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Patient of the Month: Malayna Fowler

“It doesn’t matter who you are, we can all bond on the intersectionality of Cannabis.”

Malayna Fowler has a passion for educating herself and the people around her about Cannabis – so much so that she is willing to take on any job in the industry to understand it to the fullest. 

“Education, for the most part in this industry, is free,” the 25-year-old said. “We have this access, let’s utilize it.” 

Malayna graduated with an M.S. in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2023. Prior to getting her degree, however, she said her journey with Cannabis began a little later than most people.

When Malayna was 10, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Dealing with physical pain, depression and dietary issues as a result of the disease, she later discovered Cannabis in the form of edibles. With its help, she has been able to cut the amount of medication she takes in half. 

She admits to feeling the societal pressures of Cannabis use when she was younger, being told it was bad and to stay away from those who associate with it. But she said her turning point was when she began college.

She attended West Virginia University in 2017 and graduated early with a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise psychology in 2020. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA, saying her Cannabis use helped her to achieve that. 

“I realized I can be successful while still being a stoner,” she said. “When I learned that, the limits never existed again.” 

After expressing a desire for more relational interaction, her mom told her about a medical Cannabis program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy after hearing about it on the radio and encouraged her to apply. 

“I thought there’s no way I’m getting into Maryland, especially because I’m a stoner and I still had that self-doubt,” Malayna said. After waiting for the university to make a decision, she was notified on the last possible day that she had been accepted into the program.  “My entire life changed that day,” she said. 

As a full-time student, Malayna started working full-time in the Cannabis industry, working nearly 60 hours a week while dedicating 10-15 hours to her studies. With her love for learning, she said the schoolwork didn’t feel like work at all. 

“Half of us in the program would do extra work because it was just so interesting and you were learning from so many people,” she said. “Everybody worked full time so that gave me the motivation to carry on with my lifestyle and my own goals.” 

While in the program, she also became a more active advocate for Cannabis, and credits Dr. Carlos Hernandez, whom she met through her program, for teaching her to overcome adversity and helping her feel included in the conversation. 

“He taught me to push boundaries, whether that be international boundaries, whether that be advocacy,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, we can all bond on the intersectionality of Cannabis.” 

Malayna writes down the same message to herself every day: “Always be compliant, never be complacent.” This has become something she sees reflected in the state of the industry today. 

“We always need to be in line with the law,” she said. “However, you need to push the envelope, because there’s no growth without that.” 

Her Cannabis advocacy goes hand in hand with her current job at Story Cannabis, where she works as a field marketing representative. With the opportunity to travel around the state to visit the company’s various stores, her goal is to educate and advocate with the platform she’s given. 

“Getting a voice out, whether it be my own or supporting someone else, and speaking about Cannabis: that job is never done and I understand it may never be done,” she said. “But I will try my hardest in my lifetime to do it.”

Even though her current job doesn’t necessarily align with her degree, the female field marketing reps she met while at a previous job were those who inspired her to give the job a try.

“Meeting these individuals when I was in a receptionist position learning and navigating the Cannabis world and seeing how intelligent and confident these women are made me want that job,” she said. 

Known around her work as a “sativa diva,” she prefers strains that “taste like a morning cup of coffee,” normally going for something with a citrus or vanilla taste. She also uses THC-V, which she said works really well with her body and gives her energy that’s equivalent to a cup of coffee or going for a walk.  

While the job she wants in the industry isn’t out there yet, Malayna encourages anyone who is interested in joining the industry to push boundaries like Dr. Hernandez taught her. 

 “If you don’t feel like you’re pushing beyond your limit every day, you’re not in the right place,” she said. “Comfortability is great, but you’re not learning. Anyone who’s looking to succeed or exceed expectations in the industry: educate yourself, educate others.” 


This article was originally published in the June 2024 issue of Maryland Leaf.

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