Women to Watch: Susan Griffith and Jennifer McGuire of CAMP Cannabis
By Rachael Dunn
CAMP Cannabis co-founders Susan Griffith and Jennifer McGuire are best friends taking their vast knowledge of health care to Missouri’s medical marijuana industry.
Griffith (pictured, left) has been in healthcare for 20 years, doing sales from pharmaceuticals to Healthcare Capital Equipment. McGuire (pictured, right) left politics to get into nursing – she will receive her Master’s in Nursing this year. The duo leads a team building a company they plan to develop medical marijuana from cultivation to dispensing to patients.
“CAMP will be able to provide qualifying Missouri residents with safe, efficacious options for management and treatment of their qualifying medical conditions,” Griffith, CAMP president, said. “Our mission for CAMP is to make a difference in each patient’s quality of life by cultivating, manufacturing and providing access to superior grade medical cannabis. We want patients to understand and find comfort knowing all CAMP representatives will be compassionate and well educated in all cannabis brands provided, as well as all qualifying medical conditions, and that CAMP will truly walk side-by-side with the patient throughout their medical treatment journey.”
Taking from their professional experience in healthcare, the team plans to see patients through their treatment beyond the sale.
“My hope for CAMP is for us to responsibly educate and to bring compassionate relief to patients who so desperately need an alternative to synthetic, manufactured medicine,” CAMP Vice President McGuire said. “My mom has been on a doctor-prescribed opioid regime for approximately 20 years. When the war on opiates began last year, her pain doctor cut her regularly prescribed dosages in half at one of her scheduled visits. This resulted in her experiencing a significant decrease in her quality of life. It has been heartbreaking seeing how powerless she is with her healthcare decisions as it relates to her medicine, knowing there is natural medicine available that truly can help her. I know that with this happening to her, there are thousands of other patients in Missouri who have gone through similar experiences. We hope that all patients in Missouri know that CAMP is committed to bringing them safe, effective medicine through quality flower and reliable products. We want them to know we are with them, through every step, and we welcome all qualified patients from all walks of life.”
From PTSD to epilepsy, Griffith and McGuire believe in the “healing power of cannabis.” The pair have been friends for over 27 years, witnessing patients, family members, and friends struggle with medical conditions and the resulting decline of their quality of life.
“I think over the past 10 years, however, that belief has become even stronger as we begin to see scientific results in the effectiveness of the plant,” McGuire said. “There is absolutely nothing like reading a story about a parent who has been able to effectively treat their child for epilepsy with medical cannabis. Or to hear from a veteran with PTSD how cannabis has been able to provide them with some relief from their symptoms. The endocannabinoid system isn’t taught in medical school or nursing school, but it’s a regulation system promoting homeostasis between all of the operating systems in our body. The science behind the medicine and all of the possibilities for healing inspire me to learn as much as I can every single day!”
Griffith has recognized the unlimited potential of cannabis, saying the science behind the plant has been suppressed for so long.
“Over the past several years, the data that has been released and the personal testaments that have surfaced regarding the amazing results and relief that cannabis has provided so many patients – PTSD, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain,
And so with the passage of Amendment 2, now Article XIV, Griffith
“We knew that the passage of Amendment 2 would enable safe, natural medicine to be brought to patients in Missouri who could truly benefit from its vast healing qualities,” McGuire said. “We wanted to not only bring this beautiful, healing medicine to patients, but we wanted to work with them to help educate and empower them make the best possible decisions for their well-being.”
From cultivation to manufacturing and to dispensing, each member of our team brings a skill set like none
CAMP will apply research and development to design therapies for each qualifying condition. The team is dedicated to “addressing each and every patient’s disease state while positively impacting their lives.”
McGuire says she is thrilled with the reception of medical marijuana in Missouri, saying, “the spread of information on the benefits of the plant has finally come to the mainstream enabling more patients to abandon their manufactured prescriptions in favor of natural medicine devoid of fatal side effects.”
Griffith pointed to the surging opioid epidemic in the state as a reason Missourian’s are also embracing cannabis.
“Our citizens are desperate for solutions to defeat this epidemic, and at the same time, they are seeing the amazing improvement in so many patients with other chronic conditions,” Griffith said. “All these combined have resulted in a willingness and open-mindedness to consider cannabis in this new, positive light.”
Since making the jump into the cannabis industry, the pair has been encouraged by the people they have met and are both reassured by their own experience transferring so well.
“From meeting all of the wonderful people in the industry to learning more about the plant, to hearing the stories from patients and how their lives have been positively impacted; it has truly been an amazing ride thus far,” McGuire said. “To be on the forefront of an industry that can individually affect lives in a positive manner has been so inspiring to me. Every day is a growing experience with more things to learn and to make CAMP the best it can possibly be for Missouri patients. There is no other place I can imagine myself.”
Griffith said the best part of the jump has been, “hands down, the people and the plant. Every single day is different and the ‘to do’ list becomes longer and more involved, but even with all the flux, it is absolutely exciting and invigorating! We are able to say we are a part of an industry that is truly changing the way our state and country approach healthcare. We are surrounded by truly amazing people, from our industry colleagues to our service providers, to all of the vastly talented members of our team. Each day I wake up truly energized, and I feel like I am exactly where I belong. Not to be cliché, but I feel like my life path thus far has prepared me for this role, in this industry, and my hope is that is will make a difference in peoples’ lives.”
As empowered as they are, they’re both
“I believe most all cannabis businesses face similar challenges,” Griffith said. “We are in a very highly regulated industry, which means making sure we are addressing every detail with equal vigor. We must ensure 100% accuracy in so many different areas, for application purposes, so that we are able to be successful in our license efforts. We must also work through additional challenges to ensure compliance with tax and regulatory issues, as well as challenges in the banking industry. Due diligence is paramount in navigating all these waters successfully.”
Regulation compliance is a topic the pair have seen trending nationwide.
“I think regulations and compliance will be huge issues for all new canna-businesses in Missouri,” McGuire said. “Susan and I recently attended a cannabis conference in Chicago and a majority of the focus was spent on regulation and compliance so it’s obviously a topic that is nationwide. The industry is even more regulated than alcohol and spirits so it opens it up to a number of opportunities for mistakes. We are laser-focused in following all regulatory and compliance guidelines in every aspect from the application process to the implementation of the business to day-to-day operations.
“Another challenge I see for canna-businesses is in the banking industry. With cannabis being illegal on the federal level, there are no federally backed banking entities willing to do business with these companies. This provides a number of issues as every transaction for the business has to be completed in cash, from payroll, to service providers and leases, and taxes. No other industry operates in this manner. It is my hope that Congress can come to some sort of agreement and enact the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 at some point in the near future.”
Awareness of challenges and change have equipped this pair as they look towards the application process this summer. “At CAMP, we want to facilitate connecting patients with cannabis, to provide them choices and empower them when making decisions for their health and wellness,” Griffith said.