Published on January 25th, 2016 | by gatsbyadmin0
Watch Us Grow: Females Flourishing in Cannabis
Its recently become fashionable for the mainstream media to cover stories in support of marijuana legalization and many of them have been shrewd enough to recognize the growing importance of females within the industry. An article that appeared in Newsweek this past August was even titled “Women in Weed: How Legal Marijuana Could Be The First Billion-Dollar Industry Not Dominated By Men.” It highlighted several females whose work backs up their assertion and offered some compelling reasons why women would be the ones to really make a difference in legalization efforts. However, despite reports of a growing female presence, I still don’t think that many of them are getting enough credit. I also have yet to witness the cohesiveness and camaraderie between women in this community that I believe would allow them to make the biggest possible impact.
Due to federal laws, statistics within the cannabis industry are still inconclusive, but the eyes don’t lie; from what I’ve observed, its still predominately male. Marijuana events usually feel like big ol’ boys clubs – and the girls running businesses don’t always get as much recognition as they should. An additional factor is that the role women are most often relegated to is that of “spokesmodel.” I agree that our gender is more aesthetically pleasing, so no offense to those girls; but really, we do have much more to offer than physical attributes. The cannabis industry has deep roots in feminism, compassion and empathy and, since these attributes are most often associated with us, you would think that women and marijuana would go hand in hand. As far as public perception, I also believe that seeing women (of a particular age especially) using cannabis responsibly could be the catalyst that finally shifts the stigmatized image of marijuana. I may only be tangentially involved in the stoner society, but since this is something I feel strongly about, I wanted to do something, however small, to promote the ladies.
In the midst of the planning phase of Blazers Cup, a first-time event held this past December, I got the chance to actually do something more proactive for the women. Though there would be a very limited amount of time to put it together, the event organizer we worked with was supportive of the idea to have an area devoted to the female business owners. I was hoping that promoting a group of reputable women together (rather than individually) would bring them more attention and encourage a little solidarity. I also wanted to arrange giveaways that would only be available to female attendees. Tossing freebies from a stage is now the norm and the “shatter gun” is always popular with audiences. However, the crowd reactions aren’t always civil and I’ve seen many girls get trampled; they deserve a little love too, but not at the risk of injury.
Limited time wasn’t the only obstacle; the event was held during the last business quarter of the year (when budgets are notoriously tight), during the last two nights of Hanukkah and a bare week and a half before Christmas. So, while the first “Watch Us Grow” section (the official name of the endeavor) was on the smaller side, like so much else in life, it was a case of quality over quantity. Some of the participants I was already acquainted with, others I knew only through word of mouth, but all of them more than lived up to their solid reputations and were a pleasure to work with. Below are the women and companies involved in the first ever Watch Us Grow project. If you weren’t aware of them already, I encourage you to become familiar because they’re definitely flourishing in the cannabis industry.
I’ve been familiar with Masterminded Distribution for a while – mostly through Grimey Gatsby connections – and, in what I’m sure is an anomaly in this community, have heard only great things about them. However, since the company’s formation in 2011, I had somehow missed meeting the mastermind behind Masterminded, an amazing woman by the name of Brandine. By the time I spoke to her personally, she had, in my mind, taken on mythical proportions. After getting to work with her at Blazers Cup, I completely understand why almost everyone describes her as “the true definition of a BOSS.”
Originally established as the master distributor for G Pen in 2011, Masterminded is now a full service wholesale distributor of top brands including The T Case, Health Stone Glass, Highly Educated and the ever-popular Miss Mary Jane Co. (just to name a few). Their website states that they “bring retail smokeshops a higher level of products and service than they are accustomed to,” which I actually think is an understatement. In addition to offering the highest quality products, they also provide their clients with: online ordering/account management, same day shipping, a loyalty points program, expert account managers, friendly/accessible service, live chat support, small business specials, promotional supplies and bi-weekly newsletter updates. I have several years experience writing web content for small physician’s practices and, excuse me, but Masterminded’s site and customer service literally shit on those of most medical offices. (Let that soak in for a minute; a wholesale distributor for supplies in the cannabis industry is run more professionally than many of the offices that you rely on to keep you healthy and alive). Brandine was also incredibly generous, donating quite a few products as giveaways, which made for a lot of really happy girls. Some of these included limited edition pink T Cases signed by bad ass glass artist Saki Bhomb – who in turn donated three of her gorgeous brand new pendants for giveaways as well. Suffice to say that it was a great experience getting to meet/work with Brandine and her company. I would do it again in a heartbeat and if you ever have the opportunity to work with them, I highly suggest you jump on it immediately.
Bhomb Chellys Jellys
I actually met Michelle, the owner of Bhomb Chellys Jellys, before she established her company. This was back in 2012 when I helped organize “The Bowlympics,” a small community gathering that centered on games inspired by the summer Olympics (modified to focus on smoking, of course). It didn’t take long for Michelle to stand out there; not only was she one of the few women competing, she distinguished herself by quietly stepping in and absolutely dominating all of the males who swaggered to the stage. After the event we became friends on social media and since then she has openly documented her involvement in the cannabis industry. Seeing the evolution of her business over the years, I find her story to be especially touching and inspirational.
