5 Women Intersecting Cannabis into their Business Practices





Think soft, like a ball of bamboo yarn, or the fuzzy hair around your belly button. Cannabis too embodies a softness. It asks for those who ingest the plant to soften their mind, to relax, and look inward. Stillness, coziness, creativity—one softens into life’s sensations with ease and a shifted perspective. Business, however, takes on the more traditional role of hardness. It’s nearness to capitalism lends itself to ambition. There is action, sharpness, and a type of assertiveness that is needed to thrive in a business climate.

We now are bearing witness to these worlds as they collide, becoming what is the legal cannabis industry. This perhaps is an opportunity to see the two pair harmoniously. Like yin and yang if you will, one healing , one providing. Amongst the saturated and rapidly changing weed market, we took a pause to chat with a group of highly successful women incorporating their sacred relationship to cannabis into their professional careers within the industry.


Nina Parks, 34, San Francisco, California
Supernova Women, Mirage Medicinals

First time she got high
The first time I ever smoked I was 16 and my friends made me hit this big ass four foot bong. The first time was the worst time ever. I had no idea it was going to be so intense. It filled my entire lungs and I choked and threw up inside of my friend’s garage. It was some initiation hazing process. I didn’t smoke for a long time after that. Not until I was about 21 and was abroad in Amsterdam. There, I was able to see cannabis in an entirely different light. There it was treated with respect and was a different kind of experiences that didn’t make me feel so criminal. That’s when I felt like it was pleasurable and relieving and bonding. I met so many amazing people while sharing cannabis.

Her Rituals
Personal ritual I’ll clean my bathtub, which is one of the only times when I’m like, “ok, let’s go scrub this down.” I’ll take a medicated bath which is great for just about everything. I light candles and I give intentions to the flames as I light them. Then I’ll choose my music and maybe pick something to read while I’m in the bath. Next, I put my crystals all around the rim of the tub and Zen out. This is a way to infuse my body with topical cannabis and with the vibrations I want to enter my body. That’s my ritual of choice. The hydrotherapy is a real game changer. I don’t need to smoke, I don’t need an edible—just this.

How cannabis intersects with business
I was born on 4/20 and so it seemed almost destined for me to be in this field. I’ve learned so much from every aspect of this plant, like understanding its life cycle. Studying how the plant grows really gave me some insight within my own processes with work, which is sometimes so hard to remember. But then I also think about how the plant starts as a seed, breaks thought the shell of the seed and starts to take root. It then has to break itself out of the dirt and stretch into the sunlight. It has to grows tall and strong enough to hold the weight of the flower and buds it creates. But what’s wild is that during the process of creating the most important gift that we take from it, it’s during the darkness that it creates this gift. When it gets 12 hours of lightness and 12 hours of darkness. That’s when the plant actually starts to create all of its terpenes and trichomes and all of those things that we enjoy. It’s created in darkness. So I remind myself about that, that its power is created in the darkness. That it is the female version of the plant that give us the euphoric, mind-altering shift—that THC is primarily found in the female version of the plant. That’s what gives us that mind altering state. It’s helped me to be patient with myself and with work. It’s help me to identify the phases of life and business. Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated and wonder what the fuck is going on in the world right now. But herb gently reminds me that this is just the dark phase. And that this too shall pass. That something dope will come out of it, but we just don’t see that yet.

Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated and wonder what the fuck is going on in the world right now. But herb gently reminds me that this is just the dark phase. And that this too shall pass. That something dope will come out of it, but we just don’t see that yet.
— Nina Parks (Supernova Women, Mirage Medicinals)

