Interview with MzJill
I had a chance late last winter to meet one of my favorite cannabis breeders in the world, MzJill from TGA Genetics. This amazing woman has transformed herself and the cannabis industry by developing some of the top strains in the world, and has never forgotten why she got into this business in the first place: to make the world a better place.
DOPE Magazine: Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you’ve been up to lately in the industry?
MzJill: I am the co-founder and head grower/breeder of TGA Genetics. My first creation as a breeder was the infamous strain, Jilly Bean. Jilly Bean has proven to be very effective for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression. I also created a strain I named in honor of my friend Brian, who passed from ALS. I hope to bring awareness to this disease through the strain Brian Berry Cough. I also co-created a strain called Agent Orange. This strain is named after my father, a Vietnam vet, who lost his battle to cancer contracted from the chemical Agent Orange.
Most recently, my efforts have turned to helping other people through charity with my Donations 4 People campaign. I do ongoing fundraising for those less fortunate, as well as [bring] the cannabis community together for an annual Holiday food/toy drive. I am an advocate for medicinal marijuana . . . Marijuana is a very powerful medicine for many people, ranging from young children to the elderly [who suffer] from all ranges of things, such as cancer, pain, alcoholism, autism . . . the list goes on.
Q: When did you first begin growing cannabis?
A: I first started growing cannabis when my youngest daughter was just a baby—she is now a high school graduate attending college. I smoked cannabis to help alleviate my back pain from scoliosis. What I found was that cannabis helped greatly with the pain, but it also helped bring me a peaceful calmness that [was] hard to find as a single mom of three young daughters. I began growing for myself to help with the cost; being a single mom, I did not have much extra cash. As I learned the process of growing, I also learned that tending the garden was very therapeutic . . . I explained to my children that I was legal with our state but that people may judge us, so it was important to keep it private, but to not feel ashamed and to keep their heads high because I would help change the world, help others in need.
Q: I’ve read that women excel at becoming leaders in the cannabis industry, as there isn’t a traditional ‘boys club.’ Does your own experience reflect this?
A: I feel it is much more difficult for women to become a relevant part of the cannabis community and to be taken seriously for our contributions than it is for our male counterparts, as many are part of the ‘boys club’ and desire to keep it that way . . . My advice to the ladies coming into the industry: stand your ground, do not step on toes or take advantage of others—but do not let others walk on you. Be kind, and help those that are in need. You should only look down on someone if you are reaching down to give them a hand up!
Important Update on MzJill (10/23/17)
In a terrible tragedy, Mz Jill’s facility and home were caught in the recent wildfires ravaging California. If you would like to help our friend and cannabis veteran Mz Jill, please donate to her Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/HelpMzJill
For more of MzJill, check out: tgagenetics.com | Instagram: @mzjillgrower