Marijuana

Face of Cannabis Exhibit Showcases Children Who Pushed the CBD Movement

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Nichole Montanez
Hailey (Teapot) is Nichole Montanez's niece and was the inspiration for the Face of Cannabis project. "Without love for her, this project would not exist. She was born a seemingly healthy newborn. A few short months later she would have her first seizure. I rarely put my camera down in the years that followed. Her persistent suffering was a daily reminder that we could lose her at any moment. Some of the hardest photos I’ve ever taken were of her," Montanez says.
The Face of Cannabis exhibit is a collection of photos from Nichole Montanez that showcases children whom she believes changed the medical cannabis movement forever "by putting a different face on an issue that had long been shrouded in stereotypes and stigma," she says.

Montanez was inspired to start the project because her niece, Hailey (who goes by Teapot), started having seizures as a baby. Through her niece, Montanez met Paige Figi and her daughter, Charlotte, who, along with Hailey, made up two of the five children living in Colorado with Dravet Syndrome. Out of desperation, Paige began treating Charlotte's seizures with CBD. After seeing the success CBD had in treating Charlotte's seizures, Montanez's mind was made up.

"I set out to do a portrait series of about fifty kids living in Colorado who were being treated with CBD. That became a five-year project that includes portraits of 283 children and some 10,000 images documenting their journey," she says. "This project was never about marijuana. It was always their story. I’ve just been lucky enough to help them tell it."

The exhibit will have an opening reception at the Fremont Center for the Arts on Friday, October 5, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Here's a preview of some of the faces you'll see.