ROADSHOW Shivawn Brady is in a Lone Star State of mind.
Down in the great state of Texas, pot folks are pissed off. For starters, there aren't many of them—at least not aboveground and legal—which makes them, right now, even more pissed off than they've been for decades. In Texas, there are only three licensed dispensaries. Terminally ill cancer patients have access to pot, but not many others who would benefit from medicinal marijuana do.
Sonoma County cannabis-wiz Shivawn Brady means to do something about the sorry state of weed in the Lone Star State; and not just grumble about it. For four days at the end of January, she and a talented team of cannabis experts, including Dr. Sue Sisley, will barnstorm Plano, Houston, Austin and El Paso.
Brady, who will moderate all four public panels, is well suited for her role. For two years, she served on the Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Board, and, as an insider, knows about red tape. She also worked at Peace in Medicine, the Sebastopol dispensary.
But what really stands out on her resumé is that in 1986, at age 24, law-enforcement officers raided her pot farm and confiscated her crop. Brady was busted and charged with cultivating marijuana illegally in Sonoma County.
"It was a turning point in my life," Brady says. "I was put through the ringer—I lost my financial aid for school, and I went through a three-year legal battle. But it was also a blessing in disguise. It planted the seeds for what needed to happen next."
What needed to happen next was that Brady made friends with people—such as Robert Jacob and Erich Pearson—in the cannabis industry, who showed up at her court appearances and offered moral support. She connected to Americans For Safe Access, got her own act together and went to work for Justice Grown, a multistate legal-cannabis operator started by a civil rights and liberties law firm in Chicago.
Justice Grown, in collaboration with Texans for Safe Access, will focus, for the four different days in four different cities, on the subject of "cannabis and medicine," touching on topics such as proper dosing, patient treatment and the endocannabinoid system, which enables THC and CBD to effect healing within the human body.
Brady is especially well suited to educate Texans; precisely because she doesn't have a Texas-sized cannabis chip on her shoulder.
"I don't think the way we do things here in Sonoma is the way for everyone else to do it," she says.
Mike Pizzo, the Director of Content & Creative Services at Justice Grown, will join the Brady group.
"I've never been to Texas," he told me. "But I'm sure I'll learn a lot about Texas hearts and minds and the Texas cannabis market."
Jonah Raskin is the author of "Dark Day, Dark Night: A Marijuana Murder Mystery."