Could the “Green Rush” Offer You a New Career Path?

  • Cannabis industry veteran, Sara Betesh, shares that the “Green Rush” is less about getting rich quick and more about long-term opportunity. 
  • While traditional retail is contracting, skilled retail professionals are in high demand in the cannabis industry. 
  • Discover the US hotspots for cannabis jobs and the practical steps you can take to move into this exciting new industry. 

7-minute read

Post-pandemic, many of us are reexamining how our work fits into our lives. If you’re not satisfied with your career, there’s a huge new industry being born right now in legal cannabis. Like the dot.com bubble, it even has a catchy name—the Green Rush. And the industry doesn’t just need cannabis growers. While traditional retail is contracting, Sara Betesh of the Betesh Buying Group gives us the scoop on how retail skills are tremendously sought after in cannabis. Same with accounting, legal, supply chain management, and a host of other expertise that’s transferable to the industry. So, if you’ve always wanted to get in on the ground floor, now’s time to think about getting into cannabis.

What is the “green rush”?

The term itself means, “Let’s get rich.” And that’s really not where we’re at. If you’re coming to the cannabis space because you want to retire in a few years, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. To me, the green rush means the excitement of being able to even work in this industry. The beginning part is the rush, when everyone’s trying to get into the space. I think it’s legitimizing the industry for us.

How did you get into the green rush?

I’ve been a buyer for over 10 years at multiple retailers in New York. Then, I came here to Los Angeles, and then a friend was working for a corporation just starting up called MedMen. She said they needed great people with retail experience. That was the opportunity for me to get into the green rush. Working in a startup environment, you end up doing a lot of different things. But that gave me a lot of exposure to what was out there. That’s how I got into it—my expertise in buying. Once I was in the cannabis space, it took me about 2 months to learn the ins and outs. I wasn’t an expert yet, like I am today. But the basic foundation of my experience transferred into the industry.

What do people need to know about getting into the green rush?

One of the first things I learned was to drop your expectations—because nothing you did before is going to be exactly what you need to do now. It’s not an established 100-year-old model like I was used to working for. For me, it was not putting so much energy into being perfect. Instead, it was really just embracing and learning from the people around me.

What cannabis knowledge do people need to get into the industry?

There’s plenty of accreditations out there that you can get—especially if you’re in a state that’s never even legalized medical cannabis. But, if you know nothing about the plant, go work in a dispensary for six months. It might seem like you won’t be able to go places from being a budtender. But that’s not true. Because that’s where the magic happens. 

Sara Betesh underscores the need for skilled retail professionals in the Green Rush.

How did your cannabis career evolve into the Betesh Buying Group?

I had been a fashion buyer before I started at MedMen. The position there included a high profile spotlight I wasn’t expecting. But I was ready for it. It was really overwhelming at first. Then I realized, you just have to stay humble. You have to talk to everybody to build relationships. Nurturing those relationships led me to found Betesh Buying Group. That’s because there weren’t enough professional buyers coming into the space. So, I started thinking about how I could help buyers in the space up their game. I work temporarily with all these shops as they’re building to grow more professional buyers within the cannabis space.

What exactly does Betesh Buying Group do?

We’re buying, inventory planning, and reporting experts. We help curate menus, negotiate costs, manage vendors and logistics, and manage their open-to-buy, which a lot of cannabis stores don’t do. We’re basically account managers. What we do for stores depends on what their issues are. So, the first thing I do is identify their problems. Then, together, we come up with a proposal, a scope of work. From there, we work with the teams they currently have or create a team for them. For companies that can’t afford an experienced full-time buyer, they can hire us by the hour.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself that nothing is forever. When I was younger, I thought I was gonna work at Ross forever. Then, I realized there’s a lot of other places I wanted to live besides New York. I would also tell my younger self that “supply chain” is a thing and that your GPA doesn’t matter. Learn what you can and get your degree. Then, let your personality guide you to the job you’re most suited for.

Where are the next hotspots for the US green rush?

Michigan has a lot of opportunities. That’s true of most states where you can buy third-party products. It’s tough in states like Florida, where you have to integrate vertically. It’s just so much to grow, process, manufacture, and cultivate all yourself. If you can buy third-party products, then there’s room for more people to enter the space even if they don’t have millions of dollars to get started. I’m also rooting for Texas, because it’s such a huge market. Right now, people near the Texas borders are driving to other states for cannabis. So, it’s important for such large states to go recreational. But it’s going to be a long time. New Jersey also has a lot of opportunities, because they’re going to get the New York overflow. That’s a ton of people. So, when it comes together, I think it’s going to be a huge market.

Practical steps for getting into the green rush? 

Scour the internet for any opportunities that you can find. When MedMen first came on my radar, they needed help literally labeling products, so I did that for 3 hours. Working in the dispensary is super enlightening, and knowing the consumer-facing stuff is a huge step. You should also be open to taking roles that might be considered lateral in the real world. Or, if you want to break through in the industry at a higher level, I’d reach out to someone on LinkedIn who’s doing the kind of job you want. Relationships are super important. The way to establish those relationships is to go to events, meet people, and talk to them.

What lessons can the rest of the US learn from California?

In California, we might have a lot of dispensaries, but most of them are shoved together in the same areas. So, what other states can learn from us is that, if you’re going to legalize recreational cannabis, then go for it—don’t do it halfway. Other states can encourage landlords and homeowners to put their faith in dispensaries to do it right in their neighborhoods. Second, if states fix the banking problem for cannabis companies, then we’ll be able to compete better with the illicit market.

What will the green rush look like in 5 years?

Dare I say, it’ll be federally legal? But I don’t think it’s gonna be what we want it to be. Unfortunately, once cannabis becomes federally legal, it’ll open up the market to everyone. So, you’re going to get a lot of trash products out there. And it’s going to take a few years to weed all that stuff out. For the average consumer, who hasn’t been exposed to cannabis like we have in legal states, they’re going to think those products are standard. And that’s going to cause a drop in value and price. In the long term, that’s good because then it’ll become more of a commodity—especially for those who need cannabis to treat their illnesses. But it’s going to take a few years to even out.

What are your desert island cannabis products?

I usually roll joints and I like doing it. But pre-rolls are now my number 1 thing. But, if I’m going to run out of pre-rolls because I’m on a desert island, I’d need to have papers to roll joints and 3”x5” index cards. There’s something about rolling a crutch with them. They have the best density for me to roll. So I’d also need scissors because I cut a little rectangle and roll it that way. I also love cannabis serums. They give me super clear skin that feels very plump. And I’d bring my favorite sleep product because you’ve got to sleep well while you’re on your island. I like Kikoko sleep mints. They work every time.

What’s the best way for people to connect with you?

You can connect with me through LinkedIn or at www.beteshbuying.com.

Can Working Out High Really Boost Your Performance?

  • Danielle Joseph of TrapVibez Fitness spells out the dos and donts of working out high. 
  • Learn how cannabis has the potential to improve your performance. 
  • Danielle is also involved with cannabis expungement and helping victims of the War on Drugs. 

8-minute read

Working out high with Danielle Joseph

When it comes to working out high, Danielle Joseph is your girl. As both an attorney and fitness instructor, she’s been doing it all for years. So, when she was laid off at the start of the pandemic, Danielle didn’t sit on her laurels or spend 2020 just baking sourdough bread. Instead, she birthed TrapVibez Fitness. TVF is a Black-owned brand based in the Bay Area that brings together fitness and cannabis. If that’s not enough to love, when she’s not leading a fitness class, Danielle can be found hard at work as a lawyer working with entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry and donating her time to help victims of the War on Drugs with the expungement of their convictions. She filled us in on everything you need to know about working out high.

What’s the biggest myth about working out high? 

The biggest myth about working out high is that you’ll be too tired or paranoid to have an effective workout.

What potential benefits can working out high offer?

I introduce cannabis to a lot of people who have had a bad experience with it or don’t use it at all. I start with a microdose. Or just CBD, so there’s no psychoactive effects at all. Then, they can actually experience the recovery, the reduced inflammation, and the relaxation that comes with cannabis. When people actually feel those benefits, along with a fitness class, then they’re like, oh, yeah, this is something I want. How do I get more of this experience? How do I get more of these products? What other products can I try? That’s what I’m passionate about—piquing their interests in this experience that we’re creating. And erasing the stigma, too.

What makes TrapVibez Fitness Different?

We hone in on the pieces of fitness that are outside of movement. These are the things we don’t necessarily learn—like being mindful about what you’re putting into your body. Fitness isn’t just how you move, but your mental health, too. I ask people questions like these. How much water are you drinking? What are you eating? How are you sleeping? What’s your stress level? Are you in a relationship? Do you have kids? They’re like, hold on, I just want to know how to get a six pack. Why are you asking me all of this? Because we have to start inside out. I understand it’s uncomfortable to even have these conversations. But I want to show people the value of living well, both mentally and physically.

Where does the name TrapVibez come from?

At the onset of the pandemic, I started getting together with like-minded individuals from the wellness, nutrition, and cannabis spaces. We wanted to create this concept of getting out of your comfort zone in order to live a healthy lifestyle. So our motto was Taking Risks And Prospering—that’s where TRAP comes in. We call ourselves “trappers”.

How does TrapVibez incorporate cannabis into fitness? 

We incorporate cannabis into fitness by offering various cannabis products to our clients before, during, and after classes. Our classes include barre, cycle, yoga, stretch, and meditation.

What’s the most common thing people say after they experience TrapVibez? 

The most common thing people say to us after their experience is, “When’s the next one?”

Danielle Joseph of TrapVibez working out high in her studio.

How can we make working out high effective?

I think the biggest issues with ineffectiveness are that people aren’t microdosing or consuming properly based on their endocannabinoid system. That’s why there’s that stoner, lazy, paranoid stereotype. And oftentimes, when I’m talking to people who tried working out high and don’t like it, it’s because they experienced those feelings. It was just too much for their system. So, start very, very slow. You can always go up, and, oftentimes, you don’t feel the effects until 30-45 minutes into your workout. Then, all of a sudden, you’re super high. So if you took 20mg and your ECS should only have 5-10mg, then that’s not going to be a great feeling. You would never want to touch cannabis ever again.

What are the dos of working out high? 

Do educate yourself on the various ways to consume cannabis. That way, you can determine what’s right for you. Do start with microdosing and go slow. And do listen to your body. Research and be patient. Give yourself grace and time to catch up to the plant—especially with THC.

What are the don’ts? 

Don’t work out high without us. Invite us to the sesh, too! The biggest don’t is overdose, overindulge, or over-consume.

Personal fave cannabis product for working out high? 

I love the alcohol-removed, cannabis-infused mimosas by House of Saka. I drink them before my barre classes to increase energy and focus.

What dosage do you recommend for beginners working out high? 

A microdose for sure. But it truly depends on product potency and your ECS. I advise my clients to try CBD first. That’s usually where I start to break the ice. Because, for most people, the scary part of cannabis is the THC. They don’t want to feel too high or paranoid or stuck. So, when I introduce them to CBD, they receive all the healing properties from the plant without any fear of that. When I introduce THC, I always advise a 2.5mg dose. To start, most of the edibles come in, like 5-10mg. I tell people to cut them in half and start slow. I also advise being in safe environments, like our classes or their homes. 

What are the pros and cons of different consumption methods?

For heavy lifters, I love CBD bath bombs. I would also go to topicals. I even like the ones with THC or full spectrum. With my barre classes, our cycling classes, and intense workouts in general, I would always go for topicals to help with the recovery process. However, it’s also nice to introduce edibles in a stretch class or meditation. Or even to introduce joints or a beverage that can actually be coupled with the movements. You know the runner’s high? That’s kind of what I equate to what we can experience when we properly dose our endocannabinoid system.

Fave playlist for working out high?

TrapSlaps curated by TrapVibez Fitness—updated weekly on Tidal and Apple Music.

Which kinds of cannabis products are most popular with your clients in each kind of class?

At our Barre and Brunch class, it’s really popular to do a beverage, like a mimosa or something. And again, it’s only like 2.5mg in a little shot glass. With our cycle class, we usually do a topical after. We love to stretch after cycle class because it’s so intense. So, it’s fun to lengthen out the body and rub creams on yourself or have a smoke session after.

What other kinds of exercise combine well with cannabis? 

Every kind of exercise can be combined with cannabis, depending on the product and the client. In other words, there’s something for everyone.

COULD YOU RECOMMEND A FEW TYPES OF EXERCISE THAT YOU THINK WOULD BE GOOD FOR BEGINNERS TO START INTEGRATING CANNABIS WITH?

Barre, because you can do it anywhere, and it’s for everybody. No equipment necessary—all you need is yourself.  It’s a combination of ballet, pilates, and yoga. There’s always ways to modify the movements. You’re not only lengthening the body, you’re strengthening the body. And you’re doing high reps. So it’s really accessing different muscle groups.

How can people start working out high if they’re not in the Bay Area? 

We have online and on-demand courses, where we have doctors and medical professionals that we’ve partnered with that will give advice on how to properly dose their experiences. And we also offer a weekly newsletter where we’re constantly giving not only medical but legal and nutritional and physical advice on how to create an experience for yourself.

