Pamela N. Epstein, Esq., LL,
Green Wise Consulting, LLC
“A Cannabis Ambassador is a movement to change the face of cannabis. Every person has a story where cannabis can be associated with a positive experience.”
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I would describe myself as one of the new faces of cannabis. I am well-educated, fashionable, compassionate, driven, and I medicate with cannabis.
I am not what the general opposition would classify as a “stoner.”
As a lawyer, I am deeply fascinated by the cannabis conversation, as it is the embodiment of fluidity of the law. Cannabis law and policy is on a unique journey where we can see the law change from illegal to decriminalized to regulated, one where the will of the people infused into decision making from the federal to state to the local level. While I may be fashionable, I’m also a legal nerd.
What I do on a daily basis is to provide business development and legal counsel – focused on compliance to cannabis businesses as they navigate the waters of taking an industry from the shadows into the light — everything from the ordinance work in California to assisting clients with applications and licensure in states such as Arizona and California.
My background includes working for the Sierra Club which provides me a unique expertise and perspective regarding cannabis and the environment, specifically the interplay between the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and Water Rights regarding medical cannabis commercial production. I have spoken on panels focusing on the upcoming Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) from the California Department of Food and Agriculture regarding its medical marijuana cultivation regulations.
You put out a call to action to “Become a Cannabis Ambassador” – what does that entail?
A Cannabis Ambassador is a movement to change the face of cannabis. Every person has a story where cannabis can be associated with a positive experience. There is always law and reason, but the emotional connection is what will help to change the way cannabis is viewed by the general public.
It is important to break down stereotypes and usher in a new age of what it is to be a cannabis consumer.
It is a journey fraught with setbacks and preconceived notions, but it is up to each of us to be the change we want to see in this industry. Social media can offer a platform for people to be a positive voice in this conversation about cannabis and it’s benefits. I encourage everyone to share their story because every voice, every story, matters. Become the new face that defines what people think of when they think of cannabis and cannabis users.
What is your vision and mission for your Canna endeavors?
First, that is a great question! As for the answer, my vision for canna endeavors is to become part of the fabric of a traditional industry and also to lead by example where the industry self-polices and ensures health and safety. Whereby the cannabis industrial complex emerges as the gold standard and the truth about cannabis is discussed openly.
My mission for the moment is to ensure reasonable and responsible regulation that is conducive to the industry that fosters good business and eradicates the black market. To ensure that the true benefits of cannabis are elevated and that we as an industry don’t get lost in the weeds(pun intended).
What is your Cannabis Origin Story?
Origin story – well, I came from the environmental sector, as I mentioned earlier, and suffer from debilitating migraines which have sent me to the hospital on numerous occasions. Doctors often prescribed heavy narcotics for pain relief, which, besides having harmful side effects, would also leave me completely incapacitated. Cannabis was the green pathway to physical and professional salvation.
I know what it is like to be suffering and to have to pull myself up my bootstraps. Cannabis worked for me, and I wanted to ensure that others who were suffering have an alternative. My work in the cannabis industry is more than a job or a career it is passion.
What is your Superpower?
Superpower … well, I’d love the power to fly, but until then my superpower is surrounding myself with the right team and understanding that this industry is constantly in flux and that the most important thing to remember is to keep learning what I don’t know.
I’d like to believe I’m a cannabis whisperer – but it really come down to knowing the optics and being able to present cannabis in a way that breaks down barriers by customizing the conversation to the audience whether that be an individual or an elected official or a member of the opposition.
Most importantly, there is the superpower in each one of us: it is our VOICE. Each voice coming together creates a sea of change, a movement: the truth about cannabis.
What is your vision for women in this industry? What are some barriers they might face and what is your advice to them?
The cannabis industry is a unique platform for women. Currently, the percentage of women in this industry in executive management positions is higher, nearly double that in every other industry. Women make nearly 80% of the household and medical decisions. Women in this industry are therefore in a unique position to drive the conversation and stand up for all that cannabis has to offer ourselves and our families. Women need to elevate one another. Organizations such as Women Grow are helping to ensure that happens in the Cannabis Industry.
The barriers that women face in this industry are the same as in all industries: Many women feel that they are not taken seriously, that the larger investors are typically men; the unsavory element in this industry is usually men. However, we as women have the power to work together and usher in change, not just from a policy and law standpoint, but change the face of industry by becoming a force in this growing field.
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