Melany Dobson

Co-Founder, Treaty

The daughter of an organic farmer, Treaty co-founder Melany Dobson, grew up with a profound reverence for nature along with a commitment to protect it. As an adult this manifested into a devotion to cannabis as food, fiber and, most compellingly, medicine—a devotion shared with her siblings Ben and Freya. With the help of Abby Rockefeller, they launched Hudson Hemp and Treaty, a line of CBD products. Their formulas (Calm, Focus, Balance and Recover) are potent and pure and the company is devoted to nourishing our planet. The organic hemp is grown with regenerative practices—a step beyond sustainability—that includes closed-loop systems which reduce waste, replenish ecosystems, nurture biodiversity and sequester carbon. Hemp is a phytoremediator, so it cleans the soil from heavy metals and mycotoxins, and it has been estimated that one ton of grown hemp absorbs 1.63 tons of CO2. In an often skewed market, we need trusted brands like Treaty, who truly care about the entire production process and its purity from the soil to the supplement dropper.
—Jane Ratcliffe

What first drew you to CBD?

Cultivation of the cannabis plant drew me to its CBD compound and an understanding of its medicinal proponents. I began taking CBD regularly and at a consistent dose in 2016. At that time, I lived in Northern California and had access to a THC:CBD product. I suffered from anxiety and stress and had challenges focusing. The incorporation of CBD in my daily life changed everything. Currently, I take Treaty’s Balance formula everyday and Calm, Focus and Recover as needed.

Tell us about Treaty’s inception.

When my brother, Ben Dobson called me to tell me he had harvested 10 acres of hemp in New York, and that I should come back to work with him, I was with my sister, Freya, and her partner Brandon. We were in the hills of Mendocino, CA, where wild horses roam and cell phone service is sparse. It was in this landscape, that Treaty came to life phonetically with the words “tree” and “tea.” Tree references the Tree of Life, bowing to the versatility of hemp, a plant that provides food, fuel, medicine and shelter; and tea references the ritual and culture of tea time, and the ceremonial aspects that relate to hemp. Treaty is about finding peace between nature and humanity. Upon our return in November 2017 we founded Hudson Hemp and Treaty alongside each other.

How do your products (Calm, Focus, Balance and Recover) compare to pharmaceuticals that provide the same benefits?

Pharmaceuticals isolate compounds, removing any connection to their original source. We believe in full plant medicine that represents the way plants actually grow in the soil. For cannabis, this is especially potent because of what is known as the “entourage effect,” which is a term used to describe the synergy of CBD and THC when in the company of the other 400 trace compounds/cannabinoids and terpenes (the chemicals responsible for its aroma) found in cannabis. The “entourage effect” magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.

Treaty’s formulas honor the hemp plant with a broad-spectrum extract and supporting botanicals  that have been utilized in eastern and indigenous medicine for millennia to target certain effects in the body.

Your parent company, Hudson Hemp, grows Treaty’s ingredients on a 2,400-acre organic and regenerative farm. Can you tell us more about that?

Hudson Hemp works with the intelligence of nature, not against it. While industrial agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change, regenerative agriculture heals the earth and reverses the damage. Regenerative agriculture is farming that supports soil, life and the planet—going beyond sustainability to actually replenish ecosystems, nurture biodiversity and sequester carbon. Hemp has been a key crop on our farm since 2017 because of its unique ability to clean the soil while sequestering carbon. When we build topsoil through embracing natural biodiversity, we pull more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and back into the soil, and we farm according to the principle that in a natural system, there is no waste; what is not used by one organism is energy for another.

How do you choose which plant extracts to integrate with the CBD?

The selection of plants could be found growing together in a wild landscape as well as a cultivated one. The formulas are a pact with nature’s intelligence and are informed as such. Our products are bioregional by design, which means that the selection of botanicals in the formula grow wild or can be cultivated in the Hudson Valley. The intention behind this is to create a local supply chain that has a positive impact on our ecosystem and community.

You have a three-prong commitment to individual, communal and environmental health. How do these play out in a practical sense?

Our products empower healthy daily lives through plant formulas, meeting the needs of common ailments that can be remedied through more natural means. For best results, we support the health of nature in return. We also make the well-being of our team and community a priority in our operations. Through Hudson Hemp, we work with the New York State government to advocate for groups historically marginalized by the cannabis industry. And for environmental, our pioneering regenerative farming practices go beyond sustainability to heal and replenish our earth while providing the things we need to live on it.

What can you tell us about hemp that people might not know?

In 1937, the cultivation of hemp was forbidden in the United States. In 2014, the U.S. reintroduced hemp through pilot programs in select states. With hemp written into the 2018 farm bill, it is now legal to grow hemp in all 50 states with a permit. We are now rediscovering the potential of hemp with more than 25,000 uses—it has the ability to provide us with food, fuel, fiber and medicine all while reversing the most damaging effects of climate change. It is a phytoremediator, so it cleans the soil from heavy metals and mycotoxins all while sequestering carbon. It has been estimated that one ton of grown hemp absorbs 1.63 tons of CO2. Even though it is an annual crop, it has extremely deep roots like trees, which helps to hold the soil together, reduce erosion and loosen the soil, allowing more delicate plants to grow after the hemp is harvested.

What goes into your packaging process?

The shipper box and insert card are 100% Post-Consumer Waste, Forest Stewardship Council Certified and 100% Recyclable. The packing tray is grown in New York by Ecovative from mycelium and hemp hurd, and is Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified, Living Future Certified, a USDA Certified Biobased Product and 100% Compostable. And the wooden dropper collar on the bottle is Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certified.

It seems every week there’s a new CBD product on the market. What makes yours stand apart?

From seed to bottle, the whole process is conducted on our farm in Hudson, NY. The formulas efficacy is supported by over one year of research and development, which is verified by ICCI. Each batch is third party tested.

Treaty is a pact with the earth from soil to spirit; our formulas design honor the earth and its very finite resources.

You’re an advocate of forest bathing. What does that mean to you?

Plants that thrive together in certain ecologies have a unique synergistic intelligence. We as humans benefit by tapping into this. Formula recipes are distilled, ingestible versions of distinct landscapes in the Hudson Valley bioregion. The Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing elucidates that exposure to nature and its comprehensive health benefits, noting that the sounds of nature along with the chemicals emitted from trees (phytoncides) have physiological effects on our stress levels. Anyone who has gone out into nature can attest to the body/mind/spiritual health effects of hiking through a dense, crisp forest, taking in the breeze from a rocky or sandy coast, lying in a meadow surrounded by wildflowers.

What’s it like being in business with your siblings?

Being in business with my siblings is the most rewarding and beautiful endeavor. I am filled with so much gratitude to work alongside my brother and sister. While it can present challenges, we all bring such different skill sets and ideas to the table. We can disagree, but at the end of the day we are all driven by and working toward the same mission. It comes deep from our hearts and is in our roots. We all grew up farming and with an understanding that how we treat the earth is essential to the health and well-being of people to inhabit the planet—it is a symbiotic relationship. This work is so inherent to us, so getting to live it out together in these trying times is very special to me.