I met Eric Zaragoza through the magic of the World Wide Web. He is forthright and candid in his path through medical cannabis. I truly believe he wants to do well by others, that is why I chose to write this article. Eric is a kind man who believes in the importance of healing over profit. A perfect fit.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Tell me about your company? What brought you to the cannabis business? What did you do originally? Indoor or outdoor?
Eric Zaragoza=EZ: It’s a small nonprofit sun grown garden I started from scratch in 2017 in southern California. The number one thing I am committed to is utilizing the land and building a healthy living soil for the future. A second basic tool I utilize is planting crops that attract beneficial insects and let nature to lead the way and do its part instead of taking the easier conventional approach of using growth hormones or spraying harmful pesticides, fungicides, insecticides or anything that’s going to contaminate and poison the earth. Everything is planted from seed in the spring and goes full time until the fall never seeing artificial light it’s the best way to respect mother nature in my opinion. Something else that I’ve practiced over time is going directly to people in public , social gatherings, cannabis events and sharing the cannabis I grow to promote the importance of local small business and importance of having access to clean cannabis at no cost for patients. Smoking cannabis has been part of my life for 16 years now and what pushed me to make the move to grow my own was seeing the rise of Prop 64 and reading how all the unfair regulations were affecting the patients and growers throughout California and Ventura County. On the flip side of that I love being outdoors in nature and smoking cannabis so it went hand in hand and made more sense for me to grow cannabis instead of supporting companies I’ve never met or heard of until now.
Originally I attended a community college and took some sociology and psychology classes. After that I got hired through a company that serves people with intellectual and developmentally disabled adults. I currently still work as a direct support staff with people with autism and other physical and developmental disabilities. Growing from seed indoors, inside of a small closet was my first experience and didn’t go very far because my ex-girlfriend was pregnant and suggested that I take the set up down.
WB:Do you have a mentor?
EZ: Yes, although growing up separately from my brother Jason and sister Liza and my other brother in prison at the time they always kept in contact and gave me positive moral support.
WB: Did you always want to do what you’re doing?
EZ: Definitely it’s a perfect match and a dream come true I use to tell my sister Liza about this back in 2008.
WB: Who inspired you?
EZ: Honestly I’m inspired by a handful of things and people but two people that stick out to me the most is my brother Jason who was able to go from sleeping on the floor with me to becoming a lawyer. Another person is my brother Omar who spent 12 years behind bars and even experienced being locked down in the hole. He still managed to get out and turned his life around by projecting positive changes. That is so very inspiring. I want to be better at what I love doing. (Passion!)
WB:What are your goals in business?
EZ: I try not to think too far ahead I’m just focused on getting to harvest but one goal I have is to make outdoor growing more common and be apart of school projects to show the youth the importance of soil and planting your own garden. Six and twelve month goal? A short term goal I have is to test the soil to be accurate on anything that may need to be fixed. For a long term goal I’d say collaborating with a cbd company to make a strain or just to team up and do a line of cbd/thc infused topicals, tinctures. What about obstacles? Obstacles are everywhere I look at it like things can can be worse. My mindset is to never stay down going against any obstacle in life and come up on top no matter what challenge is thrown at me. What about stigmas? The misconception of the cannabis plant as being a money plant instead of being recognized for the therapeutic benefits.
WB: Do you have a favorite food memory?
EZ: Yes, watching my grandma making flour tortillas she had a strong passion for cooking. What does your favorite meal look like? My favorite meal has to be chorizo and potatoes burrito from my grandma’s tortillas and lemonade from the backyard lemon tree made by my grandma Paula.
WB: What Is your passion?
EZ: My passion is to grow the highest quality sungrown cannabis and help people that are not fortunate. Whether someone is physically disabled on a wheelchair or having developmental or cognitive difficulties my passion is helping them find a place in the community like everyone else. My other passion is giving out herb for the people that are less fortunate and cannot afford this medicine and are reliant on pharma pills.