As the cannabis industry continues to grow in the United States and around the world, the perceptions of cannabis use is continually evolving as well. Society can no longer label individuals that use cannabis products as “potheads” or “stoners” because those titles simply do not fit in the industry in 2018. With more understanding, education, and communication, we now know that cannabis does not only serve as a substance that caters to those that are lazy or lack ambition. We now know that productive members of society, such as doctors, chefs, and even writers alike use cannabis as a daily piece of their lives, and it does not hinder their productivity.
Realistically, the look of marijuana has changed and in my opinion, has changed for the better. One of the largest benefactors of this change has been women, as the changes in perception have allowed it to be specifically more acceptable for women in the greater eye of society. Prior to changes in regulation, women using marijuana were often considered “unladylike” or inappropriate, which was simply unfair. Based off an article posted in The Guardian by Candice Pires, we will highlight two women who have turned their love for cannabis into viable jobs, while never compromising their professional image.
1) Anja Charbonneau: Editor of Women’s Weed Magazine, Broccoli
Located in Portland, Oregon, a city in one of the few states that has chosen to legalize recreational marijuana, Anja Charbonneau launched Broccoli. Charbonneau uses Broccoli as a slang term for marijuana, and created the magazine for women who love cannabis. The idea for her magazine came from her experience in cannabis dispensaries and seeing stacks of free magazines, similar to a doctor’s office. While most people simply glance over the magazines to fight boredom when waiting for care, Charbonneau noticed that all of the magazines were for men. She did not simply accept that this was a trend, yet decided to challenge.
Charbonneau first began speaking to other women that enjoyed cannabis and women in the industry. Her results were almost overwhelming for her, as she states,
“I almost didn’t have to ask. As I was explaining what I wanted to do, I was met with this resounding, ‘Yes! Please do that, we want it.’” – Anja Charbonneau, Editor for Broccoli, 2018
The editor has received hundreds of messages in support of her magazine and she has been thrilled with the stories she has received. Charbonneau believes that the cannabis industry is rare, in the essence that it provides opportunity for women to be on the forefront. Charbonneau states,
“Because cannabis is so new as a legal industry, it feels like there’s this opportunity to make women’s voices heard while it’s being built – and that’s pretty much never, ever happened with any other industry.” – Anja Charbonneau, Editor for Broccoli, 2018
2) Andrea Drummer: The Marijuana Chef
The path for Andrea Drummer into the cannabis industry is much more unconventional than that of the other women mentioned in this feature. Despite a religious upbringing, Drummer tried cannabis at the age of 12 or 13, but the experience made her uncomfortable. While still feeling the affects of the cannabis, Drummer got into a fight with a friend, which in turn made her complete community service.
“That made me think that if you smoke marijuana, you end up in jail” – Andrea Drummer, The Marijuana Chef, 2018
For the majority of her adult life, Drummer worked in roles advising kids to say no to drugs. Once she moved to California in her mid-30’s though and was immersed by the culture, she found that cannabis is not the gateway drug she once thought. The attorney she worked for was an avid user and his success made her more open ended. After chasing her passion and becoming a cook at the age of 37, she took a challenge from a friend that would change her whole career.
Once her friend asked her to make him some brownies from leftover cannabis leaves, a challenge that she accepted with no hesitation, Drummer discovered a new passion. She found the dish to smell extremely great and decided to take it even further. She made a cannabis butter for Bruschetta, which completely changed the flavor of the dish. That night, just six years ago in 2012, Drummer and her two other friends conceived a plan to start a cannabis catering company. Still high off of the butter in the Bruschetta, Elevation VIP Cooperative was started.
Though the idea was already born, it was quite the struggle for Drummer and her companions to bring Elevation VIP Cooperative to life. Once she obtained her medical license, Drummer found that it was still extremely difficult to garner consistent clientele. With the medical license, the company was allowed to serve anyone who held a California State Medical Marijuana ID Card. It may have provided opportunity, however, Drummer found that the requirement of an ID was quite the turn off.
“People were afraid and I was begging them to come for dinner at ridiculously low prices, like $30 a head for five courses.” – Andrea Drummer, The Marijuana Chef, 2018
Resilient as ever, Drummer decided to keep at it and even started her own side business as a cannabis educator to help people gain a better understanding. Oddly enough, out of the blue while working from Starbucks, Drummer received a call from Netflix. Netflix invited Drummer to cook for a documentary series called Chelsea Does, where Chelsea was going to be drugs. Inevitably, the calls kept coming.
In 2017 Drummer published her own marijuana cook book called Cannabis Cuisine and plans to continue her work in the industry.
“I hope I’m bringing some normalcy to cannabis with it… I don’t think I look like a stoner,. Hopefully that helps normalise it, especially for other women.” – Andrea Drummer, Author of Cannabis Cuisine, 2018
Check out the rest of Candice Pires article on The Observer, as it features two more women.