Anne-Marie Fischer Moodie is a professional writer and content developer for the cannabis industry. A Canadian by birth but currently residing in Costa Rica, Anne-Marie works virtually providing content services for cannabis businesses. It was just a few years ago though she was working a corporate job in higher education. Despite her love of education, the corporate life was starting to take its toll. Meanwhile, she was also an avid cannabis enthusiast and advocate. In late-2015 Anne-Marie quit her corporate job to pursue freelance writing. She and her husband wanted to move their lives overseas and open a tattoo studio in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Sure enough, persistence paid off. Anne-Marie and her husband made the move to Costa Rica. Working online to support their tattoo shop, The Drifter's Ink, Anne-Marie became hooked on freelancing. She noticed there was a need for professional writing in the cannabis industry – a light bulb went off. A BA in English and Master of Education, Anne-Marie realized she could apply her expertise to cannabis. Today Anne-Marie runs CannaWrite.net, a business specializing in professional writing services for cannabis companies.
What inspired you to enter the cannabis industry?
I am Canadian, and legalization is imminent in 2018 and I was finding that there was a giant gap in the understanding of cannabis and what legalization means for communities.
My move to freelance writing came in late-2015 after working within a highly corporate role within higher education with a community education focus after receiving a BA in English Language and a Master of Education while being a passionate cannabis enthusiast.
I had a “light bulb moment” when I realized that I could take what I knew about education and apply outside of the formal education setting to fill that gap in education around cannabis through professional writing and curriculum.
Tell us more about your launching your business
After leaving the corporate world, I began to freelance write as a method to support myself and my family as my tattoo artist husband and I were moving from Canada to Costa Rica to open a Tattoo Studio.
I quickly got hooked on freelancing and I found more and more that there were needs for professional writing for the cannabis industry. I eagerly became somewhat of a cannabis expert by buckling down and doing a lot of reading and research. I launched CannaWrite earlier this year as a small business with the intention that it would be a sister business to the tattoo studio we opened in Costa Rica (The Drifter’s Ink in Tamarindo) and would allow me the flexibility to manage both businesses.
So far, it’s taken off beyond my wildest imaginings!
CannaWrite is in the process of launching Cannabis Education Programs that will be available to a variety of learners from K-12, parent groups, HR managers, Health Care Professionals and other groups to help people understand cannabis use and legalization changes.
How has cannabis influenced your life?
Socially, it’s brought me together with some amazing, like-minded people who enjoy to smoke cannabis recreationally. In those circles, it’s all about friendship, good conversation, enjoying something mutually and without judgement.
On the more personal side, I watched my father get very ill and eventually die of cancer in my early-twenties. At that time, he was offered medical cannabis therapy to help with his nausea and many other symptoms and side effects of his cancer treatments. He had a misinformed attitude about cannabis and believed too much in the stigma, and thus,
turned down the opportunity. I wish I knew then what I know about cannabis so that I would have been able to help my father use cannabis to make him more comfortable improve his quality of life during his illness and end of life care. This is why I am so dedicated to educating people on the medical benefits of marijuana.
What have been your biggest hurdles operating in the cannabis industry so far?
I think my biggest hurdles have been marketing my own business due to some of the very tight restrictions on how anything “canna” can be advertised on social media. Also as a cannabis writer, I’ve had to get my mind around the way legalization is occurring in many geographical areas, which is a lot of information to understand and interpret in light of how global legal systems work.
On the personal side, it’s also been a process educating my mother on what I do, but I think I won her approval in the last few weeks as she bought me a “funny gift” that turned out to be a pen in the shape of a joint called the “Cannabis Writer”.
How have you been able to overcome these challenges?
I may be high often, but I have a successful career and a fantastic life behind me that shows that cannabis is a life-enhancer, and I like to use my own story and success to show that cannabis doesn’t make you lazy, unmotivated, or affect your cognition when used properly.
