My UMSOP Story: Jacquie Cohen Roth, MS ’21, medical cannabis change maker

Written By: Gwen Fariss Newman


Many have called Jacquie Cohen Roth, MS ’21, a firecracker or a pistol, terms she won’t dispute. She, however, prefers “change maker” and today is doing just that with the successful launch of two medical cannabis companies and a nonprofit as one of the first graduates in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program in 2021 — the first program of its kind nationwide.

A self-described overachiever, the New York native graduated from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs with a double major in economics and policy and a minor in international political economics. In 1982, she moved to Maryland where she spent her early days in the publishing world — first with Chesapeake Life magazine, then as publisher/executive editor of Maryland Physician magazine and Chesapeake Physician, both lauded resources for health care providers throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

In 2017, Cohen Roth narrowed her health care focus to one area specifically — the emerging field of medical cannabis, a movement that first took off in the western part of the U.S. and steadily moved east. Today, 38 states — including Maryland — have legalized medical cannabis. Cohen Roth says it’s beneficial for stress and pain management and certain illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and dementia.

As founder of CannabizMD, Cohen Roth formed an entity that she says “creates an ecosystem” designed to educate, build, and engage this captive and growing community that includes patients, providers, policymakers, and advocates. Its website offers a robust platform that provides the latest news and resources related to medical cannabis developments; spotlights best practices, upcoming conferences and events; and features patient testimonials.

Cohen Roth has served as executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Trade Association and was named to Marijuana Business magazine’s “Women to Watch in 2019” list. She is a soughtafter speaker at industry events around the world.

In 2022, the Annapolis resident went one step further when she founded the Tea Pad Foundation LTD, a professional networking group for the cannabis industry and especially for those less advantaged. Both CannabizMD and Tea Pad are social enterprises committed to social change.

“Tea Pad’s mission is to break down barriers to entry into the cannabis industry, empowering access, and advancement — no matter gender or race — via education and tackling issues of diversity and inclusiveness,” says Cohen Roth. Proceeds of Tea Pad events fund fellowships that provide women and people of color a solid foundation for careers in science, technology, engineering, and medicine.

“There was nothing holding me back,” says Cohen Roth, “and I want that for others.”

In January 2022, Cohen Roth became an adjunct professor at the School of Pharmacy, where she teaches state and federal cannabis laws and policies and medical cannabis advocacy for patients and public health in the MS program.

“The fourth best decision I ever made,” Cohen Roth says of her UMSOP master’s experience, adding that only the birth of her three daughters, all now in their 30s, supersedes.

“Jacquie is a superstar in the medical cannabis space, and I’m proud to call her a colleague, friend, and alumna,” says Leah Sera, PharmD ’10, MA, BCPS, co-director of the MS program and associate professor of practice, sciences, and health outcomes research. “Since I met her, she has been a staunch supporter of our MS program and is enthusiastic, generous, friendly, and a pioneer in the field.”

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