Joy Olivier: Pioneering Cannabis with Purpose

Joy Oliver is a true #womaninweed as co-founder of Botanican, a brand offering a range of CBDA oil, capsules, and tea products set to revolutionise the cannabis industry. With Botanican’s imminent arrival on KushKush’s shelves, Joy and her team aim to highlight CBDA’s potential as the next big thing in cannabinoids.

Joy's journey into the cannabis world began in 2019, amid global shifts in cannabis attitudes. Partnering with her father, a former berry farmer, and Oliver, a friend with an MBA project, they secured funding to establish a farm in Lesotho. Their initial harvest yielded cannabis rich in CBDA, a non-psychoactive compound with potent medicinal properties, surpassing even CBD in efficacy.

From Non-Profit to Cannabis Advocate

Joy’s background is rooted in poverty alleviation and education. Growing up on a farm in South Africa, she always recognised the irony that some of the world’s best cannabis was cultivated in impoverished regions. Her passion for cannabis grew as she used it for managing anxiety, transitioning from smoking to meditation.

Joy’s vision for cannabis in South Africa emphasises ethical practices and community upliftment. She believes that good ethics must lead the industry rather than follow as an afterthought. Her business ethos revolves around benefiting local communities, ensuring that those who cultivate cannabis also reap its rewards.

A Venture Rooted in Friendship and Experimentation

Botanican was born from Joy and Oliver's shared interest in cannabis. As friends, they brainstormed ideas and eventually decided to collaborate. Oliver’s MBA project on cannabis and Joy’s desire to leave her non-profit work aligned perfectly, leading to the creation of Botanican. They began experimenting with cannabis cultivation in their backyards, gradually developing a range of products.

Navigating the Highs and Lows

Setting up the farm in Lesotho was a whirlwind. They secured the license in October 2019 and rushed to plant by September, navigating logistical challenges with limited funds. Despite setbacks, including a major investor backing out and Joy’s personal health scare with melanoma, they persevered. The experience, though stressful, taught them invaluable lessons about low-cost production and resilience.

Innovative Products and the Power of CBDA

Botanican’s product range includes CBDA oil, capsules, and tea, with CBDA standing out as a potent medicinal compound. Joy explains that CBDA, unlike CBD, is the raw form that hasn't been decarboxylated. Research indicates that CBDA may be 100-1000 times more potent than CBD, particularly effective for inflammation, anxiety, and nausea.

The capsules are particularly innovative, containing powdered CBDA mixed with tapioca powder for increased bioavailability. Joy emphasises the importance of full-spectrum products, leveraging the entourage effect where cannabinoids work synergistically for maximum benefit.

Empowering Local Communities

Joy’s commitment to community upliftment is central to Botanican’s operations. The farm in Lesotho not only provides employment but also aims to empower local growers. The goal is to create a network of farmers who can grow cannabis on their own land, expanding the reach and impact of Botanican.

The company’s vision includes using community-owned land for cultivation, providing training and resources to local farmers. This cooperative approach ensures that the benefits of the cannabis industry extend to the community, fostering sustainable growth and development.

The Future of Cannabis in Africa

Joy envisions a future where cannabis legislation in Africa is progressive and enabling. She hopes for greater access to cannabis-based pharmaceutical products, bypassing the opioid crisis seen in other regions. Joy advocates for legislative measures that not only support business operations but also channel tax revenues into education and community development.

In summary, Botanican is more than a cannabis brand; it’s a movement towards ethical business practices, community upliftment, and innovative medicinal products. Joy Oliver and her team are setting a precedent in the cannabis industry, demonstrating that success and social responsibility can go hand in hand. As Botanican prepares to launch its range, it stands as a beacon of what the future of cannabis in Africa could look like: prosperous, inclusive, and transformative.

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