FOUNDER & CEO, CANNABIS BASICS
“Women work as a community and in general we’re not threatened by one another. We have a collaborative mindset that most guys just don’t have.”
THE LEADING LOBBYIST- In 1994 Ah Warner, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Basics, a lifestyle brand based in Washington walked into Fremont Hemp Company and found Jack Herer’s book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It was then her life changed and Cannabis Basics was born in 1995 as a result.
Since the 90’s, Ah has been a cannabis activist. She told me about a photo of her two-year-old running around the capital while they working on the 1997 hemp initiative. However, she explained that she never really embraced the label activist until recently. She was watching what was happening in her state’s legislation and realized that there were changes that needed to be made. “I looked into the future, I saw what I needed and what I wanted for my company. I knew I did not want to be in the adult-use stores and saw the writing on the wall that they were doing away with the medical industry. So, I reached out to Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, showed her my products and from that moment forward she was behind me. She knew what I was asking for, and what I wanted was to get my products defined differently than the intoxicating cannabis products,” explained Ah.
On January 22, 2015, Ah and her co-author Kari Boiter, were able to introduce the Cannabis Health and Body Aid bills into both the House and Senate, with bipartisan sponsorship on both. Due to her lobbying efforts, she got every legislator samples of her product and the bills were ultimately signed on June 30th, and were enacted July 1st. With Ah’s bill they were able to define cannabis health and beauty aids (or “CHABA”, as Ah likes to say) as anything less than .3%, for topical use only and non-intoxicating. They have also opened the marketplace to sell to mainstream locations and cannabis health and beauty aids were removed from the Washington State Controlled Substances Act. This is the first time in history that anything related to cannabis was removed out of the CSA in Washington State and the first time something has been done like this in the country.
She also started the International Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids Alliance. “It is not a standards and ethics group, but more of a think tank and support group for people who do what I do, that make these narrowly defined products,” said Ah.
Her degree from the University of Washington is a Bachelors in Women Studies with an emphasis on sex studies, so she has a pretty solid education and learned a long time ago that “If the boys don’t want to play nice, I just ignore it and go my own path,” Warner explained. Additionally, in May of 2013, Ah founded Women of Weed, a private social club, and is a guiding member of both NORML Women of Washington and MJBA Women’s Alliance supporting education and activism around cannabis and ensuring that women have several seats at every table.
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