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BOLD LIP

Cannabis for women: Products we love, stereotypes we despise

It’s 10/17, and Canadians all over are celebrating how far we’ve come since cannabis was legalized in 2018. For people working in the industry, especially ones who’ve been here since day one, it’s a day that evokes a mix of pride, awe, and a little sprinkle of PTSD for good measure. At BOLD LIP, the legal Canadian cannabis industry (and the chaotic personnel decisions therein) looms large in our origin story as an agency, which we think is worth celebrating.


As we pondered who we’d profile for a “Women & Weed” piece, the answer hit us like a 6 foot bong rip: our team represents women across decades and stages of life, all with experience working in the cannabis industry. 


A change that we’d all like to see in cannabis marketing is the assumption that there is one unifying experience or motivator for women consuming cannabis. By and large the communications angled our way are ultra femme, wellness-oriented, and presume a desire for discreet, low potency options. There is certainly truth in this for some of us, but it’s far from the whole story. As a women-led team, it’s our responsibility to speak to women as they are: diverse, multi-dimensional, real. Moreover, we believe that the brands that do this successfully have a real opportunity to stand out in-market in lieu of the same old, tired tropes.


Without further ado, we give you the high profile of the BOLD LIP team; preferences, insights and beefs from women who work in and consume weed.



MOLLY
Graphic Designer + Social Media Specialist

  • Favourite legal product: Solei Free flower
  • Dream blunt rotation: Dr. Phil, Audrey Hepburn, Future, Virgil Abloh
  • Ideal consumption scenario: In hoodie, on balcony, with either nature or cityscape view.



“Personally cannabis has always been about the ritual, rather than a way to get really intoxicated. Rolling and smoking joints is a big part of what makes the experience for me, so I usually go for high CBD strains so I can stay balanced and don’t get overly baked. When I’m shopping for flower I look at price first, and am happy to try new things on the recommendation of the budtender. 


I’ve recently gotten into cannabis drinks a little, usually in situations where I don’t want to go outside and smoke, or as a stand-in for drinking, I really don’t like to mix the two. For more casual or social situations the gradual onset can be nice, versus when I’m on my own I don’t mind getting a more immediate buzz. Overall I think they’re a nice treat once in a while,  but I just can’t justify the expense.


Usually the role of cannabis in my day-to-day life is around relaxing. I’ll go for a walk or cook myself a nice meal and just enjoy the mental peace & quiet. It’s not something I want all the time, and I sometimes go for breaks depending on my mood and budget. 


Working in cannabis is a trip because it’s the first time that I drop into a morning meeting and people are talking about getting zooted on the weekend. It still doesn’t have the same culture of acceptability in the other parts of my life so it’s pretty wild to me still to hear my boss talk about cannabis so casually! 


If someone’s feeling uncertain about consuming cannabis, I just want them to know it’s never too late to try it and inexperience is nothing to be embarrassed about. It doesn’t have to change your lifestyle in any dramatic way, and more than ever can be catered to what you want and need. It can be super sporadic, it’s not something you have to make up your mind about forever, it’s something that can be dynamic and flex as your preferences and needs change.”



MAGGIE
Senior Copywriter

blunts

  • Favourite legal product: Benny Blunto Pre-rolls by the Loud Plug
  • Dream blunt rotation: Burna Boy, RuPaul, Maya Rudolph, Jonathan Van Ness
  • Ideal consumption scenario: A day on Toronto island, biking, swimming, frisbee.


“Working in cannabis has been a straight up fever dream, honestly. It is the source of some of my proudest professional moments, dearest friends and also some of the most grueling work that I have ever done. The rules were changing all the time and the supply chain was so unpredictable sometimes that you’d work yourself to the bone on something only to watch it not go to market. I also got to meet Snoop Dogg. We routinely consumed after work to go back into the office and put in a few more hours after 5. Like I said, fever dream. 


As a consumer, working in the industry has definitely made me more savvy about what’s in market, and I love being able to help my friends make purchases that work for them. I don’t evangelize weed or think everyone should do it, but it makes me sad when people have a bad experience that was totally avoidable resulting in them writing off cannabis altogether. 


Where my cannabis use used to be daily or close to it, I started to notice it having a pretty negative effect on my mental health in the endless lockdowns that was COVID in Toronto. I had been smoking regularly since college, and working in the industry hyper-normalized it to the point where I had left my relationship with weed totally unexamined for years. Now I pretty much only consume in social situations, or when my period cramps are too brutal. It’s honestly a godsend for menstrual symptoms, where my only other alternative used to be dosing Tylenol all day, which I’m sure was wreaking havoc on my liver. 


If I have any insider info to share it’s this: go for strains with old school sounding names (Bubba Kush, for example)  over proprietary names (Glow, Rest, Tranquility or whatever). For some LPs they’ll take a bunch of strains that have similar THC/CBD content and sell them all under the same name. It doesn’t take into consideration the terpenes and other cannabinoids that make every strain unique, so you might have a totally different experience even though you’re consuming the same product. With the “legacy” strains, you might have a better idea of what to expect, and a greater body of information to access when you research online. Stay mindful and self-aware around your consumption.”



TARALYN
Co-Founder + Creative Director, Design

Little Victories

  • Favourite legal product: Little Victory Blood Orange
  • Dream blunt rotation: Dwayne the Rock Johnson, Amy Schumer, Kristen Chenoweth, Amy Sedaris
  • Ideal consumption scenario: On an island with friends, or in the anonymity of a really great concert.



“Before legalization, and before edibles, I was totally happy to smoke weed, and whatever weed was handed to me. A lot has changed since then. For one, I have two kids, and I don’t think I will ever smoke in front of them, and it’s not my vibe to go hide and smoke in the garage. There are a lot of little kids running around at most of my social engagements, so it feels way easier and more appropriate to crack a beveragino than it does to light up a doobie. 


