, but because it’s the right thing to do?
That’s the vision I have for the cannabis industry. And the Cannabis Alliance is the vessel to help facilitate the change.
Each one of you has a skill set that will help The Cannabis Alliance become the go-to cannabis association in Washington State. If you agree with the direction I’m headed, I hope you will volunteer your time to help us get there so that we can find solutions to the problems that plague us. The Cannabis Alliance will only be as good as you help make it. We need indoor growers, sungrowers processors and retailers to help us understand the issues that you’re facing. We need labs and auxiliary businesses to educate about your dilemmas. We need consumers, patients, and vets to tell us about your concerns. We need professionals: teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, police, social workers, and more to help us understand your perspectives. And then we need to brainstorm solutions. We need to hear from all of you so that we can strengthen our numbers, organize our advocates, and create the change that we desire. If you’re interested in helping, please fill out this short survey so that can organize and focus your strengths and your passion.
I’m really excited. I hope you are too.