The Maple Tree Consultant’s podcast What’s Your Why returned this week with the second episode of the season, in which Hannah Deacon and Prof Mike Barnes chat to leading voices in the medical cannabis sector.
This week’s guest is Katya Kowalski, head of operations for Volteface, an advocacy and communications organisation, that seeks to reduce the harm drugs pose to individuals and society, through evidence-based policy reform.
What’s Your Why is all about looking beyond business and commercial forecasts in favour of open and honest conversations with guests about how they ended up working in the medical cannabis space and why it matters to them.
Katya Kowalski on What’s Your Why?
In this episode, Hannah and Mike went right back to the beginning of Katya’s journey, discussing her childhood and teenage years living in the UK and Prague, and her decision to study psychology at the University of Bath.
It was while at university that Katya developed an interest in drug policy, tackling an essay on the relationship between cannabis and psychosis (ironically, getting one of her lowest marks!)
Her interest in the subject didn’t wane however, and after completing her MA in Health Psychology, she went onto do an internship with Volteface. Here, she has carved a role for herself over the last few years, becoming a prominent spokesperson on UK drug policy.
Katya opens up about the highs and lows of working in the field of medical cannabis - including the myriad of issues with the current UK model - as well as how the campaign for wider access can co-exist alongside that of recreational use.
“It’s really important to separate the medical debate from the recreational one, but I don’t see why the two can’t co-exist,” she tells her co-hosts.
“At the end of the day, we need to see evidence-based sensible drug reform - and that can exist for both medical and recreational [cannabis]... being upfront and separating the two can improve both sides of the argument.”
Listen to the full episode below or subscribe via your usual podcast app.