What benefits of working out high have you experienced personally? 

Working out high helps me get in the zone and recover faster. I find myself having more intense workouts and I experience less fatigue post workout.

What’s the best way to experiment with working out high at home? 

Microdosing. We also recommend signing up with TrapVibez Fitness on-demand 1-on-1 coaching.

Tell us more about your 1-on-1 coaching—can anyone do it?

Yes, we offer virtual 1-on-1 sessions. In our 1-on-1 sessions, we offer a more intimate experience. Not everybody is ready for group fitness and it can be intimidating. I think a 1-on-1 session with a personal trainer—whether it’s a virtual or in-person session—is very approachable.

You’re also actively involved in cannabis expungement—tell us about that. 

I partner with Success Centers of San Francisco and Minorities for Medical Marijuana to host cannabis expungement clinics in every legal market. Because I believe cannabis is medicine, it’s important for me to assist those who’ve been negatively impacted because of their marijuana related offenses.

How can we sign up for and keep up with TrapVibez? 

Please visit our website at www.trapvibezfitness.com and follow us on IG and FB @trapvibezfitness. And we also offer a weekly newsletter, called the Vibe Report, where we provide movement, nutrition, and cannabis education, empowering  our readers to customize their own wellness experience.

Shop Black-Owned Businesses in Cannabis

  • We want to do everything we can to dismantle systemic racism. So, we make it a point to regularly feature Black-owned businesses. 
  • Here’s a categorized resource guide for the coolest Black-owned cannabis companies. 
  • Scroll down for Black-owned cannabis accessories, bath and body, beauty, beverages, cooking and edible prep, services, supplements, and more! 

25-minute read

Buy from Black-owned businesses

Let’s face it, the War on Drugs has always been a war on BIPOC communities. Even with social justice efforts, cannabis legalization still privileges whites. According to our friends at @itsnicepaper, as of 2020, 81% of cannabis brands were still white-owned. Only 4.3% were Black-owned. And only 1% of those Black-owned businesses were women-owned. We’ll wait while that sinks in…. To help you be more intentional about where you’re spending your money, we consistently add to this guide to Black-owned cannabis businesses. It’s an evergreen resource you can depend on. And it’s now grown big enough that we’ve split it into categories. We’re also thrilled that it’s perennially at the top of our most-read list!

Black-owned cannabis accessories

Black-owned brand 024's candles control the cannabis smell

024 is the Chicest Way to Control Cannabis Smell

Do you love cannabis but not the lingering scent? That’s why Gena Surphlis founded 024. Her son smokes cannabis to help alleviate the symptoms of sickle cell anemia. But Gena worries about the stigma surrounding cannabis use. She wants her son and others to enjoy the freedom to consume cannabis without judgment. So 024 was born. This Black-owned brand makes candles that eliminate the telltale smell of cannabis. 024 combines science and scent. Their NeuAir™ scent technology is what makes their candles unique. It’s designed to specifically target the odorous chemical compounds in cannabis.

Shop 024 | Follow @discover024

HOW TO KEEP AN OUNCE FRESH WITH BLACK-OWNED APOTHECARRY

We’re all in for Apothecarry stash box humidors. Just like you want a pretty pipe in your handbag, you also want to ditch the plastic pop-top bottles and store your kush in style. No need for makeshift solutions anymore because Apothecarry’s got your cannabis storage covered. That includes their luxe Original, their travel cases, or the Dabney (you guessed it, it’s specifically for dab). Modeled after classic cigar humidors, the Original includes everything a cannabis connoisseur needs. That includes a locking, vegan-leather-lined, smell-proof case with a decidedly clubby aesthetic. This luxury cannabis brand was founded by Whitney Beatty. A William Morris exec and single mom, she didn’t find medical marijuana until adulthood. But when she did, she did us all a favor by creating more than just another smell proof case. One that lives up to our high design standards.

Buy Apothecarry | Follow on @theapothecarry

Check out Black-owned brand Apothecarry for cannabis storage cases
Shop Black Swan Creations, a Black-owned brand, for hand blown glass pipes

ONE OF A KIND GLASS PIPES FROM BLACK SWAN CREATIONS

It’s hard not to be enamored of Rashan Jones. Whether drop-dead gorgeous or delightfully cute, we bet you’ll fall for his functional art glass. But cannabis connoisseurs will likely be most interested in his hand blown glass pipes. From creamy pastels to jewel-tone swirls, each one is a true work of art. Inspired by his surroundings in Albuquerque, NM, his work at Jones Art Glass captures the fire and spirit of the high desert. “I’ve been a flameworker/glassblower for about 20 years now. I love working with glass, it’s such a humbling medium. Most days it’s not about who you are, where you’re from, or what color your skin is. It’s about who works hardest and what comes out of the oven at the end of the day.”

Shop & follow @blackswancreations

GET YOUR PIECE OF ETERNITY WITH A HAND-BLOWN GLASS PIPE FROM EDGAR VALENTINE

Glass-making is also a calling to Edgar Valentine. It’s an art form that’s challenging and stands the test of time. Literally, glass can exist in geologic time. Now there’s a deep thought to ponder the next time you’re pulling on a one-of-a-kind glass pipe…. Edgar has been fascinated with glass art since he was 12. Edgar told us, “I was introduced to hot glass through a middle school and high school program. Although I always had an interest for arts, when I found glass, I was instantly hooked.” Check out his work on his website and you’ll stumble across ornate and imaginative pieces. He even appeared on the Netflix show “Blown Away,” which follows a group of talented artisans competing in the art of glassblowing. From tribal masks and fantastical glass animals to ornate glass spoon pipes, you’ll want to snag an Edgar original for yourself.

Shop Valentine Glass | Follow @valentine.glass

Black-owned brand Edgar Valentine makes hand-blown glass art

Black-owned cannabis Bath and body

Black-owned Brown Sugar Botanicals Cannabis Salve

Brown Sugar Botanicals Makes Self Care Easy

With our newfound dedication to thorough hand washing, our paws need moisturizing relief more than ever. Brown Sugar Botanicals’ healing products are what your hands deserve. Brown Sugar Botanicals brings all the love and healing vibes to the table. Along with their topical herb salves and tinctures, they also offer pre-rolls and looseleaf blends. Brown Sugar Botanicals was founded by Chris Wakefield and KaliMa Amilak, two Black, non-binary pals. They source their cannabis from farmers who are also part of marginalized communities.

Shop Brown Sugar Botanicals | Follow @brownsugarbotanicals

BLISSFUL STONER BODY ESSENTIALS CBD BATH AND BODY PRODUCTS

Up next on our list is the first Black female-owned CBD wellness brand in New Orleans—Blissful Stoner Body Essentials (BSBE). BSBE’s products are affordable and handmade in small batches using all-natural ingredients. Their goal is to provide CBD products that relieve stress and anxiety while abolishing the shame that can surround cannabis use. BSBE carries a full range of CBD bath and body products, including CBD pain relief rub, body oils, body butters, and facial masks. We love a good face mask, like their Matcha + Green Clay CBD Mask, which promises to rid you of impurities, tighten pores, tone, and reduce inflammation to leave you with soft, nourished skin. Their Essential CBD Body Oil Set includes a sampling of each of their 5 different types of CBD body oil, each yummier than the next, and makes a great gift.

Shop Blissful Stoner Body Essentials | Follow @blissfulstonerbodyessentials

Hollingsworth Hemp Company Hemp Seed Oil

Hollingsworth Hemp Company produces a great selection of CBD oils, moisturizers, hemp seed lotions, soaps, and more. A family-owned and operated farm in the Pacific Northwest, Hollingsworth Hemp prides themselves on quality and sustainable practices. And now that hand sanitizer has become de rigueur, Hollingsworth has you covered. With hemp seed oil and notes of lavender, grapefruit, lime, and mandarin, their hand sanitizer is the perfect companion to have in your bag whenever you venture out of the house. 

Shop Hollingsworth Hemp Company | Follow @hollimgsworthhemp

Black-owned cannabis beauty

Brown Girl Jane CBD Beauty

Brown Girl Jane, a wellness and beauty company rooted in full-spectrum CBD, has “created a space and product line that supports approachable and realistic wellness centering women of color.” Brown Girl Jane was founded by 2 sisters, Malaik and Nia Jones, who partnered up with beauty/wellness expert Tai Beauchamp. Together, these 3 women created a line of products sure to make your skin glow and your stress levels decrease. We’re obsessed with their GLOW Luminous Facial Serum! All of their products are non-toxic and formulated with no binders, fillers, etc.

Shop Brown Girl Jane | Follow @itsbrowngirljane

Black-owned brand Frigg's CBD oil products

FRIGG CBD BEAUTY PRODUCTS

In 2017, the founder of the CBD beauty product brand Frigg, Kimberly Dillion, found herself stressed out and overwhelmed. A veteran of the cannabis and CBD space, Dillion decided to do something about the state of her health that would help us all. Kimberly told Thrillist, “Haircare and scalp care are a huge part of the day-to-day lives of Black women, Indian women, and most women of color.” Frigg produces 3 CBD products. Their hair potion acts as a scalp treatment, deep conditioner, and a natural growth enhancer. Their face potion brings balance back to your skin, and their Beauty Rest Tea contains 10mg of cannabidiol (CBD) to help you get the sleep you need. All of Frigg’s products are made with clean, responsibly sourced, and earth-friendly ingredients. Sign us up.

Shop Frigg | Follow @getfrigg

Kayaire FOR PROBLEM SKIN

To nip problem skin in the bud, treat yourself to Kayaire full-spectrum CBD skincare. With luxe packaging and holistic ingredients, Kayaire is formulated especially for sensitive or irritated skin. The company’s founder, Ebony Clay, is a psoriasis sufferer. She created the healing line to combat her own skin issues. Clay explains, “With the great benefits that CBD has on melanin skin, I didn’t want women and men of color to miss out.”

Shop Kayaire | Follow on @kayaire_cbd

Kayaire CBD Skincare is Black-owned
Kush and Cute Hemp Body Scrub comes from a Black-owned brand

HEMP SKINCARE AND CANNABIS GIFTS AT KUSH AND CUTE

When Iyana Edouard started working in 2016, she was usually the only Black woman in the room. But she didn’t let that keep her down. Instead, she picked up the gauntlet and founded Kush and Cute right out of college. With a decidedly friendly vibe, the brand welcomes newbies and aficionados alike. From High Healthy Skin Beauty Oil to Wake N Bake body scrub, Kush and Cute’s products are all natural and organic. Sensitive skin? No problem! Everything is formulated to be effective for all skin types. In addition to their hemp skincare, shop Kush & Cute for everything from whimsical cannabis keychains to color changing pipes.

Shop Kush and Cute  | Follow @kushandcute

DETOXIFY YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE WITH BLACK-OWNED UNDEFINED BEAUTY

Dorian Morris is out to democratize beauty. She describes Undefined Beauty with the cheeky tagline, “I like my skincare how I like my people: non-toxic.” Packed with powerful botanicals, this CBD-infused brand is cruelty free, vegan, sustainably sourced, and eco-friendly. From full-spectrum CBD to fruit stem cells, Undefined Beauty doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. And it doesn’t have any of the bad ingredients that are typically in cosmetics either. There’s no sulfates, parabens, or petroleum products. Fans are especially rabid about their Glow Elixir. It’s antioxidant-rich and full of anti-inflammatories (including CBD). So, this bestseller brightens, detoxifies, and hydrates—all in one fast-absorbing floral oil.

Shop Undefined Beauty | Follow @undefinedbeauty_co

Undefined Beauty products come from a Black0owned brand

Black-owned cannabis Beverages

SHOKi is a Black-owned cannabis beverage brand inspired by the Caribbean

SHOKi: Cannabis-Infused Drinks Inspired by the Caribbean 

If beverages are more your style, check out SHOKi. Inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean and West Africa, they’re unlike any other cannabis-infused drink out there. SHOKi’s got something for everyone. Their line of non-alcoholic, non-cannabis mixers come in the same mouthwatering flavors as their cannabis products. This Black-owned cannabis beverage company was founded by Tiffany Yarde and George Yehouessi in 2018. The duo met back in 2017 while Tiffany was on vacation with friends in Ghana. George, a sales tech professional, had ideas for making alcoholic mixers with West African flavors. Together, they got to tasting and brainstorming to bring their vision to life.

Shop SHOKi | Follow @tribeshoki 

Black-owned cannabis Cooking and edibles

GOURMET CANNABIS RECIPES WITH 99TH FLOOR

Are your 2 passions cannabis and food? Then 99th Floor is for you! One look at the food porn on their Insta feed is enough to have you ‘gasming for their delectable cannabis-infused creations. Founded by Doug Cohen and Miguel Trinidad (the chef behind Maharlika and Jeepney), their goal is to have the first Michelin star cannabis restaurant. 99th Floor hosts infused dinner parties around the country. Word to the wise, to score a coveted spot, you’ll need a referral from an alum. Or at least someone who’s on their guest list. Once the social distancing lets up, we’re getting in line. But, until then, this Black-owned business is sharing some of their secrets on Instagram Live daily at 4:20EST.