I’ve watched a series of circumstances unfold that have led Michelle to devote more and more of her time to helping patients afflicted with serious illnesses, particularly children. Being a marijuana consumer herself, it seemed only natural to me that she chose to help others by utilizing cannabis for its medicinal qualities. It all began with her medicated “jellys,” a fun and chewable form of candy. In addition to being tasty and easy to consume, the cannabis her products are infused with offer relief from symptoms and side effects that often plague patients with serious ailments. Thus Bhomb Chellys Jellys was born. Michelle recently purchased a new production facility for her business and the success she is experiencing is both a testament to the efficacy of cannabis as medicine as well as her business acumen. While the Jellys may have started it all, her company now offers an entire line of products in various strengths and flavors, including caramels and lozenges – as well as a chocolatier department that produces “dark, milk or white chocolate with rich caramel or gummie centers.” (Is your mouth watering yet?) And while the sweet treats are undeniably delicious, the care they’re made with makes them even more appealing. Each creation is all natural and developed locally in Portland, Oregon with only the finest ingredients from trusted medical providers.
I was happy to reunite with Michelle at the Blazers Cup (the medicated cotton candy she gifted me was a major bonus), and after first meeting her years ago, it was pretty cool to link up again and see everything come full circle. It was an honor to have such an altruistic company involved with Watch Us Grow and I can’t wait to see the other amazing things she does with Bhomb Chellys Jellys in the future.
Goodies by MaGooch
When you consider the relatively short amount of time that they’ve been active, the swiftness with which Goodies by MaGooch has risen to the top echelon of edible companies is pretty amazing. I first became aware of them in 2014 during a birthday celebration – for Secret Sesh owner Tim – where they provided him with a delectable medicated cake (complete with a beautifully crafted rendition of his brand’s logo). Having heard great things about them, I was really happy when they were receptive to being a part of Watch Us Grow.
A true example of patients servicing patients, Goodies by MaGooch was born when husband and wife duo Rocky and Jenny decided that they wanted better tasting quality edibles at a reasonable price. Since that decision was made, they’ve managed to earn some pretty impressive accolades. In just under two years they’ve received several awards (often for their Gravity Lock Olive Oil, which is probably one of the most diverse edible products available) and have been the focus of countless articles. High Times Magazine, arguably the most popular and respected periodical in the industry, has published several of these features, including “Psychedelicatessen: Hot Pockets of Highness,” in which the Goodies by MaGooch medicated chicken empanada recipe was highlighted. It’s a pretty impressive resume, especially when you consider that the above list isn’t even complete.
The edibles they concoct are also of the highest caliber – all are made using only the finest cannabis sativa and indica (no BHO or concentrates) and are totally organic, naturally gluten free and non-allergenic. Typically this would lead me to believe that their products were healthy to the point of detracting from the taste. However, my personal experience at Blazers Cup made me a fan. The first day of the event had been so busy that I didn’t realize I had neglected to eat until early evening when the food truck lines had become agonizingly long. I eventually decided to try the medicated empanadas, despite the fact that edibles tend to hit me hard. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t eat the whole thing but of course I did; it was the best fucking empanada I’ve ever had, medicated or not. (As I write this, I hear DJ Khaled’s voice in my head saying “Congratulations. You played yourself”). A couple of hours later I could personally vouch for the potency of MaGooch’s products when I was so high that I came within inches of face-planting into my dinner plate. I can’t wait to see what innovative goodies they come up with next (though I’ll only be sampling them while in close proximity to my bed from now on).
De La Beuh
I first heard of De La Beuh at the pre-party for Chalice Festival this past July when they very kindly gave my boyfriend a couple of samples to pass along to me. Since they seemed to be a relative newcomer, I distinctly remember being a little surprised when two days later, they were announced as the winner of the event’s topical competition, beating out quite a few well-known companies. Unfortunately for me, in the confusion of Sunday night (a kind euphemism for the Weavers guitar blunt/Jonah Tacoma incident, which I have personally dubbed “Blunt Gate”), I lost track of the products that I had picked up throughout the weekend and never got to try my De La Beuh samples. Flash forward to a random Monday a month or so later when, to my surprise and delight, I found several packages of De La Beuh’s Medicated Coffee Scrub among my boyfriend’s goodies from the previous night – which I quickly claimed for myself. Since then they have become not only a personal favorite, but a favorite among the local cannabis community as well.
De La Beuh (which translated from French means “of the weed”), is run by a SoCal sister and brother team and offers a line of high quality medicated bath products. Having heard that I love it, Leanna – the sister half of the duo – has been kind enough to gift me with their coffee scrub on several occasions. While this has remained my number one choice from the De La Beuh line, their other topicals are equally amazing. They’re the first company I personally came across who made medicated bath bombs and their other products include bath cakes and body scrubs in delicious scents like cinnamon, tangie, lemon and thin mint; any patients who are Lush fans will adore this stuff. But make no mistake, De La Beuh products don’t just smell great. Their topicals are infused with healing blends of THC, CBD, hemp and essential oils which are absorbed into the skin to assist with hydration as well as stress reduction and even pain relief. Like most reputable companies in this industry, their products are always tested for quality, in this case at SC Labs. When the Blazers Cup winners were announced, it was awesome hearing De La Beuh’s name called once again. I’m already a huge fan and know how great they are, so it wasn’t particularly surprising; but it was pretty damn exciting to see them represent the women and take home that win as one of the participants in the Watch Us Grow section.
