Reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

As the year wraps up, we’re sharing highlights from Leaf411’s first full year in operation, along with our plans and predictions for 2021. While we talk a lot about the Leaf411 hotline, it’s only one of several programs our organization is undertaking to improve access to no-cost medically-sound information on legal cannabis and CBD hemp products!

The need for balanced, unbiased cannabis information is greater than ever, with additional states voting for medical and adult-use (recreational) legalization in the 2020 election. As a result, one in three Americans now lives in a state where adult-use cannabis is already legal or will be legal soon.

Answering Your Cannabis Questions on Our Free RN Hotline

Our Leaf411 hotline launched in October 2019, with the online chat option going live in January 2020. During the hotline’s first full year of operation, we received calls from almost all 50 states as well as several other countries! Who’s calling? It’s a mix of patients, new and experienced cannabis consumers, as well as clinical professionals seeking to expand their own knowledge to better serve their patients.

With more states legalizing cannabis, we anticipate that demand will rapidly grow for medically-sound, science-based guidance on cannabis and CBD hemp use. 

Moving into 2021, our biggest challenge is securing increased funding to hire additional Leaf RNs for the hotline. If you’re a cannabis business interested in supporting consumers’ access to free, unbiased information and resources, we encourage you to visit our business membership page. Individuals can also support our mission by donating at this link.

Laptop screen showing diverse participants in a virtual cannabis education event.

Cannabis Community Outreach Goes Virtual

From the beginning, we envisioned Leaf411 as a boots-on-the-ground organization, with our nurses meeting people where they are at both figuratively and literally, whether that’s at a senior living center, community event or dispensary.

Of course, the pandemic changed those plans. Like many other organizations, we pivoted to virtual learning events designed to engage and encourage audience questions and conversation. In August 2020, we held our inaugural Leaf Learning Series: “Get the 411 on Cannabis Therapeutics” event, followed by our “Supporting Veterans” event in November 2020, which featured Veteran-led cannabis advocacy groups as well as many of our supporting members.

In 2020, Leaf411 also participated in numerous national events either as panel participants or nonprofit exhibitors, including the Whole Plant Expo, Women in Plant Medicine Summit, MJBizCon Next, Emerge Winter Cannabis Conference, and I Heart 420 Living Room Lovefest held on April 20, 2020.

In the near-term, virtual events remain the default as we work within pandemic restrictions. Our next Leaf Learning Series event in Spring 2021 will be geared toward older adults and cannabis—keep an eye on our social media and newsletter for more details! Not signed up for the newsletter yet? You’ll find the signup form at the bottom of this page.

We are also expanding outreach through our podcast series co-hosted by Leaf411 Co-Founder and COO Jennifer Axcell and podcaster Steve McMorrow. Jennifer and Steve recently sat down with Veterans to talk about cannabis and healing. You can find these insightful, inspiring podcast episodes on Buzzsprout or Spotify.

Close-up of a young Black person using a calculator to update their budget

Cannabis Compassion: Making Cannabis Affordable for Patients in Need

In 2020, we launched our Affordability Program to connect low-income patients, families and Veterans with fully-vetted free or low-cost legal cannabis and CBD hemp products. These products are donated by cannabis and CBD hemp manufacturers, with marijuana products distributed via legal dispensaries, and CBD hemp products distributed by a designated pick-up location or mail. The Affordability Program also offers scholarships to qualifying patients who cannot afford medical marijuana evaluations. So far this year, the Affordability Program has served approximately 200 patients.

Americans for Safe Access signed on to the effort as a program partner in November 2020, recognizing that the high cost of cannabis is a barrier for many patients. If you’re a patient advocate or industry member who’d like to lend your support, we encourage you to visit our Affordability Program page to learn more.

Nurse on a laptop completing clinical cannabis education.

Building the Leaf Nurse Network in 2021

From the very first day, one of our priorities at Leaf411 was to build clinical professionals’ capacity for providing accurate, balanced information to diverse patient communities. In 2020, we began laying the groundwork through our collaboration with Radicle Health, inviting Radicle Health founder Eloise Theisen, RN, to join our Executive Board as the Leaf Nurse Network Program Chair.

We also knew that in order to meaningfully serve diverse communities, we needed to engage diverse partners in Leaf Nurse Network program development. We are excited to collaborate with Cannabis in Colour, a professional development resource and intentional community for BIPOC in the cannabis and hemp sectors, as we continue building the Leaf Nurse Network.

Asphalt road through forest with the years “2020,” “2021,” etc. stretching ahead toward the future.

Growing Our Leaf411 Business Membership

Our industry supporters expanded, literally from coast to coast! We welcomed West Coast supporters CAASI CBD (Oregon), Care by Design (California) and A Therapeutic Alternative dispensary (California), along with East Coast supporter Takoma Wellness Center dispensary (Washington DC).  

We also welcomed many great Colorado cannabis and CBD businesses–check out our Member Directory to find a full list of our fully-vetted supporting members! 

We can’t thank our industry members enough for their support, which powers everything we do at Leaf411. We encourage you to keep these businesses in mind when shopping for legal marijuana or CBD hemp products.

Diverse group of college graduates throwing caps in air, celebrating new cannabis degrees

Cannabis is Expanding in Higher Education

Beyond our walls, cannabis continues expanding into higher education (no pun intended!), further establishing the industry as a professional field within its own right.

Our own Co-Founder and CEO/ED, Katherine Golden, RN, will be presenting a noncredit workshop in March 2021 at the Community College of Denver. The workshop is part of a preview series for CCD’s Associates and Bachelors in Cannabis degree program that launches in Fall 2021. Other workshop presenters include Dr. Dave Gordon from 4 Pillars Health & Wellness, along with representatives from LivWell dispensary. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to learn more details on these offerings, once available.

White notepad with crafted string heart and cannabis leaf resting on top

Help Our Nonprofit Cannabis Organization Grow in 2021!

We look forward to continued expansion in 2021, but we cannot do it without you! Please donate to our nonprofit Leaf411 organization if you’re able to, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and help us spread the word about the services that Leaf411 provides for patients, consumers, clinicians and industry partners.