Mirna Jiron, 61, in front of a CBD-infused product display at Sun Spot CBD at 3186 21st St. on Dec. 30, 2021. Photo by Anlan Cheney.

On this sunny December afternoon, 61-year-old Mirna Jiron, her hoodie emblazoned with “Plants over Pills,” is assisting a new, older customer at Sun Spot CBD, at 3186 21st St. The gentleman is carrying a tin for a product he would like to replace. Speaking Spanish, she walks him through a variety of options on their shelves. They have everything:Soaps, gummies, CBD-infused coffee, oils, pet products.

A diagram of the human body on the wall, one of the several art installations which include works by visual artist and Sun Spot CBD logo designer Malik Seneferu, shows where CBD receptors are located in the body. Jiron knows them all and can talk easily about the healing properties of cannabidiol, known popularly as CBD, which is derived from cannabis.  

Jiron and the customer discuss options for retaining the healing and relaxing properties of CBD without getting too high.

The customer doesn’t buy anything this time around, but remarks that Jiron is quite the salesperson. Sales isn’t the point, she says. It’s more about finding what works for each customer.

Jiron’s career included 27 years in clinical research management with biotech companies like Genentech and SUGEN, now merged with Pfizer, and she became adept at redesigning processes to make them more efficient. Although an avowed carnivore, her skills were also put to use in developing the plant-based Impossible Burger.

Nowadays, she works for her longtime neighbor and friend Reggie Wise, Sun Spot CBD’s founder/creator. They split duties: She takes on more of the personal and artistic details, like setting up product displays, and is at the counter on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Wise started the business online before the pandemic, and they opened the brick-and-mortar location this past July. Business is growing, and the challenge is to develop new customers and counter resistance to and misinformation about CBD use.

Apparel with the slogan “Plants over Pills” at Sun Spot CBD at 3186 21st St. on Dec. 30, 2021. Photo by Anlan Cheney.

Born in Guatemala to Nicaraguan parents serving there as missionaries, Jiron grew up in the Mission where her tailor-by-trade, “renaissance man” father, Eduardo Jiron-Lanza, moved the family so he could become the pastor of a Seventh Day Adventist Church.

In the seventies, she watched her older brother, who had epilepsy, give up meds for marijuana and find healing before he died in a motorcycle accident. 

Her faith and family have helped her through difficult times, including an accident which left her temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. While she doesn’t attend an organized church these days, “I tell people, ‘I follow the path of Christ,’” she said.

“Do I say I walk on water? Hell no! But I love my fellow man.” 

Now, she’s proud to work at a black-owned business that supports local entrepreneurs and helps customers on their personal healing journeys. She pointed out how it provides an opportunity for community members, especially those who are Hispanic and Latinx, to have access to quality products and information.

“Wellness and hemp to the people,” Jiron said with a smile, putting a spin on Sun Spot CBD’s motto.

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"Annie" is originally from Nebraska, where she found her calling to journalism as editor of her high school newsletter. Before returning to the field, she studied peace and political science in the Balkans, taught elementary and middle school, and worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow her on Twitter @anlancheney.

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