If you’d told me in 2013 that seven years later I’d be launching a media platform for Australia’s cannabis industry I never would’ve believed you.
Back then I was having all sorts of grief with a teenager whose love of skateboarding had morphed into a lifestyle choice involving punching cones, staying out all hours and rarely going to school.
As the pressure began to affect our family, we laid all the blame on his drug of choice and ignored a bunch of other factors impacting his mood and motivation at the time. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, throw in the pressures of the HSC, a first love gone wrong and a natural propensity towards anxiety and it’s no wonder his stock response was to reach for the bong.
But like a lot of people, my view of the ‘devil’s lettuce’ started to change when I was exposed to its non-hallucinogenic properties. My brother-in-law, suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and housebound in the UK long before Covid-19 lockdowns were a thing, was prescribed nabiximols (trade name: Sativex) to alleviate the worst of his symptoms.
Leaving aside the medical efficacy of the treatment, the impact on his mental health alone was enough to convince me of the plant’s benefits.
Imagine waking up every morning knowing the only way for your body is down, then to discover something that can actually help. A simple mouth spray with the potential to change your life. You might never get ‘better’, but at least you’re taking control of your situation.
Now imagine being told you can’t have it. That’s still the reality for far too many Australians.
I came to realise that my anger towards cannabis was like hating grapes because some people become violent alcoholics. And the more I researched the industry, the more stories I found like mine.
People such as Lucy Haslam and her husband Lou – once head of the drugs squad in north-western New South Wales – who found themselves trying to score for their terminally-ill son Daniel in the days when cannabis legislation was even more restrictive than it is now.
Anyone who has watched Helen Kapalos’ documentary ‘A Life of its Own’ couldn’t fail to be moved by the family’s plight. Our commissioning editor Josie Tutty caught up with Helen recently to get her thoughts on how the landscape has (or hasn’t) changed since she made her doco in 2016. You can watch that conversation here.
Or others like Chad Walkaden, whose stage four cancer diagnosis made him reassess his relationship not only with cannabis but with his own body and inspired him to build an app to help others track their medical cannabis journey. You can watch my chat with Chad here.
We hope Cannabiz will be your guide to Australia’s cannabis industry, connecting your business with information and opportunities that stimulate growth.
That doesn’t just mean bringing you the latest news, but analysing what that news means for your business. We’ve brought together some of Australia’s best B2B journalists to shine a light on opportunities for growth.
Our chief correspondent Steve Jones has written a three-part, in-depth analysis of the Australian legal cannabis landscape featuring dozens of interviews with the industry’s foremost executives. It’s a must read, but a long read, so we’ll be rolling it out in instalments via our weekly industry newsletter.
We’ll also be recording a regular podcast featuring analysis of the week in cannabis and exclusive interviews with industry thought leaders.
We want you to join in the conversation too. After all, you’re the industry experts and your peers have so much they can learn from you. We hope you’ll send us your news, but also your opinions. You can read our guide to writing a guest post here.
And we’ll open comments on our biggest stories because we want to start conversations for the greater good of the industry. We’ll be moderating the discussion to keep things civil, but we do encourage robust debate so constructive disagreement is allowed. You can read our website terms and conditions, including our comment moderation policy, here.
Like all publishers, we have to fund our journalism, so in September we will be asking you to pay a small membership fee. For now though, you can ‘access all areas’ – sign up for the newsletter, check out the content, join the conversation – and please do email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what you think.
Everything we do in the months and years ahead, whether it’s online or at our live events, will aim to help Australia’s cannabis industry innovate and lead on the world stage.
So who are we?
First and foremost, we are a group of passionate advocates for Australia’s cannabis industry. We believe our industry is a force for good in the world and will do all we can to help it grow.
We are also experts in business journalism, having founded, launched and worked on some of the biggest B2B brands in Australia, including game-changing media and marketing website Mumbrella. We believe the cannabis industry deserves a similar voice.
We are also experts in brand building, PR and marketing. Our co-founder and chief innovation officer Kim McKay is the founder of leading Australian and US creative agency KlickX. One of the areas we feel most passionately about is helping the industry navigate its marketing challenges in a world where Google and Facebook still won’t play ball. Not to mention the image problem the industry still faces in some of the more conservative parts of society.
But whether it’s news, analysis, business strategy, marketing consultancy or PR advice, our aim is always to help your business grow. And when the time comes, we hope to meet you at our digital and live events, in the audience, on stage discussing the industry’s big challenges or even collecting one of our awards.
These days, my son is a charity fundraiser and was, I recently discovered, making personal donations way back in 2013 when I thought every dollar from his part-time job in Coles went on weed. Which proves how little I knew.
I’ve still got a lot to learn – I look forward to sharing my journey with you.
Co-founder/chief growth officer