G.E. Jarrell, Board Chair/Onboarding Chair
When I was young my knowledge of cannabis was based on propaganda and my experience with cannabis was nonexistent. I judged something I didn’t understand. After completing undergrad and ending up in a high pressure corporate role I had few tools to manage my rapidly increasing anxiety. I was prescribed pharmaceuticals that made me feel ‘numb’ and made it harder for me to complete daily tasks. A friend recommended I try cannabis and suddenly I found relief. Since that point I’ve dedicated much of my time and interest in learning about the perspectives and policies that led our culture to stigmatizing, limiting and criminalizing plant medicine. I’m overwhelmed by the progress so many states have made and look forward to pushing for further change in NC. I’m proud to be a member of North Carolina NORML and to be organizing for change in the state while serving as Board Chair.
Katie Jaworski, Vice Chair/Legislative & Education Chair
I hold Rutgers University’s first Plant Biology Master of Science, with expertise in hemp and cannabis. I'm currently adapting my thesis "IPM for Indoor Cannabis Cultivation" for an extension report that will be published in early 2022 to be utilized as a much needed industry resource. While working on my Masters, I cultivated medical cannabis full time in New Jersey as the state legalized. I lecture regularly on hemp and cannabis on a myriad of topics. I moved to NC to work for a USDA specialty crops program, the IR-4 Project, in research planning. A friend invited me to a Hemp Festival in Asheville, where I met members of NC NORML and sparked my interest in diving deeper into advocacy. I am passionate and compassionate, especially about high quality medical cannabis access, equality and working conditions in the industry and freeing those affected by the war on drugs. I am excited to help NC NORML and my hope is to apply my knowledge and passion, to educate legislators in NC about this powerful medicinal plant and move cannabis laws in this state in a positive direction!
Jessica Painter, Executive Director/Public Relations/Communications Co-Chair
As a child, I saw first-hand how detrimental cannabis-related charges can be to a person’s life. As I got older, my interest in the cannabis industry grew; I learned and began to understand national and international regulations. After three years in the cannabis industry, I see the desperate need for all states to participate in social equity programs. Now, living in Asheville, NC, my mission is to bring these types of programs into legislation and ultimately help people from disadvantaged groups or those who have previous cannabis convictions.
Earnest Lynch, Secretary/Technology Chair
I became a cannabis advocate as soon as I learned of its many benefits! While googling cannabis, I came across NORML, and realized that I could be a part of changing laws and regulations too. I could not resist the opportunity to bring more good to the world. I am very happy and thankful that my technical background in IT intersects so well with my hopes that NC NORML can change the laws in North Carolina.
Tim Berggren, Treasurer/Fulfillment Chair
My professional experience is rooted in cannabis, technology, and finance where I have created robust financial models, developed strategic business initiatives, and consulted on licensing applications for over 100 cannabis companies. My skill set encompasses navigating the financial aspects of the full cannabis supply chain across dozens of jurisdictions. I'm passionate about coaching and supporting companies throughout the fundraising process and have helped organizations raise over $80M in debt and equity capital. My financial acumen is evident in the well-sourced, thoroughly researched, and meticulously prepared calculations, forecasts, analyses, and modeling required by complex organizations in highly regulated environments. I approach each project with the firm belief in the importance of understanding all aspects of an organization and how they factor into the financial and market decisions unique to that company. I am excited to use my professional experience in the cannabis industry to help advocate for North Carolina cannabis supporters and lobby North Carolina legislators to take decisive action on harm reduction, decriminalization, testing and safety regulations, and patient rights protections.
Sarah Carson, Fundraising Chair
I was born and raised in North Carolina. If you asked a loved one about me, they would tell you that I'm the wild child, the dreamer, the artist, the nature lover, the mother, the therapist, the friend. This wasn't always the case. As a teen and young adult, I struggled with traumatic experiences in my home and love lives. By the time I was 21, I was addicted to opiates and continued down a turbulent path up to the point where I lost someone very close to me. That loss turned out to be my wake-up call. At 23 years old, I detoxed myself off of opiates and have since been able to maintain complete sobriety from opiates with the help of cannabis. At the age of 24, I moved to New York, where I remained for ten years. Around the age of 29, I ended up going to a local holistic festival that set the plan for my life into motion. I met some friends there that I now call family. These individuals were different; they taught me that it was okay to choose and pursue natural medicine forms, which I've done for the last six years. I immersed myself in learning about holism and holistic-based medicine, but my passion is set on herbalism. I am now three years into my Bachelor's degree in Complementary and Alternative Health. While living in New York, I saw firsthand how decriminalization of cannabis could elevate the community. New York legalized cannabis right as I moved back to North Carolina, so I became a cannabis activist in my home state. I decided I was tired of hiding the fact that this 'medicine' actually gave me my life back. That's why I joined NC NORML. My mission here is to use my voice to elevate cannabis so that every community member equally has the opportunity to choose to use plant medicine.
Gwendolyn Lee, Medical Advisor
As a Registered Nurse for 39 years (currently as Director of Nursing Services for a 120-bed physical rehabilitation and long-term care facility), I have acute & long-term care experience, and certification in gerontology. I've witnessed the benefits cannabis can offer for disease and symptom management. Seeing patients achieve better symptom control and improve their quality of life drives my passion to see cannabis become a legal option in NC. My goal is to bring science, education, advocacy, and healthcare together to create an accepting, educated community for those choosing to add cannabis to their healthcare arsenal. I'm on track to finish my master's in science - Cannabis Science & Therapeutics through the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (the only master's degree cannabis program worldwide; my class will be the second to graduate) in May, 2022. I was an elected board member on the Republican Central Committee in Dorchester County Maryland, and also worked with the county Farm Bureau. I am very excited to work with NC NORML.