Updated: Jan 12
It all started with a dream to have my own business as a little girl. Never did I think at 36 I would launch a business in the yet-to-be legalized marijuana industry as a cannabis blogger, freelancer, and advocate for the normalization of cannabis use.
I also never thought I would do drugs, have sex before marriage, have a son, and be in any kind of relationship, let alone my current long term relationship with a wonderful man.
I thought I was going to live in Arizona, alone, as a business owner with a pool in my backyard taking important phone calls for my business. Your dreams as a kid are always so simple!!
The reality of what happened? I was a horrible student, received my GED, pregnant by 19 and now have an amazing son, :-) I worked in corporate for 15 years, tried college but dropped out, eventually becoming a project manager (PM). I thought being a PM was my goal and calling in life and how I would spend my remaining corporate years until I could live out my dream of being a business owner.
But by 2016, I was a depressed, angry, judgy, anxiety-ridden human being struggling with weight gain, migraines, stomach issues, and nausea.
I was slowly losing functionality in my right hand. I was developing arthritis in my lower back and hip area with sciatica on my right side. Most days, my right side and left side feel entirely different.
I had spent all of the 2000s and 2010s in and out of the healthcare system. I was on all kinds of prescribed medications for various reasons that I would take inconsistently because of the side effects.
I felt like a failure because I couldn’t handle the pain, depression, and anxiety with just willpower, how I was raised.
I had spent years in out and out the healthcare system only to be in worse shape than when I started.
By late 2016 cannabis came back into my life, and I started to jump out of the healthcare circle of hell. I was running on fumes mentally and physically. I would summarize my life as pretty fucking miserable.
Smoking marijuana made life bearable again. But I couldn’t tell anyone. We lived in a prohibition state, I knew I had family that wouldn’t approve or understand, I feared to lose my job, I feared to lose my son, and I feared what others would think. I feared the stoner stigma.
It didn’t matter that I had a “good” job, a lovely home, a decent car, and a beautiful family. In my head, because I was using marijuana, I was a bad person.
I was believing all the typical propaganda shit even though I was experiencing how it was not hurting my life, and I was slowly starting to live life again.
On the outside, life looked happy, but physically my body was falling apart, and mentally I was as depressed as when I had postpartum depression 13 years earlier with the birth of my son.
In my last few years working in corporate, I worked more than I ever had, celebrated, and suffered the most in my personal life.
Somewhere in the chaos, my dreams of running a business began to reemerge - thanks to Pinterest!
When I wasn’t working or with my family, I was on Pinterest. Combing through Pinterest pages for ideas to decorate my big unnecessary home, be more organized, get more done, but then I stumbled across blogging.
I was too exhausted to put much thought into, but it seemed like a good idea, so I created a secret Pinterest board, never told anyone, and figured I would read through everything at a later time.
The thought of blogging reminded me of how I loved writing as a teen. But then I quickly remembered as a young adult how I threw out my writings, thinking how I could I ever pursue such a silly idea.
Fast forward to July 2017, and I was on the verge of a breakdown. Not because marijuana was hurting my life; it was because of cannabis that I could finally speak my truth.
You see, up until 2017, I was the most passive, gullible, and agreeable person you would meet. I was also the angriest, but most wouldn’t know. My cheery smile fooled a lot of people.
I always said yes, even when I wanted to say no. I was living a life based on what so many people told me to do over the years. 2016 is when I realized I had created a life that made me unhappy, July 2017 is when I let the floodgates open, and everything I had pinned up inside came flooding out.
I nearly tore apart our family, but we managed to come back together, talk through what I was struggling with, and made the decision to move to Colorado. It may seem random, but we were both unhappy living in North Carolina, and my one trip to Colorado earlier that year was all we needed to make the big move as a family.
Moving to Colorado was also an opportunity for our son to pursue his passion, hockey. My son has always been a talented/gifted athlete. But when he started hockey, he found his calling and passion in life. The past three years in Colorado have been incredible for him!
It also allowed me to be in a legal state and get access to the medicine of my choice. Now you may think I immediately went and applied for my medical card after arriving, but I didn’t. And fast forward to 2020, I still don’t have a medical card.
The fees and doctors associated with obtaining a medical card are not in my family’s budget, by choice. We have insurance, HSA, along with the many other bills, so financially, it doesn’t make sense for us to pay out of pocket for these specialized doctors. Don’t get me wrong I would love to see one, I’m curious, but it’s not in the cards right now.
We wish cannabis were legal, and we could use our insurance and HSA funds. I have maintained using cannabis for wellness reasons while staying on the adult-use side.
Like Steve DeAngelo, I don’t believe in “recreational use.” Most people, including myself, almost always use for some sort of medical reason. I chose and continue to want to self-study using cannabis for wellness purposes.
By October 2017, I finally quit my “good” job. The best thing I ever did for myself, especially my health. Also, one of the scariest! The first year was the hardest, I desperately wanted to work, but I was in too much pain. I managed to obtain some random freelance gigs, but nothing consistent.
