“My mother has cancer and I’ve heard cannabis can help.”
This is how many conversations start for me every day. Even in the conservative state of Texas, residents are reading about the healing properties of cannabis and they are searching for a solution. Governor Abbott signed into law last year the Texas Compassionate Use Program. It provides for patients with intractable epilepsy access to a 20:1 ratio cannabis oil. We still have another year before patients will be able to purchase the oil provided for this program.
In the meantime, where can these Texans go that’s a safe place, free of judgement, and is a trusted source of information and guidance? If they were in Austin, TX during SXSWi 2016 they would have been exposed to great information from experts across the country. The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals, a major event in Austin, TX, that celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, is known for exposing attendees to new ideas, music, films and technology.
It also was that safe place for folks to ask questions during sessions like “Cannabis: Past, Present and Future”, “Enabling Cannabis Innovation with Law and Policy” and “Ending Cannabis Prohibition: Tech Politics Culture” to name a few. Brave souls lined up to ask questions of the panelists. The audience heard from husbands seeking guidance for sick wives, entrepreneurs gathering intel to take back to their teams and the curious trying to find their way in this emerging industry. But believe me the conversations are happening. And the interest is increasing.
The access to information has been exponential and is forcing groups to form who gather for a variety of reasons. Just recently in Fort Worth, TX close to 6,000 people descended on the convention center to attend the two day Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo. The star of the show was young Alexis Bortell, a Texas girl from Rowlett whose family moved to Denver so she could have safe access to medical cannabis. Also highlighted were the “Power Women of Cannabis” panel. Drayah Sallis, founder of the Dallas Chapter of Women Grow, talked about the role women play in providing information through their networks. “You can talk about the plant all day,” she said. “It’s not against the law to say ‘marijuana’. I am a Christian…and I have had more Christians say to me, ‘I’ve been wanting to ask you about the green stuff.’”
Another safe place in Texas are the chapters of Women Grow. The Austin Chapter started in September 2015 and has attracted women and men alike seeking to share their ideas and take advantage of the ‘Green Rush.’ Each monthly meeting covers topics to educate about the plant and topics of interest to those building a cannabis-based business. Held on the first Thursday of every month, you can join the community in Austin by visiting womengrow.com.
This industry holds much promise as it matures. We must create and foster the places to speak our mind and be free to have conversations that lead to truth. Texans deserve to know the truth about cannabis and gain access to information that is factual. Let’s work together…state and country.