Paula Young-Libby is the CEO of MycoCann, Inc. an ag-tech startup with sights on revolutionizing how cannabis is grown. Join us here every week as Paula gives us an exclusive peek into the entrepreneurial experience.
It’s Thursday, about 3pm EDT, when I finally get a confirmation that our CanopySD deal is a go. I have to be at Canopy offices in San Diego first thing Monday morning, and I live in Southwest Georgia, about an hour north of Tallahassee, Florida. I have three days to drive 2200 miles.
It is a testament to the crazy, entrepreneurial chaos that is the startup experience that I am looking forward to this cross-country trek as a ‘breather.’ I was drained, and to be honest, a bit overwhelmed at the intense flurry of activity that started at the San Diego Cannabis Conference in August, and culminated in early October. Like an obsessive border collie, in those two short months I had shepherded our company from an idea to a full-fledged corporation with a cap table, an IP attorney, a license agreement, and $20K seed investment from Canopy SD (don’t worry if you don’t know what all of those things are, I didn’t either when I started).
It had been a whirlwind grind of emails, phone calls, budgets, legal documents, video creation and angsty second-guessing. What a relief to face nothing but road for a while. So, the minute I got the email that told me we were part of the inaugural cohort, I kissed my husband, my dog, and my business partner goodbye, and drove headlong into this strange new life of being cannabis entrepreneur.
I should mention that I am the least likely person in my family to enter the cannabis industry. Every single one of my four siblings experimented with pot when we were in high school, but not me. I was the straight-laced kid who avoided drugs and those who used them. I went into law enforcement after graduating from college. I blithely accepted the concept that pot was a bad thing and people needed to be protected from it. Then, I was injured on the job, and retired out on a service-connected disability. After a decade of painkillers that tore my stomach up and muscle relaxants that put me to sleep for three days straight, I found out how effective cannabis was for intractable pain.
It was a watershed moment for me. It opened my eyes, both to the medical possibilities of this much-maligned plant, and to the ways that bad PR can turn hearts and minds against something that used to be such a vital part of our country and our economy. It turned me into a Canna-evangelist, and gave me the impetus to bring my company’s technology to the cannabis space and change the way we grow things.
This is why I am stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as a hurricane sweeps up the Eastern Coast of Florida, and everybody evacuates to Pensacola. Even at 8 pm, it’s hot. It’s humid. The AC is broken in my car, and I am suffering from the worst case of swamp ass I have ever suffered since moving to the South.
I couldn’t be happier.
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