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Reflecting on 2023, Looking forward to 2024

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Reflections and goal setting have long been a part of my life but writing it all down and sharing it publicly is new for me. I hope it's helpful and maybe entertaining!

Thinking back to the beginning of 2023, there was so much up in the air. I had owned a condo in San Diego for 15 years and was planning to sell it to start my consulting business, but considering the market, who knew when that was going to happen. I think it was January 2nd when I received the offer that I accepted and ended up closing the sale of my condo later that month. It was a huge change for me but I'm so glad that I took the leap and am so grateful for all the support I received during that transition.

During the same time, I also judged my first cannabis competition, The San Diego Farmers Cup. I will say that if you are planning on moving, having a lot of cannabis helps to share with friends who help you pack and to tip your movers! Not only did I enjoy judging various cannabis products but I enjoyed sharing them with others. Competitions have been a big part of cannabis since the legacy market and are a great way to get involved in the industry if you are passionate but not interested in making it a full career.

February was a blur. Unpacking and organizing and settling into my new home. Little did I know that focusing on settling in would be so important for what was going to come. At the beginning of March, my childhood best friend's youngest

brother passed away from an opioid addiction. It was a tragedy and he was a young father of two beautiful girls. My friend, Molly, also has little children and knowing that I could go back to Chicago and be there to support them, I knew I had to do it. It was really sad but also inspiring to see how Pierson's loved ones dealt with such a devastating loss. Then there's the opioid aspect of it all and how this crisis has been going on for so long and cannabis has been here the whole time. Now with some research and lots of evidence that it helps just as much for pain and doesn't have the risk of chemical addition that devastates so many people's lives. I get really mad when I think about the differences in how opioids and cannabis are treated and just wish this issue wasn't so political. can be really bad and it can be really good. I feel so fortunate that my appendix decided to wait to try and explode inside of me until after I returned from my unexpected trip to Chicago. The whole thing really could have been a lot worse and I'm grateful that I listened to my body and also advocated for myself while in the hospital. All-in-all, it was fairly quick and I was able to get in and out of the hospital in under 36 hours (even got this pretty sunrise since there's no such thing as sleeping in the hospital).

But let me tell you how many times they tried to give me opioids. I was in pain, sure, but I did not want to take the opioids they offered unless it was really necessary so I refused them and it was fine. I wish I could have used cannabis instead in the hospital setting but fortunately I wasn't there very long (I did have edibles in my purse I would have taken if I needed to). One note: if you think you might have appendicitis, get to the hospital before it ruptures! Mine was starting and they said if it had I would have had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks of IV antibiotics instead of 24 hours. No thank you!

After recovering, I got back to work (actually I did a little work from the hospital but just texting). The next couple months involved meeting people, checking out the market in southern California and finally coming up with my name and branding. That's when Grass Goddess Consulting was born!

The first event I attended as Grass Goddess Consulting was Blunt Brunch San Diego in August and it was so inspiring and lovely and I knew things were going to start to fall into place. It was scary putting myself out there and being vulnerable

but it felt right. I think that's one of the big lessons I'm taking away from this year. Sometimes it takes going through experiences that you don't love but if you do work, keep your head up, and plan for the future, you can get to a place that feels right and when you get there, it makes everything else worth it. Here's an example, I did not love my time as a Product Manager in Biotech for a number of reasons but when I tell someone I have that experience, they take me more seriously and know I have a level of understanding of sales, marketing and product development that not everyone with my background typically has. I did love how much I got to travel on an expense report so it wasn't all bad.

At the end of the summer, I was able to join my dad for a business trip he had in

Spain! It was a really nice trip and my first time traveling internationally while employed in the cannabis industry. It was really fun and interesting to talk to people from all over the world about cannabis and what I do and see how they react. Overall, the people I talked to were very open-minded about cannabis and didn't really understand a lot of the background with racism and politics but appreciate that it could be helpful medically and recreationally. This picture is from one of the dinner gala's I attended with my dad. Angelica is a friend I met in Valencia who is Swedish but has traveled and lived all over the world. Fortunately, I spilled the beans on the party because her husband hadn't mentioned it thinking she wouldn't want to be bothered hanging with all the engineers. We ended up having a fun, fancy night out!

I pretty quickly put those frequent flier miles from Spain to work and went to the Benzinga Cannabis Conference in Chicago. It was great to meet some people in person that I'd been talking to remotely and also hear from all the panelists with industry insights and predictions. I got to see my family as a bonus and give out some of my Grass Goddess branded smoke stones to elevate the joint smoking experience. It was pretty low key for me outside of the conference but I made the connections I wanted to make and increased my confidence in what I'm doing and that I belong where I am.