Despite Instagram continuously deleting marijuana-related accounts, I have them to thank for originally making me aware of Kitty’s Munchies. Through mutual “friends” on the social media app, I was exposed to her page and I was completely blown away by how beautiful and unique her creations were. I could tell they were a local company by the shops that carried their products, but I actually had no clue just how close to home they were. One random day, as our dogs were having a play date, I was surprised to learn that our new friend Kristen was actually Kitty of Kitty’s Munchies!
In addition to their original line, Kitty’s Munchies has another notch to add to their belt; they’re actually the company behind rapper Lil’ Debbie‘s new “Cakes” edibles. Kitty’s was represented in the Watch Us Grow section where Debbie made her “Cakes” debut at Blazers Cup. Although this may have been the official launch, it seems as though they’ve been in the works for a while. In a 2014 interview with Gimme Noise, Debbie said “You know what I really do wanna do is make edibles. I think that would be amazing. Don’t you think that would be amazing?” When asked what flavor she would be into, she also responded with “…I’d probably do some peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, or strawberry cupcakes. I would do something colorful and fun…” It looked to me like Kitty’s Munchies came through for her. The edible is a 150 mg twinkie-like creation in vibrant pink and purple colors and is also made using Debbie’s own marijuana strain (also called “Cakes”), an indica hybrid. Although the “Cakes” could be found in her booth, Debbie also threw a bunch of samples to the crowd during her performance. From what I witnessed of the crowd reaction (and what I already know of the company), I’m pretty sure that Kitty’s Munchies is indeed making good on Debbie’s lyrical claims that she really can “bake a cake.”
Boss Lady Edibles
Boss Lady Edibles is another company I became aware of through the Secret Sesh, although they were participants in the NorCal location rather than the ones in SoCal . Since then, Gina (the owner), has participated in several other events up North, making her yummy edibles available to many in the area.
Aside from providing quality products, there were a couple of other things that I came to truly appreciate about Gina as I got to know more about Boss Lady Edibles at Blazers Cup. As many of the other Watch Us Grow ladies did, Gina contributed a lot to the giveaways, not just for the female attendees, but for the audience in general as well. However, her largest contribution was a massive Star Wars chest that included a Star Wars t-shirt and a whole bunch of other goodies. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to some, but I thought it was pretty significant that she completely disregarded the typical gender roles when coming up with a giveaway. As she so simply put it, “Hey, girls like Star Wars, too.” And she was right. I personally am not very “girly” and knowing that there are many women out there who feel the same, I really appreciate that she took that into consideration and acknowledged that glittery pink shit doesn’t appeal to every female out there.
As I was researching Boss Lady Edibles, I came across another thing that many would overlook, but which meant a lot to me. Earlier I mentioned that there was a distinct lack of camaraderie and solidarity amongst the women in this industry (and sadly just among women in general). Add to that the competition between businesses in the same field and you can imagine how ugly things can get. Yet as I was looking through her Instagram posts, I saw one from a long way back where she created a giveaway package – and it included honey sticks from Honey Pot Bear! Now, one of Boss Lady Edibles’ claims to fame is that they are the creators of the Vegan Canna Honey Sticks, a product that is almost identical to one that is available through Honey Pot (another company who happens to have a cool ass woman as one of their co-owners). Gina is one of the rare women able to rise above the petty bullshit to promote another woman’s similar product – who is also technically her “competition.” I cannot begin to describe how much respect I have for her because of this and I couldn’t think of a better example of the attitude I had hoped that Watch Us Grow would represent.
Unsurprisingly, it was a hectic weekend; but I can say with all honesty that those who took part in the Watch Us Grow section at Blazers Cup made it worth every bit of chaos. I appreciate and respect these businesses and their owners for showing everyone what the ladies in this industry are made of. I also commend them for the generosity of their contributions to the female attendees. It was nice to see (for a change) women demonstrating such kindness toward one another and the Watch Us Grow participants can credit themselves with making some of the girls very happy with their giveaways. As with any first time experience we encountered a few bumps, but everyone rolled with the punches and I believe that a successful weekend was had by all. I personally consider it so because Blazers Cup gave me a chance to act upon something I feel strongly about and for that, I’m grateful. I believe that we, as women, are already aware that we can do everything that men can; the goal now is to make society realize that we’re also capable of doing the things that men cannot. I truly hope these female BOSSES (there’s no better word to describe them) enjoyed themselves as much as I did and that we get more opportunities to work together soon.
Written by: Danielle Erin
*All photos courtesy of the author or companies’ Instagram