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Normalizing Cannabis PayRio

Normalizing Cannabis on Multiple Levels

Amanda Ferron


A common goal we all share in the Cannabis community is to just normalize Cannabis.

But what exactly does that mean?

Obviously, we all wish that society wouldn’t judge us so harshly for our Cannabis consumption. I’ve heard a lot of people say: “We want ‘Mommy needs a joint’ to be just as socially acceptable as ‘Mommy needs a glass of wine.’”

And why shouldn’t it be? Multiple studies have shown how alcohol consumption is far more harmful than Cannabis consumption. Yet people will shame you for NOT drinking! It’s all backwards…

So how can we get people to stop looking down on others who choose natural medicine over pharmaceuticals, and alternative therapies over alcohol consumption?

Normalizing Cannabis is a multifaceted issue.

I believe this consists of three main parts:

  • Normalizing the Cannabis plant itself
  • Normalizing Cannabis consumption, whether that is medicinal or recreational.
  • Normalizing the Cannabis industry


One of the biggest things that should be noted is that Cannabis is capable of MUCH MORE than just getting a person high!

For all intents and purposes, through-out this article, I will be referring to both the Hemp and the Cannabis plant containing higher levels of THC as plain old Cannabis. We can get into the technical differences in a later article, but they are both Cannabis plants, and I am referring to Cannabis in general.

That being said, Cannabis is capable of some pretty amazing things.

One of my favorite fun Canna-facts is that it actually cleans the soil it grows in! That’s right, studies done by PLOS One (a peer-reviewed, open access journal) showed that Cannabis can not only grow and thrive in contaminated soil, but that the roots actually absorb whatever harmful chemicals are in that soil (as well as beneficial nutrients) and store them in the plants leaves, stalks or stems. They are even using it to help extract the radiation out of the soil around the Chernobyl disaster site.

But that’s not all! (…Feel free to read that in a cheesy, commercial voice…)

That is just one of the many amazing things that Cannabis can do!

Let’s not forget to mention how you can use Cannabis to make:

  • Beauty products (lotions, balms, sunblock, hair-care, skin-care… and more!)
  • Textiles, Clothing, and accessories (fabrics, ropes, shoes, belts… and more!)
  • Gluten-free flour
  • Paper products
  • Biofuel
  • Biodegradable plastics (Imagine how this could help solve our pollution problem! No floating island of plastic bottles in the ocean if they are made of all natural, biodegradable, Cannabis materials!)
  • Hempcrete (a bio-composite material used worldwide, also a thermodynamic insulator that actually absorbs CO2, and can’t catch on fire!)
  • Car bodies (Henry Ford even made a car out of Cannabis, and was an advocate for it’s legalization.)

This list does not even scratch the surface of all the possible things we could be using Cannabis for. There are literally thousands of possibilities.

Many believe that the mis-information that led to Cannabis being illegal, and the ever famous “Reefer Madness”, was master-minded by the worlds elite, who have vested interests in lumber, oil, etc… This is, again, a story for another article. (It’s a lot of information to break-down in one section…)

But it stands to reason that the wealthy would do anything they could to remain in control. You can use Cannabis to replace so many things that our society relies on… Big lumber, big pharma, big oil… They all suffer once Cannabis is fully legal. They don’t care about us. They don’t care about our health, let alone the health of the planet. All they care about is their profits. Period. Keeping Cannabis illegal is essential to those profits.

Just another reason why I love learning as much as I can about Cannabis! Education is the key to breaking the harmful stigmas that seem to envelop this amazing plant.

The more we educate ourselves, and others, on how Cannabis could actually heal the planet (in more ways than one) the more acceptable, and even desirable, Cannabis is going to become.

Normalizing Cannabis PayRio


It seems, unfortunately, that a large portion of our society is still stuck in that “Reefer Madness” mindset, and genuinely believes that people who consume Cannabis are nothing more than lazy, immoral, criminals.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been judged negatively for my Cannabis consumption.

