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My name is Simone Fischer and I work the front desk at Brightside Community Foundation, a new non-profit medical marijuana dispensary in Portland. I’m twenty-two years old and recently graduated from Portland State University with a bachelors of science in women and gender studies, and a minor in philosophy. I originally started out as a pre-med biology major that later switched to philosophy, but ended up becoming a women’s studies major (I’m sure you can imagine the reaction from my family on that one). But despite the backlash, I knew I was never cut out to work a normal or “safe” job. This scared the shit out of my family but out of blind luck I followed my heart.
While most of my peers are struggling to ﬁnd decent employment or headed off to graduate school, I stumbled upon an amazing opportunity. One of my friends, Kaliko Castille (who’s heavily involved with marijuana activism), presented me with an employment opportunity at the dispensary he was opening up. I sent him my resume, interviewed for the front desk position, and was hired on to Team Brightside. It goes to show that all of the best jobs truly go unposted, and it is ALL about who you know.
I found myself surrounded by a diverse group of activists looking to change the world and improve our own lives through marijuana activism after HB 3460 passed. As I met the rest of the Brightside team, I found that all of us all had unique talents we brought to the table. As a self-identiﬁed radical feminist with a degree to back it up, I wanted shine light on gender issues within the cannabis industry that have been overlooked for too long. I told my director I wanted to start blogging for Brightside in order to address gender oppression by building a more inclusive marijuana community. I am a part of Brightside because this is the future of the cannabis industry and I’m gonna tell you why:
Now that it is legal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Oregon, Brightside is looking to set the new standard of professionalism in the cannabis industry by raising the bar and giving back to our community. This week, we are kicking off Brightside’s ﬁrst Thanksgiving canned-food drive and all donations will be going to the Union Gospel Mission. We chose to donate to this Portland charity due to the sheer volume of people they come into contact with and help on a daily basis. Our goal is to donate at least 500 cans of food to the Union Gospel Mission by November 26th, and patients can receive 1% off per can (or box food equivalent) for a total discount up to 10% off their entire purchase for that day.
Brightside Community Foundation functions as a Oregon non-proﬁt, looking to contribute and improve the lives of people in Portland whenever possible, and we wish to be in community with organizations that work towards helping those in need. In order to successfully legitimize cannabis and its relationship to society at large, it is important to us that Brightside remains active within the social justice movement. For Brightside, helping to alleviate hunger is one of many ways we can begin to address social inequality in greater-Portland area. This proves that not only does cannabis help people as a form of medicine, but that the cannabis industry can serve humanity in relation to social justice issues. This is the message Brightside is sending to the world.
We are not some back-alley shop trying to navigate through the black market. We are a non-profit that wants to help people improve their lives and hopefully change the world for the better.
Brightside is building a sustainable future for the cannabis industry through social activism and acknowledging the responsibility of giving back to the community. If the cannabis industry wants to be taken seriously, we must gain acceptance in the communities we are a part of. Brightside’s philosophy will be that guiding light, and this is only the beginning.