Tiffany Watkins 0:01
Especially as women as people of color, I believe that we can definitely make waves just by banding together and understanding that we’re all reaching towards the same goal. And it’s a simple concept that has passed us over for so long. And I’m hopeful that we will take notice and understand that yes, you’re doing the same thing as me. I’m doing the same thing as Turkey. And that’s great. But when they look at all of us together, not as individuals, but as a group, we have a much more powerful voice. That is where change is made. It’s not just one person over here who thinks this and then I think that over there and then you think and if we’re all thinking the same thing, but talking at all three different times, we’re not a powerful force. When we stand together and we get in front of someone who’s opposing us and there we are together unitedly fronted against or for something and we make change and different.
You’re listening to To be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. We’re your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi,
Shayda Torabi 1:25
Welcome back to the show everybody. I am so grateful that you are joining and tuning in to another episode of The To be blunt Podcast. I am your host. My name is Shayda Torabi, and I want to kick this episode off by saying thank you so much to the people who have been reaching out and tagging me in posts on social media or just dming me and giving me some kudos for the episode that you loved or something that you learn that you apply to your business or brand. I don’t want to exist in an echo chamber. And so I’m pleased asking all of you whoever is out there listening, please reach out I am a real human being and I feed off of the community. And so I want to get to know you guys I want to learn your stories and I want to hear how this podcast is helping you so please please please reach out at the Shayda Torabi or at To be blunt pod on Instagram and I will dm you back I promise. And with that said I want to welcome Tiffany Watkins to today’s episode she is going to be our guests for the conversation. She is the founder of Vanguard media, a magazine that is dedicated to empowering women in cannabis and helping tell their stories. She also goes by Lady Canna which we’re gonna dive into in the episode. So without further ado, let’s welcome Tiffany to the show.
Tiffany Watkins 2:43
I am Tiffany Watkins. I am the founder of Vanguard media. I am also known as Lady Khanna, which I’m pretty sure we’ll discuss in a couple of seconds. That’s always fun. finger is a platform for women in the cannabis space. And in long time coming in cannabis for me and working in bridging through three decades. So I’ve seen a lot of change. I’ve seen a lot of different things and listen to a lot of stories us to tell plus to tell well let’s start with Lady Khanna. How did you get that nickname? Certainly, um, it’s less of a nickname and more of kind of what I do I really have always advocated for people. I’ve always kind of rooting for the underdog. And as the years of progressive just kind of always noticed that that women don’t always get the same treatment when it comes around things. Stigma attacks us an awful lot more. And being a lady of cannabis is not being a stoner Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But people have made something wrong with that. So in order to kind of step aside from that and force people to listen, I wanted people to understand that the ladies of cannabis, they’re you they’re me. Lady Canna is a concept. Just a lot of people happen to know me as Lady Canna and do sometimes referred to as Lady Canada. I love it. I think it’s important for people to understand kind of the history behind it, because I think so much of who you are is wrapped up in that name, but it’s really like a power statement, right? It’s like, I think knocking down the walls of who a traditional cannabis consumer probably previously was or looked like. And I think that as much as we you know, whether you love to hate it or not, cannabis is moving more mainstream. And so I think while it’s a very uphill road that we’re embarking on is also a really beautiful time for us to kind of rewrite that narrative. And so I think you kind of positioning yourself as Lady Can I really as this beacon for the industry for this conversation, just like letting other women see themselves in you and in your story. And being able to identify something that resonates with me so much. And I know that my listeners are always trying to look at ways that they can have that conversation and so I was watching an interview that you had with somebody else and I wanted to kind of maybe get your take on it. How is having that conversation, especially being somebody that
Tiffany Watkins 5:00
Who’s so public? You obviously have a name that is very identifiable of being in cannabis? How do your friends take that? How did your family take that when you step into those, you know, maybe other worlds or other roles? What does that look like? The conversation of the years has changed in the beginning when I was younger, and it was the 90s. And we all kind of operated from the shadows Anyway, when we were really supporting compassionate care. Friends, of course, obviously, you know, the people which you associate with your closest friends understand what you do and why you do it. They understand your passion and your why, however, co workers, I wouldn’t have bridged to say that in my day job, would I ever really talk about what I did in the afternoons or weekends to support cannabis, not as much because we just really weren’t at liberty to family, I come from a very conservative background. And unfortunately, most of my family does consider cannabis to be an illicit drug, and always has and with current regulations are still kind of on the fence to see some of the benefits starting to kind of bridge that gap between mainstream to alternative lifestyle. And so I’m thankful for that. And all that has come with with ups and downs. Of course, you want support from everyone you’d love for everyone, ideally, to share your ideology on a subject, right. But I think that is where the fuel and the passion comes for a particular subject. In my case, cannabis is because it is a plant that’s been widespread use for over 10,000 years. Yet, here we are 10,000 years later, so to speak. And we still have stigma, we have problems, we it’s villainized. So you know, there’s a lot behind, I know myself why I stay passionate for this plant. And the stigma really does attach itself to us ladies, just slightly more than it does to our male counterparts. Our expectation is that we’re ready to go, we’re ready to nurture we’re ready to take care of ready to build. And that if we