Especially since becoming a Mother in 2011.

I think society as a whole fails to realize (or admit) how many adults use Cannabis. People from all walks of life are using this plant! Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Stay-at-Home Moms, even Police Officers… All consuming Cannabis.

The stigma that Cannabis is demotivating and harmful to your health is definitely still alive and well. And usually, the same people who are quick to tell you how bad Cannabis is for you, are the same people who love to enjoy a cocktail or a bottle of wine every single night.

It always amazes me how surprised people are when I tell them that our body is literally designed to not only process Cannabis (Cannabinoids, that is…), but to do so in a way that helps our body function properly.

Enter: The Endocannabinoid System! (ECS)

Everyone has something in their body called an Endocannabinoid System. (Check out our previous blog post with an easily digestible breakdown of what our ECS is and does!) Basically, our body produces molecules called Cannabinoids. (Endocannabinoids, to be precise…) Those Cannabinoids are absorbed through receptors that exist throughout our central and peripheral nervous systems. Those receptors are specifically designed to take in Cannabinoids, and process them advantageously.

There is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to understanding exactly how the whole system works, but from what studies show so far, the ECS may help control and regulate many of our most vital bodily functions, such as: sleep, mood, immune system function, metabolism, and much, much more!

Guess what else produces Cannabinoids?


The Cannabinoids produced by the Cannabis plant are structurally similar to the ones naturally produced by our bodies, and are therefore easily absorbed into our Endocannabinoid System.

By consuming Cannabis, we are effectively taking a tiny bit of control over our Endocannabinoid System. Through different strains and isolated Cannabinoid extractions, we can even ingest specific Cannabinoids, like: CBD, CBN, THC, or THCa, to name a few.

More and more people everyday are discovering that Cannabis can help give them a better quality of life. Whether your use is medicinal or recreational, one could argue that all Cannabis consumption could be considered “therapeutic”, because this consumption helps us regulate our Endocannabinoid System. Some people find its use so therapeutic, that they have used Cannabis to break harmful addiction cycles, and get off things like opioids, prescription pills, and even alcohol.

Another issue that is holding Cannabis consumption normality back, is that a lot of people who use Cannabis are still very secretive about it. They don’t want to be judged by their family or their peers. They don’t want to lose their jobs (obviously!),  and they don’t want to get in trouble. It is still illegal in many states, so they have every right to be secretive and scared in those instances…

As I said before, a lot of people still look down on Cannabis consumers. But I truly believe if more people in Cannabis-legal states just ADMITTED it… Stood up to the ridicule and explained why it’s normal and advantageous to consume Cannabis, it would make a huge difference!

Admit that you are a successful, talented, hard-working person who consumes Cannabis and isn’t ashamed of it!


Honesty and education are both essential to normalizing Cannabis in general. When it comes to Cannabis consumption, I personally believe that spreading knowledge about our bodies Endocannabinoid System is the best way to get people to understand that consuming Cannabis is not dangerous and demotivating, but can actually be good for you!

The more people understand all of that, the more “normal” Cannabis use will be considered!


This one is a little tougher…

Working in the Cannabis Industry can really be an amazing experience. You meet some wonderful people, get access to top-quality medicine, and you get to attend some really fun events.

But the Cannabis industry has SO many issues, I would really struggle to talk about all of them in one article. Over-taxed, over-regulated, under-represented… I mean, seriously, talk about taxation without representation… The Cannabis Industry is a perfect example!

One of the main struggles to change all of this, is the fact that Cannabis is still listed as a Schedule 1 Substance. Which, under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, basically means that our Government considers Cannabis to be a highly addictive and dangerous drug, with no recognized medical use.

Now, of course, as explained above, that is complete and utter Bulls**t.

But, time and time again, our country fails to lower the Cannabis scheduling, and continues to restrict our access to this highly advantageous plant.