Anja Charbonneau, 34, Portland, Oregon
Broccoli Mag

First time she got high
I think I was 19. I was kind of a dork in high school so I was still convinced that weed was bad. Everyone was drinking and partying and that didn’t feel very much like, “Ah yes, this is the environment that I’d like to try this drug.” It just didn’t come to me until a little later when I was on my own, living with roommates and away from my family for the first time. I was exploring who I was and had been a recreational user. It’s always been for fun or to unwind but yet I know I’m getting all of the medicinal benefits—whether I’m seeking them out or not Now In my 30’s, I don’t smoke a bowl every night while I’m watching TV, like I did in my 20’s. It’s not my lifestyle. I’m more likely have a couple puffs and stretch, or take a bath, or go for a long walk. I think so much of my relationship with weed it to reclaim a lot of that time to just to be with yourself. Especially when you’re working hard, especially when we spend so much time being focused on what’s going on these tiny screens.  It helps me step away from that and to process my thoughts. It’s almost like being in a dream. Where your brain works over all of those weird little things you’re experiencing and make sense of it for you. It re-configures my emotions, my physical sensations, and thoughts in a way that I often can’t do on my own. We need that altered state.

Her Rituals
I think what brings me to my true happy place is when I take a break from whatever is it I’m doing. I like to enjoy a little bit of weed, whichever way that is—putting on my headphones and going for a long walk by myself. Being alone yet surrounded by people out in public is the perfect balance. At the same time I am giving myself the space to be. Maybe to stop and look at flowers or take little pictures of a bee or something. I’ll wander without a path and just enjoy. This has the power to make me feel immensely grounded. And I get a little exercise in at the same time. Everyone agrees that walking is great for your mind and for processing. So that’s my thing—I love a good long weed walk.

How cannabis intersects with business
If you have a real set of values that are true to you, then that will show throughout all of your work. It will be expressed through every part of the business. I think in cannabis, that’s when we’re seeing the paths split between a business that you want to support and a business that maybe you just don’t care that much for. People in general are really smart and it’s usually apparent who’s in it for the right reasons. Not every business is going to have the marketing budgets and a big voice, but there’s going to be space for a dedicated audience, consumers and customers because that intention shows. I was just talking about softness and sensitivity in business. I think that’s something really special about women- owned business. Of course it’s not exclusive to women but it tends to be. I was performing a job interview for a position in Broccoli and she asked me, “What’s the quality that makes people in your team successful.” I hadn’t thought about that. And the eventual answer was sensitivity.

Sensitivity in the way that we all work within the team and how respectful we are to each other. We all work remotely so communication is important and things can easily be misinterpreted. So we have to be sensitive about the language we use. We try hard to use that level of thoughtfulness in everything that we do. Why would you want to do it any other way?

I think weed has been such an amazing teacher when it comes to respecting the myriad of realities that weed exists in. It’s such a versatile plant. And the fact that we’re taking this kind of big lifestyle approach to is with art and food and music, film and history. It makes me consider a lot of other parts of lives from all of these different perspectives. It really encourages me to ask a lot of questions and to be curious and also respectful of other perspectives. Everyone’s relationship is so unique to weed and cannabis. So it makes me see that in other places of life too.


Solonje Burnett-Loucas, 38,  New York, New York
Humble Bloom

First time she got high
I grew up in a Caribbean Christian household in Newton, Massachusetts. My mom raised us Catholic and with that came the normal cannabis stigmatization. I was too afraid to do it while under her roof. Later in college, my fears extended because I played Varsity Soccer. I wasn’t sure if I would be tested and the last thing I needed was the embarrassment around a failed drug test. Yet, my first experience ended up being sports related during my time at Wellesley College. I had an injury my junior year and started smoking a little bit with girlfriends to help with the pain—I thought okay—this is cool.

Her Rituals
I prefer smoking. I’m a bit of an analog soul. It’s in the way that you break up the weed with your hands. The way that you roll it, lick it, and share it in a beautiful setting with a group of people. The sharing element makes it feel very ritualistic. It can be such a collaborative activity as well, sometimes giving it a feel of a collective. Some people may only have this much weed, or this type of strain and so the joint at times becomes a salad of all the different strains. And this is how it’s been done for years and years. It’s an ancient plant that’s been used to help people connect, find community, love and conversation. I love cannabis and using it as a conduit to connect with others.

