Walking between glowing greenhouses on cold, dark days takes me back to a specific memory as a child. I was 4-years-old and it was still dark early in the morning when my mom and I had to catch the city bus. I can still feel the cold air hitting my face and surrounding my bare legs as we quickly walked to the bus stop.
Just before we left, I had spent the morning warming up next to a hair dryer in a room we shared at my aunt’s house. We were saving up for a place of our own and saving for a car. We had a lot to look forward to.
Today, I own and operate a licensed cannabis farm that sits on 20 acres in Northern Oregon. Each passing year has made my beautiful life what it is today.
I am Candice Paschal and this is my cannabis story.
My mother’s parents were a European immigrant and a Black American. She finished school, got married and successfully started two companies. It wasn’t always easy for her, but she meant business and never allowed another person’s mistakes determine her future. This mindset was constantly present throughout my early years. I always asked myself if the actions I took were honorable, true and the best that it could be.
By the age of 18, I was a college-bound, people-pleasing overachiever. I had my life planned out to the point where it was basically like being on cruise control. That is, until it all started crashing down.
I began to feel very sick. My digestion was a mess and I experienced a painful breakup. I suppose you haven’t really lived until you’ve survived a bad breakup. In the midst of this, I transferred colleges. I went through massive life changes in a short period of time. I felt like I had zero control and had crippling anxiety. No matter how much meditating, dieting or exercising I did, I could never shake the physical prison I felt my body was in.
One day, I was invited to a trusted friend’s home, who had grown cannabis for years. I had done my research and was open to a new experience. After consuming cannabis for the very first time, I felt as if a fog had cleared from my mind. I started to see myself in a new perspective. I experienced what some would call an “ego death.”” From that point on, I began to rewrite my life script.
What I began to learn is that I didn’t have to be the person anyone else wanted me to be. I was able to do all the things I loved and still be loved at the same time. This included consuming cannabis.
As I moved towards living a more fulfilled life, I was introduced to my now husband. He was my dream guy, who also happened to respect cannabis as much as I did. Together we discovered more clarity and healing by eating a plant-based diet, fasting and choosing organic.
When our twin boys came along in 2012, we often found our values and ideas to be less similar to those we had surrounded ourselves with. If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, it can be quite isolating at times. We eventually decided it was time for a major change. We moved nearly 2,000 miles away from anyone we knew and began to pursue a life that was more true and more honorable to us. This led to the birth of Paschal Farms.
In retrospect, what had struck the hardest chord in my decision for change was looking at the overwhelming amount of commands surrounding our society in regards to food, alcohol and pharmaceuticals. We are constantly being told what to eat, how to have a good time and how to fix every ailment. But at what cost?
In the United States and other first world countries, there’s never been a higher percentage of obese, chronically ill and pill-addicted people. It’s a never ending cycle until we eventually are able to break the mold.
I’ve taken everything I’ve gained since I walked down the cold, dark street as a 4-year-old girl and presented it to the world through Paschal Farms.
We grow cannabis. Through cooperative partnerships, we also give food from every sale to hungry Oregonians. We share our resources and knowledge with communities that need it most.
I know this to be true: plants do heal. They heal our bodies and our minds. Access to healthy plant-based food and medicines are the start of a thriving community.
I know this to be honorable: showing others they can heal in the same way I did.
That is my purpose and mission in life and I still have a lot to look forward to.
Candice Paschal has an unquenchable thirst for truth, creative expression and philanthropy, which allows her to complete projects that inspire others and challenge existing boundaries. She embraces serenity in nature through meditation and a vegan lifestyle, and believes that we are the authors of our own destinies. Candice is a business owner with her husband, a mother to twin sons and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. @candicepaschal @paschalfarms