If the cannabis industry in New Jersey is going to grow and prosper, it needs people like Jessie Gill.
Whether it’s expansion of the medical marijuana program or the potential for the adult-use market, educating consumers about what’s available and how to use cannabis is crucial.
Yes, those who currently partake through the black market are the most likely to transfer over to the legal market, but for the industry to become anything more than a niche part of the economy requires increasing awareness about what the plant can be used for and when and where to buy and use it.
That’s a role Gill plays as Marijuana Mommy.
“I get tons and tons of questions from potential new patients, which is exactly who I’m reaching out for,” Gill says. “How do I get rid of this pain? Or how can this help me?”
So who is the Marijuana Mommy?
Gill is a registered nurse with a background in holistic health and hospice.
She’s also a medical marijuana patient. She turned to cannabis after suffering a spinal injury in January 2014 that required surgery and then a regimen of pharmaceuticals to alleviate the pain, “I was living on opiates and Valium” – nothing helped. A friend suggested medical marijuana.
“My mom and my dad took me to my first dispensary appointment to get my medical marijuana,” she recalls in a conversation with NJ Cannabis Media. “That very day I was able to stop opiates and Valium and I haven’t needed them since. And then very slowly I’ve came off of everything else and now I’m on no pharmaceuticals and it’s been remarkably life-changing for me.”
Enough that she transformed from patient to advocate. A blog about health and family quickly evolved into one extolling the benefits of medical marijuana and a persona was born – Marijuana Mommy. Her site, MarijuanaMommy.com educates about cannabis while tackling the stigma against marijuana use.
One of her goals is to improve the education of not just patients but medical professionals as well.
“That’s a big important place to start,” she says, citing the work of New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shareef Elnahal in helping to break down barriers.
Gill recently hosted her first class on CBD in Woodbridge and continues to spread the word to medical groups – she recently dropped in on several health centers with flyers about the benefits of CBD and medical marijuana.
“My CBD class has driven towards more community engagement,” Gill says.”Outreach to our physicians is really, really desperately needed.”