How cannabis intersects with business
You know, just being a black woman in the United States of America—it’s not an easy thing. It’s filled with triggers, unconscious biases and aggressions - both micro and macro. So you have to have something in you life that helps you to get through. How do you walk around, be yourself and feel accepted? How do we find a way to not fulfill the angry black woman stereotype, and not feel frustrated when most of the world is actually against you. Cannabis turned into being one of these things that helped me to elevate to a place of calm consciousness and creativity. I am a connector and cannabis facilitates those interactions at times when I don’t have much left . Or in situations with people who are vastly different. It helps me to build bridges. I’ve worked in a lot in nonprofits, LGBTQ+ and Cancer organizations. I’ve worked within education and the arts—it’s always been about the intersectional and diverse populations. But I’ve always had to hide cannabis and that part of me. Now with Humble Bloom I am so open about it. I roll joints in the street in the middle of the afternoon while in transit. I puff a little bit and then go into my meeting. Or, I’ll use CBD tinctures to help me tap into my endocannabinoid system to enhance my focus, lessen anxiety before speaking on a panel, or rub on a topical to alleviate knee problems from years of playing sports. It’s just become an integral part of my life.

You know, just being a black woman in the United States of America—it’s not an easy thing. It’s filled with triggers, unconscious biases and aggressions - both micro and macro. So you have to have something in you life that helps you to get through.
— Solonje Burnett-Loucas (Humble Bloom)

Victoria Ashley, British Columbia, Canada
Laundry Day

First time she got high
This is funny because my dad is a police officer, so growing up was interesting. They don’t really understand what I do now, but I know that they know. The first time I smoked was on my 16th birthday and it didn’t do much for me. I think I tried it a few other times in high school, but based on my upbringing and the fear that was struck into me, I was just got too paranoid to continue. Later in college when I tried it, it still never felt like it was for me. Back then we didn’t have dispensaries, and it was always a sketchy situation. Even just asking someone made me feel so uncomfortable. A couple years ago, I started having issues. The doctors didn’t know what it was and for three years I was having really awful digestive problems and stomach problems (which unknown to me, were caused by my copper Intrauterine device (IUD)). Cannabis was the only thing that was able to ease my pain. It’s crazy, but cannabis really saved me. I wasn’t prescribed it but it changed my life. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with pain, but I’d take little hit and I’d be able to get back to sleep.

Her Rituals
I would say that I’m pretty good at separating my workday and my downtime. I have another business on the side which does take up time as well so I, like most women in this industry, do a lot of juggling. So pretty much at the end of the day I’m very consistent with my ritual. I put on my diffuser, spray my pillow with lavender, and lighting a candle. I also enjoy a little headspace. I’ll smoke a little weed before listening to a meditation app for about 10 minutes. It really helps me wind down. After I do that, I feel so creative. My thoughts aren’t jumbled. More ideas come to me after I take that ten-minute break.

Another thing I love to do is nibble a little bit of an edible and go to a community yoga class. I’ll do some yin yoga or restorative yoga and literally just law on the ground for an hour while someone gently guides my breath. And it’s so good. Again, you leave feeling so clear headed and inspired. I feel like every time I leave a class, I come home and my ideas are spinning and I come back to understanding why I’m doing what I’m doing. More creative ideas flow and help guide me.

How cannabis intersects with business
In creating pipes, in a way, I’m providing a business to people with a true necessity. Being able to consume cannabis is something that people need now more than ever—especially women. It’s something that women are looking for, so on the business side, it’s really great to be able to provide that. On the softer side, I can clearly see that it’s not just an exchange of money and product. It’s not like in the days (before dispensaries) when you went to a smoke shop and you would just buy some random pipe covered in skulls because that’s all they had—that felt more like an exchange. In that form, you’re not actually receiving any good feelings after purchasing that product. You just that now you can go home and smoke your weed. Laundry Day in a way provides a business where we’re giving someone an object that they actually truly love and feel a spiritual connection to. I think that’s quite beautiful. When it comes to the aspect of self- care, consuming cannabis is very heavily tied into that sentiment for so many people. I think when you can relate and share your experiences and share why you smoke with people and they actually feel that they too are taking care of themselves in a way—that’s incredibly important to me. I think it all ties in together in a really interesting way. I’m really excited to see where that goes.