Follow @99thfl

Black-owned brand Ardent's decarboxylator will change your edible game

MAKE EDIBLES IN A SNAP WITH ARDENT

Want to up your homemade edibles game? Pop your cannabis into an Ardent decarboxylator. Push 1 button, wait about 2 hours, and you’ve got perfectly activated weed. Decarboxylation is a fancy word for what you do every time you light up. It’s the process of heating cannabis to release their healing properties. But, without temperature control, you’re either not fully activating the plant or you’re burning some up. Ardent is the brainchild of Shanel Lindsay, a medical marijuana patient. Ardent is 21st-century cannabis at its best. Their sleek appliances make the most of your stash. They do so by optimally activating the THC, CBD, and CBG at precision temps. And they do it all in eye-catching purple-and-black designs that’ll look gorgeous on your countertop.

Shop Ardent | Follow @ardentllc

Elevate Your Edibles With Aroma Culinary’s Infused Seasonings

Looking for a way to elevate your cannabis infused cooking? Meet Aroma Culinary. Their line of infused seasonings and condiments are the perfect way to jazz up your favorite edible recipes. They feature seasonings and condiments like hot sauce, olive oil, and honey. Leighton Murdock is the founder of Aroma Culinary. His business allows him to combine his loves for cooking and cannabis. Whether you’re new to cannabis cooking or an experienced chef, check out Chef Leighton’s recipes. You can find them on Aroma Culinary’s website.

Shop Aroma Culinary | Follow @aromaculinary @chefleighton

Leighton Murdock from Aroma Culinary, a Black-owned edible brand
Edible recipes from the Cannabis Cuisine cookbook

GO GOURMET WITH THE CANNABIS CUISINE COOKBOOK

Ready to graduate to serious gourmet edibles? Meet Chef Andrea Drummer. You might have to wait to sample the innovatively infused dining she delivers via Elevation VIP Cooperative in Los Angeles. But you can still support this Black-owned business right now by buying her cookbook, Cannabis Cuisine: Bud Pairings of A Born Again Chef. Natch, Chef Andrea’s recipes aren’t your typical wake-and-bake fare. This Cordon Bleu chef got her start at the Ritz Carlton and earned kudos cooking for Chelsea Handler on her Netflix series “Chelsea Does…Drugs.” Her cookbook details how to best pair cannabis strains with other ingredients, and will also teach you how to properly dose your infused dishes. In it, Chef Andrea will take you from seeing food only as a vehicle for cannabis consumption to understanding marijuana as one of the most powerful flavors in your culinary arsenal.

Buy the Cannabis Cuisine cookbook | Follow @food_elevated

Make your CBD edibles with Satan’s Breath CBD Hot Sauce

Make your barbecue hot AND chill with Satan’s Breath CBD Hot Sauce. Executive Chef, Paul Booker, hails from upstate New York—where the competition for hot wings is scorching. Now he’s based in Charlotte, NC, where the barbecue is just as serious. Booker’s CBD edibles earned their chops by taking first place in Yelp’s 2018 Wing Fling. Satan’s Breath CBD Hot Sauce comes in 3 flavors: original, Sweet Heat, and Jamaican Mango. It’s great for meat. But you could also use it to turn up the heat on your favorite vegan edibles. To keep things interesting, add this Black-owned business’  to your fave cannabis recipes. Each flavor sells for $15 a bottle. Or you can treat yourself to all 3 for a more budget-friendly $30.

Buy Satan’s Breath CBD Hot Sauce | Follow on @satans_breath_cbd

STOCK YOUR PANTRY WITH VEGAN CANNABIS EDIBLES FROM SIMPLY HIGH EXTRACTS

Take your cannabis consumption to a whole new level of healthiness with vegan edibles from Simply High Extracts. They’re a great addition to your pantry, and you can buy their CBD online. Or If you’re in Cali, you can have their Vegan Cannabutter and Olive Oil delivered right to your door. Their vegan cannabis butter is made from an assortment of pressed oils. You can substitute it for butter in all your favorite recipes. Then use their Extra Light Olive Oil to fry and sauté. It’s specifically formulated for high-heat recipes, and light enough to drizzle on top of a salad without losing its potency. The brainchild of Nigerian-American, Daniel Olujide George, Simply High Extracts was conceived to bring you the cooking extracts you need to create your own edibles. Check out their website for quick and easy cannabis-infused recipes.

Buy Simply High Extracts | Follow @simplyhighextracts

Black-owned cannabis for pets

Happy hounds CBD treats and tinctures

Happy Hounds CBD offers their Mobility CBD Dog Chews in a smoky bacon flavor your dog will absolutely love. Rianna Young is the founder of this pet wellness brand. She explains why their products are more than just CBD supplements. “They’re made to help your dog thrive. Our CBD products are not just CBD dog chews and tinctures. They’re packed with superfoods to help dogs be healthier and live longer.” Each treat has 2.5mg of CBD, which is a small enough dose for a pooch of any size. So they’re made for dogs of all breeds and ages. Happy Hounds’ treats were developed to increase mobility, lower anxiety, calm inflammation and joint pain, and improve your pet’s life. Plus, they also make tinctures you can sprinkle on your pet’s normal feed.

Shop Happy Hounds | Follow @happyhoundscb

Black-owned Happy Hounds CBD for Dogs will keep your pet in the pink!

Black-owned cannabis supplements

Buena Botanicals is one Black-owned CBD wellness brand to check out

BUENA BOTANICALS FULL-SPECTRUM CBD OILS

In 2019, these twin sisters turned their passion for holistic healing, community, and plant medicine into a new CBD company, Buena Botanicals. The brand is family-owned and carries a range of products infused with full-spectrum CBD oil. The hemp they use is USDA certified organic, hand-harvested, eco-responsible, and ethically grown. We recommend “finding your plant-powered zen” with their Organic CBD Elixir. This organic full-spectrum CBD oil is perfect for beginners with its child-resistant dropper that makes dosing easy for everyone. You can use this CBD product 1-3 times a day by mouth or by dropping it in your favorite beverage. How you dose is up to you, but this elixir is sure to be your new best friend. 

Shop Buena Botanicals | Follow @buenabotanicals

WANT CBD FOR ANXIETY? HOLMES ORGANICS HAS YOUR BACK

Cory Holmes discovered CBD during a personal journey to reduce anxiety. But he was frustrated by the disparity he found in CBD product quality. He made it his mission to help people cope with stress and chronic pain through “the most bioavailable broad spectrum cannabinoid products on the market.” If you’re wondering how to use CBD or you’re concerned about precise dosing, Holmes Organics is for you. What sets them apart is exact cannabinoid and terpene profiles they publish for all their products on their website. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your child, or your pet, Holmes has a CBD product for you. And if that doesn’t have you pulling out your credit card, here’s another reason. Cory’s so serious about giving back that he founded the CBD Startup Academy. Through it, he teaches other minority business owners how to earn a living in this multi-billion-dollar industry.

Shop Holmes Organics | Follow @holmesorganics

Check out Black-owned brand Holmes Organics' CBD products for anxiety relief

K’DARA CBD PAIN RELIEF AND SLEEP AIDS

K’dara CBD was founded by Katrina Thompkins, a Dallas-based cardiovascular ICU nurse who saw firsthand the debilitating effects of chronic pain and sleeplessness. Determined to be part of the solution, she sources the finest ingredients to create her line of CBD products which ranges from full-spectrum CBD oils to gummies and pet products. We always honor our sweet tooth and were thrilled to discover K’dara CBD’s delicious and de-stressing CBD Watermelon Delights. Each delectable gummy is infused with 25mg of premium quality CBD isolate and is the perfect way to discreetly and precisely dose throughout the day. If sweets aren’t your thing, K’dara carries lemon, mint, and natural flavored CBD oils that are more subtle—and don’t forget to check out their range of CBD pet products!

Shop K’Dara | Follow @kdara.us

DISCOVER AN EDEN OF HEMP WELLNESS WITH LIFE GARDENING TOOLS

Take your wellness routine to a whole new level with the unique herbal formulations you’ll find only at Life Gardening Tools. We’re talking turmeric CBD tincture, raw creamed lavender honey with full spectrum CBD, and Roll On Relief CBD oil—stuff you didn’t even know you had to have. Based in NYC, these herbalists handcraft high potency honey, tonics, and herbal blends. Their hemp products are organic and sustainably sourced from farms upstate. In keeping with their overall commitment to nature, all Life Gardening Tools CBD products are whole-plant extracts. Plus, their extraction process doesn’t rely on heat or solvents. So you get the benefit of the entire spectrum of cannabinoids. Bring on that entourage effect!

Shop Life Gardening Tools | Follow on @lifegardeningtoolsi

The herbalists at Black-owned brand Life Gardening Tools make a variety of CBD oils
Black-owned company The Ounce's CBD capsule edibles

CBD PILLS FROM THE OUNCE

Want CBD without any excess calories or flavor? Enter capsules from The Ounce. Discreetly take their full-spectrum CBD Oil Gel Capsules anytime you need pain relief. The Ounce’s CBD Isolate powder is even more versatile, because you can take it like a pill or add it to oils, drinks, or edibles. The Ounce’s founder, Ray Dixon, actively gives back to his community. He’s working to redress the adverse effects of the War on Drugs as an organizer of National Expungement Week. He also serves on the board of Black Women Benefit, a grassroots non-profit that empowers and invests in Black women.

Buy The Ounce | Follow @theouncebrand

VEGAN CBD gummies FROM PLANT-BASED MARY JANE

Gummies are the most popular cannabis edible in the US. But vegan gummies have been hard to find. Not anymore. Plant-Based Mary Jane’s CBD gummies have you covered in either a full-spectrum or a broad-spectrum formula. Founder, Tracy Wright, is a vegan herself, a registered ER-trauma nurse, and a self-described cannabis nurse. After improving her own health with CBD and a plant-based lifestyle, she set about giving the rest of us easier ways to improve ours. All of Plant Based Mary Jane’s CBD products are vegan, including their strawberry flavored CBD oil. They’re also broad spectrum, treating your endocannabinoid system to the full healing power cannabis has to offer.

Buy Plant Based Mary Jane | Follow @plantbasedmaryjane

Black-owned Mary Jane makes vegan edibles
CBD oil from Xula a Black-owned edible brand

FEEL BETTER IN YOUR OWN SKIN WITH XULA CANNABIS EDIBLES

Xula, loosely translated, is to “feel good in your own skin”. Their womxn-centric drops, with exclamatory names like Whew!, Ah!, and Mhm!, fuse ancestral herbal remedies with science and their proprietary CBD to help you achieve optimal wellness. Drop them under your tongue, into your favorite smoothie, or in your CBD cocktail of choice. Xula is a Latinx and Black-owned CBD brand that was founded by Karina Primelles and her partner, Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey. They’re based in Mexico, but ethically cultivate their hemp in Oregon, where their farm is pesticide and plastic free. Mennlay is also the author of The Art of Weed, a definitive guide to making cannabutter. Like us, they support the larger BIPOC community via Broccoli Mag’s anti-racist Floret Coalition.

Buy Xula | Follow @xulaherbs

Black-owned Cannabis services

TAP CANNACLUSIVE for more Black-owned and diverse cannabis businesses

Cannaclusive is your go-to for diverse actors in the cannabis space. Peruse their InclusiveBase or mine their free database of inclusive photos for your blog/business—like we did! Or take advantage of their educational programs. Their Accountability List was a thoughtful response to the heightened push for social justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. It tracks the concrete actions taken by cannabis industry members. Use it to spend your dollars with companies who are working to better our world.

Cannaclusive.com | Follow @cannaclusive 

Cannaclusive is Black-owned and highlights minority owned and run cannabis cos
Menopause Made Modern is a resource for women of color going through menopause, helping them with using and microdosing cannabis for symptom relief

Check Out Menopause Made Modern for learning how to microdose cannabis for menopause

Kamili Wilson first started microdosing cannabis to seek relief from menopause symptoms. When she first entered menopause, she realized there wasn’t anyone to help her navigate this phase of life. While Kamili was looking for symptom relief, she discovered the medical benefits of cannabis. With her newfound appreciation for the plant, she founded Menopause Made Modern. Menopause Made Modern is an online community for women of color going through menopause to connect with others, seek support, and advice.

Visit Menomademodern.com

HOW TO GET A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD ONLINE WITH BLACK-OWNED PRESTO DOCTOR

You want to take the plunge and get a medical marijuana card. But how do you do it? You don’t necessarily want to ask your family or friends. When you’re in pain and need relief—you definitely want to avoid anything judgey. Enter Presto Doctor where you can get your medical marijuana card online. It’s fast, easy, and, best of all, private. You just make an account, fill out your profile, set up a video appointment with a doctor (we’re certainly all good at that by now!). And either print out your recommendation or get your card in the mail. This Black-owned business is live in California, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. If you are, too, what are you waiting for?

