Discover Your Creative Vision With Linda Upshaw

Let's Tap Into Your Instincts

Learning how to express yourself creatively is a skill that can reap benefits in both your personal and professional lives. Just the act of exploring perspective, challenging your preconceived notions, and tapping into your instinct can help you come up with deeply innovative solutions to problems at work or at home. Plus, engaging with life in a creative manner will help you experience it more richly.

A perfect example of the kind of impact this level of skill and practice can have on your life is artist, musician, and instructor Linda Upshaw, who has been involved in the performing and fine arts since she was a child.

“It has been a journey,” she notes. “It’s kept my spirit nurtured as I set out on a path to self-discovery and fulfillment. When I was young, the call of discovery and enchantment beckoned, and I answered its call!”

While growing up in Seattle, Linda was heavily immersed in classical piano study at Cornish Institute. She was also involved in the Franklin High School Bel Canto Choir and performed as an actor in community theater productions.

“These experiences were formative,” Linda remembers. “They helped me to decide that I wanted to travel, learn, and find work where I could be creative — more than anything in the world!”

Over the past 20-years, Ms. Upshaw has been teaching classes focused on inspiring creative development. In addition to her private and group piano lessons, she offers courses designed to inspire the same type of creative discovery she herself has experienced over the years.

Discover Your Creative Vision With Linda Upshaw | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education“As an artist and educator I have a fascination for the arts and the purpose it serves in developing thinkers who ask the hard questions,” she shares. “I love working with people who are interested in exploring and acquiring the knowledge revealed by the spectrum of life’s experiences, who remain open to the vast array of diversity in all of its many forms.”

Linda believes firmly that art should be accessible for everyone, that it’s not simply something that people of privilege should engage in. The tools, insights, and creative expression that her students gain from her courses can benefit people of all backgrounds, and she actively promotes participation from a variety of communities.

“I want to help people learn how to respond to life with an openness that cannot be contained,” Linda explains. “I’m inspired to create art and develop classes that teach others how to respond to light, color, form, sound — whether it be by using a musical instrument, pen, brush — to create a story, a narrative of their lives.”

Her Intuitive Art: Painting for Your Life class is about expression — how to find your innate creative source, and then share it with others in a variety of mediums. She’s used many of the methods she teaches in classes that span traditional humanities courses to workshops with young children.

Purpose, Passion, and Vision: The Art of Vision Boarding will help you tap into your dreams, desires, hopes, and goals — and then provide you with the tools to lay out the path toward achieving them.

“People that will benefit the most from taking either of these classes are those that desire to explore inner impulses that need expression,” she notes. “Whether that be through the use of painting or other art forms, this is their opportunity to explore this in a safe and supportive environment.”

In fact, promoting that environment has been a key to her past success. “My previous students have often shared that seldom do they find a classroom environment that feels safe, where they can take risks in their expressions and creations,” Linda shares. “My students walk away with a feeling that there exists a multitude of different lenses in which to evaluate data, that perception and intuition are great tools which replace certainty and judgment with nuance. Openness can lead to greater self-fulfillment, and it’s my goal to provide the guidance you need to discover that.”

Linda’s higher education pursuits actually began at Seattle Central College many years ago, so it’s an honor for both her and the College to have one of our distinguished alums come back to her roots and share her diverse artistic training with a new generation of students.

Travel Like a Native: Peru

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Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

From the Mountains to the Sea

Located in western South America, Peru has a deep cultural history — beginning with one of the oldest civilizations, the Norte Chico, who have settlements dating back to as early as 3200 BC, to the Nazca, famous for their lines which can only be truly appreciated from an aerial view, to the Inca Empire, who created one of Peru’s most notable sites: Machu Picchu.

Today, Peru’s multiethnic population is comprised of individuals of indigenous, European, African and Asian descent, which results in a diverse and vibrant cultural experience for travelers. It also offers some of the world’s most gorgeous natural habitats — from jungles to mountains to beaches — so you can cover it all during one visit to this breathtaking country.

To learn more about Peru, we asked instructor Teresa Ramon Joffre to share her perspective on her native country; read on to learn more about cultural similarities and difference, tips and recommendations, and more.

