Episode 24: Refua Shlema – A Complete Healing? The Medical Marijuana Episode w/Laurel Freedman
“There are so many things that we, as jews, lift up and discuss… we really do often come together on things that can be dividing and controversial. this is one of those issues. this is one of those things that can be unifying. it can mean health.”
Laurel Freedman became a cannabis professional in 2016 when Pennsylvania legislation opted for a medical marijuana program that would impact health & sciences, job creation, the environment, incarceration rates, criminal records, the economy (and the list could go on).
Laurel began in an outreach and educational role working at a multi-state operator that was vertically integrated (which means they grow, process and dispense medical marijuana and have licenses in multiple states to do so). With a portfolio that included sales, education, marketing and events, she began to see the bigger picture of the industry and its ancillary fields.
A second opportunity arose in 2018 to open the US market in order to connect Israeli technology and innovation to the global cannabis ecosystem, an exciting prospect to advance the industry and practice a unique form of Zionism. Through these two experiences, there was clear evidence of the knowledge gap that existed not only within the fragmented industry, but the general public when it comes to cannabis.
The opportunities to understand the history, science, and potential of cannabis is what brought Laurel to where she is now; bridging the gap through educational programs and events in the cannabis space as a Women Grow local leader, as well as making introductions to stakeholders to advance the field through her business: Laurel Support LLC. She recently joined the leadership team of Proud Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition to lobby for a fair and equitable local economy when it comes to cannabis. Laurel is working towards a goal of opening her own event space that will lend itself to educational programs, as well as cultural celebrations and social justice opportunities.
Laurel comes to Philly by way of Texas. She holds an MSW as well as a master’s in Jewish Nonprofit Management. She’s an active and involved rebbetzin, married to Rabbi Eli Freedman of Congregation Rodeph Shalom. They live in the Kensington/Fishtown area of Philadelphia with their two young daughters Josephine and Nora, and their two dogs Rio Grande & Guadalupe, where she and her husband play their instruments, community garden, and hang out with their friends and neighbors.
In this conversation Laurel Freedman and myself discuss the healing properties of medical marijuana. From soothing those going through chemotherapy to those that are paralyzed with social anxiety, this natural herb is not as pernicious as the arbiters of good and evil may have you believe (Of course, Laurel, points out it is always important to do your homework and to make sure that you know what you are consuming – whether that is the food you eat or the CBD hot chocolate you purchase).
Pivoting from a career in the non-profit world, Laurel saw an opportunity to use the skills and interests that she had in the non-profit sector and be able to continue using them to bring healing into peoples lives while also creating greater cash flow (audio plays when opening this Fortune link).
To learn more about Women Grow, check out the video below!
For resources recommended by Laurel be sure to check out:
Leafly – Cannabis Education and Advocacy platform
Tikun Olam – Israeli Medical Marijuana
Martin Buber’s I and Thou
Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to share this podcast with your friends and family!