Follow @prestodoctor_official

This Black-owned co can help you get your medical cannabis card
Black-owned Roll Up Life isn't your typical cannabis co

Roll Up Life: More Than a Delivery Service

There’s a lot to love about this New Jersey-based cannabis company. Roll Up Life is more than just a cannabis delivery service. This Black-owned brand is rooted in social equity. The founders, Precious Osagie-Erese and Tiyahnn Bryant, have been  been friends since childhood.  So, they created Roll Up Life with their community in mind. Their social equity program helps raise funding for minority businesses. It’s also opening up new doors for them in the cannabis space.  One of their focuses is to educate their community about the cannabis industry. They do that by sharing resources as well as hosting webinars and workshops. 

Visit rolluplife.com  |  Follow @rollup.life

Elevate Your Smoke Sesh with SMK BRK

Whether you’re a newbie or more of a cannabis connoisseur, Laura OG of SMK BRK is your girl. She’s got all the tips for making the most of your smoke sesh. To start, she suggests setting the mood with a playlist and turning your smoke sesh into a ritual. Make it a form of self care—craft flower, classy cannabis accessories—dare we suggest House of Puff? 😉 Or learn more precise measurement hacks to find the dosing that works best for you. Take her advice on a lot or a little. Either way, Laura will help you get closer to your ideal high.

Visit smkbrk.com

Laura OG of Black-owned SMK BRK

The Best 3 CBD Dog Treats

  • CBD dog treats may provide health and wellness benefits for your favorite canine companions. 
  • Here’s everything you need to know before you give your pup CBD. 
  • For brands you can trust, check out our 3  favorite CBD dog treats. 

8-minute read

Why should I give my dog CBD?

Just like us humans, pets often need some extra TLC for optimal health. We already know that CBD has loads of potential benefits for human health and wellness. But did you know CBD dog treats can also help your furry friends? Just as CBD is increasingly recognized as helpful to humans for a variety of ills, dogs might also benefit from it. CBD could help them with issues as wide-ranging as pain, anxiety, itchiness, seizures, and cancer. While research on the use of CBD for pets is still in its infancy, many pet owners report positive effects from giving CBD for their dogs.

Is it safe to give my dog CBD?

Generally speaking, it’s safe to give your pets CBD. But THC, another common cannabinoid, is a completely different story. For humans, THC can enhance the effects of CBD. But THC can be toxic for dogs. So, when you’re looking for CBD for the animal members of your family, make sure that they only contain trace amounts of THC. That means the CBD you give your pets should contain less than .3% THC. That’s the legal limit of THC that can be in industrial hemp. So look for hemp-derived CBD dog treats.

Are CBD dog treats legal?

Yes! CBD is federally legal for humans. So, it’s perfectly legal for pets, too. You can buy CBD dog treats without any worries about legality. And, regardless of what outdated info you might read elsewhere, while the FDA hasn’t approved any specific cannabis-derived products for animals yet, they have paved the way for its use by not prohibiting veterinarians from prescribing it. 

We love Tonic Zen Dog CBD dog treats for our pups

Why could CBD be good for your dog?

“All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Just like the human endocannabinoid system, your dog’s ECS regulates major physiological functions including pain, anxiety, mood, immune function, and more,” explains Brittany Carbone, the maker of Zen Dog CBD treats. “A well-conditioned, balanced endocannabinoid system keeps immune function strong, staves off infection, keeps anxiety low and feelings of wellbeing high. It also keeps sleep on track and even regulates blood sugar and strengthens bones!”

Do veterinarians recommend CBD for dogs?

It depends. Your veterinarian might not be that well-versed in CBD yet. That’s because CBD was just federally legalized in the US in 2018. Prior to that change, vets couldn’t prescribe or even advise their clients about CBD without the risk of losing their licenses. So many still haven’t caught up with the latest science. Also, since research on the effectiveness of CBD for pets is still in early stages, some vets are still hesitant to recommend CBD dog treats. But the research done on the effectiveness of CBD in humans for many conditions is promising because it may have similar benefits for dogs.

What illnesses do CBD dog treats have the most potential to help with?

Some pet owners turn to CBD to calm their anxious dogs. Others use it to help with pain relief. Here’s a trick we use when we’re unsure about how CBD might make our dogs feel. We give them a low dose of the hemp-derived CBD oil that we use ourselves to treat specific symptoms. For instance, does your dog need to rest after an injury? We all know how hard it is to convince our energetic pups to take it easy. But the same hemp-derived CBD oil you use to get a good night’s sleep can help your dog get the rest they need, too.

Have any studies shown that CBD can help dogs?

Existing canine CBD studies have also looked at how CBD may help with arthritis, itchiness, cancer, anxiety, and seizures. Brittany explains why CBD might be especially helpful for seizures. “Epilepsy is a major reason pet owners turn to CBD. Seizures are fairly common in dogs and CBD provides a natural, nontoxic way to manage the convulsions.”

How should I dose My DOG with CBD?

Start low and go slow. That’s the standard recommendation for humans, too, as we start consuming any cannabis or hemp-derived products. And it’s the same for dogs. Rianna Young of Happy Hounds CBD explains the formula they’ve developed, “When it comes to dosing—we always say 1 mg per 10 lbs. This is technically a low dose. But all dogs respond differently. That’s why starting low and slow is the name of the game.” This approach also helps prevent giving your pup too much. 

Black-owned Happy Hounds CBD for Dogs will keep your pet in the pink!
oHHo CBD dog treats are one of our favorites

Not all CBD dog treats dose the same

CBD strength can differ widely. So always read the label to make sure you’re giving your dog the right amount. Our faves range from 2.5-5mg. Nicola Stephenson, from oHHo, the maker of Moe’s Biscuits suggests, “Every dog responds to CBD differently. So monitor your dog’s results and adjust your dosing from there.” We can attest that it can take several tries to find your pup’s dosing sweet spot.

Can I overdose my dog with CBD?

What happens if your hungry hole accidentally scarfs down a whole bag of CBD dog treats? Luckily, a CBD overdose is mild. Since CBD doesn’t affect the brain stem, your pup is highly unlikely to experience adverse effects. Rianna counsels, “Giving your dog or cat too much CBD is not life threatening. But it can cause an increase in drowsiness and dry mouth. So ensure their water bowl is full and that they initially have your undivided attention.”

Other things to consider ABOUT Dosage

Us humans turn to CBD for a myriad of reasons, including general health and wellness. With dogs, it’s not much different. The most common reasons for giving CBD to dogs is to calm them, manage physical ailments, and maintain overall wellness. How you should dose your dog depends on the outcome you’re looking for. For example, dosing to ease anxiety can be completely different—and likely much lower—than dosing to alleviate arthritis pain. Dosing is also dependent on other factors like age, size, and breed.

Is there a difference between CBD for dogs and for humans?

Not really. The most critical difference is dosing. That’s why we like the 1mg for every 10lbs rule. A second, less important difference is the flavor. Many CBD and cannabis products have added flavoring. So any high quality CBD product that’s made specifically for dogs is likely to contain dog-safe flavors and ones that are more appealing to a dog’s palate. While most of us humans might prefer a fruity edible to a beef-flavored one, we know our dogs are going to go for the beef every time.

Should you talk to your vet before giving your dog CBD?

Yes, absolutely. While CBD is typically safe to give dogs, you should always consult your veterinarian. If your dog is already on other medications, you’ll want to make sure that CBD won’t counteract their effectiveness.

What’s the best way to GIVE CBD to your furry friend?

Humans have a wide variety of CBD products to choose from. We’ve got tinctures, edibles, oils, flower, and more. There aren’t quite as many options for our 4-legged friends yet. But there are a few. CBD dog treats are the most popular. But you can also use human-grade hemp-derived CBD oil. If your dog has a sensitive stomach and doesn’t tolerate much other than their standard diet, you can squirt CBD oil on your dog’s usual treats or food. Just let it soak in before you give it to them to make sure they actually ingest it. You can also use CBD oil topically to soothe their skin or inflammation. But if your fur baby isn’t wearing the cone of shame, just know that they’ll likely lick it. So make sure you’re not giving them too much if they do.

CBD dog treats 101

CBD dog treats are like edibles for humans—yummy and pre-dosed. Before you buy treats, we suggest doing your research to find the right fit for your best friend. Nicola recommends, “When purchasing, always ensure the best quality organic CBD and check that they have full lab tests or certificates of analysis (COA’s) that have analyzed their potency as well as any possible contamination.”

Our 3 fave CBD dog treats

The pet CBD market is growing fast. Unfortunately, the efficacy of CBD products is all over the place. We’ve all tried products that don’t do a thing for us and others that are just what the doctor ordered. So we’ve done some research for you. Here are 3 of our current favorite CBD dog treats from oHHo, Tonic, and Happy Hounds CBD.

oHHo’s CBD Dog Biscuits 

We love oHHo CBD, and that includes their brand new dog treats, Moe’s Biscuits. What makes them special is that they use the highest quality ingredients and they have full lab test COA’s. They test every batch’s potency and to ensure accurate dosing. Moe’s Biscuits are 5mg per treat in a box of 30. Nicola gave us the inside story on what makes them such a great overall treat for your dog. “Each ingredient has a purpose. Oat flour for protein and fiber. Brown rice flour for fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Organic peanut butter for protein and healthy fats. Organic egg replacement to keep the treats vegan. Most importantly, full-spectrum CBD. To make you love them even more, proceeds go to local animal causes in America.”

Tonic Zen Dog 

Zen Dog CBD treats are vegan, gluten free, and made with all certified organic ingredients. Brittany told us what makes them special. “They contain 4mg of full-spectrum CBD per treat. That’s a high enough dose to see results in most dogs, but low enough that you don’t have to worry about giving your dog more than one treat per day. They are so clean and simple that they even make great snacks for humans! Seriously, we eat them all the time!” A bag of 20 treats costs $20, and they’re best for calming anxiety or relieving joint pain.

Happy Hounds CBD Dog Chews 

Happy Hounds CBD offers their Mobility CBD Dog Chews in a smoky bacon flavor your dog will absolutely love. Rianna explains, “They’re made to help your dog thrive. They’re not just CBD dog chews and tinctures. They’re packed with superfoods to help dogs be healthier and live longer.” Each treat has 2.5mg of CBD, and they’re made for dogs of all ages and sizes. Happy Hounds’ treats were developed to increase mobility, lower anxiety, calm inflammation and joint pain, and improve your pet’s life. Plus, they also make tinctures you can sprinkle on your pet’s normal feed.

Why Green Horizons is taking the cannabis plant to exciting new places

  • Carlos “Los” Arias started his relationship with the cannabis plant early. 
  • Los Arias is the co-founder of Green Horizons, a first-of-its-kind cannabis cultivation, brand incubator, and education facility in the Coachella Valley. 
  • Green Horizons is on a mission to reframe the way people view and experience the cannabis plant. 
  • With Tommy Hilfiger on their team, one of their many innovations will be fashion crossover brands. 

16-minute read

Los’ Start With Plant Medicine and the cannabis plant

Plant medicine has been integral to Los Arias’ life since he was young. When he was battling cancer, it literally saved his life. But the cannabis plant, specifically, has been his focus for the past several years. While still in law school, he learned the ins and outs of the regulated cannabis industry at RiverRock Cannabis. Now, he’s spearheading the creation of Green Horizons with a first-of-its-kind cannabis cultivation campus in Coachella, CA. In addition to hundreds of thousands of square feet of greenhouses, Green Horizons will offer tours, education, and workshops to the public. Green Horizons’ debut brand is a collaboration with the fashion world. They’re partnering with Tommy Hilfiger, who only recently openly connected himself with cannabis. Just after the initial press release went out, we sat down with Los to find out what else we can expect from his unprecedented new venture.

You’re a veteran in this nascent industry—tell us about your journey.

Serendipitously getting started in cannabis 

In 2014, one of my friends needed to recapitalize his cannabis business in Colorado. He needed $2,000,000, and it was very difficult to raise that kind of capital then. I was going to law school at the time, but never had an intention of being an attorney. I had ties to a family office in the Dominican Republic that had backed me on other ventures. In the Dominican Republic, the cannabis plant is super frowned upon. But these folks were willing to explore a new sector under the auspices of my stewardship. They said, “You know, Los, you’re crazy enough to see something like this through.” So I was able to come through for my friend, but I told him, “There’s a catch. You got the $2 million. Now you have to teach me the regulated market.”

From plant medicine to the cannabis plant

I was able to enroll in the part time program at my law school. Thus, I was in Denver every week at RiverRock—Monday through Thursday—learning from my friend, Norton Arbelaez. Then I’d fly to LA to do my law classes on Friday and Saturday. Then I’d fly back on Sunday to Denver. Rinse and repeat. I did that for 2 ½ years, studying on the plane rides. So I earned my JD, and then I learned the regulated cannabis game from someone who’s a true pioneer. I’ve always had a green thumb. So that part was easy for me, as I had worked with plant medicines of all kinds for years. That was my initial springboard in aligning with the plants, harnessing my family’s Brazilian lineage. Arbelaez was then responsible for teaching me how to operate in the regulated marketplace. I wouldn’t be here without him.

How did plant medicine save your life?

I was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. It came as a huge shock, and I was lucky enough to be referred to an incredible oncologist. It was somewhat advanced. So he put me on oral chemo, and that was able to stem the spread a bit. The next wave of treatment, however, was when he said to me, “Hey, man, have you ever heard of Kambo?” He knew that I was an Ayahuasca and a 5-MeO-DMT devotee because I had shared that with him. Thus, he figured I’d be open to alternative treatments for the cancer. He walked me through the utilization of this venom from the Amazonian monkey frog, and how there’s ample research behind it. 

can Kambo treat more than cancer?

