By Jamila Pomeroy
Recording artist, business woman, TV personality and philanthropist, Mary Zilba, enters the budding realm of cannabis. With the announcement of her new company, Marz Ventures INC, Zilba plans to incorporate her ethics grounded in women’s rights and empowerment, while helping to end the negative stigmas of the plant. “It was a very natural thing for me to get heavier into the cannabis space. I’ve never had a problem with [cannabis] because I never believed it caused the problems that a schedule one drug should cause. I’ve always felt that alcohol is the more evil of the two; without the side-effects that alcohol can cause. I’ve never had a negative thought about cannabis and It’s never something I’ve thought badly about,” explains Zilba.
“It’s something that hits close to home,” says Zilba, who shares that her son was able to get off his seizure medication with the use of cannabis. “He had a very debilitating seizure disorder since he was three. He had been on every kind of medication that you could imagine, every anti-convulsive medication they could possibly get him on, because nothing was controlling his seizures. A lot of pharmaceuticals take trial and error for them to work, and sometimes a lot of them don’t work; so patients are stuck having seizure after seizure,” explains Zilba. With symptoms only getting worse, her concerns grew deeper. “He had been having such difficulties at school, he wasn’t able to stay awake, he was having really dark thoughts and they weren’t controlling the seizures,” she explains. After searching the Internet for alternatives, Zilba stumbled across the high CBD strain, Charlotte’s Web. After much research, Zilba introduced cannabis oil into her son’s medical regime, foreverchanging his life. “He’s 23 and hasn’t has a seizure since. It’s incredible and it makes me cry when I tell the story” she shares.
In addition to the great success with her son, Zilba has seen cannabis change her family in other positive ways, including helping her brother combat addiction. “I have six brothers and sisters and one of my brothers was addicted to opioids and cocaine for a very long time. He’s now clean, but you know, we were a big catholic family and all professionals and my brother just took the wrong road. He ended up being quite addicted,” she explains. While cannabis may have been labeled as a gateway drug for years, it’s hard to see it as anything other than an exit drug, with cannabis being so prevalent in alternative addictions counseling. “I’m very familiar with addiction, what it can do and how it can rip families apart […] It wasn’t until recently that my brother had to utilize cannabis to get off the opiods. He’s 51 now and since 18, has been an addict. So the miraculous things I have seen over time, have really been the reason I have gotten into the cannabis business,” Zilba explains.
It’s stories like these that really help remove the negative stigma of the plant, and people like Zilba, that are helping give a new, welcoming face to the industry. Amidst the recurrence of cannabis greatly improving the lives of the people around her, Zilba had began working on the media side of the industry. “in the meantime I had started my company LadyPants Productions. We started doing cannabis content for different companies.” A product of the production company, is the popular cannabis cooking series, BAKED, which showcases different recipes including cannabis. “In doing all of that cannabis content, I started getting more and more involved in the cannabis space and meeting more people. I started really finding there was a great lack of knowledge and education for patients, and really anyone who is interested in cannabis. I began to get really passionate about helping, particularly women, understand the benefits of cannabis,” she explains.
It may be easy for some under the spotlight, to kick back and relax, but for Zilba, the importance of using her following for good is paramount. After realizing her passion for the cannabis industry, and larger, her passion for helping others, Zilba began to reach out to cannabis companies, eventually leading her to forming Marz Ventures INC. “It’s really encapsulating everything I have been doing in the cannabis space, all in one company, but ebelishing on that and being able to take it to a world-wide level. Marz Ventures is a global, fully integrated company: including branded dispensaries, cannabis product lines and grow facilities, while providing consumers with ample information about the plant. With plans to adhere their quality premium product, with ethics that serve patients and consumers; we can only expect the company to make giant positive waves in the cannabis industry.