With her lifelong background in plant medicine, a former career as an herbalist and “alternative healer” and a nursing degree and career working with opioid use disorder patients, it only made sense for Jessilyn Dolan to find herself gravitating toward the cannabis industry.
“I think it was just kind of a natural inclination and push for me to see how I could continue to help my patients and not only just help them, but maybe where can we help a little bit earlier,” Dolan says. “I see it as a safer option for so many.”
In 2016, she left her nursing job to pursue a role in the burgeoning industry. Today, Dolan, a registered nurse, is the wellness director at the Higher Standards education and consulting group in her home state of Vermont, as well as the founder of the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association.
Dolan says cannabis was always part of her life, growing up with “hippie parents” and a “Wiccan herbalist” grandmother. She is also a patient, using cannabis to help treat the effects of more than 40 surgeries stemming from a car accident as a child.
“Cannabis was always a support system for me,” she says.
Dolan wants to “bridge the gap” between medical professionals and the legacy cannabis world, and she has a long-term goal of getting licensed herself to begin growing and selling.
“We’ve seen that Vermont’s a tiny enough state that I can touch the entire state,” Dolan says. “We can make a difference at a state level and be an example.”