He’s actually spearheading the clinical trials right now with the FDA on the utilization of Kambo to treat a myriad of diseases. That includes cancer, Lyme disease, HPV, and autoimmune conditions of all kinds. I was all ears and grateful for his thinking outside the box.

What are Kambo sessions like?

The experience is a very challenging twenty minutes. The medicine itself is applied over your skin, and you immediately feel the effects. You start sweating and purging while this venom is coursing through your body and healing you. What’s incredible about Kambo is that it breaches the cellular wall. So it actually cleans you from the inside out. Those 20 minutes aren’t fun. But, once you do enough of it, you get better at it. I got to a point where I learned how to meditate to it. How you feel afterwards is difficult to describe. It’s euphoric. You feel energized.

What’s the background on Kambo as plant medicine?

Many indigenous tribes use Kambo before they go on their evening hunts. I had 15 sessions of Kambo administered in a 12-month period—which is a lot. But it completely healed me. I was so moved by the experience that I actually got a tattoo to commemorate the journey. I was utterly transformed in this process. Like, wow—I had never even heard of this medicine before, and how many more people can this help? Right?! It stoked a curiosity and a passion in me to be an advocate for those in need.

If you could help mainstream Americans understand only one thing about the cannabis plant, what would it be?

That it’s medicine. We’ve been programmed for decades with misinformation. For me, it’s the ultimate crime against humanity. You look at Schedule I “drugs.” Of course, cannabis is there. And what else? DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, Psilocybin, Peyote, and LSD. These are the very same medicines and modalities that connect us to our spirits, to the cosmos, and to each other. But we’re not allowed to have those, right? Instead, they give us alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and pornography as a means of keeping our vibrations low. Everything has the capacity to be misused. But the cannabis plant is medicine at its core. And it brings people together. I feel the same way about the other medicines currently situated on Schedule I. The world is waking up to this farce, and humanity is embracing its inalienable right to cognitive liberty.

What’s the history of indigenous use of the cannabis plant?

Cannabis has a lot of Shitana, which is a shamanic term connoting “dark energy.” Think of it like the yin and yang. I learned my Ayahuasca practice through the Shipibo Indians in Peru. They’re very wary of cannabis because, in their eyes—and they’re probably right—a lot of people misuse it. Most people don’t understand that it’s not for escapism. There’s a way to approach cannabis with respect and reverence. That’s how you really derive a lot of value from the plant. Like anything else, you’ve got to approach it with love and use it in a way that’s in alignment with your highest self. There’s a nurturing relationship to be had with the plant. I try to bring awareness to that for people.

What was your first experience with the cannabis plant like?

I was probably about 12 years old. I’m half Brazilian, on my mom’s side. There’s a long lineage of shamanism and working with sacred plants through my mom’s mom—going back generations. So, for me, cannabis was indeed the gateway medicine to the other plant medicines. We’ve got to reframe that. Cannabis is not a drug. It’s a medicine.

Co-founder of Green Horizons, Los Arias, sees the cannabis plant as medicine

How was your family a part of your first experience with the cannabis plant?

I had a cannabis ceremony with my grandmother, my mom, and some family members. It was the first time I consumed it. The connection that I felt to myself, my family, and to the universe beyond me was just incredible. That was the first step towards working with other medicines. The next one for me was Ayahuasca. That’s how it started. I was very fortunate that the cannabis plant was accepted, embraced, and promoted in my household in a very personal way—honoring the lineage, and setting the course of the rest of my life.

How do you hope Green Horizons will change how people experience the cannabis plant?

My mindset is that we want to build a company that’s inspiring. We want to create products that are sustainably cultivated, produced, and ultimately segue into brands that connect with people and bring them together. I’m a cancer survivor, and so is my partner, Michael Meade. We’re not doing this just for the money and a quick exit. We want to build a real sustainable business that makes a difference in people’s lives.

It’s taken us 6 years to create exactly what we want

We’ve taken our time to build it this way. It took my partner 6 years to buy all the real estate in Coachella that we’re now building out. A million square feet entitled, subsumed within a single campus. He then had to get the entitlements approved by the city. Plus bring the power and the sewer. It was an arduous process, and I was with him every step of the way. We were very, very quiet about it. Our whole thing was, speak softly and carry a big stick. Don’t make announcements for the sake of announcements. Just focus on execution.

We did everything on our terms and in our own time

We had a lot of unsolicited offers in 2018-2019, when the Canadian RTO moment was in full swing. People were like, “You’ve got a lot of square footage. You should be part of our roll up—hold our paper and take a little bit of cash.” None of that was interesting. I was like, let’s take our time. Let’s build something of value, and let’s make meaningful strategic relationships in the process. 

How does your co-founder make what you’re creating even more significant?

The highlight of that journey for us was definitely aligning with Tommy Hilfiger. With him on the ticket as a meaningfully involved co-founder, I think we have an opportunity to do something that’s unique and special. Something that can stand the test of time. And that’s what inspires us to get out of bed every day and travail the vagaries of this demanding industry we’re in. The pioneers take the arrows, and we’ve taken our fair share. It’s been worth it.

Fave way to consume cannabis right now?

I wake up every morning and do meditation and breathwork. Then I make myself a bulletproof coffee. And I love cannabis tinctures as part of that ritual. There’s one in particular, Jenny’s Rose, that has stood out from the rest. Really unique, patented stuff. I’ve met the formulator and had the opportunity to really understand their process. And I’m really impressed. So I like to sprinkle some of that into my coffee in the morning. Then I go get the best workout ever after that and am on high vibration for the rest of the day. By the way, I did all of that this morning.

Do you consume at night, too?

Yes, Jenny’s Rose has a nighttime formula that’s wondrous and produces lucid dreams. I’ve also done a lot of psychedelics. So maybe there’s some neural pathways that are more open for me than most. My dreams are like mini Ayahuasca ceremonies at night! They are super vivid and alive. I’ve been really blessed to find a regimen that really works for me. That’s what plant medicine is all about—exploring what works for you in a safe way, with trusted guides and products along the way.

With Green Horizons, Tommy Hilfiger has openly connected himself with the cannabis plant—what’s the significance of that?

I think it helps with the mainstreaming of the conversation around cannabis. To have a businessman of his repute and his pedigree come into the space and embrace the cannabis plant in a public way is important. Cannabis 2.0 is heading towards US-led, CPG. I think everybody can agree with that. I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity to broaden the reach of the plant. There’s a lot of cannabis curious folks out there. I think somebody like Tommy coming into the space will open some hearts and minds, and give us an opportunity to reframe the narrative around the cannabis plant as a medicine that is accretive to a healthy lifestyle.

Working with an iconic fashion designer, do you see any similarities between cannabis and fashion?

Yes, I feel like people consume cannabis in a manner analogous to how they approach fashion, music, and culture. They want what’s fresh—the latest wares and what speaks to them. I think that’s a really unique dynamic to harness with Tommy’s pedigree. We’re particularly passionate about exploring the confluence of cannabis, sports, and fashion. I think that’s super interesting. What I really love about that is the ability to reframe the old (and misdirected) adage of the “lazy stoner” and that cannabis makes you dumb. No, it doesn’t. I, myself—and many people I know—use it to fuel an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s what we hope to reframe as a blossoming company within a blossoming industry. I think we have a unique opportunity to propel that energy forward with Tommy on our team.

What are the qualities you’ll focus on for Green Horizons’ in-house cannabis brands?

We’re building a high vibrational house of brands, buoyed by large-scale infrastructure to capture margins and control our destiny. That’s what differentiates our thesis, particularly in this market. To this end, let’s take a half step back. What you have today, particularly in California, is a lot of asset-light brands that don’t own any infrastructure. They have great IP, but they’re beholden to third parties for all things execution. When you really look at the merits of that business strategy, the margins are very thin. It’s hard to make money doing that. You’re depending on a lot of humans who aren’t within your own organization to deliver a consistent brand promise for your products.

Our goal is to make Green Horizons different from other cannabis plant companies

We’re trying to split that difference with Green Horizons, with a conscious undertaking to ultimately be able to cultivate, package and distribute our in-house brands. If something goes wrong, the only person I can blame is myself. I like that.

Sustainability is an important quality for Green Horizons

The facilities we’re bringing online are sustainable and imbued with low COGS throughout. They’re high tech, light deprivation greenhouses that harness the 300-days-a-year sunshine in the Coachella Valley. That’s the game plan. Other top operators are already striking a similar balance between low COGS and quality. It’s not easy to execute at real scale. But, if you can crack that code, I think you’re setting yourself up to be competitive no matter what the macro market conditions are—even if you’re beholden to the wholesale market. If you can actually build brands, however, and do that in a way that’s meaningful, now you’re capturing all that margin and upside. That’s a differentiated business that is de-risked from onset.

Green Horizons is opening new doors for cultivation of the cannabis plant

Tell us about the public education your company will offer about the cannabis plant.

We’ve got a million square feet all in, subsumed within a consolidated campus. We were touring some visitors the other day and they were like, “Man, you’re building the Disneyland of cannabis.” It’s an attraction for sure, particularly given that Coachella is also a global brand in its own right. People come here. Tommy is also a global player. Tying these elements together, it feels like a platform to really educate on a broader scale than most can contemplate.

How do you plan to support the local community?

Green Horizons is partnering with the City of Coachella in launching the Build the Valley Initiative. That will consist of 2 prominent initiatives. First, building infrastructure for the community. Second, advocacy for expungement and job creation, for which Green Horizons will create a dedicated Coachella Valley program. In addition to local community activism, Green Horizons is also invested in the sustainable future of the cannabis industry and is a member of an industry task force that’s comprised of top operators, financiers, and attorneys. Our aim is to eradicate the use of plastics in the cannabis supply chain.

What do you hope cannabis will look like in the US in 10 years?

In 10 years, I think you’ll see a shuddering of the MSO model. At its core, that’s a creature of the Canadian RTO moment of 2018-2019. The Green Horizons future, which is what I can control, is low COGS, California sunshine, and fueling CPG brands with global scope. With large-scale infrastructure in the Golden State (which has been the epicenter of cannabis culture globally for decades) and the requisite in-house expertise to build brands, we’re going to be well positioned no matter how interstate commerce ultimately rolls out. It may very well take 10 years. That’s all the more reason to be nestled within the largest cannabis market on the planet.

How can we keep up with you and Green Horizons?

That’s all coming. Late summer/early fall, we’re going to turn the jets on with our social presence and really get ready for our debut brand—which is a crossover from the fashion world. The launch will be later this year in California, with multi-state partnerships to follow. More soon on that front. We have an incredible PR team in the Prismatics. To boot, our inaugural press release in April reached 500M impressions globally, including getting picked up by Bloomberg. What we’re building is global in scope and rooted in business fundamentals applicable to any industry. We’ve also got a couple of tricks up our sleeve that we’ll be releasing here sequentially in due time. Stay tuned!

How microdosing cannabis can be a miracle for menopause symptoms

  • Microdosing cannabis has been a game changer in navigating menopause for Kamili Wilson. 
  • Kamili Wilson founded Menopause Made Modern to create a community for women of color who are going through menopause.
  • Menopause Made Modern provides women with resources, education, and support. 
  • Cannabis may provide relief for many menopause symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, and inflammation.

5-minute read

Menopause Made Modern

Kamili Wilson started microdosing cannabis to seek relief for the symptoms of menopause. When she first entered this phase of her life, she realized that she didn’t have anyone to help her navigate it. While looking for ways to treat her symptoms, she discovered the medical benefits of cannabis. Microdosing cannabis and incorporating the plant into her everyday life made a world of difference. With her newfound appreciation for cannabis and a desire to help other women, she founded Menopause Made Modern by Claret Circle. This online community is specifically for women of color who are going through menopause. On it, they can connect with one another and find support.

How did you first learn about microdosing cannabis? 

I first learned about microdosing cannabis at a women’s wellness summit in northern California in the fall of 2019. I had been a recreational cannabis consumer for years. But I had never been presented with the medicinal benefits of the plant. At that point, I was also about a year and a half into perimenopause. So I was looking for relief for some of my most disruptive symptoms. Those included anxiety, insomnia, and hot flashes.

How did the conference change your relationship with cannabis?

The sponsor for this health and wellness conference was Sava, a women-owned cannabis curator and delivery company based in the Bay Area. They staffed the event with women who were both knowledgeable and professional. Together we were able to talk through the symptoms I was trying to manage. They advised me about how I could use cannabis differently than I had been to much more effectively treat my symptoms. My mind was blown! That experience completely shifted my relationship with cannabis FOREVER. Incorporating CBD into my routine and microdosing cannabis has made a significant difference in the intensity of my anxiety. It’s also now a fundamental part of my sleep routine. Unfortunately, the hot flashes and night sweats persist…

What are the benefits of microdosing cannabis?

