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Jane is any self-identified womyn who chooses plant medicine to confront, process, and heal trauma. The stigma of discussing trauma causes a cycle of retraumatization, isolation, and silence. They believe cannabis can be both a bridge and a vessel in ending that silence.
The This Is Jane Project creates a safe space for womxn who courageously bring a voice to the stories otherwise left untold. Our personal and collective healing via plant medicine helps to connect us as a community in this mission.
We caught up with Shannon of #thisisjaneproject to learn more.
How did you get involved in cannabis?
There are a few of us working on #thisisjaneproject, so each brings a different story about what exactly brought us to this plant and ultimately, to the project! My story, Shannon here, ps, is that it took a gun to my head for me to try cannabis. Literally. I was carjacked at gunpoint in 2016 and left riddled with anxiety, paranoia, and perpetual illness because of it.
After battling debilitating insomnia for over a year, I finally decided to see if cannabis would help. While it didn’t help with my sleep, at least not right away, I immediately noticed a difference in the way I saw the world and my place in it. I noticed that I’d been hiding behind masks and organizations instead of doing the real healing work that I needed on my own. I noticed that I was inauthentic in areas of my life, mostly in my relationships and ultimately to myself, and rather than fall apart, cannabis gave me the wherewithal to confront such understandings with courage and grace.
You know how many people are walking around afraid to say something? To tell someone how they feel? To quit that job? You realize what really matters after thinking you’re going to die.
What is your mission with @thisisjaneproject?
The mission of #thisisjaneproject is to organize and document inclusive communities of womxn for honest conversations about trauma, healing, and medicating with cannabis. Our vision, though, is to document 1 MILLION womxn’s stories through a black-and-white photo-activism campaign. We invite womxn who’ve experienced trauma to gather together in small, intimate, and safe groups to discuss the things they’ve experienced in life and how cannabis has/is/continues to help them navigate life after trauma. Feedback free. While many involved have social-services or medical backgrounds, we do not provide counseling or medical advice. We provide a safe space to speak freely, share in healing, and find community, all as contribution to ending the stigmatization of talking about trauma, healing, and cannabis.
Where do you see yourself in the industry in 5 years?
That’s a tough question. I see us on a trip together, the founding members and whoever else the Universe sees fit to bring our way, bonding over the work we’ve done and the difference we helped make in destigmatizing necessary conversations in the era of post-legalization cannabis. More specifically, I see a feature documentary telling stories of womxn healing trauma through connection and cannabis. After establishing non-profit status, we will be seeking grants and donation funds for production! Email email@example.com for info or to get involved. Currently seeking a Director of Photography (DP) with a passion for womxn and weed in the Los Angeles of SF area.
What's the biggest challenge of working in the cannabis space and the biggest reward?
I have to rank them? Ha! We’re working on a project centered around trauma. That in itself brings a distinct set of variables to consider. People are drawn to this work because they have trauma. Having trauma often means that people bring individual trauma responses, triggers, coping skills, communication style, boundary style, all of it, with us. I’d say that the biggest challenge is being able to manage all of that weight, within myself and relating to others. I can also see how the largest obstacles and our ability to move through them, as a team, how it’s an opportunity for a massive reward, too: community, growth, and love! I believe in this work and this team so fervently that I’m experiencing the ultimate reward every day: gratitude, regardless of what’s happening.
Do you have any advice for any fellow cannapreneurs?
If your gut is telling you something, listen. Second piece of advice is to practice humility, always and often as you can. Just be humble. If someone approaches you about you, try to listen. It’s okay to grow. It’s okay to say that you didn’t know; to amend behaviours that no longer serve you, or the community. And no matter how excited you are (+ regardless of the social media version of someone you may see), you’ve gotta be diligent in the vetting processes of those you align with, which brings me to, third: surround yourself with people you can have hard conversations with. It’s literally imperative.
Yet even as I write these tidbits, I know that each entrepreneur has gotta go through their own gauntlet. Mine was crippling fear and self-doubt that played out in over-sharing, microaggressions, and inviting people into the project prematurely. Ultimately, though, confronting all of that provided me with the self-awareness and thick skin needed to proceed with this work. I wouldn’t be here had I not gone through my own personal obstacles. So read the advice, yes. Then promptly throw it away, roll a j, and let’s smoke to your own cannapreneur process, shall we?
Photography by Molly Lou Photo & Bri Smith.