What is the primary language spoken in Peru, and how important is it that a traveler be familiar with it before they visit?

The primary language of Peru is Spanish. I think it is very important to speak at least some words to get by.

Of course, Peru is a very popular destination so people in the tourism industry speak very good English. However, it is great if you can learn some Spanish in advance to get by and make the experience more enjoyable.

What are some of the differences in communication style between Peru and the US?

These are just my perceptions, of course, but here are some differences in how Peruvians interact with each other:

  • Personal space – I think in the US the personal space bubble is bigger.
  • Greetings – In Peru, most people greet with one kiss on the cheek. Of course, that is gradually changing, especially in a business environment.
  • Informality – Some public transportation in Peru is pretty informal, or, to say it nicely, too laid back. Local buses are a whole new experience for tourists!
  • Punctuality – Some people arrive a bit late; it used to be that most people did, so this is gradually changing.

What are some similarities between Peruvian and US cultures?

  • Friendliness – I think people in both cultures are pretty friendly and kind. Sincere smiles open doors.
  • Eating – We like to eat. We like to go to parties and have friends. Many people like coffee.

Ultimately, I believe that we are all the same. Some are luckier than others, some have had a better environment, better living conditions than others. But we all want the same things: To be happy, healthy, and safe.

What should a traveler keep in mind when they're interacting with Peruvians?

  • Be friendly and smile.
  • It’s good to be trusting but cautious.
  • Be generous and respectful.
  • Dress in simple clothes.
  • No big cameras or expensive jewelry/glasses. In other words, no frills.

Just remember the golden rule of travel: When in Rome … (of course, only when it is about doing good things!).

Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

What are some common practices around eating food or sharing meals?

Service in restaurants is very different. The waiter doesn’t bring the bill until you ask for it. Also, attitudes toward tipping are changing — it used to be that it wasn’t customary, but now it’s generally expected that you’ll tip 10%.

Lunch is usually a big meal with two or sometimes three courses (appetizer, main course, dessert) and dinner can be a bit lighter.

Also, people have dinner a bit later than the in the US. Say 8 or 9 p.m. Of course, it all varies but places are usually open until late.

What is one dish in Peruvian cuisine that everyone must try?

It all depends on your personal choices, allergies, etc. Also, sometimes eating something raw can cause stomach problems or more serious issues.

I would say try the local fruits and vegetables. Make sure they are clean or buy and clean them yourself. Potatoes and corn are wonderful in Peru and also many of the new superfoods that now are famous in the Western world have been around in Peru for a while (maca, camu camu, quinoa, kiwicha, cat’s claw, etc.).

Peru has also been recognized as one of the world’s leading culinary destination, try the food and you will see why!

What are some common misconceptions about Peru?

  • Not everybody dances salsa.
  • We don’t know what tacos are 🙂
  • Each country in Latin America is different. It is like a family. Every person has some things in common but everyone has their own personality.

When you first traveled to the US, what surprised you the most about the culture or traditions? Why?

What surprised me is how big the country is and how reliant people are on cars.

Also, the food portions seem gigantic to me, even the coffee. Back home, people used to have coffee in a small porcelain cup at a cafe. I don’t know if they still do it that way now.

What should no traveler to Peru miss?

Again, it will sound cliche, but Machu Picchu is a must and the main reason thousands of people come.

The city of Cusco is amazing. The jungle is breathtaking. The majestic and never ending deserts with their dunes. There are so many magical places that it is hard to say where!

It is very diverse and has it all: Coastal cities with deserts (the Pacific Ocean), highlands and snow peaks (the Andes mountains,) and rainforest and jungle (the Amazon river). It has 30 out of the 32 climates in the world.

Peru is one of the most beautiful countries I have been in my life.

Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Peru | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Instructor Spotlight: Nicole Li

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Instructor Spotlight: Nicole Li | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Challenge Your Perspective

Instructor Nicole Li | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationAs the cannabis industry in Washington state evolves, the legal considerations for everyone it touches — from health care providers to retailers to patients, and more — need to remain in focus. And, as it transitions from an illegal industry to a legal one, thinking through and establishing the standards and ethics that will guide it is an important part of its success.

