Cannabis entrepreneur Jade Sancho-Duser is collaborating with Garden State Hemp (GSH) to offer cannabis career paths and alternative medicine courses.
Along with GSH owners Carl Burwell Jr. and Jonathan Rojas, Sancho-Duser is launching the Rooted Community Education Group (RCEG) to provide affordable vocational and patient education on the nuances of cannabis.
In August, their classes focusing on cultivation, trimming, and budtending, including pairing strains or cultivars with conditions they treat, will begin. The classes will be a mix of remote and in-person workshops.
Sancho-Duser wanted to create the RCEG because she saw many looking to take advantage of entrepreneurs by offering services they can’t guarantee or charging exorbitant fees.
“We all came together, and we decided we were going to right those wrongs,” she said.
Burwell and Rojas have a CBD store in Millburn and would like a dispensary license. Burwell has been active in legalization and spoke at a New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission meeting. He noted they have been brainstorming on how to collaborate on education with Sancho-Duser for some time.
“Our biggest passion has been education and making sure the community and everybody who wants to learn more about the plant have an opportunity to do so,” Burwell said.
He noted that because cannabis has been restricted and stigmatized, its benefits as alternative medicine are not widely known.
“It’s an opportunity for people to dive in hands first and see what it’s all about,” Burwell said about the class.
While many teach entrepreneurs, Sancho-Duser is eager to instruct professionals and patients.
“Not everybody wants to own a dispensary,” she said.
Sancho-Duser also wanted to educate people on ancillary businesses. Since they are not plant-touching, ancillary businesses do not face all the hurdles of plant-touching businesses do.
“We’re here to set these people on the correct path,” she said.
Sancho-Duser said they will offer a range of lessons, including understanding corporate etiquette, making websites, optimizing a resume, and getting a proper promotional headshot.
“We really want to set everybody up for success and really give them the opportunity,” she said.
Sancho-Duser noted dispensary training is new on the East Coast, unlike on the West Coast with its older medical marijuana programs.
RCEG wants to create a business culture in New Jersey that values compassion. Sancho-Duser believes the corporate cannabis industry often lacks the compassion of the entrepreneurs who found cannabis worked as alternative medicine and launched businesses.
Helping Patients with Alternative Medicine
“We want our patients to be treated with care and concern,” she said.
Sancho-Duser said they want to “make sure patients have a valued experience to educate themselves.”
They want to build a patient portal hub with educational information. She noted prescribing cannabis doctors may not have all the information on the nuances of the plant and which strain or cultivar is the best to treat specific diseases.
“They provide a card but not many answers,” Sancho-Duser said.
Dosing is one of issues Sancho-Duser would like to address. Those who take too much, especially of edibles, usually create the foolish stories that make people afraid of cannabis, when like everything else, it works well in moderation.
When she first became a medical cannabis patient, she told her prescribing doctor her dosage; he was “blown away that it can even be thought of that way.”
Sancho-Duser seeks to promote their alternative medicine classes by speaking in wellness spaces. However, it may not be as easy as it seems.
“I don’t think people understand there’s still a lot of stigma in the alternative medicine,” she said.
Unfortunately, Sancho-Duser has met many while they believe in alternative medicine but look down on cannabis.
Veteran Cannabis Industry Cannabis Professional
Sancho-Duser lives in Woodbridge, NJ, in Middlesex County and was a licensed massage therapist for 15 years before focusing on cannabis.
She began consuming cannabis as a teenager and then stopped in her early 20s. It was not until she became sick and needed an alternative medicine that she resumed consuming. Sancho-Duser used to end up in the emergency room one to twice a month for two years due to ulcer problems. Using underground cannabis helped her treat her stomach issues.
After using CBD, Sancho-Duser stopped taking Xanax to treat anxiety.
“That’s what really got me into the scene,” Sancho-Duser explained. “I really thought I would have to move to Colorado.”
Sancho-Duser worked for Breakwater dispensary 2017 before launching her brand, RX Mary Jade. She began selling hemp-based topicals before it was popular.
“I’ve been hustling ever since,” she said.
Her “Shaman Salve” is an especially effective topical lotion. Sancho-Duser is building her personal brand and continues to refine what she offers. She has partnered with Core Roots on different ventures.
Sancho-Duser was the event manager for CannaGather NJ, at the Zeppelin Hall in Jersey City in Hudson County.