Turning a new leaf
Yes, there were those who asked, “What. Were. You. Thinking?”
But mostly the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive to a new business venture, KopSun, launched last September by three unlikely women — Tina Fanucchi-Frontado, Leigh-Anne Anderson and Amy Marie Orozco.
All well-known in the Carpinteria community, they are “loudly and proudly” championing the cannabis culture and celebrating the often misunderstood marijuana plant.
Described as a cannabis information and health resource, KopSun provides in-depth information on cannabis, its health benefits, consumer products, industry news, pertinent legal matters and a way to purchase products.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the community’s acceptance and support of KopSun. There is a large interest in cannabis, and our Leaf Learning education forums have answered a lot of questions and erased so many misgivings and fears. Our goal is simply to provide the tools and information so people become confident and empowered to make the smartest choices for themselves,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado, KopSun CEO and founder.
KopSun’s current focus is on the Leaf Learning component, the free education sessions beginning at 5 p.m. the last Wednesday of the month at the Carpinteria Woman’s Club on Vallecito Road in Carpinteria. The next one will be June 26 and features Dr. Margaret Peterson, a family practitioner, and cannabis educator Liz Rogan.
“The programs have been packed mostly with people between the ages of 50 and 80. They come early, take their seats and pull out their notepads,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado, explaining the meaning of the name KopSun. “I married Greg Frontado, the wonderful son of John Frontado, the last police chief in Carpinteria, which is why I named the business in honor of them.” (KopSun, as in, “cop’s son.”)
She became passionate about the medicinal benefits of cannabis after she lost her brother to AIDS in 1994, her mother to cancer in 2006 and her father to cancer in 2016.
“I was the lead caregiver in all three transitions. When my father’s sleep and anti-anxiety medications were making him miserable, I started dosing him with medical marijuana edibles. He called it ?the pot.’ Not surprisingly, relief came without all the sickening side effects of the pharmaceuticals,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado, 56.
“Those of us who have cared for family will go to hell and back to find the best treatment. We spend days and weeks and months going to doctor appointments and wanting nothing more than to provide comfort. I found it infuriating when we finally tried medicinal marijuana that it was some alternative, taboo treatment. It should have been the first choice.”
Born and raised in Carpinteria, she received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and economics from UCSB and a master’s degree in public administration from Cal State Northridge. She has held director positions for nonprofits like Zona Seca, Klein Bottle, SEE International, Santa Barbara Education Foundation and Hospice of Santa Barbara and served on a number of charitable boards such as the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Rotary Foundation, 1st District Commission for Women, Sarah House, California Avocado Festival and the Alcazar Theater in Carpinteria.
Her current board commitments are the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara and Compassionate Care Carpinteria.
“I use my executive and management skills to build strong community offerings, which was taught to me by my parents, Nilo and Rosemarie Fanucchi,” she said.
To help her get the word out about the KopSun mission, Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado enlisted the expertise of Leigh-Anne Anderson and Amy Marie Orozco.
“When they heard what I wanted to do, both said they wanted to be partners with me. Leigh-Anne is chief marketing officer, and Amy is chief communications officer,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado.
Ms. Anderson is a graduate of Varsity College in Durban, South Africa, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations and business management. Her work has appeared in publications such as Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. A former board member of C.A.R.E.4Paws, she continues as a volunteer and donates her time to the Carpinteria Arts Center, helping to host the annual Artists Studio tour and is a founder of Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.
Ms. Orozco’s career includes more than 20 years of reporting, writing and editing. Her byline credits include the Los Angeles Times, Santa Barbara News-Press and other local publications, as well as Cat Fancy. She serves on the boards of the Carpinteria Valley Historical Society and Catalyst for Cats.
Her professional affiliations include membership in the Association for Women in Communications, Santa Barbara Chapter, and founder of the improv troupe The Plaza Players. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University and an executive management degree from USC.
“Our goal is to debunk the myth that people who use cannabis are potheads,” Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado said. “The effects of the decades-long demonization linger. Cannabis prohibition did more than hurt harmless users. It also stifled medical research and muddled any chance at an accurate understanding of the plant. This is why we are passionate about education,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado.
Among the “blunt facts” detailed in www.kopsun.com are the following:
? Cannabis is used to describe the plant that produces the familiar resinous flowers and the products derived from the plant. Only female cannabis plants produce flowers (buds).
? The plants and buds used for medicinal and psychotropic purposes can be called marijuana. Many in the newly legal industry choose to call it cannabis because marijuana picked up negative connotations in the “Reefer Madness” days of stigmatizing the plant.
? A cannabinoid is any of the 113 chemical compounds derived from cannabis plants.
? The most well-known cannabinoid, THC, gets you high. It is also known for treating nausea, pain, anxiety and aiding sleep.
? CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high.
“CBD has become the queen of cannabinoids. The number of ailments treated by CBD is astounding,” said Mrs. Fanucchi-Frontado. “Among them are arthritis, diabetes, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and schizophrenia.”
She stressed that “each of us have unique bodies that will react differently to what’s put into them, whether it’s food, alcohol, medicine or cannabis. You need to decide what’s best for you. Go slowly and start with micro-dosing. Be patient.”