Maya Shaw, 25, Brooklyn, New York

First time she got high
The first time I smoked was in high school. I had a really good friend who lived in my neighborhood and she had the party house where her parents kind of turned a blind eye. They knew things were happening but figured as long as it was in their own house, it was more safe. I remember smoking a few times with her at her house and because I was a teenager, I never actually inhaled. I would just smoke it and feel like, why am I not high? I thought, “Wow! Weed doesn’t work for me.” Later in college, I inhaled and had the craziest experience. I [blissfully and] completely went off the rails at this lacrosse house party. I had kind of made a name for myself my freshman year in school for this. My relationship with weed soon blossomed. I moved forward and was able to heal. I loved smoking weed and I wasn’t going to let a couple of bad trips stop me from such a beautiful experience.

Her Rituals
I’ve never been a wake and bake person. That’s been mostly based on the fear that I would get too high in the morning and would have to go to work not being able to function. Yet recently on a trip to Spain I was waking and baking all day everyday during my vacation. Since then, I’ve continued and experimented with smoking in the mornings and it has really changed my morning ritual. I don’t drink coffee, so I’ll have a cup of matcha, eat a piece of fruit, and before heading to work, I’ll take a little CBD to chill me before I get on the subway. I’ve been using weed to increase creativity, or maybe I smoke a little before I go out to eat, because I know I’m going to be having some bomb ass food and I want to be a little high to enjoy it. I do have a separate night time ritual. I’ll usually come home, smoke a bowl, chill, cook dinner, maybe a glass of wine, watch The Real Housewives of whatever, and then it’s time for bed. That’s how I decompress from the day. It’s incredible.

How cannabis intersects with business
Cannabis helps redefine so many different aspects of life—work, family, friends, my nine-to-five, and SHAW.—all of it. In the past two years or so that I’ve been working on SHAW. It’s really grounded me to focus on what I exactly want to do with my business. Everything I’ve created for the site and the shop, I’ve done while stoned. It wasn’t on purpose to prove anything like, “yeah man, I was high when I did this.” I was more inspired by the plant. I smoke the plant and I’m creating a business for the plant—so why not experiment with that. Using cannabis is how I came up with all of my branding, all of the designers, and it’s how I’ve been able to find the women in my life that I work with. I’ve found them all while stoned on Instagram. It has really been a primer and the center of everything. Everyone at my nine-to-five at Lululemon knows that I smoke and that I run a cannabis business. It’s been a pivotal piece. I incorporate the connection from SHAW into Lululemon.

My relationship to cannabis is really wonderful which is why I wanted to hop into the industry, not because it was a trending thing like, weed’s cool now. But, when you live in New York, like I do, you have to find ways to cope from the stress that living here can sometimes create. I discovered that weed was one of the best ways to achieve that ability to let go. So that’s why I started my business, SHAW. Because I have such a good relationship with this plant and wanted to celebrate it in a way that also celebrates sisterhood and bringing people together.

Check out Mennlay’s new book: The Art of Weed Butter: Recipes and Tips for Dope Cannabutters and Delicious Ediblesa down to earth cookbook that walks you through how to master infusing cannabis with butter, coconut oil, and even bacon fat — all while touching on social injustice issues, her thirteen years in the industry, what to do if you get too high, and 35 edibles recipes! Support black women voices in cannabis and get yourself a copy online or at your local bookstore!

This piece was originally published in our eighth print issue of got a girl crush magazine — it has since been edited for grammatical and spelling errors.