Being a black woman in the cannabis industry

Every Thursday like clockwork I listen to “The Blunt Blowin’ mama” podcast on my way to work.

I love that podcast! I love Shonitria (The host of the podcast)

Every week she talks about motherhood and cannabis.

She makes my one hour commute a breeze! It’s like listening to your best friend give you advice about the best strains for sex, breastfeeding and cannabis use and a so much more.

This weeks episode had me just shook

The episode featured Mary Pryor the founder of “Cannaclusive”

Cannaclusive fights to place black and brown faces in cannabis advertising.

Shonitria and Mary discuss so much in this episode I had to write a post to break it down because I had sooo many feelings.

I have wanted to be in the cannabis industry for about 4 years.

There a dispensary right across the street from my house. I wanted to be a budtender so bad!

I’m a nurse by day however at night I studied cannabis and really wanted to be of use to the costumers at the dispensary.

I thought with my background in the medical field and my cannabis knowledge I could help patients that have questions about strains, methods of cannabis consumption.

I wanted to really just wanted help people.

I made friends with manager.

I shopped there weekly, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week.

I finally mustered the courage to give my manager my resume.

I just wanted to work a dispensary.

After giving my resume to the manager, he assured me the owner would give me a call because he was looking to hire a female budtender and open a store in the town over.

I was excited.

I skipped home and told Chris all about it.

Weeks passed, I heard nothing.

I did arrive to the store one day and see a new girl was hired.

Blonde, thin, early 20’s and had no idea that “Green Crack” was a sativa.

I was a little hurt to say the least.

I went to the owner and asked him point blank.

“Is there a reason I wasn’t hired? I’m honestly trying to get my foot in the door of the cannabis industry and I’d like to know so I can try again with better results elsewhere”

He told me “I wanted a girl that was white and modeleqsue for the guys to buy more weed”

“Modelesque” hmm that’s funny I modeled most of 20’s I showed him a few pictures from past portfolio.I just didn’t fit his “aesthetic” or standard of beauty… and that’s fine.

I wasn’t surprised or hurt.

I’ve been acting and modeling awhile.

I’m used my appearance being scrutinized and analyzed.

I just didn’t realize I had to win a beauty pageant to bag a gram and explain edibles to first time users.

I knew I wasn’t ugly.. I just wasn’t white.

I wasn’t discouraged in fact I was more encouraged.

I started to apply to every dispensary in my area. I even included past modeling photos.

After about 6 months of trying I realized.. I might be too old and too black for these dispensaries in my area.

I branched out. I started applying to dispensaries in Riverside, Los Angeles, you name it. I just wanted in.

I had this hunger for cannabis education and this desire to teach.

I just wanted to be used! I wanted to be apart of this industry I loved so much.

They just wouldn’t let me in.

My resume and pictures kept falling into the hands of Chad’s and Kyle’s or whoever was reading the resume and well I didn’t fix their standard of beauty or fit what their shops were trying to achieve.

I didn’t let that bother me.

I started this blog and I started creating content and reaching out to people in the cannabis industry myself.

I reached out to brands and a couple magazines in the cannabis industry and I was hired by Tokewell magazine.

Shonitria stresses that if you want to be in the cannabis industry make a way for yourself.

“If you make jewelry, then make jewelry with cannabis leaves it and BAM you’re a part of the cannabis industry!”

That is so true.

If you want in.. KICK THE DOOR DOWN!

I had to write my way in!I’m in these internet streets slanging words and pictures to get into the door but here I am and I’m not going anywhere.

I make a living reviewing cannabis, educating about cannabis, learning about cannabis and enjoying cannabis.

It’s very frustrating because I want the same exposure, rate of pay and opportunities as my white colleagues but it’s just not the same sadly.

Opportunities don’t just down fall into my lap.. I hunt them down.

There wasn’t a seat at the table for me so I’ve made my own table and pull a seat to their table when I want to but for the most part, I’m very happy with the table I’m building.

It can be very discouraging at times to feel like you don’t exist in an industry that worships black and brown hip hop artist. An industry that glorifies and appropriates black and culture.

There’s almost an entire group of people that just don’t exist in the cannabis industry and that’s black and brown people in advertising.

You just don’t see a dark skin black woman chilling by the pool with a luxury joint smiling in a white bikini.

You don’t see black and brown men in suits laughing with luxury cannabis cigars.. it’s baffling.

That’s who’s buying the products and many time funding the products but you don’t see people of color modeling or promoting the products.

I making a point to create pictures brands can use with my black hands holding products.

I make it a point to show my black face enjoying products.

It’s not much, but it’s my way to show brands I exist.

I’m here and I want to work.

It’s also my way to represent for the other black and brown stoner moms.

If I come out.. they will too.

It is really rough when you don’t feel seen or wanted by an entire industry.

Mary Pryor made a statement toward the end of the episode about being unapologetically black and just existing and I was so moved.

I was in the headspace earlier this week where I was a actually considering wearing less when I post to get the attention of brands but honestly… I’m just not in that phase of my life.

I mean I’m not against it.. when it gets hot I’m jumping in a bikini.

I just want have more options before I whip out my 32DDs.

Anyways, I was just so encouraged by this episode and I walked in to work proud to be black in the cannabis space.

There are women like Mary and Shonitria who are creating opportunities and spaces for black and brown creatives like myself.

What a time to be alive!

I’m just so encouraged that there are more and more black women being vocal about their cannabis use.

That is what’s going to lead to more people of color being used for opportunities.

More people being vocal about inclusion in the cannabis space.

We exist. We’re buying the weed! We’re not all thin, rich, young and white.. and advertising should reflect that.

This concludes my cannabis ted talk😅

That episode of “Blunt blowin mama” really riled me up and made me proud!

If you don’t see yourself in any space.. place yourself there.

Representation is important! In every industry.

You matter and if you don’t see yourself in ads.. create them yourself and show them to the brands you want to work with.

You never know a brand might use them😏

Don’t just look on their page see no black, brown, freckled, Asian, or whatever assume you won’t make it.. chances are they haven’t seen you and what you can do!

Don’t count yourself out.. make them see you!

Make them NEED you!

Anyways check out @bluntblowinmama on Instagram

And listen to the Podcast on iTunes

Also… stay tuned for MY episode of blunt blowin’ mama!!

That’s right I recorded an episode last month!! It’ll be out in November sometime.. I’ll keep you updated.

Take care! Enjoy your life and be excellent to each other✌🏾

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