Even though Cannabis is now either decriminalized, or straight-up legal for either Medical use, Recreational use, or both, in most states across the US, it is still Federally illegal. What does that mean for the State-legal Cannabis industries?

It means that everything having to do with conducting your Cannabis business tends to be harder, and more complicated. Cannabis banking, Cannabis payment processing, even things like doing your taxes and getting investors… Things that are already difficult are exponentially  more difficult if you are a Cannabis business.

Affecting actual change in policy is incredibly difficult as well. As a regular person, we can always do things like vote, and contact our local/national representatives… But the cogs in that machine move incredibly slowly. I would love to say that I think we will see real change at a Federal level in my lifetime… But honestly, I’m not so sure…

In the meantime, how can we normalize conducting business in the Cannabis space? Again, you have to do your research! Running a business means working with other businesses as well. You want to make sure that you are working with people who can help you navigate this complex system, so that you are fully compliant when the regulators come around.

Two big areas of operating a business that Cannabis professionals really need help in:

Cannabis payment processing solutions, and Cannabis banking.

There is a plethora of Cannabis professionals who claim they can help with things like banking, taxes, compliance, and payment solutions. But some of that is just smoke and mirrors, so you have to be careful. Working with people who truly understand the multiple issues that Cannabis businesses face is absolutely imperative if you are going to survive in this space.

This is one of the reasons I signed on with the team here at PayRio, Inc.!

CEO and Founder of PayRio, Aubrey Amatelli, is a seasoned banking professional, and her mission is to normalize payments in the Cannabis space. Aubrey has done a lot of research into the latest technology available in Cannabis payment solutions, and founded PayRio as a boutique Cannabis payment processor. She has done all the work, and now partners with top-tier tech innovators, who have solid track records in the Cannabis industry.

Many Cannabis businesses are still cash-based. They steer clear of traditional banks and payment processors. (Most of these being Federally backed or insured.) Either these Cannabis businesses have tried working with them before, and have gotten dropped once those banks and processors got scared of handling Cannabis accounts… Or they just straight-up don’t trust anything having to do with the Government, financially in particular. The mistrust of the Government really runs deep in the Cannabis community, for obvious reasons. This mistrust trickles down the banks and payment processors. Thus, you get a largely cash-based industry.

Being cash-based leaves these businesses even more vulnerable to robberies. Break-ins, as we all know, are a HUGE issue in the Cannabis space! The criminals know that if they rob a Cannabis Dispensary, not only can they get a lot of Cannabis products, but they are very likely to find a large sum of cash as well.

Aubrey and PayRio are out to change that. Their Cannabis payment processing solutions are fully compliant on a state-by-state basis, currently operating in 16 states and counting. They are shaking up the industry by enabling Cannabis businesses to process both Debit AND Credit cards. Even high-end rewards cards! PayRio uses technology that has been utilized in the Cannabis space for the past 4+ years, with a 99.99% uptime.

While other payment processors, like cashless ATM processors, require you to round up, or take a picture of your customers card, PayRio is simplifying the process, and offering a smooth customer experience. Using their solution is just like paying your bill at the counter of a restaurant. The customer simply inserts their chip card, selects a tip amount, signs, gets their receipt, and they’re done!

PayRio can also refer to you some other amazing Cannabis professionals, including Cannabis friendly banking systems, like Green Check Verified, Cannabis Insurance professionals, Lawyers, Brand Ambassadors… They have a team of seasoned Cannabis-industry professionals, who have made connections that they are happy to share, at no additional cost to the Cannabis business they are working with.

Aubrey and her team at PayRio just want you to succeed. PERIOD!

That is how, in my opinion, we can help normalize the Cannabis industry… and Cannabis in general. Working with knowledgeable professionals, utilizing new technology, sharing resources, doing our research, and educating others.

Here’s hoping that we see major advances when it comes to Cannabis normalization on every level in the coming years!