have any substance that comes in, in the right in the line of fire that that we’re doing something wrong. And so when lady Khanna really became like a public kind of concept. About four years ago, for four and a half years ago, I did speak a lot more to women than I did to males, although everyone was always welcome of how to integrate cannabis into their life, and find out if they hadn’t tried cannabis or hadn’t had it since college or something like that. Did they have a flavor of passion in regards to the plant? And if so, how can it be fostered? I think that it’s such a like, personal thing for someone to obviously like create the separation between like, I like this plant, but I maybe don’t work in the industry yet to you now work in the industry. So obviously, you’ve crossed that threshold of this is something that I like to do in my free time, or I personally believe in it to now this is something that I get to maybe get paid for this is part of my industry. And then I think you have the layer also have the legality, right. So it’s not federally legal, but you live in a state where it has transitioned to being legal. So while you know, there’s still the stigma around it, you’re able to have a little bit more colorful conversations. I joke sometimes I danced on that line, because I’m in Texas, and I know that my followers and listeners, of course, recognize that there are some limitations when it comes to where you perhaps might be living. So something to that when we’re talking like our customers, they come in and, you know, right before we were recording, I was telling you kind of about some of Texas’s laws, which hopefully by the time this airs, some of those will be dealt with a little bit better, fingers crossed. But you know, had a customer come in, and they were really confused why this ban was happening. And I shared with them, you know, we educate our customers. But then further from that, I was like, you know, if you want to get involved you can, this isn’t reserved for just you know, the the use and the eyes who work in the industry. This is for the woman, the man, the young, the old, the boss, the employee, like you too, can have a voice and go contribute to the conversation. But then I’m always struck with the other side of the coin, where it’s like my employer, or my family, or you know this or that they don’t feel like they can comfortably come out. And so I always love when I get to have these conversations, because I do think that everybody listening should be the truest to themselves. But of course, like look at ways that they can leverage that spirit or that passion to add to the conversation. So maybe you and I it looks like creating content, right? So you launched your magazine, maybe for somebody listening, it’s just being more empowered to have conversations with their family members. But on that subject of you launching your magazine, I’d love to kind of dial it in a little bit more and go from how you went from being in the industry for these decades and not really working full time. It sounds like to When did you really start working full time to then now launching the magazine so kind of weave that story for us a little bit better?
Tiffany Watkins 9:56
Sure. in the industry for people like myself, I will just speak for me because everyone’s experience is different. And being in the industry means starting with the community and what I like to call the original marketplace. And there’s a lot of different facets to that, that I’m not going to go into. But for me, it meant advocating for people who couldn’t advocate for themselves, it meant bringing a voice, not only to a person who needed cannabis, but to cannabis itself. And I didn’t do this alone. By far, there were hundreds, thousands of us who traveled everywhere that anyone would listen, to talk to raise funds, and most importantly, bring low cost or free cannabis to those who needed it most. At that time period in the early 90s. There, obviously the HIV and AIDS epidemic was in full array, and I saw people I knew people I loved and cherish in the LGBTQ community, being villainized being treated as criminals for trying to increase the quality of life when the quantity of their life had been limited. If you’re ill, and you don’t feel well, and you know what the ultimate end is? Why is it you’re being denied something that can bring you a better quality of life? Better yet? Why are you being villainized and treated like a criminal, and we just wouldn’t stand for it. Now, as the years went by, and there’s been different, you know, will we be legal Will we be able to have dispensary all those things. And still I, myself and many others still operated very gently from the shadows, supporting businesses, supporting ideas, raising more funds, and we bring it into today. And now we can work, how we want to work, we can speak how we want to speak about this product. And for me, I said, if I’m going to do something public, I’m going to pick up where I left off, so to speak, and giving a voice to people who need it to people who need that support. And so I chose because, well, the era that I come from, we love magazines, I mean, in my age group, we do really like the turn the page. And it’s a format and a platform that spoke to me. So I said, Well, why don’t I do that? Why don’t I start a magazine, but it’s going to be niche. We’re going to focus on women in this industry. Because as we bridge from community to industry, I’m noticing that we’re doing yet again, with another industry in America, we’re leaving women behind, and I won’t stand for it. And so Vanguard, of course is a platform, of course, it is a magazine, but it’s also a movement. It’s for all of us. It’s not just for me, it’s not just for you, it’s for all of us women and those who ally with us to recognize that we can build something huge, and it’s more than monetary, we can bring back the true value of cannabis to our communities, if we just let it happen. So that is really where it comes from. I think that’s so beautiful. I almost want to kind of correct myself a little bit too, I guess, with you sharing your story. I want to clarify, it wasn’t that you weren’t working in the industry full time, right? It was the industry, quote, unquote, was a community because there really wasn’t industry. And I love the way that you framed and it’s something that I’m going to now, you know, I’m, I can’t take notes while I’m talking to you. So I mentally writing these things down, because I think it’s just a really refreshing way and very, you know, just like humble way to look at it. It’s a plant and there’s people that benefit greatly from it. You and I both know that. And so how do you go from this thing that is very clearly a piece to a better quality of life.
