“If I wasn’t such a coward, I wouldn’t be here today; I would’ve given up long ago,” Daniel Simmonds said.
The Toronto-born, Florida-raised warrior spent 13 years in the dark battling what doctors labeled treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Promising careers with big corporations like Aflac and Google seemed to slip away as Simmonds’ struggles made getting out of bed in the morning a grand accomplishment.
“Towards the end, I was pretty much incapacitated,” said the 41-year-old Simmonds, who moved to Washington D.C. as a teenager. “I wasn’t able to work and I was on disability. I was living with my mother in a spare bedroom and basically white-knuckling it. I was just holding on and hoping for a miracle.”
His miracle came in 2017 with the arrival of medicinal Cannabis in Maryland, allowing Simmonds to customize a treatment plan based around specific terpenes found inside the plant. Encouraged by his own results, Simmonds began directing his newfound energy towards personalizing plans for others.
“Once I found the ability to move forward, there was no way I was looking back,” he said.
The Montgomery College attendee became “obsessed” with studying the plant, earning a handful of certifications from a variety of online programs across the country. He drove around the state meeting with fellow patients, offering up the information he had dug up out of desperation – now delivering it from an impassioned place of healing.
Georgetown Hemp became the byproduct of Simmonds’ studies, creating a brand determined to provide services to those in dire need. Four years after its creation, Simmonds now helms a team of six operating wholesale in all 50 states, as well as on an international level. Locally, Georgetown Hemp is helping rewrite legislation to push for reducing the restrictions on the commercial sale of Cannabis in Washington D.C.
Four years after its creation, Simmonds now helms a team of six operating wholesale in all 50 states, as well as on an international level. Locally, Georgetown Hemp is helping rewrite legislation to push for reducing the restrictions on the commercial sale of Cannabis in Washington D.C.
What is Georgetown Hemp?
We sell CBD products, but we consider ourselves a Cannabis business. We have access to more components from the Cannabis plants and we know the mechanisms they use to impact patients’ health.
Growing up in South Florida, I was in the CBD capital of the U.S. The demographic spending the most money on these products – the elderly – are the most affected by the stigma and Reefer Madness. We created Georgetown Hemp to have someone speak to them on a level. We wanted to be a trusted advisor that could recommend the best products, because at the time, CNN did a study which said two-thirds of the products didn’t contain what they said on the label.
What advice would you give our readers who are purchasing CBD?
Rather than finding a product you trust, find a retailer you trust. Also, if the product doesn’t come with a COA (Certificate of Analysis), run for the hills. You want evidence that will verify there are no pesticides, no heavy metals and no mycotoxins. You’ll also want to see the varying levels of non-CBD products such as CBN and CBG, because they might be what’s making you feel better or worse.
What does a day in the life of Daniel Simmonds look like?
We’re a brick-and-mortar shop in Rockville. We’ve been here for two years now and we’re open seven days a week. We get calls on a daily basis and people stop by wanting to pitch products for us to carry.
When I was a kid, I’d go into Fuddruckers and you could see them curing your meat to be ground and cooked. Here, we have a similar model where we have retail in the front and a lab in the back. So you’re seeing every step in the process, from seed to sale. It creates a far more informed customer.
Do you consider yourself a Washington insider?
[laughs] I have no background in politics whatsoever. But we have Cannabis attorneys we work with to make sure everything we do is on the level. We recently formed a coalition to try to lift the Harris Rider, which blocks the city from legalizing and taxing the sale of recreational marijuana. We’re confident through our lawyers it will be lifted this year.
You teased a big announcement. What is it?
We are getting ready to release six products with a television celebrity chef, Jose Garces – winner of Iron Chef, Season Two. We have six unique recipes, but we’re going to start with our chocolate bars. We hope to see them on the end caps in Whole Foods.
You’ve come a long way in a short period of time. Your “cowardice” will be other people’s survival guide. What would you say to someone who is in a tough spot?
Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle. Those are the truest words I could speak. I am someone who was in awful shape, and look at me now. If you’re willing to work with us at Georgetown Hemp, we’re going to do everything we can to help you. I know what it means to struggle. Because of that we’re really careful and cautious in what we recommend. We’ll start low and slow, and help dial in to find the right product.