By Maghan McDowell
What do “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “The Big Lebowski” and “Pineapple Express” have in common? It’s not just weed, man; it’s the stoner bros who lead them.
But as the cannabis industry comes out of the shadows (and the punch lines), Kate Miller and Anna Duckworth are two women flipping the script. This month, the Los Angeles-based creative types shine a little light on the industry with the January 31 launch of Miss Grass (missgrass.com), a cannabis-inspired lifestyle platform with more in common with Goop than Snoop.
The website includes stories about wellness, career, beauty and fitness, and an online store selling smoking accessories and CBD-infused beauty products. Translation: cannabis culture, as far as Miss Grass is concerned, need not be relegated to simply “getting high,” dude.
Here’s why Miller, who is chief executive officer, and Duckworth, editor-in-chief, are well-positioned to offer what women want. (Hint: It’s not “weed.”)
Why was it important to create a platform like this for women?
Anna: What is happening culturally and politically right now is very much informing, supporting and inspiring a lot of what Miss Grass is all about. There is no centralized, trusted person or brand that is sifting through the noise that is the cannabis industry.
People don’t know how to roll a joint, people don’t know what a pipe is, people don’t even know that a grinder is necessary, so the barrier to entry is quite high for cannabis. But then on top of that, to make all the brands and conversations out there really geared toward men is doubly intimidating.
We are really focused on what we think the modern woman is: ambitious, career-oriented, motivated by self-care and wellness, she has an extremely busy social calendar, and she manages to do all these things while integrating one of the healthier lifestyle choices into it all, which is cannabis.
Kate: Anna and I are that consumer. We are speaking to her because we know her really well. It’s not that we define ourselves by being cannabis consumers; it’s more a lifestyle platform.
From a business perspective, we could see that it was a huge consumer demo and one of the largest growing demos in the space.
“Women” and “weed” aren’t often a topic of conversation.
Anna: We don’t use the word weed. Let’s call it cannabis, which really respects the plants — even talking to a lot of our friends who aren’t cannabis users and are having a laugh about the fact that we are building a business in this space, because there is so much education that still needs to happen about what cannabis is.
How did you develop this interest?
Kate: I grew up in New Jersey and came out for school at the University of Southern California. I changed from a recreational user to more a conscious consumer in L.A. I worked in a dispensary my junior year, which really planted the seed for Miss Grass. It was such an eye-opening experience, because it taught me a lot on the medical side about what it could do, but at the same time it was eye-opening because of how disconnected it was from pop culture. Even in the dispensary community [in Los Angeles], it was very stoner bro.
I would go back to my house with my girlfriends, and how we were integrating cannabis into our lives was very disconnected from everything else.
I worked in [film and television] for 10 years, and it’s really integrated into the entertainment culture. I used cannabis as a catalyst for creativity, inspiration and personal growth.
Anna: I moved to L.A. a year and a half ago from Toronto, so I came by my cannabis proclivities rather honestly. I was looking to marry editorial and publishing with what I really love, which is lifestyle, wellness and fitness.
The more time I spent [in L.A.], the more I realized that a creative solution was needed for the very thing that Kate was just talking about. There were no products, no content, no conversation that articulated how Kate and I and our friends and community were using and relating around cannabis. Kate and I were introduced when I was [director of content] at Dosist [formerly hmbldt], and many times over, both of us were told, “You guys need to talk.”
Has cannabis now become mainstream?
Kate: It definitely is an exciting time, both living in L.A. and California. It’s in the zeitgeist. Everyone is talking about it from a business perspective and it’s bleeding into all areas of life, from food to career to self-care. But I would say that it’s important to remember that we live in a bubble.
Even in California, there is a ways to go to bring cultural cannabis to the masses. We are also speaking to the canna-curious consumer who is interested in it but may be living in the middle of the country and doesn’t have access to a lot of the amazing brands and resources that we do in California. We want to use Miss Grass to elevate the industry and the conversation overall.
Anna: A lot of people who are using cannabis are still really hungry for information and education on it, myself included. If you’re curious and you’re interested in self-care, there is so much literature and so much to learn about the plant and the industry and different ways of consuming and different experiences you might have.
Do you think this new industry provides a unique opportunity for women to start out on a more level playing field?
Anna: A lot of women in the industry are talking about that. The thing about cannabis is that it draws a specific type of person. Anyone working in the industry who has genuinely woven it into their lifestyle has this disposition, which is empathetic, warm, community-oriented. It doesn’t feel as cutthroat as other industries I have been in. When Kate and I were coming out of the closet with this project, everyone was super supportive.
As an industry in its nascent stages, [cannabis gives] women an opportunity to be the first ones at the table and really shape it. But then the industry shifted in the last year, and a lot of the culture has changed. There is now an overlap with other industries, and people are moving into the space and bringing with them another culture. And so you don’t have that sort of cannabis people in business anymore. You have every business in the cannabis business.
If someone is canna-curious, what would you recommend?
Anna: It’s all about going slow. For a beginner, you can go the edible route, which on its face intimidates everybody because we’ve all had a terrible experience in college of a brownie that ruined our life for five days. But that is one of the greatest ways to explore cannabis. Another way is through smoking flower, which everyone has experience with, and the third one would be vaporizing. Just try a little bit.
And you don’t sell cannabis or products that provide a psychoactive effect, but rather accessories and products with CBD, for example, which is derived from cannabis.
Kate: We have partnered with some of the top brands in the space. They are high-end in terms of branding, quality and function. We have partnered with Floria, Wildflower and Vertly, which makes an incredible CBD-infused lip balm.
What’s your video series about?
Anna: We are doing a series called Flipped Scripts, where we are identifying and interviewing women who are shaping the [cannabis] conversation and putting a stake in the ground, who are out of the closet and really leading the charge. What we are excited about getting out of these women is, what is that specific moment when everything flipped for you? None of us are born with an opinion of cannabis, but it doesn’t take long for us all to be indoctrinated with an opinion that is informed by the war on drugs and the wonderful Ronald Reagan. And it’s, how can we get women to zero in on this moment when everything flipped for them? The first person is Chelsea Layland, who is a DJ and model in New York who is an advocate for treating epilepsy with cannabis.
It’s like Prohibition is over and we are all turning 21.