Photo from Green Flower Media

Photo from Green Flower Media

Mara Gordon specializes in the development of cannabis extract treatment protocols for seriously ill patients in California. She is the co-founder of Aunt Zelda’s and Zelda Therapeutics.

Prior to Aunt Zelda’s, Mara worked as a process engineer, helping Fortune 500 companies create intelligent software by utilizing the Rational Unified Process. This experience has enabled her to take a detailed and scientific approach to medical cannabis.

Recognizing a need for patient focused software, Gordon created CDRMed, an EMR specially developed for the healthcare community. With CDRMed, physicians and medical health professionals are able to make treatment recommendations based on the latest and highest-quality data.

Gordon sits on numerous boards, including Zelda Therapeutics, Orion, CannPal, hmbldt, and Daya Foundation. She has presented at multiple CME-accredited medical conferences, including Patients Out of Time 2014, 2016, and 2017, as well as medical cannabis conferences in more than 10 countries. These include CannMed held at Harvard Medical School in 2016 and 2017, CannaTech 2016 in Israel. Her work is featured in the upcoming documentaries, “Weed the People”, “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed”, and in Joe Dolce’s book, “Brave New Weed”.

When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?

Because the cannabis industry encompasses every sector of the economy – food, medicine, energy, textiles, etc., and each of these sectors has the potential for enormous growth. There will be no need to break into these industries if we are there at the beginning. It is far more difficult to shatter barriers than it is to avoid their creation. Less negative momentum to counter.

What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?

There should be no prison sentences for cannabis-related crimes. Also, there needs to be a way for those lacking financial resources to have access to quality medicine (insurance, community chest, etc.). It is unfair to have uneven access based upon state lines. As was deemed with same-sex marriage, each individual—regardless of geography—should have access to safe medicine without risk of prosecution.

Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?

The earth is going to hell in a hand basket right now, and there is no point in creating further damage while producing a life-sustaining medicine. We must ensure that growing and manufacturing are done in a sustainable manner in order to be good citizens, and to avoid creating problems where we wish to be seen as a solution – jobs, food, fiber, medicines, etc..

How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?

We hire the best qualified candidate for each position, remaining gender and race neutral. Several women have asked me to mentor them, and I take this responsibility seriously. Working to influence future leaders is part pf my personal mission. I’ve witnessed women in other industries roll the ladder up behind them as they ascend. Fortunately, that does not seem to be as common in cannabis. There are amazing women (and men to choose from) throughout California. We are in Sonoma County, and it is over 75% racially white, so the pool is not as diverse as we would like. There is still a question for those with felony convictions on their records because of laws presently in effect. However, we are watching progress on this front so we can open up our hiring practices without jeopardizing our licensing opportunities.  On the sustainability question, we require cultivators to conform to the highest level of organic conditions. Every product that comes in and out of our door has had lab tests performed before accepting it for our medicine. This encourages compliance. Our medicines are made from sun-grown flowers that require far less energy than an indoor industrial grow operation.

Social Media:


Twitter: @AuntZeldas

Instagram: @auntzeldas

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