Ten-time Grammy Award-winner Carlos Santana spoke with L.A. Weekly about entering the cannabis industry with his new meditation-inspired Mirayo by Santana flower and pre-roll line.
We started off the bat with what prompted the move to join the cannabis industry? Santana had a front row seat to the birth of the medical cannabis movement in San Francisco, and what eventually turned into the legal marketplace. So after watching that go down since 1996, why now?
“An invitation,” Santana told L.A. Weekly. “An invitation from a family in Santa Rosa to do this brand.”
Santana noted that in addition to himself, Left Coast Ventures is working with the family of Bob Marley on the Marley Natural line and with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead on his Mind Your Head products. “I’m very honored to be a part of the company, this family,” he said.
When word originally got out about Santana’s line, the strains were advertised as Radiance, Symmetry and Centered. Some of the jars hit shelves ahead of the official launch, though, and we were able to see more traditional names like Ice Cream Sundae on the packaging. We asked Santana why they were branding around those three categories as opposed to genetics?
“You know when you meditate, or you smoke a joint, or you drink a glass of wine, you’re always altering your consciousness,” Santana replied. “You know you’re always expanding your consciousness. People drink wine to celebrate passion in lovers, you know? They drink one glass of wine. They look into each other’s eyes and it’s on. They turn on the unity and harmony and the romance.”
Santana next spoke of this meditative state’s impact on one’s ego, essentially telling it to go sit in the corner.
Santana went on to note the Mirayo brand itself means “my ray.” He hopes it will be a part of consumers’ personal self-discovery process. “I’ve always been into a place where I want to turn people on to the recognition that everyone is made with light, and by light,” he said. “God created us in his image, whether you’re Buddhist, Muslim, you know, whatever your religion.”
Mirayo’s deeper personal meaning to Santana is in the context of when you take time to emotionally invest more with your life inside your heart. He believes then you’re able to create miracle blessings and invite the universe to flood you with an abundance of possibilities, productivity and creativity. He said he learned back in the ‘60s this is all ground zero for consciousness revolution.
Since they went for a mindfulness vibe with the names, we asked if the strains were more uplifting as opposed to more heavily sedative phenotypes.
“If you’re stuck to the couch you’re going to be stuck to the couch whether you smoke or not,” Santana quickly quipped back. “It’s an attitude that certain people have. Creative people are not on the couch, they are not couch potatoes. They are like stem cells, they’re always ready to be of service. And you get more energy by being in service to humanity.”
Santana explained when it came to the nuts and bolts of the production process, he put his faith in the Left Coast Ventures team to find reputable cannabis for the 7-gram jars and pre-rolls. He said he didn’t need to know how many gallons of wine are produced in wine country either, just two glasses.
“I try to create something like, for example, right now I have a vision to create a cool meditation. Almost like a mental joint that when you take a talk, it’s cool, it’s fresh and you have fresh ideas, you know? Because we’re talking about stimulating your imagination and expanding your consciousness. One more time. Immediately stimulating your imagination and expanding your consciousness.
When we asked Santana how the weed compared to the past, his first recollections were to the Fillmore West’s mythical three-year run. There in San Francisco’s most revered rock & roll venue of any era, Santana would smoke lids he scored outside Mission High while legends like Jerry Garcia and promoter Bill Graham would tell him he could make a living playing guitar if he kept it up. Graham would eventually get Santana’s Woodstock slot as part of the deal to get him to help on the event. Santana said as he took those early tokes, all these famed musical acts he was seeing live started to sound differently.
Santana compared listening to music all those years prior to discovering cannabis to putting a piece of plexiglass between you and the woman you love without even realizing it. “But when you take a toke, it’s like taking the plexiglass away. You can actually feel now, the hug and the embrace.”
Santana said the experience of cannabis and music was more sensual than different. He explained it as being in the same vein as your mother kissing your forehead compared to the first time you really kiss someone.
After a brief hiatus in the ‘70s for spiritual growth purposes, Santana returned to smoking cannabis on the regular in 1982. “You know, I basically started in ‘82 again, because I feel that I have played out that frequency of spiritual discipline,” he said. “Now I have a whole other kind of rationalization about where I am. If you’re not happy you have a misalignment.”
Santana believes if you’re sad, miserable or angry, you have a misalignment. He suggests never to do mescaline, ayahuasca or peyote if you have those things in you. He said it’s important you learn to shake those bad vibes off the same way a dog shakes off water.
“Ward off misery, fear, lack of self-worth, sadness, remorse, all that stuff,” Santana suggested. “So when you do take a toke, or you take Ayahuasca, you’re able to really, really feel the blessing that is to be alive.”
Keep an eye out for Mirayo by Santana on dispensary shelves across California.