Shayda Torabi 13:39
But also reflecting on how the law is making that piece to the better quality of life so unattainable for so many and so stigmatized. And so I think that there’s a lot of conversations, obviously, around the many different layers of stigmatization around cannabis. But I do appreciate your emphasis on speaking up for those who don’t really have a voice and really creating a niche conversation. Because I think that that’s really what I love seeing happening in the industry, I think, you know, because it’s becoming an industry, it’s having the tendencies, like you said, to leave certain people behind, I think you’re seeing a lot of big brands jump into the space. And it’s really exciting when I see, you know, major publications talking about cannabis. And I still think that there’s a place for those conversations to be happening because maybe not everybody is as comfortable as you and I to go dig into some of the more niche content and they need to see it on the front page of their regular newspapers or magazines. But I think where you come into the conversation with Vanguard is really creating, like you said, a community and a platform and a voice for people to be able to see themselves and just give you some kudos around just like stepping up and doing the damn thing. I think that there’s so many people who are listening who probably feel like Oh man, I wish that I could, you know, start a podcast or I wish that I could start a magazine or I wish I could have this conversation, you know, with Tiffany myself. And the secret is you can anybody can be doing what we’re doing. And I and I think the spirit that you and I share, I’m speaking for you, but I think that you share it is we want more people to be telling their stories. We want more stories, we need more people to be sharing and confident and comfortable. And so I love that that was really the impetus for you wanting to create Vanguard, and really wanting to just have this corner of the universe, as I like to say, and just create a safe space for people to feel comfortable. And a magazine is something that, you know, I will admit, I love paper. I’m a paper girl. So for me, magazines are not a lost art form. I think it just really is something for people to think through maybe like a creative opportunity of anything is available, anything’s on the table, you just have to kind of dream it into existence, I think the time is now to really go and have that voice. So when creating Vanguard, you know, what was that process? like for you to create a magazine in the space? Did you have to get funding? Are you self funded? How do you produce the magazine, like, what’s the creative process for that other creative process is a I like to call intricately simple, I do not have outside funding, I am self funded. And I do enjoy that I do enjoy the fact that I rely upon me. And the only reason is, is because I think that the platform and the movement need to remain in character. And it’s just too soon in the process to to broaden it too much. I don’t want to lose its niche. The process is great, it I get to talk to great amounts of women, I get to hear so much innovation, I get to hear so much creativity. And it is a wonderful process. Now I am not the the sole proprietor of information for it, I do have writers that are wonderful. And they have written great pieces for major publications across the United States that are non cannabis related and cannabis related. So I like to get that diversity of thought. And what this compiles into is a wonderful pool of great information surrounded by women created by women. And we get to put it all together in one spot and we get to share.
Tiffany Watkins 17:37
It is available, I will say this because I know you said you’d like you like paper. I do, too. I mean, I’m going to admit it, I love to have a book, I love to have a magazine. But I do also offer it as a choice to have it digital or to have a printed copy in the hand. And it’s a pretty automated process. He’s a third party production company for that. And it’s seamless, you just order whichever one you wish. But other than that I keep the process, pretty simple. And I’m what’s called ad light. And the reason why is because I feel like additional ad space takes away from the true meaning of what it is that I’m doing with these women, what I’m wanting is women to do with each other, which is uplift and self promote, and cross promote, I absolutely enjoy when someone picks up one of the copies and says, Oh, I know this person, I know her. And they feel like I can do this too. Because you know, when you pick up a major publication, sometimes you look through there and you’re just kind of on the outside looking in, you don’t see anything familiar inside not familiar enough that makes you inspired to do the same exact thing. And that is what I want to foster in this because this project I will say again, I will say to infinity is bigger than me, it’s bigger than you. It’s just big and it’s for us all. So I need when anybody picks it up to see that they need to see this explanation that I’m giving as they flip the pages so they can have that for themselves. And they can share it with each other and it can just keep going on. Now I know it says a very existential serial approach to a magazine. But like I said, it’s more than just a magazine to me, to me, this is yet another movement, and I don’t want it to be lost. Well, it’s
Shayda Torabi 19:23
