Not many years ago, who would have thought the emerging cannabis industry would be a topic for an SCA General Membership meeting – or that Bill Silver, former dean of Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics, would become CEO of a firm on the front line of a new era of legalized recreational cannabis use.

CannaCraft has taken a lead position as a seed-to-shelf California cannabis producer and distributor of a community-oriented, sun grown and sustainably farmed product line. Operating within the law, CannaCraft only sells its products to licensed dispensaries. For me, June’s GMM was an eye opener.

Silver’s path led to a perfect place for him. “Imagine living a life where you do exactly what you are meant to do,” he said. He wrote a book entitled, The Way of Zing, about successfully aligning work and life. “Zing,” he suggests, is a way to integrate the two. He calls it achieving human vitality. That concept resonated with me as a place I desire to be.

In sharing his personal story and involvement with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Silver mentioned a film about cultivating health and wellness that featured a cancer patient in Stage 4 of the disease who found cannabis and is now cancer free.

Bill’s son is a leukemia survivor. As a registered nurse, health and wellness has always been a key focus for me. I have never lost interest in exploring alternative therapies for wellbeing.

Throughout my medical career, educating myself on the benefits and risks associated with any new drug or natural treatment was essential. I believe education is equally important today as people weigh evidence for and against cannabis as a remedy. Ongoing research, tests, clinical trials, and patient follow up are the time-honored ways to achieve this.

Seeing the opportunity for cannabis to expand from recreational to medicinal use is monumental, and could lead to significant breakthroughs as a major ingredient in a holistic wellness program for those in pain or facing a variety of chronic health issues.

While the jury is still out regarding the pros and cons of medicinal cannabis use, the evidence in favor of CBD, versus THC (the cannabis compound responsible for a euphoric high) is piling up. Journal articles and news reports about CBD’s capabilities are compelling. Demographics among users have shifted as Baby Boomers to soccer moms try cannabis to relieve stress, anxiety and joint pain. The time is right to take a

fresh look at this possible way to accelerate opioid addiction withdrawal and other conditions. Shouldn’t we give this industry a chance?

Cannabis also has economic potential for our region. Rough estimates of the future sales tax revenue from cannabis indicate that could reach $3.7 billion by the end of 2018 and from $6.79B to $10B by 2025, producing significantly higher tax proceeds, while also creating local businesses and jobs.

Silver gave us an informative presentation. As he pointed out, “Lets continue to conduct research and have dialogue on this topic with open minds. Cannabis is now on Main Street and Wall Street. Our region is the gateway to the Emerald Triangle, as well as a focal point for greater Bay Area cannabis tourism – with Santa Rosa at the epicenter of the cannabis industry today.”

It will be interesting to watch and learn more as this unique and complex business evolves through the growing pains on its way to becoming a viable recognized industry.

Stay tuned.

Kris Wilson

President, The Sonoma County Alliance