Interview: Samuel Jih & Jenny Dang
Today we're here with two of our AACE members, Samuel Jih and Jenny Dang. The two students are finishing up college and about to start their courses at Oaksterdam in Oakland, California. The two have faced a lot of opposition from their families for being open about using Cannabis to enhance their lives. They both work on a project together called Consciousness Science, created with the intention of expressing their experiences and passions.
Tell us a little about your background and the work you do for Consciousness Science.
Consciousness Science began when I simply couldn’t hold in and contain the infinite amount of healing, inspiration, and light I received through the assistance of Cannabis. Cannabis has opened my eyes to the blatant problems in our world that so many simply dismiss as “normal”, hidden through an invisible veil of culture and a fear-based belief paradigm. But more importantly, it did so through my own inner realization.
I realized the incredible potential of Cannabis to be used as a tool for spiritual growth and self-realization, and I wanted to somehow share some of the abundance with the rest of the world. What we are talking about here is the potential to heal the world! Healing the world begins with healing the individual.
We are college students with very little time, but despite that, we still find enough time to make Consciousness Science project possible. Consciousness Science is an outlet for us to share ideas and news that would help heal our world and propel us into a whole new paradigm of unity, peace, and abundance.
How did your family and friends react when you first told them about your marijuana usage?
I think nearly every single reaction I received contained some level of negativity and rejection. To get an idea of what this means, imagine how you would feel if you won the lotto to be faced with nothing but fear and apathy from those around you!
We think many Cannabis users can relate. It truly hurts to see people you care about react to something that means so much to you this way. We often remind ourselves to continue loving them, even when they choose not to accept us, because we always have the decision between love and fear, to relate or to avoid. We are always open to them and they are always welcome to be a part of our lives again. These reactions can tear down a family and cause all sorts of unneeded drama, pain, and suffering. This is why proper education on Cannabis is so important.
It's also not entirely their fault. We live in a world where we are told to act a certain way, do certain things, and to mindlessly follow the crowd. The truth is out there now, thanks to the growth of technology.
We love this quote by Donny Miller, “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” It takes courage and confidence to share the truth, and we are grateful for all the people stepping up to speak out.
The first step to Cannabis education is starting from a clean slate, as if we knew absolutely nothing about Cannabis. Another thing is experience. We wish more people would begin to trust the experience of millions of Cannabis users. No matter how many studies we do or how much research we fund, first-hand experience still tells us a lot more about Cannabis! All of this means that in order to truly understand the plant and the issue at hand, we must drop all preconceived ideas, notions, images, connections, stereotypes, fears, and stigma surrounding the plant before we seek to truly understand it. We don’t just find truth; we realize and accept truth.
“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about.” – Wayne Dyer
You’ve mentioned negative push back since you've come out of the “cannabis closet” especially with your girlfriend’s conservative Vietnamese family. Can you tell us about that?
It was scary! We were shocked seeing how firmly they believed in all the lies from the media and biased misleading research backed by big pharmaceutical companies. In a sense, they had become the exact thing that we were hoping to resolve and shine light on!
Some people are so ingrained with images of the cliché drug junkie that no matter how we try to explain and allow them to understand, they simply do not see how greatly Cannabis has benefitted our lives! It is sad that it has gotten to the point where they would rather believe in decades of propaganda, over their own children’s personal experience with Cannabis.
However, it is quite amusing to see someone losing it and freaking out over a beneficial and healing herb. It’s like watching someone freak out over a vegetable! This is why we hope to see groups such as AACE continue to educate and share the truth about Cannabis.
There’s a stigma around cannabis that is being broken down, by science, education, and people like you who are sharing your stories. What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Great question! We are living through an exciting time of huge shifts and leaps in mutual awareness and understanding. Many issues that have been swept under the rug are now surfacing and reaching the lives of billions through the internet and technology, to be faced and dealt with once and for all.
We dream of a world where Cannabis could be set free into nature where it belongs once again. We dream of a world where everyone can come out and be open about their Cannabis use without fear of judgement. We dream of a world that embraces and integrates the healing benefits of Cannabis and the many uses Hemp has to offer us.
I feel Bob Marley’s quote sums it all up quite well, “Herb is the healing of a nation; alcohol is the destruction.”
The war on drugs is a war on nature, a war on Earth, a war on people, and a war on our spirituality and consciousness. If people in really want to blame a substance and wage war against it, pick alcohol, since it’s actually one of the most harmful drugs ever! But that isn’t the point. The point is if something much more harmful is accepted and celebrated by society, then why not embrace this plant that has so many benefits? It’s time to wake up.
I understand that you’re planning to educate yourself more at Oaksterdam, America’s first Cannabis College. Tell us more about what you hope to learn there.
We both plan on going as soon as we’re done with college! It is our dream and vision to do everything we can to improve the world and to be a part of the Cannabis movement and industry. I am currently working on a degree in Computer Science and she is working on her degree in Biochemistry.
We wish for others to see how Cannabis can help us find true motivation based off of purpose, which we gain from the opportunity and space to pause and refocus our attention to what truly matters. Cannabis can shift our perspective, and in our case, it gave us a new desire to learn, once we saw the bigger picture and how everything connects together. We are hoping that our college education combined with the Oaksterdam experience will help us along our career path to better serve and contribute some much needed love and light to our community and our world!