The moment I went from being a cannabis consumer to a cannabis brand owner, everything shifted. It’s like picking the red pill vs the blue pill, pick the blue pill and you can stay unaffected, unaware, and in contented ignorance. But pick the red pill and you are in for a truthfully rude but rewarding awakening.
That’s exactly how I felt when I launched RESTART CBD in 2018. I was now confronted with having to pick, and once I did, there was no going back.
Growing up I was a cannabis consumer. I was curious, passionate, and quite frankly, a regular. Austin, Texas had some effect on that being the live music capitol that it is. But I was also shielded. While marijuana wasn’t formally legal, our town is known for its relaxed stance on the plant.
Yes, legalization was a trending topic, but I knew it would be a long-shot before Texas got its head into the game. Plus, up until founding my own company, I had employers, and didn’t want to get myself tangled up in cannabis laws and regulations. It seemed daunting to even consider where to begin.
And then in 2015, as a pedestrian, I was hit by a car. I fractured my pelvis in two places and turned to cannabis as medicine. It soothed me and helped me heal, and in particular CBD was the active cannabinoid I accredited a lot of my pain relief to.
So when we launched RESTART CBD, my history with both personal appreciation as well as personal recovery from this plant was the foundation for our brand. But I didn’t go into it thinking this is how I’m going to change the world.
I did, however, know that by telling my story, I could help impact someone else who was on the fence about cannabis. I had short term vision in what would turn into a long term pursuit.
Quickly my one-on-one conversations with consumers began to multiply. I was watching this industry unfold before my eyes, right here in my home state, and I was a helping hand in that development.
I remember thinking early on in 2019, after we had been in business for a few months, wondering what the regulatory process was like and considering how to get involved. I determined that instead of waiting and being reactionary to the industry, I would be proactive and participatory in how things were rolling out.
Now that I was self employed and embarking on this emerging industry in not only Texas, but really in our nation, I decided I would take the red pill and journey into the unknown.
The work that I and others are doing in the industry is extremely important and perhaps this resonates with you as well.
The point that I’m trying to make is we are just in the beginning stages of a very turbulent endeavor. We’ve had smokable bans thrown at us, FDA warnings sent to prevent deviating from the law, and legislative sessions that seem like they’re going to make history for better and for worse all at the same time.
We have also made incredible discoveries of new and emerging cannabinoids. Hemp’s federally legal status has allowed for more cannabis related research on it’s long term effects relating to treatments and diseases.
In my short but deep time in the industry, I’ve learned a lot from running a cannabis business.
There is so much to unpack and understand. The nuances of the industry could keep you up at night. It can be overwhelming, but can also be rewarding. Both for the good and the bad guys.
There will be people who want to make a quick buck, game the system, and exploit cannabinoids to unassuming consumers. I see it happening every day. They exist and will continue to exist. You will have to navigate around them.
But there will also be people who are dedicated to making genuine change in this industry. And I’m a big believer in making the impact in your own backyard. So while it may feel like you’re taking on a mountain, you really just have to focus on your next best step.
Look, I’m not the enforcement agency. I’m truly just a die hard Texan who seeks to see her state have proper cannabis laws. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope for a future where I would have access to continue to sell, work, and educate in an industry that I love.
The hard truth is, we don’t know what the future holds. We can’t project how the politics and policies that govern this plant at a state and federal level will go. But we can sure as hell pull a chair up and ask a lot of questions.
It starts with you.
There are some amazing organizations who are truly dedicated to helping make change happen. I highly recommend getting involved with as many as you can.
Texas NORML has been a key resource from the beginning for me, in keeping me both aware of what is happening, as well as providing me with a path towards action. Another organization that has recently emerged is the Texas Hemp Coalition. As a business, I am in business for the consumer, and as part of that I need to band together with people who are motivated by similar reasons.
Working with both organizations has been integral in helping me be able to leave a mark in an industry that has given me so much.
We can make change, but we have to make the choice to do so first.
Which pill will you take?
This column is an extension of the To Be Blunt podcast, new episodes every Monday at tobeblunt.buzzsprout.com, and I’d love to personally connect with you on IG @theshaydatorabi.