Attorney and Cannabis Institute instructor Nicole Li is uniquely qualified to provide that guidance. With a background in philosophy and bioethics, she blends her legal know-how with her understanding of the health care industry to work with businesses in the Cannabis Industry as they navigate these new waters.

We asked her to share more about her background and interests, as well as her answer to the all-important question: A tiger tail, or tiger stripes?

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

I am part of the Medical Marijuana Consultant Certificate Program.

I also designed a 5-hour continuing education course, Law & Ethics for Medical Marijuana Consultants.

How long have you been teaching?

In 1996, I was given a Teaching Assistantship at the University of Washington’s philosophy department.

From 1996-1999, I taught at the UW during the school year and at the Northwest School during the summer.

At the Northwest School, I designed and taught creative writing, arts and crafts, logic, and an introduction to philosophy using Twilight Zone episodes.

I’ve been teaching with Seattle Central’s Cannabis Institute since 2016.

What's your educational & professional background?

I graduated from Mercer Island High School and went to Brown University for undergrad.

I attended graduate school at the University of Washington, where I received an MA in philosophy.

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law school, while also getting another Master’s in Bioethics from Penn.

One day I’ll finish a Ph.D., possibly in some aspect of cannabis and public policy.

I’m the founder of the Li Law Firm, which focuses on the legal and regulatory aspects of health care industry.

What other kind of life experience do you have that influences what and how you teach?

Traveling — specifically, international travel, and as cheap as possible.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

The questions students ask.  It is easy to view the world from one’s own perspective, so it’s great when someone asks a question that requires a different lens.

Tell us about an inspirational learning moment.

I was really shy in college. I never raised my hand, and if I got called on, I would flush bright red, it was awful.

When I got into philosophy grad school, I was given a Teaching Assistantship, which meant that I had to teach four classes per week of symbolic logic. The first time, I had an out of body experience. I was up near the ceiling, in the back of the class, and I could see myself standing in front of the whiteboard, talking through a problem as I wrote it out. I remember being amazed that I was talking, and wondered what I was saying. In that moment, I realized that I could be a teacher; and once the terror subsided, it was a lot of fun.

The best way to further your own knowledge is to have it challenged by honest questions from students. There’s no skating by! The energy of active learning is a rush.

Would you rather have a tiger tail or tiger stripes?

Tail, definitely. It’d be a new experience — I’ve worn stripes!

Nicole's Favorites


  • Dostoyevsky, anything he’s written. Everything in the world is in one of his books, in some form. They are super long, after all, but he covers so much.


  • The Phoenix Foundation and Fat Freddy’s Drop, both from New Zealand.


  • In general, I’m interested in going literally anyplace I haven’t been before. Iceland and Russia are high on my list of places to travel. In terms of going back to places, definitely southern Africa. I love Zimbabwe.

Understanding the Risks of Cannabis Use: A Right and Responsibility

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With Great Power Comes Great Responsiblity

With the use of cannabis growing throughout the US, it’s the right of patients and the responsibility of cannabis professionals to truly understand the substance — not just the benefits of cannabis use, but the risks as well. In a Pew Research study in 2013, 7% of Americans claimed to be current users of marijuana. Just three years later, the number had climbed to 13%, approximately 1 in 8 adults.

While we cover many of the benefits of using cannabis in this blog and our Cannabis Institute courses, it’s also important to educate the community about any potential risks. One of these is known as Marijuana Use Disorder, a condition which is currently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). At present, the National Institutes of Health estimate that nearly 6 million people in the US suffer from this disorder.

So, what is it? Marijuana Use Disorder is defined on a continuum, from mild to severe, and is characterized by unsuccessful efforts to limit or reduce use or cravings, increased tolerance and continued use, despite negative consequences. If the individual experiences at least two of these within a 12 month period, they may experiencing this disorder.

Although marijuana use disorder gets the most attention in the press, it is not the only risk associated with cannabis use. For a professional opinion on the broader view of risks involved, we turned to Beatriz H. Carlini, Ph.D., MPH, research scientist at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. Dr. Carlini has authored numerous peer reviewed articles regarding substance use, risk, and abuse. Her team developed cannabis training for healthcare professionals specializing in chronic pain for the WA State Attorney General.

