Around a bouquet of fresh flowers and flickering candles, a bowl of fruit and a salt crystal light, a group of women gathers in a circle once a month to smoke weed and shoot the shit. These cannabis women's circles, happening everywhere from Venice to Hollywood, are among the many projects put on by Cannabis Feminist, L.A.'s new hottest all-girls ganja group, which aims to build a women-run cannabis empire.
At the beginning of every women's circle, Jessica Assaf, CEO and head of products at Cannabis Feminist, rolls a joint, reminding everyone it's just as important to puff as to pass. It could be a high CBD joint, or perhaps some cannabis flower blended with a couple other aromatic herbs. The idea is for guests to get better acquainted with weed, to learn about their relationships to the plant, and to discover different kinds of cannabis products, such as topicals, flower, vapes or edibles.
Jackie Mostny, head of partnerships at Cannabis Feminist, describes how each woman shares her story, why she came to the circle and why she's curious about cannabis. "It's real talk," Mostny says. "We talk about how we can support each other and what's the next step. That's when Jessica does her call to action: "We're building out Cannabis Feminist, looking for cannabis consultants. We want women to represent our favorite brands and sell them to their friends and communities."
That's the game plan for building a women-run cannabis empire. Having women as the touchpoint for cannabis is an effective marketing technique, Assaf explains. The cannabis-curious are more likely to trust a mother advocating for cannabis wellness products, rather than any regular old salesman. The idea is to dismantle the dispensary model, instead having a network of women introducing products to their peers in friendly, community settings where they can try them out before committing to a purchase.
"We can say you now have the power to have our [Cannabis Feminist] network under you," Mostny says. "You can say, try these products and be the one to sell them or provide the right direction to get and discover these products without having to say, 'Oh yeah, go to a dispensary and figure it out yourself.' You can say why you recommend specific products, which empowers women who love cannabis to rep it." Currently, Cannabis Feminist is working with brands like Apothecanna, Medicine Box, MONDO, Hmbldt and their own "house brand."
In addition to the women's circles, Cannabis Feminist offers personalized consultations and "bake sales" in chic spots around L.A., where brands have pop-up booths allowing guests to explore the products firsthand.
"If you have a headache or menstrual cramps, how do we figure out which products you can try," Assaf says. As they get more information from women's experiences, Cannabis Feminist can aggregate data to better understand what kind of cannabis works for what kind of ailment. "It's not just women sitting in a circle talking about how they feel. It's a way for women to think about products they love in a new way." And by doing that, Cannabis Feminist is aggregating data to better understand what kind of weed works best with specific ailments.
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"It's time for women to reinvest in this space and create a new cannabis culture," Assaf says. In doing that, women can reposition cannabis as a health and wellness product — not just a medicine for people with terminal illness, and not just a means of getting high.
Toward that goal, Cannabis Feminist also launched a cannabis "coming out series" in June, showcasing different women's relationships to the plant. "We show the faces of cannabis and feminize the culture, the act of smoking cannabis as something that's normalized," Assaf says. "It's not in the same bucket as chugging beers but a spiritual experience that brings people together."
Anyone can be a cannabis feminist — who they sell to isn't gender-specific, but the group's brand reps are all women. "A cannabis feminist is someone who wants to celebrate the cannabis plant, who wants to find gender equality in the industry and within the plant itself," Mostny says. The hemp plant can be male or female, but it's only the female plants that are grown to maturity and used as "marijuana" — medicine or wellness and recreational products. "We want to empower women to be leaders in this space, and this female plant will do that."
As the group's motto goes, "The future of cannabis is female."