Microdosing cannabis has been a more effective way for me to manage a whole range of health issues. Those include anxiety, poor sleep quality, pain, and inflammation. I’m using much smaller amounts of cannabis throughout the day to steadily address specific issues. I do that now rather than going for larger, concentrated amounts in 1-2 sittings to feel better. With microdosing, I also don’t feel high—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Instead, I feel steady and more even throughout the day…and I’m noticeably less agitated. I also have a more general awareness of “Hey, I’m not in pain today.”

Menopause Made Modern is a resource for women of color going through menopause, helping them with using and microdosing cannabis for symptom relief

Why did you start Menopause Made Modern?

I started Menopause Made Modern to provide a voice, community, and storytelling platform for Black and other women of color who are going through the menopause transition. When I first realized I was in perimenopause, I was completely unprepared for what was going on with me. Disappointingly, there really wasn’t anyone—my Ob-Gyn included—who understood or helped me address my symptoms. I felt alone. I also discovered that there was a lack of representation in the literature of women of color going through menopause. It didn’t make sense to me when half of the global population experiences this. I want Menopause Made Modern to be a destination for women of color who are looking for community, resources, actionable insights, and a supportive validation of our lived experience.

What advice do you have for women about microdosing cannabis?

I’m not an expert on microdosing, by any means. But there are great resources like ellementa.com and leafly.com that women can tap into to better understand the basics of microdosing cannabis.

What’s your take on microdosing cannabis for menopause?

Every woman experiences menopause differently. So what works for me might not work for another. That said, I do think it’s worth researching, particularly for women who are seeking non-pharmaceutical treatment options for symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and inflammation.

What types of resources does Menopause Made Modern provide?

We’re a web-based platform powered by user-generated content as well as service ratings and reviews of various treatments taken for conditions related to perimenopause and post-menopause. We also feature original product reviews by the Menopause Made Modern team. That includes expert and influencer insights as well as individual stories that seek to represent a broad range of experiences.

What health and wellness benefits have you found personally from microdosing cannabis?

Incorporating CBD into my routine and microdosing cannabis has made a significant difference in the intensity of my anxiety and is a critical part of my sleep routine.

If you could have a smoke sesh with any 3 people, who would they be and why?

I’m the awkward introvert who smokes by herself. Seriously, I tend to get sleepy and really, really quiet. So I’m not the best smoke buddy.

Fave products for microdosing cannabis? 

Kin Slips sublingual strips are awesome! Discreet and wonderfully effective. I’m also a big fan of Willow Kay’s 1:1 CBD+CBG Full Spectrum Drops.

Which menopause symptoms do women most commonly seek relief for? 

There are more than 34 recognized symptoms related to perimenopause. But the most common is hot flashes. Up to 80% of women going through menopause experience hot flashes. Unfortunately for me, cannabis—microdosing or otherwise—has had zero effect on my hot flashes and my night sweats persist.

What products would you recommend to women for hot flashes, sleeplessness, and moodiness, respectively?

We’ve curated some great resources for a range of symptoms on the Menopause Made Modern website. And we’re adding new information each week. We feature educational information, including ratings and reviews of select products and telehealth services. The platform is about providing women with actionable insights that they can use to pursue treatment options that work for them.

HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP UP WITH EVERYTHING MENOPAUSE MADE MODERN IS UP TO?

You can check out the website at www.menomademodern.com. There, you can sign up for our newsletter and regular email updates. You can also set up your free member account and start posting product reviews right away! And of course, we’re on social media: @menopause_made_modern on Instagram and Facebook and @menomademod on Twitter.

Tinctures are a great way to start with microdosing cannabis

House of Puff Teams Up with Visual Artist & Social Justice Warrior, Chris Wilson

  • At the age of 17, Chris Wilson was charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced to his natural life in prison. 
  • Chris turned his life around and is now a successful visual artist, author, and social justice warrior. 
  • He’s teamed up with us at House of Puff to increase awareness about solitary confinement through a collaboration that features his painting, Positive Delusions, on the second edition of their artist series rolling papers. 
  • Through vehicles like this collaboration and his new exhibition, I Can Show You the Way Out, Chris is committed to making an enduring difference in the lives of others in underserved communities. 

10-minute read

From Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose

Chris Wilson’s story reads like a cautionary Hollywood script about the Black experience in America. Poverty, drug addiction, and gun violence were his everyday childhood norms. Then, at the age of just 17, he was charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced to his natural life in prison. In the 16 years of his incarceration, Chris had to develop a Master Plan to convince a judge that he was worthy of a second chance. Against all odds, his plan worked. He’s now free, an immensely successful author, social justice warrior, and a visual artist. His inspirational book, The Master Plan: My Journey from a Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose, chronicles this turnaround and calls for more second chances—especially for those who our society usually writes off.

Solitary Confinement through the Lens of a Visual Artist

Chris’ first New York solo exhibition, I Can Show You the Way Out, features 2 artworks that focus specifically on the detriments of solitary confinement. The first is Positive Delusions, an abstract painting that memorializes the positive thoughts he focused on to get himself through months of this torment. The second is his critically acclaimed short film, The Box, which brings the effects of solitary confinement into sharp relief through personal interviews with others who’ve suffered it.

House of Puff's collab with visual artist Chris Wilson on hemp rolling papers with a purpose

Leveraging the Power of Art to Raise Awareness

Chris is committed to making an enduring difference in the lives of others in underserved communities. To that end, he’s teamed up with us at House of Puff to increase awareness about solitary confinement. The long-anticipated second edition of their artist series rolling papers, features Positive Delusions. Not only will a percentage of proceeds from this collab go to support the artist. But we’ll also donate an additional percentage to Solitary Watch—a nonprofit working to fully inform policymakers and the US public about the harms of solitary confinement.

I Can Show You the Way Out

In this interview, Chris talks painting, cannabis, and how he uses the power of art to change culture. He also gives us insight into his first New York solo exhibition, I Can Show You the Way Out. This show will be on view at Etain Health’s luxe medical cannabis dispensary from May 11-June 10. The choice to hold the exhibition at a dispensary was purposeful. It juxtaposes the industry’s new legal status with the plant’s dark social and cultural history—especially for communities like the one Chris grew up in.

I Can Show You the Way Out, a new solo exhibition by visual artist, Chris Wilson

How did you get started as a visual artist?

ART LESSONS 

A close friend of mine, Jeffrey Kent, is an artist. Once, for my birthday, he gave me 5 art lessons as a present. At first, I was like, “Really?! Art lessons? Give me some money or something!” I had no interest, but I went anyway. In our first lesson, Jeffrey told me to go outside into the alley behind his studio and find some materials. I thought he was crazy! But he insisted, so I went and found some old wooden palettes sitting by the trash and picked them up. I worked on them for a couple hours and then showed them to Jeffrey. He looked at them and was quiet for a while. Then he said, “You painted these, Chris?” I nodded. He said, “Never stop painting.”

Persistence 

So that’s how I got started. After working on my art consistently for a couple years and sharing it on my social media, an old teacher I had in elementary school reached out. She reminded me that I had always been interested in art as a kid. I had just forgotten about it. I think I had always been an artist at heart. But Jeffrey was the one who got me to act on it. Fun fact about him—he’s mentored most of the best artists from Baltimore. Even the great Amy Sherald!

How does being a returning citizen influence your work as a visual artist?

I think it gives more purpose to my art. The fact that I had a life sentence and I now have a second chance to live my life…. I will never take that opportunity for granted. Especially because I know there are still so many people on the inside. These are people I grew up with, and they won’t get that opportunity. Sometimes those people call me and tell me they appreciate me doing what I do. They say that, even if they don’t get out, they feel like they can live through me to an extent. That keeps me motivated and reminds me to truly appreciate how lucky I am to get to do what I do.   

Describe your studio in 5 emojis

Visual artist, Chris Wilson, describes his studio in 5 emojis

Positive Delusions is an immensely powerful painting—how did it come about?

The Silenced Project 

A friend of mine, Scott Hechinger, reached out to me on behalf of the Silenced project in Michigan. Silenced was looking for artists. They wanted us to review letters from people who are or have been in solitary confinement and create a piece of art inspired by them. I don’t normally take commissions or consider other people’s opinions on what art I should make. But this was something I cared too much about to turn down.

Surviving Solitary Confinement 

From my own experience in solitary, I knew I didn’t want to create a morbid piece. So I discussed it with my therapist. She asked me what got me through the experience. And that’s what I decided to focus on. How did I stay sane? How do others? I thought about my grandmother’s cooking, the people I care about, and the experiences I would have when I got out. I had to delude myself to get through that experience. Without focusing on those good thoughts, I never could have done it. People have to focus on those positive delusions to survive the situation.

Take us through the colors in Positive Delusions and what they symbolize for you as a visual artist

Light blue represents the ocean and blue skies. I daydreamed of being able to see them both again. Yellow is for the happy moments in my past. It’s the energy to do the things that kept me motivated—sunshine and hope. Black represents my desire to rebel against the systems that oppress Black people in this country. Red is the rage I felt for being treated like an animal. Pink is to show my desire to protect people from the experience of solitary confinement. I want to end the practice completely. And finally, white represents White supremacy. That includes the police and policymakers who have been trying to destroy the Black community for decades. That’s why the white behaves so violently toward the other colors in this painting. 

If there’s just one thing that people take away from Positive Delusions, what do you hope it is?

Visual artist Chris Wilson painted Positive Delusions to depict his experience in solitary confinement

Outrage. The United Nations officially declared solitary confinement torture back in 2007. But there are still over 80,000 men, women, and children in solitary right now. We can’t let this go on.

What are you looking to achieve as a visual artist through this House of Puff collab?

Through this collaboration, I’m hoping we can be a voice for people who’ve been impacted by the criminal justice system—especially those who are sitting in prison for cannabis-related charges. And, as always, my ultimate goal is to help the fight to permanently end solitary confinement in the US.

Your fave way to consume cannabis?

If I’m in a social situation, I love to sit with friends and roll a joint. Most days, though, I like a one-hitter. I don’t always feel like rolling up. Some might say I’m lazy. I’d say I’m efficient. 😈

How does being a visual artist fit into your own master plan?

I didn’t plan to be a visual artist. It happened serendipitously. But being an artist serves the goals in my Master Plan well. That’s because I can use my voice to tell powerful stories. Simultaneously, it allows me to be financially stable enough to meaningfully contribute to my philanthropic work. I feel so grateful that I’ve been able to build the life I always dreamed of.

Your earlier artworks tend to be representational. What made you switch to abstract art?

I don’t see myself as having made a concrete switch. I’m an explorer. I’m on a quest to figure out who I want to be as a visual artist. How do you know what you love if you don’t experiment and tinker with your art? That being said, I love the freedom of abstract art. It allows me to achieve catharsis through my art. That’s what I love most. Abstract work is also more challenging to me. How do you know if it’s good, if it’s making the right statement? You can’t really. It’s subjective. That challenge is exciting to me.

Favorite strain for creativity as a visual artist?

Sativa—Kali Mist. Jeffrey and I have been smoking it for years in the studio.

You also recently executive produced a short documentary film about solitary confinement, The Box, that’s included in your NYC solo show—tell us about it

The Box is a hybrid documentary that explores the effects of solitary confinement through 3 people’s true stories. I’m so proud of this project. It shows what solitary is really like. How it affects the people who’ve experienced it. It’s torture. I don’t think you can watch The Box and not understand why we need to end solitary confinement. I hope that it will inspire everyone who sees it to help us end the practice.

As well as a visual artist, you’re an art collector—how do you decide which works to buy?

I have to like the work aesthetically, of course. Can I live with it in my home? But really, if I have a choice, I like to get to know the artist. I’m always more excited about a piece if I know the artist and the career behind it. I want to support the person who creates the work as much as I want to add a great piece to my walls.

A visual artist you’re especially into right now?

One artist I’m loving and I’ve been lucky to be able to support is Chinedu Victor Uyaelunmo. I have 6 paintings from him. And I’m getting another one soon! I love his story—he had a basketball scholarship to Towson University in Maryland. But he loved art and was willing to make the jump from the West coast to pursue his passion.

Tell us about the other organizations you support, especially as a visual artist. 

I’m a trustee at The New York Academy of Art. I love that because I get to learn about the next generation of artists coming up in New York. I’ve done some work with the Whitney Museum. I helped organize a drawing party where we got to bring together artists and art lovers from all spheres of the art world. And the Chris Wilson Foundation of course! 

How can we keep up with your latest endeavors?

You can follow my Instagram @chriswilsonbaltimore. I’m always posting photos and videos from the studio. So it’s a great way to stay up to date. And my website is coming soon!

How Can You Find the Best Weed?

  • Sava is changing the way people in the Bay Area try, buy, and enjoy the best weed. Founders Andrea Brooks and Amanda Denz personally curate Sava’s offerings to give you the highest quality. 
  • What to look for? The best weed is clean, lab-tested, and consistent.
  • Brands like Sava, the only women-, queer-, and Latinx-founded cannabis marketplace in the Bay Area, can help you find the best weed products.
  • These 3 Latinx brands, Sava, House of Puff, and Pure Beauty, are thrilled to debut their first collaboration, House of Puff’s Soho Holder in Sava’s signature teal coupled with artist series rolling papers and Pure Beauty’s premium flower. 

