Adam Miller On Pioneering An Industry That Can Save Lives & Alleviate Suffering
Adam Miller is a pioneer in the Australian medical cannabis industry. Adam founded BuddingTech in 2015, Australia's first cannabis launching pad for companies entering the market.
In 2017 Adam founded the Medical Cannabis Council, Australia's first national industry body to represent the medical cannabis industry. The Mission of the Medical Cannabis Council is to create a unifying voice for the medical cannabis industry in Australia, facilitating a framework of best practice and supporting the positioning of Australia as a world leader in research and production of safe, scientifically backed medical cannabis products. Adam studied Entrepreneurship at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Sweden's Jönköping University for international business and completed his bachelors in 2009. Over the past eight years, Adam has worked in multiple startups with a specific focus on education and community building technology.
Adam Miller, an Australian leader in one of the largest stigmatised industries, shared his insights into the entrepreneurial health sphere with Mikaela Stephens of Impact Boom.
Sure to draw in a large audience as a key-note speaker at the Myriad Festival in Brisbane this May, we had the chance to learn some valuable tips from Adam in his career pathway within the health industry, and how he has pioneered medicinal cannabis innovation.
[Mikaela Stephens] - Could you please share a bit about your background and what led you on this journey of starting up BuddingTech, Australia's first medical cannabis innovation coordination program?
[Adam Miller] - In 2015 I started really paying attention to cannabis, before that I didn't really know much about it. It was just something that was illegal - I had no idea that there were any real health benefits. Then I went to America and I saw what was going on over there - medical dispensaries, people were treating themselves with cannabis and it was real. However, even when I was there, I didn't pay much attention because the way it looked from the outside is that Americans had figured out a way to get high. But then I started learning more and eventually started to truly understand the depth and potential of this plant. I was moved and my perception of cannabis shifted entirely.
As the founder and now board member of the Medical Cannabis Council, what have been your biggest barriers until now and how did you navigate your way around them?
The greatest challenge has been navigating through the stigma that has been systematically created over the past 80 years of cannabis prohibition.
People really believe this is just about getting high, but it’s so much more, we are dealing with a product that can save lives and alleviate suffering.
There is no way around it, Cannabis is a complex plant with a complex history. When you start to learn about the history of cannabis, it becomes pretty clear that we have been swindled. Not many people know this, but cannabis was widely used up until the 1930's - you could buy cannabis over the counter and it was used by a wide community of medical professionals, additionally, hemp was also widely used - it's famously stated that the bill of rights was written on hemp paper. But in the 1930's, Harry J. Anslinger, who was the director of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, at the end of the prohibition period his funding was to be cut and as such he decided to focus on a new substance to demonise - this substance was cannabis.
You have truly pioneered medical cannabis research and innovation, as a fellow designer in the health industry, I have a deep respect for your continued tireless campaign.
What advice would you give to other social entrepreneurs or start ups who are starting out on their own journey, and are navigating their way through the Australian health and medical sector?
All of us here are working from something much deeper than a desire to be the first ones on this big wild ride…we are here because we have seen the impact and change that medical cannabis products are having on people the whole world over. Some of us, because of people we didn’t get the chance to help, because of the realisation that there is suffering in the world we can easily eliminate, because there are lives to be given back to people and we have the tools to do it.
My advice is to keep sharing with others, be compassionate and be a teacher - what you know can empower others to help save lives. Don’t give up and hang in tight, we are pioneering an industry!
You hosted ‘Seedlings’ in 2016, Australia's first medical cannabis innovation event, and you will be speaking at Myriad this year, in just a few short weeks! What can the audiences at Myriad expect to hear from you?
They can expect to hear me sharing what is going on around the world, how this industry has evolved, some of the interesting research taking place, the plants potential applications across multiple verticals and some of the feedback I have from speaking with hundreds of people in this fascinating space.
We look forward to hearing more about these initiatives. What other inspiring projects or initiatives have you come across recently which are creating positive social change?
The integration of healthcare and blockchain.
To finish off, what are the top 3 books you’d recommend to our listeners?
- Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
- To Man in Truth by Barry Long
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Adam, thank you very much for your generous insights and time.
Your history of persistence and compassion to create social impact, especially to reach those who are most vulnerable, within a stigmatised industry is truly empowering.
We look forward to hearing more about the global innovation in your field at Myriad, and how potential medicinal cannabis innovations could be applicable for the audiences own professional industries.
For more information about Myriad Festival and its speakers, check out their website. We'll see you there!