On a warm evening this past summer, a group of women aged 24-70+ gathered at a community center in Seattle, to share stories of their cannabis use. One described her hilarious encounter with cannabis-infused sexual lubricant. Another described the side-effects of her chemotherapy and how medical marijuana had soothed them. As they continued around the circle, each story was unique but each showed the impact cannabis had on their lives.

The Seattle gathering had been organized by Aliza Sherman, co-founder of Ellementa, which aims to connect women online and in person to educate them about cannabis. Sherman, along with co-founders, Melissa Pierce, and Ashley E. Kingsley, had created the organization after coming together over their own use of medical marijuana. “We had each turned to cannabis for our own reasons, and we realized there weren’t any fact-based cannabis education resources available that were aimed at women,” said Sherman.

As a technology entrepreneur, Sherman had already founded an organization Webgrrls International, aimed at women teaching women about technology and the internet. With Ellementa, she plans to do the same for Cannabis.

Both for themselves and the people they take care of, women are interested in cannabis to help with insomnia, chronic pain, menopause symptoms and more, said Sherman. Soccer moms, executives, grandmothers, all want information, and Ellementa is all about, “providing education, clearing up misconceptions and removing the stigma,” said Sherman.

Ellementa meetings typically occur in a library, community center or coffee shop rather than a marijuana dispensary. “We are the bridge between a woman’s curiosity and the information she needs,” said Sherman.

The most popular topic is pain relief said Sherman, and the concept of cannabis micro-dosing, where people take enough THC to get rid of pain, but do not get high, is new information and useful to many people she said. “People want to get off or stay off opioids.”

For those who can’t attend a meeting or prefer anonymity, the Ellementa web site provides articles, and online private forums on Facebook offer conversations. Topics include how to manage chemotherapy side-effects with cannabis, how to talk to your kids about cannabis if you are using for medication, etc. Reviewers sample cannabis products and offer their feedback for the web site.

The small start-up is looking for funding, but stigma seems to be the main barrier holding back traditional investors said Sherman. “People believe in us and our mission, but tell us they don’t want to be associated with marijuana,” she said. “When you are inside the industry you forget how powerful that stigma can be.”

Ellementa is currently running a crowd-funding campaign on iFundWomen but is running into the same issue there. “People have asked how to contribute anonymously because they don’t want to publicly be seen giving money to a cannabis company,” said Sherman.

Another challenge to the business is the limited availability of nation-widecannabis-related sponsors. Events in each state need their own individual company sponsors because cannabis companies generally operate in only one state due to federal laws.

Ellementa’s revenue currently comes from ticket sales, sponsors for events, and women’s marketing consulting services. On October 25, the company will host a meeting in New York sponsored by HelloMD, an online cannabis community and telehealth service which helps people get medical cards in New York, and PharmaCannis, a licensed medical cannabis provider. With four dispensaries and cultivation and manufacturing facilities in New York, PharmaCannis will be sending a woman pharmacist to speak to the group. Pamela Hadfield, co-founder of HelloMD will also be on hand.

A new challenge recently appeared when the ticket registration site EventBrite threatened to take down Ellementa’s event ticket registration, and Sherman believes it is because the title of the event contained the word “Cannabis.”

“We are not a consumption event,” said Sherman, who has been trying to contact EventBrite to clear up the matter. “We are a discussion group.”

Despite the challenges, Sherman said, “We’re going for it. Education is legal. Information is legal.”



News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewe.../#9b3fa81762ed
Author: Julie Weed
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Photo Credit: Chloe Sommers
Website: https://www.forbes.com/#1c14ae842254