We asked Dr. Carlini what she thought the public should know regarding the potential benefits and risks of using cannabis.

“The cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are effective on controlling chronic pain,” she notes. “This is well established. That being said, and as any other medication, it does not work for everybody.”

Dr. Carlini is very pragmatic regarding the limits of benefit to some people. Although it may be a good fit for some patients, it is not a panacea and will not be the best answer for everyone.

“Medications for pain should provide relief of symptoms while restoring or maintaining function, or the ability to be productive,” Dr. Carlini states. “It is a tricky balance. If you benefit from cannabis for managing your pain, but you are pretty much ‘out of it’ for most of the day and unable to work or take care of your business, you may want to explore another alternative.”

As cannabis professionals, we move our industry forward by supporting and seeking to understand the science behind it. Accordingly, we’re particularly that Dr. Carlini has joined the faculty of the Cannabis Institute, and to offer her online course Cannabis Research & Health Risks.

In developing the course, Dr. Carlini had two important goals.

“First, [I wanted] to stimulate a conversation around all the challenges involved in the production of knowledge around marijuana in the US,” she explains. “The second contribution I hope this course can make is to stimulate critical thinking about some of the risks involved in using cannabis, [particularly] for those who are already aware and convinced of cannabis’ medical properties.”

We hope that those interested in learning more about the research at the foundation of our understanding of cannabis will join Dr. Carlini for this informative class. Cannabis professionals, patients and caregivers should all find value in this excellent opportunity to learn from a world class researcher and increase their understanding of this crucial topic.

Instructor Spotlight: Tatiana Gill

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Tatiana Gill - Comics & Illustration Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Tatiana Gill - Comics & Illustration Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Tatiana Gill - Comics & Illustration Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Draw Your Story

Artist Tatiana Gill has been sharing her experiences through the medium of comics since the 90s, and is well-versed in both self-publishing her art and working with small publishers to produce her books.

Much of her work focuses on her own personal journey of self-discovery, and has taken the form of collected stories, short graphic novels, and even a compendium of nearly 500 daily diary drawings — all of which demonstrate how uniquely cathartic drawing comics can be as an art form.

In addition to her books, Tatiana has drawn comics for the Seattle Weekly, Capitol Hill Seattle, and more. While she just recently joined the faculty of Seattle Central’s Continuing Education program, she has been teaching classes to adults and children alike around the community for several years.

We asked Tatiana to share more about herself; read on to learn more — and then join her in one of her upcoming classes.

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

I currently teach 2 classes: The Business of Comics and Illustrating for Children.

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been teaching classes on comics around the community for the past 6 years.

What's your educational & professional background?

I have a B.A. from The Evergreen State College focusing on Art and English Literature.

I have been creating self-published comic books since the 1990s, and have books published by Alternative Comics and Éditions çà et là.

In addition to my work in comics, I’ve freelanced in illustration, graphic design, and marketing since the early 2000s.

What other kind of life experience do you have that influences what and how you teach?

Every time I’ve been taught a rule about what one needs to do to succeed in art, I’ve seen someone come along and succeed doing the opposite.

I’ve also noticed that I do my best and most prolific work when I am enjoying myself and not self-criticizing too much.

So when I teach, I try to encourage students to realize their own vision and favorite techniques, and to provide a more optimistic view than what their inner-critic is saying.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love to discuss the subjects I am so passionate about with other people who are excited to discuss it.

I also love it when the resources I have found over the years can be shared with others.

Tell us about an inspirational learning moment.

I took a class at Evergreen called “Where No One Has Gone Before” — we studied physics, social studies, art and literature all through the lens of classic Star Trek episodes.

I discovered that learning didn’t have to be a grind — it could be exciting, fun, uplifting and invigorating.

Would you rather have a tiger tail or tiger stripes?

A tiger tail, so I could swish it as I walk down the street! 

Tatiana's Favorites



  • Drawing


  • Crazy on You – Heart

Seattle Restaurant


  • Brussels, Belgium: They have a Tintin museum, lots of waffles, and many lovely and funny sights.