My favorite consumption hour is in the evening, probably an hour before bed as a way to wind down. I tend to reach for a cannabis drink or oil like Solei’s Unplug. I don’t really struggle with sleeping, it’s just like an extra weighted blanket, and comforting to know I’m about to get a really deep restful sleep. I think this is partly a carry-over from COVID lockdowns, where the whole family was home all the time and I needed every bit of energy I could get. Plus, there’s no hangover which is really important. 


If I hadn’t worked in cannabis, I don’t know if I’d be as confident exploring edibles and drinks, especially where potency is concerned. I think a lot of people have a hard time translating the miligram count into an expected experience. I was definitely the consumer profile of someone who overdid it big time and wrote off edibles, whereas now I approach it sort of similarly to alcohol. I want to have a gradual experience and enjoy a few units without getting too messed up. I’m still a pretty big lightweight, though I think my tolerance is very slowly increasing. 


For people still unsure or intimidated by cannabis, I wish they knew how far the benefits can extend: getting to sleep, relaxing your mind, uplifting your spirits, amplifying the stuff you already love. It kills me that there’s lots of people out there like my dad who are a little uncomfortable day-to-day when they don’t need to be. That being said, my mom is into pot, and uses it to help manage her fibromyalgia. She can definitely weed me under the table! I think as time goes on, more and more of the generation that grew up thinking cannabis is the “devil’s lettuce” will feel safer exploring.”



JOANNE
Co-founder + Creative Director, Copy

sweet justice

  • Favourite legal product: Sweet Justice Cola
  • Dream blunt rotation: Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Leslie Jones
  • Ideal consumption scenario: On an island with friends, or in the anonymity of a really great concert.



“When I entered the cannabis industry, on the cusp of legalization, I hadn’t been consuming cannabis regularly at all. Just occasionally if it was offered to me when I was somewhere socially. I wasn’t going out buying it. I didn’t have a dealer. I was just not consuming regularly. And when I got into the business I’m like, well I gotta explore this. I need to know what I’m selling. So I tried all kinds of formats; pre-rolls, extract vapes, flower vapes, smoking flower, chocolate, drinks, soft gels, the whole nine. While it wasn’t something I ever demanded of my staff, I wanted to make sure I was knowledgeable on the product experience. 


Now that I’ve found my cannabis stride, my preference is definitely for beverages, even though finding one in a dosage and flavour I like isn’t always a guarantee. As much as I enjoy smoking, being healthy and active is non-negotiable for me, and smoking regularly doesn’t really fit into that. Same with vaping; just because we haven’t proven it’s bad for you yet, doesn’t mean it’s not. You’re sucking solvents into your lungs, it doesn’t make sense to me that it could be neutral for your health. 


I typically have a drink or two on a weekend afternoon to chill out and relax. It’s a social thing for me, and acts as an easy stand-in for alcohol; I have a basic idea of how intoxicating a unit is and how long it will take to set in. It’s also way healthier than booze, in my opinion.


There’s still so much misunderstanding around the cannabis market in my peer group, I find. I still have people asking “Where’d you get that?” when I bring out a cannabis seltzer at a dinner party. There are five dispensaries on every block! But there’s still a stigma associated with accessing or being seen at a dispensary for some people. Partly I think this is because of the literally opaque regulations around cannabis storefronts: consumers have no idea what to expect, and are totally unaware that inside those shops is a clean, bright environment full of helpful people. 


Meanwhile, people have no problem buying buckets and buckets of booze with kids in tow, consume it in large amounts in front of kids, their colleagues, dates, whomever, and don’t think twice about it! I wish people had a more normalized attitude towards cannabis, and frankly took a harder look at drinking culture, which I think is pretty clearly more damaging to our physical, mental and relational health.”



BRITTANY
Account Director

Collective Project

  • Favourite legal product: Ace Valley Sativa 510 Cartridge
  • Dream blunt rotation: Dwayne the Rock Johnson, Amy Schumer, Kristen Chenoweth, Amy Sedaris
  • Ideal consumption scenario: In a lake, on a floatie in the midafternoon sun, ramping up to a night of silliness with my girlfriends.



“I would say I’m not a frequent user but I do enjoy consuming cannabis as an alternative or complement to drinking alcohol. My use is social 100% of the time so I usually go for a vape pen or a drink because they can be enjoyed inside without offense, and without having to step away from the conversation to consume outside. 


Working in the cannabis industry helped educate me on what cannabis even is, frankly. I don’t think I understood it to be something that could be fun to consume and I think I assumed there was some riskiness associated with dabbling. But in my time working in cannabis I spent a lot of time working on the medical side of things and getting to know the cannabinoids better and what they’re good for. On the recreational side, I touched a lot of brands that I still see in market and still make me feel proud to have been a part of it. I think I also have a greater appreciation for all the work that goes into getting a product into market, and all the hurdles that are in front of people trying to make a brand stand out. I’m definitely a sucker for branding and will try something out if I dig the look and feel. That said, my aesthetic taste isn’t all pink, soft and floral. I don’t gravitate toward gendered branding as much as thoughtful, unique design and packaging. 


As far as potency, I’m not somebody that wants to knock back a bunch of drinks or eat a bunch of edibles to get where I want to be. Whereas I know some people want a more buildable experience, I’m more of a “one and done” type of lady. The 2.5 mg drinks are just not for me! 


I think a big misunderstanding about cannabis, definitely one I had, is that it’s somehow isolating or anti-social, like it has to be your whole identity. I’ve been surprised to find that the more I learn about my tolerance and preferences, the more I have social, predictable experiences where I still feel totally outgoing and in control in social situations.” 

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