Blue Forest Farms (BFF) is a Colorado-based company that grows their own organic hemp. They have been growing cannabis for over 40 years, and they offer not only products for consumers, but for other hemp growers as well. They offer a wide variety of hemp seeds, and even informational videos on how to grow hemp and expand your business.
BFF wants to introduce the world to the emerging CBD market, and all the benefits the plant offers — from healing individuals to communities impacted by the War on Drugs. There’s something out there for everyone in the cannabis industry, and with things like their “find your number” option on their website, they want to help consumers find what works for them.
Emerald spoke with Zach Dorsett, co-founder of BFF about social equity, cannabis’ effect on the immune system — and what this may mean for the coronavirus, and the future of the cannabis industry.
Emerald Media (EM): How did your relationship with cannabis start and how has it evolved?
Zach Dorsett (ZD): I started using cannabis towards the end of high school and it was initially disruptive to my relationships. Using it as a young adult drove a wedge between my friends, family and the majority of the adult figures in my life. Even though cannabis was medically legal [ ], it was still widely stigmatized and I was directly impacted by this very early on.
At a very young age, I was estranged from my dad but fortunately reunited with him in my early 20s through our combined passion for the plant. He had been working with cannabis for most of his life and his impactful perspective ignited my understanding of the healing and spiritual history of cannabis in a very meaningful way.
Since then, I have developed a sincere appreciation for the plant and continue to learn more about it. Cannabis not only influences my work but also my personal life.
EM: What are your thoughts on the cannabis industry as it stands today and what changes do you think need to be made?
ZD: I always try to remain optimistic about the cannabis industry and try to consistently remember how far we’ve come.
I lived in San Francisco, a region historically known for commercial cultivation, when the first medical marijuana dispensaries opened there. Through this, I have been able to closely follow developments in the industry. Although I believe we should be incredibly proud of the work we’ve already accomplished in cannabis reform, I hope we all continue to prioritize decriminalizing cannabis in our communities.
The primary focus moving forward should be creating social equity and reform in the industry. Black Americans have been, and still are, disproportionately impacted by anti-drug laws, especially pertaining to cannabis. Families have been ripped apart and individuals are essentially enslaved in private prisons for minor cannabis offenses. The institutionalization, brutal treatment and murder of Black Americans are some of the many wrongs to make right. There is so much more to be done to fix this.
EM: What does the term “social equity” mean to you?
ZD: To me, social equity means a commitment to fair and equal treatment for Black Americans and other people of color.
Social equity in cannabis should also address the current inequalities within businesses industry-wide. There is still a minimal amount of Black representation and employment within cannabis.
EM: How can the cannabis industry become more inclusive?
ZD: Inclusivity is an intentional awareness of your business from the very beginning. When we started Blue Forest Farms, our utmost priority was ingraining diversity into our company culture. Businesses do not ‘accidentally’ become all white. It is the responsibility of employers to consistently apply inclusivity into their workforce to promote change. Investors must prioritize investing in businesses by focusing on diversity, and consumers should intentionally support businesses that merit their attention.
EM: What does restorative justice look like?
ZD: Although I have limited experience with restorative justice, I believe there should be a space for victims and their families to express the detrimental feelings they’ve endured as a result of the crime.
EM: What are some misconceptions people have about the cannabis industry?
ZD: One of the most common misconceptions I’ve come across is individuals believing the cannabis industry is all fun and games. Although it is a rewarding environment to be a part of, there is so much hard work put into the industry that isn’t widely recognized.
Additionally, some individuals still think the industry is made up of ‘lazy stoners.’ In reality, cannabis consumers are some of the most productive people I’ve ever met. Every person I work with brings a unique spirit to the workplace and a persistent, hardworking attitude that is otherwise hard to come by.
EM: What would you like there to be more awareness about in the cannabis industry?
ZD: Individuals rarely understand the importance of accountability and the effect it has on consumers. All cannabis products in Colorado are tested by state-licensed, third-party facilities and must meet rigorous standards for quality and safety. Although I believe this is one of the biggest advantages of the legal market versus the illicit market, consumers are commonly unaware of this.
EM: Why did you get into the CBD business and how has it changed you?
ZD: CBD’s transformative, therapeutic benefits are why I started Blue Forest Farms. Previously, I worked in medical and recreational cannabis and was constantly enticed by CBD. Working with CBD has helped me establish a sincere understanding of its benefits and the continuous influx of research it provides is energizing.
EM: What is the most interesting thing about CBD and CBD products?
ZD: The most interesting thing to me about CBD is the beneficial impact each unique cannabinoid has on common ailments. We’re always following the latest research, and we’ve streamlined the buying process so consumers can easily identify the best cannabinoid for their desired outcome by ‘finding their number.’ One day, I hope we will all recognize how this plant has empowered communities by reducing individuals’ suffering and holistically elevating our collective wellness.
EM: What’s something that not a lot of people know about CBD or cannabis in general?
ZD: The coronavirus has raised more awareness of the relationship between cannabis and the immune system. Canadian researchers discovered several strains were shown to reduce the number of ACE2 receptor sites, which is the SARS–Cov2 mechanism for entry into the human cells. This specific research is incredibly interesting. People should expect to see more encouraging data surrounding the relationship between cannabis and the immune system in the near future.
EM: What is the benefit of something like a CBD-infused edible? I ask because when most people think of cannabis edibles, they think of the THC ones, and getting high.
ZD: Ingesting CBD allows your body to swiftly absorb it in the bloodstream causing it to quickly affect the cannabinoid receptors all over your body so the user ‘feels it’ fast. Ingesting CBD inhibits an inflammatory response cellularly with the quickest absorption rate.
EM: What would you like to see for the future of cannabis?
ZD: Cannabis is the future of so many industries: medicine, construction, fuel, energy storage, permaculture, soil remediation, clothing, fire protection and so much more. I hope more individuals begin to understand the versatile benefits this plant has to offer and continue to approach it with a fresh perspective to keep discovering its many benefits.