I spoke to my mom on the phone last night and told her I was working on an article. She inquired what it was about, and when I said “queer women in weed,” she asked, “What are you writing about? Don't they enjoy it like anyone else? What's the difference?”
I knew there was a thoughtful answer to this line of questioning, but I needed to sit back with a joint to grasp its simplicity fully. And as the sweet Biscotti smoke relaxed my mind, I remembered an article about brunching with the queer and women-owned brand Sonder, recalling that it's just a fact that the cannabis industry — like so many industries — has been historically represented by white males.
So the answer to my mom's questions is that queer women enjoy weed, create weed things, and have high ambitions just like anyone else, but the popular marketplace has yet to reflect that depth of diversity accurately.
People of all walks of life must hear about these exceptional brands that are breaking glass ceilings with innovative strategies, top-shelf products, and impactful nonprofit offerings.
Some of the highest queer women in weed
Emily Eizen of Emily Eizen
Emily Eizen oozes creativity. In an interview with Echomag.com, Eizen said that as a young disenfranchised feminist she felt isolated from her peers and found her true outlet in creating multimedia art. Her paintings, sculptures, photography, and modeling all push the boundaries of colorways and the ways of art, gender, and sexuality.
Cannabis features heavily in her trippy themes, and in her modeling you can often find a joint dangling loosely from her mouth or a cloud of smoke being seductively exhaled, her reddened eyes peering thoughtfully back at you.
The bright colors, heavy line drawings, perfect makeup; they all contribute to an experience meant to open doors for others to self-express themselves, bathe in the colors that bring them to life, and experience art on a personal level. Take an uplifting trip through the garden of Eizen's Instagram and treat yourself to her immersive world.
Shannon DeGrooms & Bri Smith of #thisisjaneproject
Shannon DeGrooms and Bri Smith formed #thisisjaneproject to open important conversations on womxn's trauma, medicating with cannabis, and eliminating the stigma around both. Through raw, powerful black-and-white photographs and Jane's personal story of trauma and hope, the nonprofit “sheds light, provides community, and uplifts the lives of trauma survivors.”
In an interview last year with The Mary Jane Experience, DeGrooms spoke about the prevalence of female PTSD patients that have experienced trauma such as sexual assault, accidents, being children of narcissists or alcoholics. She ended the quote, “Try growing up in the projects in Queens as a person of color.”
For Smith, co-founding #thisisjaneproject was personal as well. A survivor of trauma and sexual assault, she works tirelessly to end abuse, trauma, and the consequences that come from those terrible experiences. She finds peace in the wilderness, with her dog Chubbers at her side.
Trista Okel & Michele White of Empower BodyCare
Wife and wife team Trista Okel and Michele White are the power duo behind Empower BodyCare products, a line of soothing, highly conscious, and thoughtfully sourced concoctions made with sun-grown USDA-certified organic hemp. CBD-infused lotions, topical oils, and soaking salts are the perfect treat-yo-self or gift, as indicated by the tagline, “The kind of CBD you'd give your own mother.”
Empower BodyCare's beginnings took root in Okel's 2004 kitchen, where she brewed CBD-infused topical oil in a slow-cooker to help her mother manage pain. This was before the hemp and CBD craze, and long before the 2018 hemp bill, but Okel saw the proof and potential in her mother's well-being and soon in other family members as well, who called the concoction life-changing.
White joined in 2016 after having served as Director of Administration for the Portland-based recovery nonprofit, FolkTime. She was also a founding board member of the houseless youth nonprofit, Outside the Frame, and on the board of directors for the Sexual Assault Resource Center. White is Empower BodyCare's Chief Operating Officer. Though she wears many hats in the role, her nonprofit advocacy experience has greatly enhanced their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
When not creating powerful, must-try healing elixirs, Okel and White enjoy each other's company and that of their two rescue puppers, Lucy and Riley.
Katie Stem and Kate Black of Peak Extracts
Katie and Kate shot through the cannabis glass ceiling in 2014 with Peak Extracts, the first women-owned extract brand in Oregon. They set themselves apart immediately with custom-tailored edibles made from single-strains to combat specific ailments. CEO and Founder Stem started the experiment to combat her own Crohn's disease, as she found certain strains worked in different ways and came with varying levels of relief and side effects.
Their cartridge line, which debuted in 2018, keeps precious terpenes and flavonoids intact. Higher than the industry average, each cart boasts an average of 10% terpenes for a holistically delicious experience. The Rescue Rub is a specialty all its own. A Chinese herbalist as well, Stem based the topical on an ancient recipe (mixed with cannabis oil) to treat aches and pains.
With laboratory science experience, too, the women do their own extractions and have their own way of processing that took years to develop and perfect.
Catherine Goldberg of WeedBar LA
Cat Goldberg is the founder of WeedBar LA, an event experience company centered around custom cannabis gatherings for community groups all the way up to corporate events. A quick look at Goldberg's LinkedIn shows that her experience in the industry is vast and varied, as she's worked with brands such as Papa and Barkley, Binske, Kiva, and Canndescent, and has written for publications like High Times and Forbes.
As outlined on their website, custom weed events thrown by WeedBar LA include outstanding food by master chefs, micro-dosed cannabis mocktails, mouthwatering edibles like ice creams and cakes, and, of course, a fully-stocked weed bar boasting an array of top-shelf flower, curated by trained budtenders.
Goldberg and team ensure that the high matches the mood of the event, carefully dosing and personalizing all food items. Enjoy infused massages and non-psychoactive CBD products to really set a mellow tone, or go all out with the dab bar experience. Office parties to engagement parties, dinner soirées to “elevated Shabbats,” Goldberg is one woman who's making sure the bar is raised to the highest level for cannabis enthusiasts to seriously kick back and enjoy the high.