Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

Meet the weedfluencers, the conscious influencers cropping up with the legalisation of cannabis

By Malavika Pradeep

Apr 20, 2021

COPY URL

Last week, New Mexico legalised the recreational use of cannabis—seeking to create a brand new industry with retail sales set to begin early 2022. With more than 900 cannabis, psychedelic and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress underway, many brands and pharmaceuticals are bracing themselves to welcome the incoming ‘friendlier regulatory environment’. In the mix are a new wave of conscious influencers, cropping up with the growing rates of legalisation. Introducing: the Pinterest-worthy, Slytherin-green world of weedfluencers.

Who are weedfluencers?

Weedfluencers are enthusiasts who are leveraging various digital platforms to engage with an audience on the A to Zs of cannabis. Ranging from chefs and podcast hosts to workout fanatics, this fairly recent genre of influencers is backed with the mission of educating, reviewing and normalising cannabis usage among the public.

Now, one thing to be kept in mind here is the clear distinction between a ‘weedfluencer’ and the traditional stereotype of a ‘stoner’. Working with the aim of getting rid of this label altogether, weedfluencers incorporate ‘conscious curation’ when it comes to expressing their cannabis use online. Simply put, they don’t just post selfies of themselves smoking up on Instagram, but they go as far as to embody a positive movement—by normalising weed as a conscious lifestyle choice.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par JeffThe420Chef🏳️‍🌈 (@jeffthe420chef)

A movement previously rooted in industry distrust

The rise of weedfluencers is much-needed proof of the influencer culture adapting to the recent 420-friendlier changes. However, this group is relatively new in the cannabis space.

Earlier influencers in the segment included celebrities such as Tommy Chong, Roseanne Barr and Martha Stewart who were then linked to the appearance of an industry distrust. Flocking towards weed to “enhance their brands,” they had come under scrutiny for “putting their names on products they are unfamiliar with” and “hawking them” to their big social-media following.

Weedfluencers, though leaning towards positivity rather than over-consumption have also garnered criticisms on their way. Similar to most influencers, they have come under fire for allegedly spreading “marketing messages” rather than their independent, objective advice. Given the legal restrictions and media regulations faced by many weed companies—in some cases they can’t even create a print or radio advertisement—doesn’t seem to help their case either.

Although these influencers are on a bid to cleanse the ‘stoner’ label that goes hand in hand with the lifestyle choice, the stigma still seems to dominate their online personas. Anjela, better known by her ‘weed-sona’, Koala Puffs, highlighted how her family was reluctant to accept her ‘pro-bud rebranding’. “Nobody changed their minds until I was 200,000 followers deep,” she said in an interview with Mashable, adding that her mother still thinks she’s just outgrowing her “college phase.”

Brittany Tatiana, a cannabis beauty and wellness influencer, admitted to having lost jobs and contracts because of her 420-friendly Instagram account. “It’s been hard for me to represent my full self and not have people judge me based on what they see in one post,” she said, outlining how straddling the commercial beauty industry along with the cannabis-friendly world is “like walking a tight rope.”

Arend Richard, who went from being a banned 420 YouTuber to a cannabis CEO with the launch of a separate platform called The Weedtube, admitted to having gone back to delete over 200 Instagram posts after taking on the business side of the segment. “Legitimate cannabis businessmen also need to avoid the stereotypes associated with the stoner label, which seems to stick like glue in an age when social media signifiers define so much of how other people perceive you,” Mashable added in the interview with Richard.

According to Tatiana, self-reflection is the ultimate tool that helps weedfluencers overcome the personal conflict that comes along with their daily schedule of Instagram posts. “It comes down to what cannabis means to you and choosing how you’re gonna show it,” she added.

Is it okay to post and promote weed on social platforms in the first place?

In early 2018, YouTube went on what appeared to be a ‘weed purge’—systematically shutting down cannabis-centric channels without an explanation. Instagram was the next to follow suit—disabling accounts that violated the platform’s marijuana policy, which also pertains to influencers.

“Instagram doesn’t allow people or organisations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country,” the policy reads. The platform prohibits marijuana sellers—including dispensaries—from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, email and street addresses, or by using the ‘contact us’ tab on Instagram Business accounts.

Keep in mind that this is neither the case nor the intent behind weedfluencers. With studies linking the positive use of social media to the overarching support for legalisation, these influencers ultimately aim at changing public perception in a socio-conscious way—a sign of being ‘Instagram friendly’ all the way.

With that being said, we’ve listed the top 5 weedfluencers for you to follow for your ‘weedly’ inspirations:

1. The Dank Duchess

Based in California, @thedankduchess is an internationally recognised cannabis cultivator, hashmaker and writer. Believing that “intentional and mindful cannabis use will indeed change our society,” the weedfluencer shares her own experiences and breaks stigmas while promoting self-care practices, workouts and micro-dosing advice on her platform.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par The Dank Duchess® (@thedankduchess)

2. Shonitria Anthony

Shonitria Anthony, also known as @bluntblowinmama, is on a mission to normalise the concept of mothers medicating themselves with cannabis products. A former editor for both ABC News and the Huffington Post, her Instagram account radiates positivity through comedic and engaging posts. Host of the podcast, Blunt Blowin’ Mama, the weedfluencer shares mutual experiences of other newly-minted mothers who have used cannabis to aid various walks of life including anxiety control.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Blunt Blowin’ Mama (@bluntblowinmama)

3. Jeff

Recognised as ‘The Julia Child of Weed’ by The Daily Beast, @Jeffthe420chef is a ‘cannabis chef’ incorporating cannabis oil and cannabutter into his impressive list of recipes. Posting intricate plates of food infused with cannabis flowers, the chef creates recipes that are free of the odour with tastes masked by the complexities of added flavouring. Not only does Jeff manage his digital platform, he has also developed his own cookbook for others to try at home. These recipes include infused quesadillas, salads, potato chips, walnuts, tarts, french toast, his own cannasugar, and more.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par JeffThe420Chef🏳️‍🌈 (@jeffthe420chef)

4. Alice & Clark

“In love with weed and each other,” Alice and Clark are a married couple living in Hollywood with a deep appreciation for “all things dank.” Showcasing innovative cannabis products and building a community around the benefits of cannabis, the couple are well-known for their vlogs of exclusive events in the cannabis business which shares a glimpse of the evolving industry.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par That High Couple (@thathighcouple)

5. Anna

Based in Toronto, Anna, known as @thecannabinista, utilises social platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok to share her passion for cannabis products. Often found reviewing the latest products within the industry, the weedfluencer experiments by creating her own THC-infused recipes while embarking on her own personal journey of growing and documenting the medicinal plant.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par anna 🪴 diy cannabis infusions (@thecannabinista)