AC Braddock is the CEO of an internationally known and respected 26-year-old technology company that specializes in research and development of products in biofuels, flavorings, environmental remediation, functional foods, cannabis, hemp, natural products, supplements, nutraceuticals, distilling, etc. and has placed hundreds of systems around the world. While Eden Labs serves many industries, in 2009 Ms. Braddock envisioned that the purity of Supercritical co2 and ethanol derived products would be a necessity for the widespread legalization of medical cannabis. This vision and years of educating and leadership in creating a sustainable and standardized market, laid the foundation for an industry that is growing at an exponential rate and cemented Eden’s reputation for creating an industry in extraction technology that did not previously exist, the commercial extraction of cannabis.
Today, Eden is one of a handful of international companies that provides the technology and methodology to process tons of material a day and also support small businesses with R&D and small scale systems. AC’s vision is to strategically expand the use and understanding of plant based medicines and Integrative health though the modern medical movement of individualized medicine driven by genetics. Eden Labs has been recognized as one of the top 10 fastest growing women led companies in Seattle, Washington. Her tireless dedication to her company and those it serves has garnered her a reputation as a thought leader in modern business practice, a unifier across industries, and an inspirational speaker in this emerging industry.
She is past chair of NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association), on the board of The Cannabis Alliance of Washington state, she serves on the Steering Committee for Green Flower Media, the Board of The Farm in Boulder, CO as well as the Advisory Board for Extraction Magazine. Ms. Braddock is also a founding supporter of three Cannabis Women’s groups and is featured in multiple media outlets and the documentary “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed”.
1.) When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?
These sectors of various industries are predominantly women: Healthcare, Employment Service, Accounting, Educational Services, Social Assistance, Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing, Advertising and Public Relations Services, Child Day Care Services, Insurance, Hotels and Other Accommodation, Advocacy, Grantmaking and Civic Organizations.
Each of them is a building block for this industry because of the industry’s roots in social justice, health care and CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] formation. All of these areas provide an obvious and needed influence by the women already involved in these areas and those who wish to start-up a business. The industry is new and the support system for women is impressive compared to other already established industries. In addition, the industry can be a catalyst for those industries where women are up and coming and to narrow the wage gaps between genders by supporting other women entrepreneurs.
2.) What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the U.S. to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?
It is criminal that it is criminal. Period. Lets just take ONE disease where cannabis has drastic medicinal value: epilepsy. Think of the number of children who continually suffer and die simply because they have no legal access to….a plant. Raphael Mechoulam did a study on the effects of Cannabis on epilepsy THIRTY FIVE years ago. Think of it. All of those children and parents—the suffering. It’s criminal and completely inhumane. What I want to see is a logical change in our medical system where people have access to a multitude of natural remedies that are not controlled by government. We need to move away from the synthesization of a plant exclusively to create IP for profit and on top of that then make the plant illegal to use. It’s a double whammy for the populace. Federally saying, “we knows this works, but you can’t have access and in fact it’s a felony”, is morally criminal.
3.) Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?
They aren’t, but they should be. Modern business models promote sustainable business practice, but old business models are primarily profit-centric and recklessly endanger consumers and our environment. They use every opportunity to maintain this model to acquire more money for political power. It is up to every modern business to promote that they are a CSR organization and up to consumers to boycott those businesses that are not. This will help change business practices and create a future for the Cannabis industry as most of us envision it.
4.) How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?
These fall naturally into the genesis of Eden Labs: creating systems and methodologies for pure, whole plant consumables for health and wellbeing. We internally and externally promote “doers”, creative and self-starting people who are ideologically principled and hard working. With all of that as a foundation, the rest falls organically in to place.