For my own approach to cannabis education, it’s all about education for me and taking the time to highlight, where possible, my educational and professional qualifications. While to some a Master of Education is just a few letters behind my name, my academic and professional work has centered around using words and strategies to make complex concepts more palpable to different learning styles. I am approaching my work with cannabis through the lens of an educator and a translator of knowledge, working through questions like “what do people need to know?” and “what’s the best way to help people understand cannabis?”.
Name the top 3 skills every cannabis entrepreneur needs
1) Adaptability and the ability to be nimble in the face of changing legislation, rules, and regulations. There is no such thing as complacency in cannabis because it changes all the time. Be sure to stay on top of all the news and developments around cannabis and be prepared to adjust your strategy along with the quick tides of change.
2) Resourcefulness. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone else who can. Being in the cannabis business requires you to wear several hats. Understand what work is in your wheelhouse and within your own abilities outsource the work someone else can do a better job of.
3) Education. As an educator, I’ll always stand behind the importance of continuous learning. The best thing about education is that it doesn’t need to be within the four walls of the classroom. Make a commitment to attend webinars, or read books, or take courses when you can to always improve your craft and expand your knowledge base. Learn how to be discerning and critical about information and how it is shared in order to bring legitimacy to the existing knowledge and research base around cannabis.
What is the best advice you've received recently?
I keep a sign above my desk that says “Work Hard, Stay Humble,” and I use this as a constant reminder to keep my head in check as I advance within the industries I’m involved in.
I’ve been exposed to many types of professionals in my career, and I’ve learned that kindness and humility will take you further than excessive pride or arrogance ever will. It’s always best to remember that each business interaction is also an interaction with another human being who is full of flaws (just as everyone is), and we owe it to each other to be a little kinder to each other as we all find our way in our work and personal lives.
Any tips for maintaining a work/life balance?
Remember what is important. I left the busy hustle and bustle of Canada because I found that I was putting work life before my own personal health and happiness. When you take the time to find out what’s really important, whether it’s family life, travelling, or what have you, everything else falls into place.
I’ve also hooked onto that old adage that it’s not “work” if you love what you do. As a result, I feel I haven’t truly “worked” in quite some time!
What are your favorite resources/tools for your business and why?
1) Grammarly reminds me that no matter how much education I have in the English language, or no matter how “tight” I think my grammar is, I can always do better. It’s an extremely helpful tool that goes beyond the word processor in making sure you’re delivering 100% error-free, high-quality content to your clients.
2) Hootsuite is a fantastic tool for scheduling social media posts when you’re managing several accounts at once. I honestly couldn’t imagine my business life without Hootsuite!
3) Piktochart helps non-designers come up with attractive graphics, Posters and Infographics and is helpful to add that special touch to what you deliver to your clients.
4) Feedly is my one-stop shop for all things cannabis-related. It’s a great tool to collect all your news sources in one area to be able to stay up-to-date with all cannabis legalization news, and popular culture.
5) Twitter has proven to be a great business tool for getting contacts and staying in the conversation around cannabis. I find this to be far superior in terms of gaining connections than any other social media platform I use.
If you could offer an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
Educate, inform and advocate.
The cannabis industry needs more specialists coming forward to reveal the high degree of professionalism that exists within the industry. Cannabis has unfortunately been given a poor reputation and as cannabis entrepreneurs, we need to keep challenging the stigmas associated with cannabis. Show people that the cannabis industry is made up of driven, motivated, knowledgeable and highly-skilled professionals working towards a cause greater than themselves.
Contribute to the growing body of literature for advocating for more research so that cannabis entrepreneurs can provide more evidence-based resources indicating the benefits of cannabis.
Most of all, don’t stand down in the face of challenges with anti-cannabis movements or arrogant people. Meet questions with answers, meet ignorance with knowledge, and be forgiving of those who just don’t know better by enlightening them.
Use your role in the cannabis industry to contribute to a global changing of attitudes towards cannabis – we are in a highly crucial time!