a vessel for storytelling. I think it’s a way to lift. I’m going to use you know kind of a general word like regular people, regular amazing, incredible people. I will admit you and I are probably two very badass ladies, but we’re also just regular women, regular women who wake up just like everybody does. I put my pants on the same way you do. I brush my teeth, I take a shower, I eat food, bla bla bla and I think people create barriers to entries for themselves. And especially in this industry where so many of us haven’t seen somebody come before us somebody who looks like us on Somebody who sounds like us, oh, hey, the industry is completely new. It’s like, you just you don’t know where to go. And so for me, that really resonates, because that’s really the purpose of this podcast. It was. I remember when I was launching it, and I’m sure you can relate to this, I was kind of looking around thinking, Okay, well, if I wanted to, you know, see who’s done this before me, and what does that content look like? And I realized that there was some content, but it wasn’t exploited, you know, there wasn’t just rows and rows of the same people talking about the same stuff. And so it gave me a little bit of confidence. It’s like, Oh, I have a voice like, I can say something. Let me just go have this conversation. Let me just dip my toe, let me just, you know, ease into it. And so I really love that because I want people to realize that if you’re looking for somebody who’s been there, done that, they probably don’t exist, because we’re all still learning. I mean, I’m sure even despite having the years of experience in the industry that you have, I’m sure you’re still like, we’re infants. This is a very new structured,
Tiffany Watkins 21:04
this is new, it’s still Yeah, I mean, you work, I said, we all have the cannabis community before, if that’s what you want it to be a part of it great. But if if you weren’t, that was also great. But now we have an industry, we have something else at stake. This is this is larger than you know, 30 years ago than we ever would have imagined that we would have. So it’s brand new territory. And there’s enough out there for us all, am I the only women’s cannabis publication, not at all. And I don’t I’m not trying to be the biggest the tallest, the best, the only because there’s enough out there for us all to succeed. Especially if we start to unify, especially as women as people of color, I believe that we can definitely make waves just by banding together and understanding that we’re all reaching towards the same goal. And it’s a simple concept that has passed us over for so long. And I’m hopeful that we will take notice and understand that, yes, you’re doing the same thing as me, I’m doing the same thing as her. And that’s great. But when they look at all of us together, not as individuals, but as a group, we have a much more powerful voice. That is where change is made. It’s not just one person over here, he thinks this and then I think that over there, and then you think and if we’re all thinking the same thing, but talking at all three different times, we’re not a powerful force, when we stand together, and we get in front of someone who’s opposing us. And there we are, together, unitedly fronted against or for something and we make change and difference. And that’s all that I’m really looking for. Like I said, it’s so there’s a lot of competition out there for what I do for what you do, but doesn’t really matter. Because we’re all inching towards the same goal.
Shayda Torabi 22:54
That’s so beautiful. I just want to live in that excitement, and that warmth of opportunity. Because I think that it’s just like when you’re able to empower somebody to really think that anything is possible. And again, I think it kind of goes back to, unfortunately, some of the outside forces that restrict certain individuals, they don’t feel like they can tell their story. They don’t feel like they can have a voice. And I think the point for hopefully, you know, specifically with this episode, but really of the whole conversation is like find your voice, figure out your story, and then tell it. And so for you and I we love helping other people tell their stories, but I think for people listening, especially probably coming from brands, I mean, you know, just looking at how many CBD shops have opened up recently across the United States, they all sell the same thing. But what makes them different, right? It’s their story. It’s their excitement there. Why like, what the hell wakes them up in the morning. And then it’s how they’re going to educate and build that conversation through just sharing. And so I think getting people to just feel excited about owning where they come from, and like owning their voice is so important. And so I think a question I was going to ask you too, is when you’re sourcing stories. Are you just like constantly on LinkedIn? I mean, it sounds like you’re obviously very networked. We connected originally through LinkedIn. And I just always fascinated like, how do people get connected to tell their story? So if I’m like sitting in the audience and thinking like, I want to tell my story, what does that look like? How does somebody actually get their story told? It’s a multitude of ways.
Tiffany Watkins 24:39
I do meet people constantly. LinkedIn is a great source. Most of the social media platforms are a great source of leaving a message that will definitely get to me. As I collect them, I start to reach out and my writers reach out and you know, it started off a very, very small process which is really steamrolled into your content. And flow of stories, and I’m so grateful. And I will get to each and every one of them. And I say it’s relatively easy if you move to do so, go ahead and leave a message at one of the platforms on Instagram, Facebook, you can try it for Twitter, you can definitely LinkedIn. And that will, for sure, you know, come across my desk, and we will chat we will schedule some time to chat in regards to what it is that you do and and how you do it and how amazing you are, for sure.