Also in the fall, I attended the Adams Avenue Street Fair in San Diego. It's an annual neighborhood event with vendors and music and The Farmers Cup went all in on their presence this year and had an area outside in the streets, inside in the Adams Avenue Theater with an ID check, a consumption hookah lounge and a VIP upstairs space. It was really well done and incorporated into the rest of the street fair in a way that makes cannabis feel more mainstream.

I had fun taking some photos with this cannabis flower installation. So beautiful and unique!

One of the highlights of my year was attending the UCLA Canna club conference. It was so well done with a serious heavy hitter speaker lineup and a lot of the key players participating with booths. Free for students and I think $50 for the public. I learned a lot and met some amazing people that I've formed partnerships with and met up with again since meeting at UCLA. The event concluded with a consumption event above GOAT Global Westwood. Lots of different vendors and activities and I had a lot of fun. Was wishing I didn't have to drive back to San Diego after!

MJBizCon is THE cannabis conference of the year. I'm not saying it's the best or the highest quality but the most people from the industry in one place for the longest period of time during the year. Last year was my first time and I learned a bunch and made adjustments for how I planned for this year. Check out my two posts on MJBizCon for more on that crazy week!

An unexpected little trip to LA for a Puffdao event turned into a very productive and fun trip that included me drinking 50mg and going to In-n-Out and hanging with some really cool ladies (some of which I previously met at the UCLA event).

This was during a personally crazy weekend for me and I was second guessing my decision to go but it ended up being beneficial and fun. Just do it!

Here we are at the end of the year back where it started with me preparing to move again and judging another Farmers Cup competition. Selling the home I had owned and lived in for the majority of 15 years was hard. And a lot of what happened in my life this year was also hard but I am so proud of all that I've accomplished. Grass Goddess Consulting is in a great place and continuing to grow. I'm playing the long game and not after a quick buck. Sometimes it's frustrating and takes a lot of patience but I can already see that it's going to be worth it. And, hey, I have cannabis by my side. It keeps me calm, allows me to have more fun and connect with people in a whole new way.

Before I conclude, I want to talk a bit about the industry and give my opinion on a few things and also make a prediction for the future. Cannabis is complicated for a lot of reasons. It's a plant that has a lot of therapeutic value due to a multitude of compounds including a number of cannabinoids and terpenes. It's not similar to alcohol, nor tobacco, nor pharmaceuticals. There is so much medical potential yet it's still so heavily regulated. We've made progress getting medical cannabis to more people while also taking steps to make it less accessible for others. Honestly, if I think about it too much, it seems too complicated, too tangled and it boggles my mind how this will actually work.

On the other hand, I can visualize a solution that seems to work. Remove or reduce the scheduling so we can actually do research, cross state lines and reduce stigma. Pharma can work on isolating compounds from the plant, combining them in various ways and creating new medicines. Cannabis can work on the whole plant and coming up with ways to cultivate strains for both medical and recreational purposes. One note on that...I know a lot of people take the position that all cannabis use is medical or wellness. I don't totally agree. There is 100% a wellness component to my use but sometimes I just wanna get really high and enjoy myself and, that, I consider recreational (and similar to why people use alcohol). Feel free to debate me on that it can be fuzzy for sure! In any case, I do see a future where pharma and cannabis both play in the space, just differently.

One final opinion I want to share. I'm not OK with this 'playing on both sides of the line' thing that a lot of companies do. I do not think diverting product to the illegal market is right for the success of the industry. I'm starting to call these businesses, 'Legalish' and it's been clear Stiiizy has been participating in this for a while but the recent news about owning buildings with illegal dispensaries is pretty appalling. We need to do better. Cannabis is hard. 280E and other out of touch laws make it harder. But doing things illegally is not going to help, it's going to cause a backslide. This one I don't really want to debate but I know there are plenty out there that will want to :-) I'm here for all of it.

I want to conclude on a personal note. After going through some medical challenges that kept me from dancing for about a year, I returned to dance in August. It has been hard but amazing and I'm so grateful for my beautiful San Diego dance family led by the best, D & A Dance. Darren and Anthony are the best dance teachers and anyone in the San Diego area or even just visiting should stop by and dance. You won't regret it! Let's dance more, use cannabis more, and be more kind to each other. Happy New Year!


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