The Cannabis revolution has been raging for the past few years as many states in the US have legalised it, but its standardization, regulation and overall functioning as an economic ecosystem has been heavily fractured. This has caused Jessica Versteeg to head up Paragon to try and revolutionise the Cannabis industry on Blockchain technology.
Versteeg witnessed first hand how Cannabis can heal when her former boyfriend, Tyler Sash of the New York Giants, would use the drug instead of the cocktail of painkillers dished to him by the NFL doctors.
However, Versteeg also witnessed the stigma and outdated image of Cannabis, as well as the difficult regulations and lack of standardization despite the drug gaining legal legitimacy in a number of states.
Versteeg has now decided to take another disruptive and revolutionary technology, the Blockchain, and utilize its power along with the healing power of Cannabis to hopefully push its image right up there to the white list alongside Big Pharma.
The pain of Sash
Versteeg story of how she became a believer in the power of Cannabis stems from her experiences with Super Bowl winning boyfriend Sash. The New York Giants man was in constant pain because of his vocation and would beg Versteeg to let him opt for a natural painkiller in Cannabis rather than the handful of pills prescribed to him.
The former Miss Iowa would not allow it as her image of Cannabis was that it was for dropouts and losers, and conversely her understanding of opioids was that they were 100 percent safe. She also worried about the fallout of testing positive in a random drug test.
Versteeg recounts how Sash would throw up after retiring because of concussion symptoms, and how it led to him hiding painkillers with the labels ripped off as fell into a pit of addiction and depression, indicating that he wanted to take his life.
Breaking the stigma
It took Versteeg a while, but through her research she started to understand the power of Cannabis and how its reputation was all wrong.
This led Versteeg to start a monthly subscription box for Cannabis products that was aimed for anyone to use without the negative stigma attached, breaking the grimy black market feel of Cannabis.
However, the young entrepreneur soon encountered the real problems with the Cannabis business. Despite legislation over 20 states, the marketplace for legal Cannabis is broken, fragmented and unregulated.
Creating a Paragon
Versteeg has now identified the ability that Blockchain technology has in disrupting certain sectors of society and business, and she hopes that Paragon can be the vehicle that pushes the Cannabis revolution into the mainstream.
Paragon uses Blockchain technology to store data from the seeds to the water quality, fertilizers used to the labs, and their tests, to the distribution centers in an immutable ledger that can be checked by anyone to ensure quality and standardization.
Additionally, doctors certificates, user IDs and prescriptions can all be kept of the blockchain and not be tampered with.
The Paragon coin emerging from this blockchain is also supposed to solve the problem with funding a marketplace that is still unregulated and not accepted across all states or even the world.
Versteeg and her team at Paragon are also hoping to set up co-working spaces for the Cannabis startups that are attached to this ecosystem. In supporting entrepreneurship, and placing them on a standardized blockchain with a specialised digital currency, Paragon believes that solutions for this burgeoning) business with thrive in these incubators.