Shayda Torabi 25:30
Is there a story that comes to mind that you’ve been able to tell through Vanguard that really resonates that you want to share,
Tiffany Watkins 25:37
um, I’m not going to really use any names. But in the first issue, there is a person who used growing to kind of not just grow the plant, but to grow themselves. And I thought that her journey of self exploration through the cultivation of cannabis was just really inspiring. That’s one I’m going to go with another issue, there is a woman again, a grower who just kind of found her footing after battling cancer. And she’s in the Pacific Northwest area, and has just really made a name for herself at a small grow. And I thought that was just really amazing and innovative. When you’re diagnosed with something that could be terminal, just hearing those words can be so life limiting up here, that, you know, the fact that she was able to still innovate and still come through on a project that has become profitable, she is survived. And she has made cannabis a part of her existence, that is also truly inspiring. So I think that you know, what I’ll find is that it’ll be you know, years and years down the road. And these women will never cease to amaze and inspire me, I’ve always smile, drop a tear, jump up and down or something, I can just feel it. I feel it. Every time I get a new story. Every time I see someone else sharing, I get that great feeling. And I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. The stories that you’re telling, do you find that they fit into a particular like, is the magazine organized in a way where there’s stories that are more individuals who are using cannabis products to like you were just sharing, you know, help heal themselves? Or are they more people who are actually like working or building a brand or in the industry, it is all of the above. In the last issue, we had a story called standing proud. And what that was, was the LGBTQ experience and personal color experience. In the cannabis space, it was an account of four different women, I believe memory serving four different women who shared their experiences, then we kind of went together about how they parallel how they were different things like that. I attack parenting, being a mom and having cannabis integrated into your life and what that means, you know, at the marriage level, what that means the grandparent level and what that means at the preschool level, you know, and things like that. Then I also have people who showcase a product that they do that they’re proud of, I’ve had a few women that are entrepreneurial, that have already begun to sell a product that have this beautiful crafted pictures and all sorts of things like that, it just want to tell their story in their how and why they got into the cannabis space. So I don’t shy away from any type of story, just simply because they all deserve to be told. Some of these women felt like they would never have someone actually advocate for telling how they’ve, you know, created a brand new product or how they innovated, uh, you know, the usage of cannabis in their home or something like that. So I’m always, always excited about those as
Shayda Torabi 29:02
well. You mentioned mothers and parenting. I think that’s a question that I personally don’t speak a lot about because I’m not a parent or a mother. But I’m very aware as a woman that that is something that as I evolve into those stages of my life could be something that I have to face. One of my previous guests was Ricardo Baka, he was the editor in chief of the Denver Post and they had a documentary called Rolling Papers on Netflix where they specifically had one of his writer so she was one of the first writers for national publication talking about cannabis and parenting. And it showed a clip of her you know, getting some feedback of you shouldn’t be doing that in your mother and it starts to Creek open the conversation for you know, are you unfit to be taking care of your child if you’re advocating for cannabis. And you know, for those listening, this was in Colorado, Colorado was adult use legal. So it was legal for her as an individual to consume cannabis. And she was telling her story and sharing her experience. And she got so much flack as a result of it. And now that was, you know, six years ago, but I don’t think the conversation has lightened up too much. I think it still is. One from a health perspective. I think when you’re looking at pregnancy, specifically with CBD, I know that there are some stigma around should women who are breastfeeding or pregnant be consuming cannabis. Then it transfers over to Hey, now I’ve got a kid, maybe they’re under three, maybe they’re 13. They’re doing homework in their, you know, room, girls come over, we’re doing cannabis night instead of happy hour wine night. Why is that bad? And so I just want to hear from your perspective, especially being a woman and advocating for women. That must be a really hard conversation to address. So how does that come up with your content?
Tiffany Watkins 31:13
It is difficult to address simply because there is so much stigma out there. But I talk about it freely. I’m also a mom, I have got two wonderful children. And I’ve used remedies that included cannabis with my children as they were growing up. Now I have adult kids now. But as they were growing, absolutely, if my daughter had menstrual cramps, of course, I was able to put together a concoction in my kitchen that I felt worked best for her body and didn’t include synthetic medication over the counter or from a doctor and I felt 100% justified in doing so. Now there are women out there who feel they want to do that just something as simple as that treating menstrual woes. And they feel that they can’t do that with their daughters. But what really speaks to me and just boils my blood are the parents, men and women out there with children with debilitating circumstances, seizures, and otherwise, who have to run like fugitives because they’ve chosen to utilize a cannabis product to treat their child. That is outrageous. That is something that should never ever happen. So yeah, it is a difficult depending on what side you stand on. It is a difficult conversation. But it’s one that I hope ends in understanding, even if it’s not within agreeance. But still understanding that parent’s point of view, I always speak from mine, I did not take my children to the doctor, not because we couldn’t it was because I didn’t want to. I found that if anything, if my child went to the doctor, it was always medication for this, this that and the other and it couldn’t give me a good reason why they were medicating without diagnosing first. And it’s not an uncommon thing for people to experience. And I took matters into my own hands I studied, I just I figured out what works best and I didn’t operate within fear. And some people do, which is perfectly fine. Everyone’s got to be at their own level. But if you choose to utilize cannabis yourself or with your children, we have to understand that we do it for medical we do for spiritual, whatever reasons we’re doing what benefits and betters us, we have to control that narrative. And we have to control that process. If the fear and the stigma comes from allowing other people to control how we better ourselves. I’ve spoken in the past in regards to we have the regulations, and the legalities. And we also have what I would refer to as a social legality. That is where it might be legal in your state, but then in your circle of friends or family or at that family reunion. They’re treating you like a criminal. They’re all popping beers and having glasses of wine and sometimes even liquor spirits. But the moment you even walk away to say, Hey, I’m going to go maybe hit my vape pin over here. You’re the top of the entire event while everybody’s standing there and hypocritically with liquor in their hands. And so I think that’s truly the hardest conversation right there. You know, implementing it into your life and keeping yourself sane and keeping yourself well while you take care of your children, I think is a rite that each and every one of us have.
