Jyl Ferris | Florida Women In Cannabis Winner 2020

Jyl Ferris - Florida Women In Cannabis 2020

1 – Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you are from, where you went to school, where you live now? Are you a Florida Native?

I was born and raised in NYC but have lived in Israel and Connecticut as well. However, I moved to Florida a year ago. I went to the High School of Music & Art (now known as LaGuardia High School) and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

2 – Do you support Medical Marijuana? How about Adult Use? Please explain why.

I support all use of cannabis as I feel that all use is medically related. Even in situations where someone is using recreationally, they are likely using it to relax or chill out, to sleep better, even to socialize easier, much like over-the-counter remedies.

3 – Why did you decide to start working in cannabis. Do you have a personal story of a family member or friend?

I’ve been a cannabis consumer since I was a teenager. I have always felt, while my friends were using marijuana recreationally, that cannabis opened my mind, expanded my creativity, and helped me concentrate on my artwork. As an adult, I gravitated toward homeopathic and other holistic medicine and away from using traditional pharmaceuticals for myself and my children. Cannabis is a plant — a natural medicine — given to us by the earth and the use of cannabis as medicine is a natural extension of that for me.

4 – When did you begin working in Cannabis? What is your current job title and how did you get your start.

Five years ago, I started attending cannabis networking groups in NYC. There’s a robust cannabis community in New York, even though the medical market is still very slim. Meetings at HighNY, Cannagather, and WomenGrow became regular events for me. I started working with WomenGrow and became a Market Leader. From there, opportunities to exhibit my talents and my passion for the plant led to my first position in the industry as Creative Director for Tikun Olam. There, I developed their entire graphics program and packaging for five states. After 2.5 years, I left to develop my own design studio, working with several clients doing cannabis events. I am now the Creative Director at Trulieve.

I am truly honored to be working in this industry. Cannabis is something I have believed in my whole life. Everyone that knows me knows my love for cannabis. I never imagined that the industry would have gotten this far and now I am hopeful for cannabis legalization throughout the country and, eventually, the world.

5 – How has working in the cannabis industry changed your perspective on marijuana and hemp.

I felt that to become part of the industry, I had to know everything about the plant so I did my homework. I read everything I could on cannabis and hemp — the history, how it works in the body, how the plant is processed and its nuances. I am continually amazed at the creativity of this industry and how many different types of products have been produced. But the thing that impacts me the most is the stories my peers tell about the life-changing results they have seen from using cannabis — for themselves, their children, and even their pets.

6 – The cannabis industry is dominated by men, how has that affected you in pursuit of your current job. Has it limited your ability for you to be able to what you do. Has your being a woman given you the ability to approach cannabis from a different perspective.

No matter what industry you are in, there is always a challenge being a woman, especially when you want to stand out and be heard. I am not just a woman but an older woman; even with the same skills and many more years’ experience under my belt, I have spent years competing with younger people. That said, I appreciate that cannabis is one of the few industries where my experience, talent and passion are appreciated regardless of my age and gender. The industry is what it is today largely due to the efforts of my generation – the baby boomers – and it’s been exciting to see how much it’s grown through collaboration and innovation across generations.

7 – As a Florida Women in Cannabis what do you believe needs to happen (change) to help mainstream the cannabis message.

Women need to come out and talk openly about their use. We are still stigmatized by laws that might take your children away. I have no problems telling all my doctors and listing it on intake forms that I use cannabis medicine, but I might feel different if I had children at home. Many ask me questions they are ignorant about; we need to share our stories so more people can understand the medical benefits of cannabis and counter that stigma.

8 – Do you use Medical Marijuana, do you have a MMJ card. Do you use CBD, or have hemp clothing?

I am a medical patient and have been really happy with the products in Florida, especially the flower at Trulieve.

9 – Women tend to make most of the healthcare decisions in the home yet we keep marketing to men. I call it the Mannabis Syndrome. In your opinion what does the cannabis industry need to do to better market cannabis to women.

I think we should assume that there are more women using cannabis than reported. Having societal stigmas produces an air of secrecy. Additionally, as a marketer, I think we should address women more than we do; we have to make women aware of all of the conditions cannabis is treating specifically for women and we have to do more research on the effects of cannabis on pregnant and nursing women. It’s our responsibility to not only bring the medicine to the people, but to bring the people to the medicine.