Summer 2017 Registration is Open!

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Share Your Passion

Summer is a wonderful time to explore how creativity can transform both your personal and professional lives.

From delving into an existing passion to learning how to share it with others, our classes this summer will help you find your purpose, innovate in your profession, and give you the tools to build new relationships within your network and community.

Featured Programs

Lifelong Learning

Drawing & Sketching
Hone your fundamental drawing skills through an exploration of both contemporary and traditional artistic styles.

Intuitive Art: Paint for Your Life
New! Discover your unique self-expression using an inspiring blend of dance, writing, movement, painting, and music.

Purpose, Passion & Vision: The Art of Vision Boarding
New! Gain creative insight through the art of vision boarding, writing exercises, brainstorming sessions, 3D goggles, and more.

Watercolor Painting
Pick up foundational watercolor techniques, including analyzing color and infusing your art with ink and graphite.

Professional Development

Build Your Website Quickly with WordPress
Find out why nearly 20% of all websites are built using WordPress in this introductory class. No programming experience required!

Introduction to Data Science Certificate
New! Delve into the field of data science, and learn how its principles, tools, algorithms, and resources can guide your business.

Introduction to Graphic Design
Transform your business materials into professional and eye-catching pieces by using the Adobe suite of design software.

Self Publishing eBooks
Learn how to develop eBooks for your organization, an excellent new method for marketing your products, services, and ideas.

Let’s Start a Conversation

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French Language Classes in Seattle WA
Japanese Conversation & Culture - Level 1 | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Spanish Language Classes in Seattle WA

Language is About More Than Survival

When you’re planning to visit a new part of the world where another language is spoken, it’s essential that you learn at least a few phrases. Some call it a basic survival skill, but we know that it’s much more than that: It gives you the tools you need to start a conversation.

Even if you’re armed with only a few simple phrases, making the effort to learn the native language demonstrates your interest in a particular place and its people. Sure, you may not be able to engage in long discussions about life, the universe, and everything, but you will be able to take the first step in establishing a cross-cultural understanding.

To that end, we currently teach a variety of languages, including French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. We asked our language instructors to provide us with some translations for a few helpful phrases, which will hopefully guide you in discovering a new language. Check them out below, or download the PDF guide.

And if you’re curious about learning more, begin your journey by checking out all of our available language classes.

French Phrases

  • Hello — Salut
  • Goodbye — Au revoir
  • Please — S’il vous plaît
  • Thank You — Merci
  • Excuse Me — Excusez-moi
  • Where is the restroom? — Où sont les toilettes?
  • Do you speak English? — Parlez vous anglais?
  • How much does this cost? — Combien cela coûte?
  • My name is … — Je m’appelle …
  • I would like … — J’aimerais …

German Phrases

  • Hello — Hallo
  • Goodbye — Auf Wiedersehen
  • Please — Bitte
  • Thank You — Danke
  • Excuse Me — Entschuldigen Sie
  • Where is the restroom? — Wo ist die Toilette?
  • Do you speak English? — Sprichst du Englisch?
  • How much does this cost? — Wieviel kostet das?
  • My name is … — Ich heiße …
  • I would like … — Ich möchte …

Italian Phrases

  • Hello — Ciao
  • Goodbye — Ciao
  • Please — Per favore
  • Thank You — Grazie
  • Excuse Me — Scusami
  • Where is the restroom? — Dov’è il bagno?
  • Do you speak English? — Parli inglese?
  • How much does this cost? — Quanto costa questo?
  • My name is … — Il mio nome è …
  • I would like … — Mi piacerebbe …

Japanese Phrases

  • Hello — こんにちは — Kon’nichiwa
  • Goodbye — さようなら — Sayōnara
  • Please — お願いします — Onegaishimasu
  • Thank You — ありがとう — Arigatō
  • Excuse Me — すみません — Sumimasen
  • Where is the restroom? — お手洗いはどこですか? — O tearai wa dokodesu ka?
  • Do you speak English? — 英語を話せますか? — Eigo o hanasemasu ka?
  • How much is this? — これはいくらですか? — Kore wa ikuradesu ka?
  • My name is … — 私の名前は — Watashinonamaeha …
  • I would like … — をお願いします。– O onegaishimasu …