Shayda Torabi 34:44
Now you paint such a vivid picture that I think brands need to be aware of, you know, the consumer is more curious these days. I think you have more people just on the wellness and taking care of yourself side To you have more people who are turning to cannabis. But I do believe as those people turn to cannabis, they’re looking for resources that give them confidence and trust that this can be something for them. And so I think when you sit in a position of helping guide, that conversation through sharing people’s stories, is a really sweet spot because you’re able to connect somebody who maybe otherwise would have felt isolated because of their family or circle of friends or the environment, or, you know, their geographical location, maybe prohibited them from being curious. And now here, like you said, maybe they see somebody who looks like them, or they get to see a story or read a story that shares a little bit of more information that makes them more comfortable and confident, trying it out. And I guess, to kind of point out for anybody listening, you know, as the industry is new, it’s new for the consumers too. And so I think as they’re looking for, how do I adopt this into my lifestyle, especially, I think women do have a more challenging situation. I don’t have children. But for me, coming out, and smoking a joint on Instagram has been really controversial. I work out every day of my life, I do take rest days, but I really love fitness. And as I started to change my personal Instagram account, from more fitness and food, to showing more cannabis, because I like you feel like I’ve been given this opportunity to be more forthcoming with my story. I do work in cannabis full time, I get the pleasure of operating a podcast where I get to bluntly, talk about my experience with the plant and I realized what everybody else does. And so that’s where for me, I turned to social media to say, hey, let me just help normalize the joint. Let’s talk about this. And I remember this one person messaged me back and was like, you work out every day isn’t smoking bad for your lungs? And I just, you know, cracked up because I’m thinking, yeah, but I don’t eat, you know, dairy and sugar and my heart’s really healthy. And I don’t drink alcohol. And why is this one aspect of this consumption or of this plant so stigmatized, and I decided like you to hell with everybody else. I know, this plants beautiful, and it’s personally impacted my life in more ways than one, I’m going to tell this story. And I’m going to share my experience. But I come across so many people who they just if they don’t see it in their circle, they’re not aware of it. And they don’t know. And so I like being somebody who can say, hey, you can be a woman who is intelligent, you get to say, hey, you can be a mom who loves her kids who’s a smart business owner, we can be these things. And we can still like cannabis. And so I think that for me is were getting back to you know, your passion of, of hearing and cultivating these stories over the years. Because I really think that’s what you’ve been doing. You’ve just been so obedient to the real like purity of cannabis. And it’s like this is the plant this has helped people like this shouldn’t be stigmatized, this should be legal people should have access to it. And like society and life as like this video kind of given you some some things to you know, have to encounter and deal with like all you know, challenges sometimes make us stronger. All challenges make us stronger, I shouldn’t say sometimes. But I do think that it’s you know, slowly helping to create a drumbeat for people to see you as Lady kana which really allows them to see themselves as a lady of cannabis.
Tiffany Watkins 39:04
I do believe that. It is my my passion for the human experience for us to really take a look at what it is that we do, how we do it and why. And living true to those things, keeps you out of that network of poking at what others do. Being comfortable with experiences with things helps you to understand the experiences and challenges of others. And I think that you know, when I was on the the kind of the top circuit holding these town hall style meetings for cannabis as Lady Khanna several years ago, when you say that, you know, kind of getting these stories over the years, I think I’ve always been a curator of that style of information, because it moves me to understand the human experience around many things. But when I focus it, you know, around this plant, there’s just a lot there. And there’s a lot of people who just are just vehemently get that away from me get and you have to wonder why are you so moved in that direction? It’s okay to be moved in that direction. You don’t have to like it. But why is it so strong? Why are you so angry about that? I think it’s worth examining. It’s worth understanding so that we can have true change, especially if we’re going to call this an industry. We need to understand why, you know, there are people who are against alcohol, former alcoholics, people who have suffered, but they do not they say, Oh, I don’t want to be around it, but they don’t cringe and get prophetic. You know, this, these just horrible reactions just because they’ve seen a beer. But if you pull out the alcohol and slip into cannabis, you get people, they’ll read you the riot act, they’ll tell you a million things that you don’t want to hear just because they’ve seen cannabis. And I think that getting to the root of that is going to really help lift a lot of stigma. And I think that we can get it done through what you do through what I do and the countless others who do who do the same. But I do think it’s quite important. But yeah, I definitely collect a human experience because I feel it’s definitely worth looking at and kind of uncovering those truths.
