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Meet Aja Fonseca-Arnold of Caniliv DBA Liv Collectiv in Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aja Fonseca-Arnold.

Aja, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In December of 2013, I fell ill. That sickness led me to the emergency room, which led me to the doctor who- without an examination, and only a brief glance at the notes from the ER decided that because of the Fibroid broths, and cysts present, I should have my ovaries removed, and my uterus cauterized. I was immediately uncomfortable with the recommendation.

The growths presented with pain, and nausea, that I could not control. One day, while awaiting the surgery, my husband passed me a joint. A cannabis cigarette. I refused. He insisted. I caved. Within minutes- the pain dissipated. The pain subsided almost completely. A moment of wonder gave way to confusion, which led to a passion that stays with me today.

My immediate reaction was, “Why would this be illegal?’ Why would something with such apparent medicinal benefit create such controversy? As cannabis, and various other. cannabinoid-based herbs assisted in shrinking my tumors. Naturally, I began advocating for the safe and affordable access to cannabis for patients in need. I mentioned earlier that I made a choice to heal naturally, opting out of what would have been a life-changing surgery. I did, however, follow up with a specialist months after the proposed procedure. After a thorough examination, my doctor looked at the notes from the ER 9 months earlier, and said, “Aja, you don’t have anything measuring large enough for me to operate on you. What did you do?” I gave him a breakdown of the herbs that assisted me in my healing journey. He replied, “You did the right thing. We just can’t tell you that.”

My Husband, Vince Arnold, and I founded Caniliv (Can I Liv?) DBA Liv. Collectiv in 2014, and began launching awareness events, in the SoCal region of California, entrenching ourselves, in what has come to be known as the “cannabis community.” In doing so, the expense of this life-enhancing herb became apparent. Under the protection of Prop CA 215, we raised funds through our events, while creating, and donating cost-free cannabis remedies for terminally ill patients with income restrictions.

We did this work until the passing of Prop 64. Once cannabis went legal in California, giving cannabis away became illegal. As an organization, we’re determined to assist in a similar manner, as we always have. With Liv Collectiv, we offer special discounted pricing for Pediatric and Terminally ill Patients, Vets, and Seniors. My own health raised a concern that I’d like to alleviate from others.

Healing is personal, and Liv. was established as a vehicle to give people the opportunity to choose and to do so affordably. We are proud to say that we are a California Licensed Medicinal Delivery Service, with a focus on wellness, education, and affordability.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Racism and Sexism have been a thing from the very start. I’m an Afro-Latina woman. Its definitely been an uphill battle. My husband and I have had issues with a lack of diversity within the cannabis space from the start, and are extremely proud to be the owners of a legal cannabis business, of which only 3% are owned and operated by black Americans.

Notable Comments and Quotes?

Upon arriving to an upscale Cannabis Awareness Event Organized and Hosted by Caniliv/Liv- a guest says right to my face:
“I wasn’t expecting this. Cannabis is an old white man’s game.”
“Excuse me. Can you please introduce me to your boss?’

An Investor to my husband and I during a meeting, “if you would be willing to put a white male face on your company, I can get you funded right now.”

Nothing worth having is easy to get. We continue to work against the grain.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Caniliv DBA Liv Collectiv story. Tell us more about the business.
Before the laws changed in 2017, Caniliv never actually sold cannabis. We gave it away. Money has never been the motive, which I believe sets us apart from investors and other companies looking to cash in on the “green rush.”

We are proud to say that we are a California Licensed Medicinal Delivery Service, with a focus on wellness, education, and affordability.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Personally, I had the bad luck of getting so sick I was bedridden for two months. Fortunately, I had the good luck of hitting that joint my husband gave me. Had I never got sick, it’s quite possible, we wouldn’t have been able to assist others in their healing journeys.

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