Spanish Phrases

  • Hello — Hola
  • Goodbye — Adiós
  • Please — Por favor
  • Thank You — Gracias
  • Excuse Me — Disculpe
  • Where is the restroom? — ¿Dónde está el baño?
  • Do you speak English? — ¿Habla usted Inglés?
  • How much does this cost? — ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
  • My name is … — Me llamo …
  • I would like … — Me gustaría …

Instructor Spotlight: Anthony Ogilvie

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Anthony Ogilvie - Grant Writing Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Anthony Ogilvie - Grant Writing Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Anthony Ogilvie - Grant Writing Instructor | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Your Guide to Changing the World

Big ideas and big changes are often accompanied by the need for big financing, and if you’re in the non-profit sector — or want to be — the best way to get that financing is through the world of grants.

But there are a lot of worthy causes competing for the available cash, so how can you ensure that your fabulous idea stands apart?

That’s where an expert like instructor Anthony Ogilvie can help you out. With nearly 40 years of experience in the education and community development worlds, he’s uniquely skilled in guiding students in writing persuasive and effective grant requests, as well as providing insight into how to successfully compete for funding.

What classes do you teach for Seattle Central?

I teach the Certificate in Grantwriting Fundamentals — both the regular series of classes and the intensive workshop.

How long have you been teaching this class?

I’ve been teaching it for about 5 years now.

What's your educational & professional background?

I have a B.A. in Political Science from the UW, and an M.Ed and Ed.D from Seattle University.

My professional experience includes:

  • 2 years teaching high school
  • 9 years as a program administrator at the State Education Education Office
  • 4 – 5 years as a program administrator at Seattle University
  • I’ve taught college/university courses at Seattle Central College, Heritage University, and Antioch University
  • I’ve worked in the private sector as a senior manager of several companies
  • I’ve written scores of proposals and requests for funds generating millions of dollars in grants for education institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses

What other kind of life experience do you have that influences what and how you teach?

I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were down-to-earth, practical, and engaged in a lot of humor, which has influenced my own teaching and advising style.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching your classes at Seattle Central?

I love being around young people full of energy, hope and wanting to change things for themselves and the community in which they are active.

I also really enjoy the supportive staff and student diversity at the college overall.

Tell us about an inspirational teaching moment.

I taught a leadership seminar class for about 7 students and 4 or 5 of the seven went on to earn their doctorates in education and medicine.

Anthony's Favorites


  • I enjoy international intrigue stories by numerous authors


  • Reading
  • Entrepreneurial activities


  • The Shooter, starring Mark Wahlberg, about the US government setting up a veteran to take the fall for the assassination of the president


  • James Brown
  • Doo-wop songs from the 50s and 60s
  • Favorite song: Song for my Father, How Insensitive (Jobim)

Seattle Restaurant


  • Philippines — because I am from there, love the culture, and I speak the language

Knowing the Law is Key to Success in the Cannabis Industry

posted in: Cannabis Institute | 0

To Keep it Legal, Keep it Ethical

Marijuana is enjoying an increase in popularity as states throughout the U.S. decriminalize and legalize its use and possession. Regardless of the fact that 57% of Americans now “think the use of marijuana should be legal,” it is still against federal law and remains listed by the DEA as Schedule I, placing it among drugs considered the most dangerous and without any therapeutic value.

The legal cannabis industry is currently underpinned by a simple written statement from the former Obama Administration, known as the Cole Memo, which outlines the requirements to avoid federal actions — such as keeping it out of the hands of children and organized crime.

However, recent statements from the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem to disregard both popular opinion and the democratic process by which legalization has occurred across many states. These reversals have had an understandably chilling effect on the industry as a whole.

So how can you best navigate this uncertain environment? Here are a few tips:

  • Continue to operate in compliance with the Cole Memo
  • Ensure you have a thorough understanding of all state and local laws and regulations
  • Get to know your regulators
  • Participate in all available public hearings as laws and rules are developed & re-assessed in your community
  • Know which of your elected officials support legal cannabis, share your story with them, and support them with your vote
  • Find a credible legal expert who can guide you as local, state, and federal regulations change

To that end, Cannabis Institute instructor and attorney Nicole Li is an exceptional resource. Her Li Law Firm specializes in cannabis law and compliance, and she’s dedicated to helping people become more comfortable and knowledgeable about cannabis law and professional ethics. Nicole also lends her expertise to highlight the racial inequities that have been exacerbated by prohibition-era laws.