Shayda Torabi 41:17
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast, restart. CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas, we operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store. And you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm. Again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt, I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode. Well, you point out a really fair point to that I hope people can resonate on. And it’s why someone doesn’t like something and it’s helping them not even change their opinion, like you said, just like helping them be able to understand perhaps deeper why they have a problem with it. And I think as a marketer in this space, it’s something that we’re always confronted with is this stigmatization. But understanding why there’s a stigma, is it a generational thing? Is it that someone had a bad experience with something? Is there a personal relationship that was affected by this plant? You know, I think there’s a lot of different layers that honestly do just get kind of shoved under the rug, I think we don’t talk about them nearly enough. And so I do think that while we highlight, you know, the great things this plant can do, I think it’s important for those of us in the industry to ask these questions, and to get comfortable with the uncomfortability of, you know, I accept that not everybody’s gonna like what I have to say, I accept that everybody’s gonna vibe with what I’m putting out. But if we can at least mutually come to the table and have some sort of understanding, like, why is it that women can’t be consuming cannabis and still be considered a great mother, a great boss, a great, you know, contributor to society? And I don’t know if there’s one again, like direct answer, but I think starting to understand maybe why and asking better questions, which I think you probably have picked up how to do over the years, especially cultivating these stories is just getting people to like, you know, sometimes when you like, even like interviews, right? The first question or two that you ask people will kind of give you their baseline answer. And then you keep asking questions, and then you can start to carve around like, no, but really, why what’s what’s it really about for you? And so you’ve just given me some good Nuggets to just think through as I’m cultivating stories and telling stories myself, but also, as I’m connecting to consumers, as a brand and trying to understand when someone walks through my door, what has their experience been, and why I think that that really ultimately can help empower the brands in the space, which will lift the industry because like you said, if we’re all speaking the same language, then we can all be on the same page. And we are a stronger force than if we’re all isolated saying, you know, versions or different edits of ourselves. And I think that that is unfortunately a problem that plagues this industry. I think, I love when you say community to industry, because now I’m like, I’ll be an industry. We’re an industry, but we’re still a community. I want us to be a community. But I think as you transition from the community to the industry, the facts are not super factual. Sometimes I think there’s the science of the plant. And then I think there’s our interpretation of those Law of you know, marketing consumerism, that then dilutes that that very like purity again of the plant’s original purpose. And for those of us who exist in the industry, it’s like, how do you make sense of all that, to come to market? For better or worse, like your magazine is a marketing piece, its content, and its content, and it is a marketing piece. And it’s true, how do you come to a solid ground for
Tiffany Watkins 45:30
putting out information or content that’s factual? When from the top down our leadership, so to speak for cannabis, which is our regulations change on us? The interpretations are best left suited to certain sectors. And when certain people benefit over others, if we can’t even get our story straight from the top, then how do we expect our products to reflect anything else but chaos. And so that is why I make a distinction between community and industry. Because when we operated as a community, we had everybody had a sage, if you were into cannabis, everyone had a sage in their life, who would say, Oh, well, you utilize it for this, or I, for years have done this, or I raised all my children using cannabis such as and fill in the blank. And now we have an industry that doesn’t even support that. The industry supports the dollar sign. And I get it, America needed another industry, and I’m proud of it. But we need to bridge the gap between where community dropped off, and our industry picked up. And that is what’s going to make us strong. And that is what’s going to make our products or innovation or creativity, all in unison. And it’s all going to vary, speak right back down to the consumer. When they buy they can buy with confidence they can buy and not have to listen to 15 different experts tell them why this one product is a good enough or be buy the other one. When it comes to marketing. This can be confusing ground. And it really comes from the chaos of everyone speaking something different up here and the product sitting right here. So I think that we need to really figure out a way to kind of unify that information. And it does come from the top down.
Shayda Torabi 47:17
It comes from the top down. And I do think that why storytelling and getting brands to be more comfortable telling a story. I think you see that happening where I love what you said the dollar signs, obviously the industry you have these, these dollar signs that are coming in, and their website is slick. They’ve got really nice photos, but you’re like, Who are you? What’s your Why? What’s your story? And then you have I think on the other side, maybe somebody who’s like, this is my story. This is how I got into cannabis. This is why I’m using it. But they’re not able to translate because of how the industry has structured itself. And so we’re really, in a I like I’m gonna be positive, we’re in a beautiful opportunity to bridge that gap. Like you said, it’s a great position to be in because I really think people don’t realize the power we have kind of going back to what I was saying earlier. Nobody like tapped me on the shoulder and was like Shayda Now is your time to go create a podcast, go force my child like No, nobody was like, hey, guess what time to launch your magazine. Today’s the day like, no, Tiffany, I’m sure you were like, I should launch a magazine. Okay, maybe I’m not maybe I will a couple months go by. You eventually did it right. And so I hope people are hearing the there’s no like big motion that’s going to come and create the you know, parting of the seas, so to speak for you to freely walk into the beautiful cannabis industry that is blossoming. But the good news is you can literally do and create anything. And I think that’s where sometimes as a marketer, I relish and also curse a little bit because as you’re saying, as the laws change, like with Texas with the smoke bubbles, I want to educate my consumers on the truth. I want them to know for example, again, sharing my story. I love to smoke, I love frickin smoking. And I want to talk about it. And I want my consumers to know that smoking is a great way to experience cannabis. And now here comes my state saying you can’t do that. You can’t talk about smokeable so I’m thinking as a marketer, okay, well, so my brand can’t talk about smoke bubbles, but surely me I still smoke like I can talk about circles. For better or worse there is a law and whether you like the law of your state or not, you know, I know being from Texas there are a lot of thoughts about our cannabis laws. I’ll be the first to say I wish we had better laws but is the law of my state and I do need to at least entertain it and participate. If I want to stick around, I think people,
