I don’t want cannabis to become something you only do when you're in Colorado or in California.
Since 2012 Amanda Reiman worked as the California policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, leading marijuana reform work in California and fighting tirelessly for the legalisation of cannabis. She also conducted several studies on medical marijuana dispensaries, patients and the use of marijuana as a treatment for addiction. Now that legalisation is a fact however, Amanda has decided to take her message to the next level, leaving her job at the DPA to embark on a journey befitting this post legalisation era: starting an educational cannabis campus in Mendocino.
‘For decades, my goal for has been to some day live on a farm and have an Animal Sanctuary,’ Amanda explains. ‘That’s always been my end point. But the idea of growing cannabis came later on when legalisation started becoming more inevitable. I realised: I could use cannabis to support my animals. And from there it kind of morphed into: well I guess there could be people there too. They can come be with me, with my cannabis and my animals.’ Amanda laughs. ‘I mean who doesn't love organic cannabis and baby goats in the same manner?’
Slowly but surely Amanda’s vision to one day have an animal sanctuary and live on a farm, expanded into something much bigger: an educational cannabis facility. ‘I am working with a group to establish a campus in Mendocino that's going to have all kinds of cannabis activity,’ Amanda explains. ‘We want to develop it into something beautiful, a state of the art facility where people will be able to tour the cannabis manufacturing and cultivation, from the plant to the final product. We will sell products made by local farms, have people come for medical treatment from all over the world and will offer holistic health services in nutrition and have a spa element.’
In a way, starting a cannabis campus feels like an extension of Amanda’s work at the Drug Policy Alliance. ‘Cannabis is something that if you develop a good relationship with, people can benefit unbelievably from. It can be a game changer in both society and the environment. That’s always been my message for legalisation. Now that places like California legalise, we're going to get people from all over the world coming here wanting to try cannabis. I feel like we have a responsibility to make sure that they will do that in a responsible and healthy way, making it a good experience.’
One of Amanda’s concerns is that without the right education, people will miss out on the possibilities of cannabis. ‘We shouldn’t get lost in the party aspect of it being legal,’ Amanda explains, ‘I don’t want cannabis to become something you only do when you're in Colorado or in California, like gambling in Vegas. The tourism around cannabis in Colorado is very much like spring break for college students. People go there to get high, they don't really know what they're doing and sometimes they’ll over consume. I don’t want that to happen in California. We're holding a sacred thing in our hand that is powerful but fragile at the same time. And now that it is legal, it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s planted, nurtured and used in the right way.’