10-minute read

First collab by Latinx powerhouses—Sava, PURE BEAUTY, and House of PufF

SavaHouse of Puff, and Pure Beauty align on every level. We’re all Latinx and women-founded companies that hold the highest standards for the products we curate for our customers. We all elevate cannabis beyond its stereotypes to reach an ever-widening audience. That’s why we teamed up for our first collab! Like a breath of springtime, our joint rolling kit will take your sesh to the next level with a limited edition Soho Joint Holder in Sava’s signature turquoise and teal, artist series rolling papers, and premium flower by Pure Beauty.  

Why Sava Specializes in curating only the best weed products

Sava’s founder, Andrea Brooks, turned to cannabis following a disabling injury. The plant ended up playing a crucial role in her recovery. The relief she got from cannabis inspired her and Amanda Denz to found Sava. Based in the Bay Area, Andrea and Amanda personally handpick the highest quality cannabis products and conveniently deliver them to your door. They’re also careful to select brands that share the same goals—like House of Puff and Pure Beauty. In this interview, Andrea and Amanda, tell us why Sava is so committed to offering you only the best weed products.

walk us through how you’re elevating the experience of buying, trying, and enjoying cannabis

California has some of the best cannabis products in the world—artisan, small-batch, super high-quality, lovely products of all kinds. We started Sava because we saw a need for a marketplace that collected these things in one place. When we launched in 2015, a lot of dispensaries felt inaccessible to us. They were showcasing things like neon green “dank” lollipops with super high THC. We wanted to create a space that was welcoming to women, people newer to cannabis, and people looking for lower-dose products or products for wellness. We wanted to make it easy to understand what was in the products and how you would use them, and we wanted to make it easy to shop online and get it all delivered to your door.

What criteria do you use for selecting the best weed products?

Most simply described, everything on Sava is handpicked by the two of us. We only choose products we would use ourselves or recommend to a friend. However, over the years those standards have evolved to be much more detailed.

The Best Weed products are clean, lab-tested, and consistent 

Everything we sell is clean, lab-tested for quality, and delivers a consistent experience each time you use it. We believe flower should never be grown with pesticides. Extracts should be clean and potent. You should be able to find edibles, tinctures, and topicals with clean, healthy ingredients that support your wellbeing. The flower we sell is sungrown or sustainably grown indoors. Our vapes and concentrates are always free from fillers and additives. And we have edibles for every single dietary need.

Our partners are quality-obsessed and inclusive

In addition to screening products, we screen the partner brands we choose to work with. All of the brands on Sava are quality-obsessed. They also share our goal of creating a progressive, legal, and inclusive cannabis industry.

Personally, what’s your favorite combo—high THC, high CBD, or 1:1?

For both of us, it depends on the time of day and what we’re looking to accomplish. Cannabis is such a versatile plant, The more you get to know it, the more you realize the many ways you can tailor it to a range of situations.

Amanda loves CBD

I love products with CBD. If I just want to take the edge off a bit during the day, I’ll take a 20:1 CBD:THC tincture. But for relaxing at the end of the day, I usually look for cannabis beverages that have a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio. When I’m ready to sleep, I go THC all the way.

Andrea likes a little more THC 

I like a little more THC. I often use cannabis to manage chronic pain. My inspiration for starting Sava was my use of cannabis for pain management to recover from a disabling injury. If I’m dealing with pain, I often take a 4:1 CBD:THC tincture. When it comes time to unwind, I love to smoke a 1:1 strain. I also love some of the other minor cannabinoids. THCV is a recent favorite for a high that feels energetic and mentally focused.

You’ve recently renewed your commitment to quality and curation—what drove that?

We’ve had really strong curation standards since we started, but we realized that they weren’t clear to our customers. Our solution was to succinctly gather them into a manifesto that we unveiled at the start of this year. We figured that we were already curating this way, why not share it with the world?

Sava's maifesto for how they choose the best weed products

You prioritize independently owned brands, artisans, and women-owned shops. What’s your process for finding those brands?

We’re committed to diversity in cannabis

We’re a queer-, women-, Latinx-founded company. So we want to make space for diversity in the industry. To make sure we’re always sticking to that, we committed to having at least 50% of the brands we carry be women-owned and at least 25% BIPOC-owned. In our online shop, you can even sort by women- or BIPOC-owned! We also think it’s critical to ensure the people who built this industry can stay afloat long enough to reap the rewards of their work. That means supporting small artisan makers who have sometimes been around for generations.

Our Community keeps us in the Know 

For us, these people aren’t hard to find. We’ve been around since 2015. In cannabis, that’s a long time. We’ve always been very involved in the community here in California. We hosted community-building events even before the pandemic. We know a lot of people who are very tapped in. So we always ask them to let us know when a new brand or product pops up that’s truly special. That way, we can make sure our marketplace has space for the smaller folks in addition to the bigger brands.

Speaking of the best weed products, tell us about your new collab with House of Puff and Pure Beauty!

Speaking of women and Latinx-owned brands, this is a collab between several! We’re thrilled to team up with House of Puff to make a Sava-themed joint holder in our favorite teal and turquoise. We also put together a special joint rolling set that includes this joint holder, rolling papers with artwork by Latinx artist Paula Flores, and a jar of flower from Pure Beauty. They’re a women-and-Latinx-owned flower brand. Plus, they sustainably grow indoor flower that’s of mind-blowing quality. It’s fun to work with like-minded women who offer super high quality products to the world! And if you’re not in the Bay Area, you can still get your own limited edition Sava teal and turquoise joint holder and rolling papers at House of Puff no matter which state you live in.

Some of Sava's best weed products include their new collab with House of Puff

As leaders in cannabis, what do you wish you could tell your younger selves?

Everything will change, many times over. But don’t worry—you’ll figure it out. We got into the cannabis industry in California during the days prior to recreational legalization. That’s when you could only sell to medical patients. Going through the regulatory changes that came with legalization was a rollercoaster. We had to completely change our business model. After the initial switch to recreational legalization, regulations rolled out continuously. So we had to be nimble and adjust quickly. However, going through that made us quick on our feet. We figured it all out. It’s not easy to run a cannabis business. You have normal business challenges. Then, on top of that, there are specific cannabis-business challenges. Luckily, we’ve built a strong team and we’ve created a supportive community of fellow cannabis brands. We all work together to keep leading the way!

Fave consumption rituals?

Amanda loves cannabis at bathtime 

At the end of a long day, I love to make a cannabis mocktail and get in the bathtub. I fill my tub with cannabis epsom salts and bring a good book. Afterwards, I rub my shoulders and neck with a cannabis topical oil. That ritual can make the stress of any day melt off so I’m ready for a relaxed evening with my family and a good night’s sleep.

The best weed for Andrea is an end-of-day smoke and a dog walk 

I love smoking flower, and I love mini-prerolls. At the end of a long day, I grab a nice CBD/THC blended preroll, my dog, and I head out for a walk around SF. It’s a great way to wind down. After a few puffs, I’m more present and less in my head. That means I’m more able to look around and appreciate all of the small wonders that make San Francisco so magical—the unexpected creativity you see everywhere.

How does your support for other women-owned brands and social equity dovetail with your commitment to curating the best weed products?

Many of the women- and BIPOC-owned brands are smaller artisan brands. Those brands care immensely about quality. Many of our truly special and unique offerings come from these founders.

What are the qualities that distinguish the best cannabis flower?

How the cannabis plant is grown, cured, stored, and cared for greatly impacts its quality. The terpenes in the flower are so important. They really affect your experience. But they’re volatile and can be easily destroyed with a lack of care. We look for flower with several qualities. It has to smell delicious. The buds have to look well cared for and intact. It has to be dry enough that it’s been cured. But it can’t be over dried to the point that it’s crumbling. There can’t be any sticks, stems, seeds, or anything brown or squished. Your flower should look happy. And looking at it and smelling it should make you happy. 

What about the best weed edibles?

Your weed edibles should clearly state which cannabinoids are in them and in which quantities. In this day and age, they should be delicious as well! Look at the food ingredients in addition to the cannabis ingredients. Are they things you want to eat?

What should we look for in the best cannabis concentrates?

The ingredients should be pure cannabis oil—no fillers or additives. We advocate for buying all your cannabis through legal sources. But that’s particularly important with cannabis concentrates. When you buy cannabis via legal sources, it’s been tested for harmful elements. That includes heavy metals, pesticides, and molds, etc. If you concentrate tainted cannabis, guess what happens? You get a concentration of those harmful elements. So you especially want your concentrates clean.

For those of us who aren’t in Sava’s neighborhood, what’s your advice for finding the best weed wherever we are?

Look for the legal channels in your area. If you don’t have any, vocalize that you need them to your local representatives! We know that options in some states are limited. But they are increasing. We suggest finding a retailer that’s very transparent about sourcing and ingredients. They should also provide you with education about how to use the products and what to expect. If you decide to buy CBD online or from a non-dispensary, it’s important to know that they have no regulations on quality. Look for a brand you can trust—one that tests their products via a third-party and makes those tests available to you.

How can we keep up with Sava’s most current curation of the best weed products?

Sign up for our email list at www.getsava.com/email or follow us on IG @getsava!

Why Should You Care about Cannabis Testing?

  • You should care about cannabis testing because you want to know that what you’re putting in your body is safe and effective! 
  • Cannabis testing is also what details all the specifics about a product’s terpene and cannabinoid profiles.  
  • Sarah explains why you should always check the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) before buying cannabis products. 

9-minute read

Why you should care about cannabis testing

Why should you care about cannabis testing? Because you want to know what you’re putting in your body. You want to make sure the your cannabis meets safety standards. That’s where cannabis testing comes into play. Sarah Ahrens started True Labs, a cannabis testing lab based in New Jersey. True Labs tests cannabis products to independently verify that what you’re buying is safe. Cannabis testing also helps you understand the components of the cannabis products you’re buying. And, like everything else, not all cannabis testing labs are created equal.

What led you to create a cannabis testing lab?

There are many reasons why I chose to start True Labs. These are the 3 that stick out the most.

Passion for Transparency and Integrity

I have a personal passion for quality, transparency, and integrity. I’m health-conscious. I want to know what goes into the products I buy for myself and my family. So I read ingredient labels and buy organic as much as possible. It was easy to see how this passion could translate to the New Jersey cannabis market by starting a cannabis testing laboratory. It’s not a coincidence that the acronym for True Labs for Cannabis, TLC, also stands for “tender loving care.”

Fulfilling my dream

I’ve always wanted to be a research scientist. But with a career in business and sales, and an MBA, that wasn’t a realistic pivot. Starting an analytical cannabis testing lab gave me the ability to get closer to this dream.

NJ is Coming Online for Adult Recreational Use

It’s the right place and the right time to get involved. New Jersey is coming online and really needs a strong testing market to support the industry. I love being a part of a new market and advocating for consumer safety. I also love having a voice in enabling a best-in-class cannabis testing market.

Why should we care about cannabis testing?

Cannabis testing is a major factor in choosing the right cannabis products for you

#1 Safety

Cannabis testing is what ensures that products are safe. It’s the key to product transparency as well as understanding what’s in the cannabis you buy and consume. Product safety is literally the key differentiator of the legal cannabis market from the legacy market. Testing does more than ensure that cannabis products sold in dispensaries meet safety standards. 

#2 Choosing your Strains

Testing helps you know which cannabinoids and terpenes are in each product. Knowing this, and in what quantities, helps you dial in. This knowledge can also help you more accurately predict how a certain product might affect you. It helps shed light on the potential therapeutic impact that cannabis product might have for you.

What are the most important things that cannabis testing reveals?

Everything that cannabis testing reveals is important. From understanding potency to knowing that the product is free from harmful substances like pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, or mold. We give products a pass/fail for each harmful substance. If the product fails cannabis testing for any contaminant, it can’t be sold to consumers. But people should be aware that each state sets their own acceptable levels for contaminants. So there are times when cannabis can still receive a passing grade, even with some contaminants. They just have to be in low enough levels that they meet the state requirements.

Tell us about Certificates of Analysis (CoAs)

Each state has its own regulations around cannabis testing. There are variations in the substances and contaminants they require testing for, as well as the action limits they impose. On every cannabis product label, there’s a QR code that leads to its Certificate of Analysis (CoA). That makes accessing the CoA easy. CoAs give consumers the transparency they need to understand the product’s profile and safety. CoAs can be especially important if you’re consuming cannabis to treat a medical condition. Looking at the CoA is the only way to really understand exactly what’s in it.

How did the legalization of recreational cannabis in New Jersey open new doors for your cannabis testing lab?

Cannabis labs are a critical part of the supply chain. New Jersey’s soon-to-come adult use market has brought in a ton of new business interest from all sectors. That includes cultivation, manufacturing, and wholesale. So existing medical cannabis cultivators are significantly expanding their cultivation and operations. They’re doing this to gear up for the increased demand that the adult use market will create. Of course, all this added product has to be tested by a third-party lab. So adult use is adding demand for labs to certify that cannabis products are safe. And, of course, to provide accurate information for product labeling.

How do you incorporate cannabis into your everyday life?

