I became Jane West to prove that I could change my life in a monumental way. I realized that I was the person holding me back from seeking out the bigger and better.
Jane is my nom de plume of pot, adopted because I needed to take a leap out of my former professional career. That I did, head first.
Three years ago I was a corporate event producer, living and raising a family in Denver. In 2013 I created a 420-friendly startup, Edible Events, while keeping my day job. The two parts of my working life remained separate until Feb. 26, 2014, when I appeared in a CNBC documentary on legal marijuana. My boss saw the show — and me — and the next day asked me to make a choice. I could keep my day job, or I could become “Jane West” of Edible Events.
I chose Jane.
That’s not to say this change came without difficulty. I’ve experienced more than my share of doubt, fear, and indecision. At times I’ve struggled with the feeling that I was in way over my head. But as I worked through the struggles, I found that Jane West was stronger, smarter and more powerful than the person I had been. Finding the real Jane allowed me to leave behind the parts of my life that were just adequate in favor of the inspirational and the extraordinary.
As a result, at the age of 40, my past two years have been full of these firsts:
- I met Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren and hosted fundraisers for ColoradoCongressman Jared Polis and Congresswoman Dina Titus.
- I lobbied in Washington, D.C. (and a year later brought 78 women from 16 states with me).
- I was the defendant in a criminal courtroom. Five times.
- I got fired from a job for the first time in my life.
- My parents permanently moved to the state of Colorado.
- My husband changed jobs.
- I wrote the foreword to a published book.
- I used Twitter, HootSuite, MailChimp, Squarespace, WordPress, Vine, Vimeo, WuFoo, Streak, Zappier, Instagram, Snapchat, Trello, Slack, and Buffer for the first time.
- I now know that marijuana is safer than alcohol.
- My kids and I watched a story about myself on the NBC Nightly News.
- I wrote my first hashtag, and now #byoc is a thing.
- I stopped watching TV.
- I started sleeping fewer than six hours a night.
- I produced a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre funded by the cannabis industry showcasing the musicians of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
- I raised more than $200,000 for not-for-profit organizations.
- I missed irreplaceable moments, days and weeks of my kids’ lives.
- I stayed in four of New York’s swankiest hotels and spoke at an event on Madison Avenue with New York state Sen. Diane Savino.
- I flew to Boston for a private party at a castle.
- I ate lunch on the rooftop of the Soho House while people dipped in the pool on a hot August afternoon.
- I stopped my five-times-a-week yoga routine.
- I appeared on every major news network, with over 2,000 exclusive articles and mentions.
- I almost drove off the road when I heard on NPR, “The Colorado Symphony Orchestra combines cannabis and classical music on a high note in Colorado. I’m Neal Conan and this isTalk of the Nation.”
- I celebrated my sons’ fourth and sixth birthdays.
- I had an entire chapter of Weed the People, published by Time, written about my events. It was titled “Classically Cannabis”.
- I was the “talent” at a four-hour editorial photo shoot.
- I celebrated my 38th and 39th birthdays.
- I had the best sex in my entire marriage.
- I utilized lysergic acid diethylamide.
- I celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary.
- I smoked a blunt with Snoop Dogg and a few joints with Willie and Annie Nelson.
- I have put on more makeup than I have in the past five years combined.
- I was way too nice to people who didn’t deserve it.
- I didn’t thank my parents enough.
- I started wearing heels on weekdays.
- I lost a passport, multiple drivers licenses, two pairs of prescription glasses, and two Wi-Fi boxes.
- I was in something called a “sizzle reel,” and it wasn’t pretty.
- I paid over $500 in parking tickets.
- I consumed more cannabis on a weekly basis than ever before in my life.
- I wore fake eyelashes. Six times.
- I founded an international professional networking organization for the future leaders of the cannabis industry, Women Grow.
The entire time I was completely me.