‘It all started with a plant,’ Peter Marcus the Communications Directors reflected as he shared with me about a time in his life that connected him with like-minded and hearted people.
Sitting in the Windy Saddle Café with Peter Marcus, and colleague Penny Komes, of Terrapin Care Station we began our interview with the simple, yet powerful question, ‘What inspired you to get involved in the cannabis industry?’
Years ago Peter found that his personal use of cannabis was a constant influence for good in his life. It is how he met his present partner, it influenced his commitment to justice and equality for all, and it connected him with individuals that became dear friends.
Penny’s response to the question was equally significant and at the same time unique. ‘For me, cannabis is all about self-empowerment.’
She came to Terrapin with a rich background in public health and a firm commitment to making health choices accessible to all.
Two diverse paths leading to one place, Terrapin Care Station, a place devoted to social change through a foundational plant, cannabis.
It is a testimony to the power of a plant and all that plant represents.
Peter brings years as a journalist to his present role as the Communications Director. He has witnessed first-hand how the drug war has been destructive to the rights of the marginalized in our community. He can recount in great detail the mistreatment of our ethnic and demographically challenged cultures in relation to small cannabis charges as compared to white males in society. It is a tragic realty that still exists and that Peter wants to see change. What better way than to work from inside the cannabis industry as part of a nationally strong organization with social mission in their hearts.
Penny finds the same channel for realizing the change she wants to see in the world as well. Not only can she be a part of a health option that is accessible to all as part of Terrapin’s team, but she herself can be a teacher and advocate for its wide and varied uses. I have a personal example. When I inquired in one of our partner meetings if she would have suggestions for a relative who suffers terrible migraines almost daily. Penny went over and above to gather information, do private research and then meet me again to share with me everything she found and would suggest.
Both Peter and Penny are examples of the kind of individuals committed to prosper the worthwhile benefits of cannabis and to heal the underlying issues that exist and that the plant evokes in our county.
Which brings them to Terrapin Care Station. It was so easy for both of them to site compelling reasons they believe in their organization. Peter pointed out that ‘Terrapin has an independent spirit, in fact they are the only independent privately owned cannabis company that exists in numerous states.’ Not only that, Peter pointed out that they ‘Take their corporate responsibility seriously and look to be successful by planting local roots. Balance in all things is a guiding principle to the founder and through the organization.’
Penny added in, ‘Terrapin cares about being sustainable and equitable.’ She complimented Peter’s recognition of the importance of balancing big success with keeping it local by pointing out that the organization tailors and individualizes its partnerships in each city where it exists. The partnerships chosen in one city may be different than the ones chosen in other cities. This is because the staff seek to know their community and respond to the need that presents itself. This is one of the reasons Terrapin has partnered with HOPE, and HOPE’s work helping the unhoused have a home.
It is remarkable to witness first hand an organization that can grow to national success and do it by engaging and caring about its local community with such effectiveness.
For our community Peter said they asked themselves, ‘How can we help right the wrongs of a failed past that are born out of the systemic racist drug war?’ Some of the casualties here are the homeless and Veterans so Terrapin starts with the nonprofits who work whole heartedly in the field to help this part of our human local community. Nonprofits just like ours who seek to serve the needs that are there and yet not met in our present structures and systems. We are a part of the solution at HOPE.
It was quite clear to me in this interview that Terrapin truly seeks to be, in their words, ‘An instrument for creating good and elevating the communities in which they exist.’
And so we come full circle, back to the power of a plant.