Shayda Torabi 50:09
they want to push the law, they want to push the boundaries. And I get it, I think we should. And I think there’s probably smarter ways to go about it than some. But I do think by, you know, playing with the rules that are set before you, you can still be really creative, and you can still create content, you can still share your story. And I think that’s what I ultimately resonate with is, nobody can take your story away from you, nobody can take your experience. So yes, as a parent, you made a decision. Oh, my gosh, my daughter is having menstrual cramps, why would I not contemplate giving her cannabis? When we know what the alternatives are? I reflect on No, I’m not a parent yet. I’m not, you know, having a child anytime soon. But because it comes up a lot, I started thinking, well, how would I handle that? What would I do if I became pregnant? Or if I was breastfeeding? Like, would I still be consuming cannabis? And I think I’m a big fat hell yes. Because of everything that I’ve educated myself on, I’m making a decision for myself with the resources and information that exists out there to ultimately make a decision that yes, I will have to live with you. No, I think there’s a, there’s always going to be side effects, there’s always going to be caution. And I think that we can do only what we are capable of doing. And that’s educate ourselves and make decisions. And so I think when you’re creating content, you’re ultimately helping somebody see themselves in your brand and your product in that story. And that’s going to open their minds up a little bit bigger to seeing, maybe they maybe they’re not going to get into the industry, maybe they’re not going to go create a magazine or a podcast, but maybe they have a friend who could really benefit from cannabis, who’s been closed minded because of X, Y, or Z. And now because of this content that you’ve created, somebody is able to see themselves or see their friend and say, Hey, this might be something that you could benefit from. And I’m such a big believer, I talk about it a lot in the podcasts of the one to one conversation. I’m sure when you created your magazine, you probably had really big goals of obviously, you’re putting this effort in because you want multiple people to see it. Nobody, I think really does anything because you’re like, I’m gonna make a podcast and I hope my mom listens. No, I like you I want, you know, to have the most impact. But I think where I’ve resonated with personally is if I can just convince one other person that cannabis is for them. Or that cannabis isn’t as dangerous as the media has been made to make it seem. And I always think that’s a funny one. It’s like working in marketing. I’m like, I’m one of those people who controls the message. And the message is what we’ve been dealing with and fighting all these years. So here we are, we’re in this beautiful space to be able to help bridge that gap. But yeah, I just think it’s a really lovely, opportunistic time to create more of that community. And I think that community happens by just talking to people both collecting stories and sharing your own story.
Tiffany Watkins 53:19
Absolutely. I mean, yes, to your point, No, I did not create this this magazine, this movement for it to just be me and my close friends, taking a look at it. Because if that was the case, then I’d see it as more of an extension of myself. And I don’t I I really see this as a movement. So this this needs everyone. This needs to have this needs to be in everyone’s ear. And I you know, when people listen to us talk about cannabis. My biggest thing is Yes, of course I want someone to utilize cannabis and see its benefits and feel its benefits, if they so choose to because I think how you feel and better yourself again, is your personal right. And I would want anyone even if you’re an opposition of cannabis to listen and hear the other side. For so long, we’ve had one sided argument against cannabis and no one will listen. And sure we have our anecdotal evidence and our stories and our and we can do that all day. But since we don’t have hard research in America, sanctioned research in America, it’s hard to get everyone to listen to your story, because people like rules and regulations so we wouldn’t have them. People like to hear that this thought leader this person in this group says this is okay. In our leadership across the country, state to state doesn’t exactly resonate. That thought becomes confusing to people, especially if they only think they are things bad about cannabis. Then they’re like, well, I’m gonna follow along. This is bad for you. I’m not hearing anything else. And what I want to have is that quiet conversation, no one’s gonna get angry. No one’s gonna oppose anyone else’s thought. I will Like for people to show up to my talks that do not support cannabis. I like to hear what they have to say. And the only thing I ask in return is that they listen. And then they leave thinking, not leave with a changed mind. That’s up to you. We don’t process leave thinking about what we said. And knowing that there’s another side. That’s the biggest thing that one of the biggest things that feels My passion is getting people to hear and just to be able to hear our voices.
Shayda Torabi 55:29
Okay, I don’t know about you. But obviously, stories are super huge for me. I mean, that’s the whole premise of the podcast. I love learning people’s stories. I love telling people’s stories. I obviously love talking about my own story. But I think a really big takeaway from this episode is hopefully for you guys just to hone in on what is your story? And how do you communicate that whether it’s through a magazine through a podcast through another, you know, channel of media, or really just through your own social network, you know, who are you actually influencing? Or who are you interacting with on a day to day basis and just being really confident in what you believe in in regards to and in relationship to this plant. So I hope that that left some nuggets for you to resonate with and thanks for joining another episode. We will be back next Monday with a brand new one. And if you liked this one, please share it with a friend or go leave us a review on iTunes. We appreciate it. Thanks again and talk to you guys soon. Bye.
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