“Our country’s marijuana policy is not evidence-based, it is out of step with medical research, and it worsens social disparity through racist enforcement,” Nicole states. “When US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says, ‘Good people don’t smoke marijuana,’ he spreads stigma that reinforces those problems. I have the privilege to be an attorney with degrees in both medical ethics and philosophy to challenge those prejudices. I feel that it’s a moral duty to do so.”

In addition to her law practice, Nicole is the legal advisor for Seattle Central Cannabis Institute’s Medical Marijuana Consultant Certificate Program, as well as the instructor for one of our online CEU classes, Law and Ethics for Medical Marijuana Consultants. If you’re currently a Medical Marijuana Consultant, working in the cannabis industry in another capacity, or are simply interested in gaining more insight into the legal and ethical considerations of this developing industry, Nicole’s 5-hour online course is an excellent resource and highly recommended — especially in the context of these uncertain times.

Travel Like a Native: Djibouti

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Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education
Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Welcomed with a Kiss

A bit larger than the US state of New Jersey and with a population just shy of 1 million, Djibouti is nestled on the Horn of Africa between Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia.

But don’t let its diminutive size fool you: Its location on the Red Sea has made it a transnational shipping powerhouse since basically the invention of shipping lanes.

French instructor Ali Houssein hails from this multi-ethnic country, so we asked him to share his insights into Djiboutian culture and communication styles. If traveling to Africa is on your to-do list, make sure you swing through Djibouti, and travel like a native armed with Ali’s tips.

What is the primary language spoken in Djibouti, and how important is it that a traveler be familiar with it before they visit?

French is important because it’s spoken by everyone and all administrative documents are in French.

Arabic can help you with business and Somali with interacting with the natives.

Knowing basic phrases are enough if you are a tourist.

What are some of the differences in communication style between Djibouti and the US?

  1. Handshakes are replaced with a hand kiss
  2. As a sign of respect, you don’t make eye contact when speaking with your elders

What are some similarities between Djiboutian and American cultures?

  1. Family values, particularly the number of children families generally have
  2. Freedom of religion

What should a traveler keep in mind when they're interacting with Djiboutians?

  • Don’t engage in public displays of affection if you’re with your romantic partner; this kind of interaction is limited to private locations, at home, etc.
  • Don’t talk about politics, as Djibouti doesn’t have freedom of speech protections
  • Take off your shoes before entering anyone’s house, as it’s both a show of respect and also considered hygienic
Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

A group of Djiboutian children.

Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

Ali's must-try cuisine recommendation, Lahoh with Muqmad

What are some common practices around eating food or sharing meals?

Djiboutians often eat with their hands directly, so make sure your hands are clean before your meal!

What is one dish in Djiboutian cuisine that everyone must try?

Lahoh, which is a sourdough flatbread, with Muqmad — camel meat marinated in natural spiced butter.

You eat it for breakfast with a cup of sweet tea. It’s tasty, and it’s a signature dish of my native country.

What are some common misconceptions about Djibouti?

Because of their shared histories, many European countries saw Djiboutians as being proud and independent, even aggressive and hostile.

We’re actually quite welcoming!

When you first traveled to America, what surprised you the most about American culture or traditions? Why?

Hollywood is not America!

Movies and shows on TV project a very different image of the real American people: Not all Americans are tall and violent.

Also, I don’t know if it’s only in Seattle, but Americans drive slow — very slow. It can be a good thing, though.

What should no traveler to Djibouti miss?

  • The Red Sea for scuba diving because of the diverse colorful marine animals (for corals to fish)
  • The desert of Grand Barra for land sailing for the adrenaline of speed
Travel Like a Native: Djibouti | Seattle Central College - Continuing Education

When visiting Djibouti, Ali recommends that you make time to dive in the Red Sea

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