Jacqui is an online social influencer with a following into the millions. She is an international best selling author, she co -wrote a book sharing her struggles with mental health, drugs and alcohol abuse. Jacqui is now living #pharmafree thanks to plant based medicine, and travels the world sharing kind and authentic stories of how she came to the plant. Jacqui is a brand ambassador for several Cannabis brands, and expos. She is currently the co-host of Canada’s Premier podcast “The Green Room” in partnership with Cannabis.wiki. She is the current Ocannabiz influencer of the year award recipient. Jacqui does not claim to be an expert or and activist, just a loud voice on social media sharing her journey.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
Sure, just over two years ago I began using CBD on the advice of my inlaws. I was heavily medicated for crohns, anxiety and depression.
I was drinking heavily and definitely abusing my pharmaceuticals. I was skeptical at first, but tried a few drops before bed and began to notice a difference in my overall mood and wellbeing.
Since starting this journey to wellness, I am now using THC in all it’s forms (vape, smoke edibles, suppositories) and drinking less than ever .
I guess you could say “I’m living my best life”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
While sharing my journey online, people took notice. My following grew and I began to be welcomed in the cannabis space by industry executives and thought leaders. I was invited to a private party by some cannabis investors, it was at that party that I met what would become my first and biggest (at the time) partners, a group of craft growers from Alberta, that are now Canalief Alberta’s premier craft growers. We were their to see and meet Snoop dogg, which never happened, we were too busy making plans and exchanging business cards.
As far as lessons learned, I do enjoy the cannabis space but I am here to work. These activations and pop up parties are a great way to meet and share space with like minded people, but I will say the real business happens in the smoking areas or washrooms. #truestory
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Ohhh mistakes, I’ve made quite a few. I signed on to host a convention/expo and from the minute I was approached, I felt something was off. During the back and forth emails my gut was saying “too good to be true” I ignored my gut. After a few weeks the communicate stopped and media outlets began to message me, regarding my involvement. The names I was along side were too big to pass up, they were also too big to be true. The event never happened and probably never will. I laugh now looking back at the entire fiasco. Live and learn #GoWithYourGut
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
Well, most people laugh because I was loud and proud about being raised on Nancy Reagan “just say no” campaign. That’s also how I raised my children. So, for those that knew me then, this definitely takes a minute to get used to.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Now I have a team of people that make this all tick. But in the beginning it was really just me and my husband Drew. He’s my manager and personal photographer. He really believes I’m a great storyteller and have a lot to share. Drew has encouraged me to keep going even when the space is less than kind. I still have several health issues that often require downtime, Drew picks up the slack the best he can, but unlike a traditional business, I am the product, brand and service. I’m still living with anxiety and depression, but thanks to Drew I’m not alone in this, and the cannabis space is definitely an industry that welcomes and celebrates those of us with flaws.
My online following is into the millions, and that’s a beast to feed daily, definitely grateful for my partner and best friend, couldn’t do this without him.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m really excited about my latest partnership with my friends at Cannabis.wiki . I am the cohost of an informational and educational podcast “The Green Room”. I have an opportunity to share space with some of the most inspiring humans in the cannabis industry.
We all have a story, and social media creates false opinions and perceptions. We give our guests a chance to share what makes them tick and who they really are. I have a saying that I use in most of my talks and speaches ” if they don’t invite you to their table, build your own and invite them to yours” and that’s the premise of The Green room podcast.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
Great question. Difficult one to easily answer. I do believe in the best “person” for the job and not just a woman to make things equal. I’m also not sure about those statistics, Some of the most inspiring and most celebrated humans in the cannabis space are women . We’ll get there .. together! And I say together because the #womeninweed need to stop tearing each other down and keep building together. While we’re fighting amongst ourselves the men are making the big decisions. It’s some of those decisions that directly affect us, our choices and our bodies. Again this question isn’t easy for me . Yes I am a women, however I’m not the girl that right fights and pounds her chest all day screaming “it’s not fair” I work harder and smarter, to make sure I’m adding value to any space I’m in.
You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.
Listen more, speak less. Pick your battles.
Use social media to network and share your authentic message. What makes you different (not better)
Also remember how and who built this industry, that not everyone sees the world the way you do.
We’re just over the first year of Canadian cannabis Legalization, really we’re all new to the legal market. There are more wins ahead but there are also a tonne more mistakes to be made.
The word “pivot” gets thrown around at every conference and course I take in the space. But YES learn to PIVOT. The cannabis landscape is forever changing. Which is also an online and advertising nightmare. Which I’m very familiar with (enough said)
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
I guess the same things that challenges me, also excite me. Everyday is a new day. I can’t wait to read the news and check out the Health Canada site to see what’s happening around Canada and the world. These are very exciting times, and I’m so proud to be a Canadian, the world is watching and we have an opportunity to do some real good for future generations.
Ohhh and Hemp! Wow! I’m so excited to see where we take our knowledge and respect for this plant. “Hempcrete” building materials, fabric and medicine. I’m so hopeful.
And what excites me most in the space would be what we’re now able to treat and heal with plant medicine. We have an opioid crisis, here and abroad. I believe we have a cannabis solution and I’m extremely hopeful for future generations.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
The right fighters, the first and the best. There is room for all of us . We focus on the negative. We talk a big game of inclusion. We need to be kinder to each other period. Instead of spinning our wheels we could be moving forward together. It’s going to take a village and while I agree there are some industry leaders, they need each and everyone of us to make this work.
I’ve been reading a lot about “disrupters” those of us that challenge the status quo. I like to think of myself as a disruptor because I’m not sure killing them with kindness has been attempted in the past, but it seems to be working for me .
What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?
Cannabis is a plant. We have an opioid crisis. We have men women and children dying of diseases and addictions, while we debate this issue. We also have our sons and daughters dying in prisons because of their involvement in cannabis.
If you know you have the answer to save lives and end needless suffering WHY are we still debating this issue? We desperately need to come together on this as one nation and one world. It’s a plant .
Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?
Different. Cannabis has the power to heal. Sure tax it for recreational but don’t tax our medicine. The easier it is to get, for those that truly need it the better.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they’ve done right”
I remind myself of this quote often. There are many big names in the industry that we celebrate one day and vilify the next. We’re human and we all wanted to be wanted and needed and we all deserve forgiveness.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I just hope we could be kinder. We all make mistakes, we’re all flawed. If the world was a place where we could say sorry and ask for forgiveness more freely can you imagine the shift. Since I spend a large portion of my day on social media, I’d like to see a kinder gentler approach to each other online. Would what you’re sharing make your child or parent proud? Or if instead of being so quick to criticize you complimented . Can you imagine?
I fall victim to the trolls under the bridge often, but I forgive myself and them . After all cannabis is about peace, love and healing. I believe she’s shown us the way, and now it’s up to us to follow.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!