Cannabis has been in my life in one way or another since I was a teenager. Now, as a business owner in a “plant touching” capacity, it’s a constant. Aside from running a cannabis testing business, I’m also involved in a lot of advocacy work. That’s to guide New Jersey to a safe and operationally effective cannabis market.

What’s a secret about cannabis testing that everyone should know?

Not all cannabis testing labs are created equal. Just like in any industry, some owners are driven mainly by profit. Others, like me, are also driven by passion, altruistic motivations, and ethical integrity. All labs should fall in the latter category. Unfortunately, they don’t. Some labs have cut corners, falsified results, passed contaminated products, and risked their entire businesses. Some have even gotten sanctioned and shut down.

Why should you know who’s testing your cannabis products?

It’s worth taking the time to investigate the cannabis lab that tests the products you want or like to buy. The cannabis testing lab name and contact details are always listed on the CoA. So be your own advocate and find out whether the testing results are coming from a trusted, ethical source. I’m proud that True Labs was built on a strong foundation of integrity and transparency.

Since you started working in cannabis testing, has it changed how you personally consume the plant?

I always ask for a CoA before I buy now. I do that whether I’m buying for myself. Or for a family member, like my mom, who has tremendous back pain. That’s what I really appreciate about the legal market. It’s not like it used to be, when you just “got what you got” and that was it.

What’s the most eye-opening thing you’ve learned about cannabis testing?

Knowing how easily the cannabis plant and products can become contaminated has been eye opening. Cannabis plant is a natural bioaccumulator. That means it readily absorbs toxins from its environment. Cultivators and manufacturers have to take steps to ensure plants aren’t exposed to contaminants.

tell us more about contaminants

These contaminants can be found in water, soil, air, and containers—or on processing equipment. Cannabis can be contaminated at virtually any touchpoint. All of this makes me think twice about our entire agricultural food chain and how there should be more safety standards put in place. But when it comes to cannabis, knowing we have testing labs to verify product safety is very reassuring. I make sure to read the CoA every time. I appreciate the transparency and knowing what’s in every product.

 

Cannabis testing helps you know what you're putting in your body

What’s the most important thing we should look for on a cannabis label?

Everything on a cannabis label is important. Each state has varying requirements for labeling information. Certainly, you want to know the product’s potency. But not a lot of information can fit onto a product label. So, for me, the absolute most critical thing is to look at the COA.

What 3 cannabis products are you loving right now, and why?

Wish I could tell you (smiling)! I don’t want to promote one brand over another or add any bias. What I do know is the ethical and rigorous approach to safety and compliance testing at True Labs. So my favorites are any products tested, verified, and passed by us!

How would you like to see cannabis testing evolve to better protect consumers?

Not all testing labs are created equal, and each state has its own testing regulations. These have an impact on consumer protection. When a cannabis market has a structure that eliminates “lab shopping”, that makes a huge positive impact on ensuring product safety. Lab shopping makes it easier for labs to get away with falsifying results.

What are cannabis testing regulations like?

Different testing regulations across the country are challenging for any cannabis business. We have to start with standardized testing somewhere. But, so far, no state has set model testing regulations for other states to work toward. If New Jersey can set up a best-in-class model for other states to follow, that would be amazing progress for the nation. We could incorporate lessons from other states who came online earlier. New Jersey also has pharma-heavy DNA. So NJ is an ideal state to create cannabis safety and consumer protection standards for the entire industry.

Do you have plans to eventually expand out of New Jersey into other states?

Anything is possible. I’ve refrained from making promises to expand to other states. First, it’s critical for us to ensure that what we’ve built works here. Things are still very new in New Jersey. We’re differentiating True Labs in so many ways that are really meaningful. We’re the first certified woman-owned cannabis testing lab on the East Coast. We also have a strong foundation built on care and integrity. And we have a unique combination of business and scientific expertise. Our scientific leadership team has over 18 years of cannabis testing experience. But most importantly, we’re true partners to our customers. Our model brings something unique and fresh to the cannabis testing industry. So it would be a great model to expand.

How can people keep up with everything the True Labs is doing?

True Labs has a monthly newsletter about what’s happening in the New Jersey testing market. You can sign up for True Labs for cannabis newsletters at the bottom of our home page. We also maintain an education center on our blog. It has super informative guides and insight into cannabinoids, testing, contaminants, processes, and more. You can also find us and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Canncierge Answers All Your Questions About Cannabis Use

  • Christina Forbrich founded The Canncierge to help others appreciate all the benefits of cannabis use that she’s loved for years.  
  • Christina’s advice about how to start the conversation around cannabis use. 
  • Along with being a cannabis educator, Christina is also a mom. 
  • Social media is an integral part of her business and her personal journey with cannabis. 

9-minute read

Chatting with The Canncierge about cannabis use

So, you’re ready to start the conversation about your cannabis use with your friends and family. You’ve got nothing to hide. But you’re worried about how people will react. Not everyone is accepting of the plant. For years, this was how Christina Forbrich felt. Now, she’s open about her cannabis use and how much it helps her.  She started The Canncierge to bring cannabis education and advocacy to everyone else who can benefit from the plant.

What initially prompted you to start being open about your cannabis use/coming out of the cannabis closet?

When I started my company, I initially kept my identity confidential. It was totally anonymous. I was still working in public education. For fear of losing my day job, I wanted to avoid anyone discovering my cannabis use. Eventually, I was laid off and fully devoted myself to The Canncierge. For months, I anonymously posted educational and real-life cannamom content. But, as I watched other women destigmatize cannabis by being totally overt with their cannabis use, a switch flipped inside me. I had to be authentic if I was going to actually do this thing. So I finally showed my face! Honestly, I’ve never looked back. Being myself takes the pressure off and allows me to just focus on creating value and spreading love in the cannabis community.

Who were the first people you told about your cannabis use?

My close friends and my closest brother have always known about my love for the green. But few others around me were in the know. Once I started telling people close to me, my dad became my number one. When I was 25, we got high together for the first time—it was the best! To this day, my pops is one of my favorite sesh buddies! Over the last 5 years I’ve now told 3 generations of my family. Lucky for me, they’re all not only supportive but curious. Now, I’m my family’s weed coach.

How does your cannabis consumption and being a cannabis educator tie into being a mom or influence your parenting?

Frankly, I was a stoner for a long time before I became a mother. So I knew the two would dovetail harmoniously. Being an expert on the plant’s history, applications, and education affords me the vocabulary and knowledge to educate my daughter in a developmentally appropriate way.

How do you teach your daughter about cannabis?

Starting at a very young age, I was showing my child that this plant is medicinal. It’s used for common issues that both humans and animals experience, including her. My now 9-year-old loves hemp balm for her eczema. I also underscore the social context for the villainization of cannabis. It’s important for my child to understand the history of the plant. That includes who’s benefited from it and who hasn’t. Since she’s a California child and I was, too, we live in one of the most open states in the union. But there is such nuance to that. Finally, because I’m raising another white woman, I feel responsible for acknowledging that people are still sitting in jail for something I do as part of my profession. And they’re mainly Black and brown people. That’s racist and wrong. So all of us who benefit from the cannabis industry should work to eradicate that.

Describe The Canncierge in 3 emojis

The Canncierge Emojis

At The Canncierge, who is the ideal client?

My consulting work is dual pronged. On the individual side, my ideal client is a woman of any age who’s curious about cannabis. She wants an earnest, personalized education and a “weed coach” for her journey. On the brand partnership side, I love working with companies that make products I actually use and value. Ideally, I’m working with a female-helmed brand on research and design, product innovation, or promotional campaigns. I truly adore every aspect of working to normalize cannabis. I also enjoy imparting a sense of educational fun to my work. That can be in confidential consults or a silly-yet-informative reel on Instagram.

When it comes to telling people about cannabis use, family can be the hardest. What tips do you have for talking about cannabis with family members?

Families are so dynamic. There’s really no hard and fast rules. But I’ve found that one way to broach the subject in conservative circles or prohibition states is to start with hemp. Maybe you have an older relative who has arthritis or trouble sleeping. There are hemp-based products that can help with those types of issues. And they’re completely legal to ship across the US. But l also expose new consumers psychologically to the visual of the leaf and the idea of plant medicine in general. Think about that iconic 7-speared leaf! If it’s not part of your life, seeing that leaf can trigger a feeling of criminality. If it IS part of your life, seeing one triggers, well…excitement.

How does psychological exposure make cannabis use a comfortable experience?

Simply giving someone access and exposure to something new facilitates their own experience. I try to shift the context to their own discovery versus simply trying to get them to listen to me tell them about mine. Using the hemp example again, it makes a huge difference if someone is able to soothe their own pain with a topical. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised while speaking to multiple generations of my own family as well as adult clients of all ages. People are more open to cannabis consumption than ever before. Of course, misinformation still runs rampant. So I always recommend that you approach conversations about cannabis armed with facts.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job and what you do?

Clearly, getting checks to smoke weed online is the best. Just kidding! Well, sort of. 😉  Supporting my family by working in the cannabis realm ranks *highly* for me. Moreover, it’s very fulfilling to help others embrace a plant that’s had such an indelibly positive impact on my own life. But, the absolute most rewarding part of my work manifests in my daughter when she talks proudly about my work. When my child shows pride in me, it strengthens me to continue working in a semi-controversial, male-dominated, emerging industry. I’d honestly feel this way regardless of what industry I worked in. What’s most important for me is that my child watches me work hard for my own business and witnesses me being strong and resilient. That’s the example that I want to set.

If you could have an infused dinner with any 3 people, who would you choose and what are you serving?

After the last 2 years, honestly, my 3 best friends. But because ya’ll don’t know them, I’ll go the celebrity route. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Chelsea Handler, and Stacy Abrams. We’re eating infused tacos and talking about voting rights in America. We’re also smoking gigantor joints while Chelsea riffs and looking at the stars as NdGT confirms that aliens exist.

Chatting about cannabis use with Christina Forbrich of The Canncierge

How has your personal relationship with cannabis use and your previous experience come together in creating The Canncierge?

My business is the manifestation of decades of me being a complete stonerd! I was a teen when I discovered that cannabis really helped me with excruciating chronic period pain and crippling social anxiety. Cannabis had just been medically legalized in my state, And I was intrigued by it. In every sense of the word, I became a citizen scientist of it. I met cultivators who I’m still friendly with to this day. I also read everything I could get my hands on—from books to microfiche. (Google that ancient tech if you don’t know what it is, ya whippersnapper). But I definitely hid my consumption and research for years. I grew up in the wake of prohibition. So the expectation was that we hid cannabis to avoid the three Js: jail, judgment, and job loss. That’s a big reason why it’s so gratifying to be public with the area of expertise that I’ve been passionate about for the vast majority of my life. Being my total self is very gratifying.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start talking openly about their cannabis use?

Yes, I do! Calculate your risk tolerance and follow your heart as to why you’re doing it. If I worked in a government position with security clearance, I wouldn’t be open about my cannabis use. But if I didn’t feel as though my livelihood would be at stake by divulging my use, I might consider it. Why? Because authentic normalization helps you AND other people. You can do that by sharing your experience online or just telling a friend. Your plant wellness journey can open that door for others as well as expand your own community.

Currently, what’s your favorite way to consume cannabis? Or, what’s a must-have in your stash right now?

Personally, flower and hash are my “daily drivers.” My favorite strains right now are of the fruity variety, like Mimosa and Papaya. As far as the how—my bong, who I call (D)Oprah, is number one in my heart right now. But my Puffco, Dolly Puffton, rivals her daily. Professionally (and I mean that in all seriousness, but I do chuckle), I’m a diligent consumer of retail errrythang. For my clients, I have to know industry offerings, trends, and feedback. And I’m insatiably curious. Lately, the market’s been saturated by cannabis-infused drinks. That’s been incredibly fun market research to do.

Who has helped you the most in your own journey with cannabis?

Definitely other women. For most of my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to buy weed from women who’ve actually grown it themselves. That’s empowered me because representation matters! But it made me feel like I had mentors who were also peers. In the professional realm, the reason I’m passionate about working with women in this industry is because it’s where I feel most comfortable. Through 3 previous careers, I’ve never felt more professionally supported or acknowledged than I do by other women in the cannabis industry.

Has social media played any role in your decision to be more open about your cannabis use? 

Absolutely. It’s played a big role. When I started my Instagram I didn’t show my face out of caution. So I could only achieve a certain level of connection. I remember having a sort of “walk-the-walk” moment. I realized that, if I was brave enough to be my whole, imperfect, stoner self, others might connect with me and form a community. I’m a social scientist. So, for me, it wasn’t just an experiment in the digital arena. I’m an incredibly social person who was searching for a community toehold. Bringing my authentic cannabis love to social media was not only alluring from a kinship standpoint. It also proved to be an organic accelerator toward my dream career. When the veil of anonymity fell, I stepped further into my power. Instantly, my work felt more authentic and successful. I always recognize that I’m privileged to do this work. And, I live in a “legal” state. I also don’t fear retribution from an employer, my spouse, or the police.

How can people keep up with everything The Canncierge is doing?

Follow @TheCanncierge on Instagram. I’ll apologize for the weed puns now!

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