I was also finally telling my partner about my dreams as a little girl and my idea to blog. He was not thrilled. To be honest, I still thought I was crazy, unprepared, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Blogging meant putting myself out there, actually having a voice and an opinion - my biggest fears.
My partner was also concerned about my business/blogging idea for financial reasons. Our son was starting high school, a new hockey league, we were accustomed to two incomes, just bought a house that still needs a lot of work and we hadn’t even moved in. It was a stressful time!! How could I think about NOT having a consistent paycheck?!?
The one thing I am most grateful for from my “good” job was their confidence in me. Working at that company helped me find my voice. The company believed in me and my ideas.
The missing link was my lack of passion and interest in the industry - it was a paycheck, a way for me to financially provide for my son.
They say think about what you wanted to do when you were a little. I knew I couldn’t keep supporting companies that I didn’t believe in; I knew I couldn’t keep making the same mistake of finding another corporate job. I had thoughts to enter the marijuana industry, but I was hesitant.
As my job search continued, I continued to be a silent cannabis user, even after moving to Colorado. Most family members knew after we moved, but not everyone. My old fears and beliefs continued to hold me back.
From 2017 to early 2019, I was job-hopping, freelancing, and working temp jobs while I started a blog called Simple Cozy Minimalism and semi-launched an organizing company. But never on the books and only had one client and didn’t make enough to report it.
It seemed so logical; I am an organized person, I am a Certified Professional Organizer, and I love to organize. But it never felt quite right. During this time, I was working another temp assignment, and it continued to get extended, which was great during the holidays. I was still dabbling with my blog, and trying to deal with that nagging feeling that was nothing was right about it.
It was during this temp assignment that I met my first friend from work. The first person I would ever tell about my cannabis use - the most supportive person I ever met. Shortly after we met and just after the New Year, my family’s life changed - my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36 years old.
I spent the first half of 2019, traveling back and forth to be with my sister during her treatments. I was grateful to have the opportunity. She and I had many conversations about our lives, families, our past, and our futures. My conversations with her made me realize that I was still hiding a significant aspect of myself - cannabis.
She helped me realize I was changing; how cannabis was improving my life. I was making friends again; I started to go out, network, make ads for my business, write blog posts, create social media accounts, and share my life. But it was all a masquerade I never once mentioned cannabis.
I was able to be home with my family in late July 2019. July was a big month - I finally changed my blog to a full cannabis blog MariJane Simplicity and applied for my MED badge to work within the marijuana colorado industry.
I chose the name MariJane Simplicity because Simplicity is how I believe life should be. MariJane well...that should be obvious! ;-)
My plan was to find a job in the industry and blog on the side. In my mind, there was no better way to understand the marijuana plant than to grow the plant yourself. Within weeks I bought a used, new to me truck and started my career as a Cultivation Associate. I thought I would spend the next five years doing manual labor, learning how to grow the plant while blogging on the side, and figuring out how my blog would be my business.
But all of that came to a screeching halt when I started having upper and lower respiratory issues that my doctors said it had to do with the marijuana plants, they said I was allergic. Six weeks later, I resigned.
Back home, feeling defeated, I started to question my purpose and career path. I was angry and frustrated. But I prayed and spent time searching again for another job as I was getting ready to pivot and go back to what I know (corporate) and be miserable. I thought that was my calling - to be miserable.
Thankfully my partner encouraged me to take a cannabis course while I was recovering. I was able to study in nine different areas from marijuana as a medicine to how to grow. I will receive a Master Certification in Q1 of 2020.
The courses are incredibly informative. The past three years of inconsistent employment and the experiences I had made me realize I was on a bigger mission. I needed to stop being so scared to tell people about the medicine that gave me my life back.
I love helping others being organized but I also love to write, I love cannabis. I love trying all things cannabis, so why not use my skills of writing and being organized to support the cannabis community and help others who don’t understand by being an example.
MariJane Simplicity was born because I have a message to share. Cannabis, when used correctly by the individual, can allow that person to live a happy, productive, and meaningful life.
I share my story as a former silent cannabis user to continue to normalize cannabis use and help people understand that responsible users integrate their medicine with their life.
MariJane Simplicity shares stories, recipes, information, and product reviews to support cannabis users on their wellness journey to continue to normalize cannabis.
MariJane Simplicity is about creating a community of users who share common values of kindness, love, responsibility, accountability, and no judgment.
Oh, and it turns out I’m allergic to dogs, among other things, and my used (new to me truck) was covered in dog hair. We got it shampooed, and I finally started to recover. It was a long two months!
I was never allergic to the marijuana plants, but I’m grateful for the opportunity I had, the people I met, and the push in the ass I needed to start my business finally.
And that my friends, is how MariJane Simplicity was born. I’m excited to share this adventure with all of you!
I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on Instagram @marijane_simplicity where I post about living a cannabis-friendly lifestyle, or follow my Facebook page.