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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Today is 420, the first and hopefully the last one we will celebrate while in quarantine. If you’re a weed enthusiast, you most likely spend any extra time you can get on finding out how to level up your smoking (or vaporizing) game.
For this 420, whether you’re planning on smoking twice as much as you would usually do or you’ve smoked up your stash weeks ago and are about to ride the cooking craze wave and bake space cakes to properly celebrate 420, we selected the weed gadgets and tech products just for you in order to enhance your smoking experience and make this 420 extra special. Here are the best tech products for stoners.
Strain Genie is a platform that matches your DNA with the weed strain that, according to their research, is the best fit for you depending on your health. By partnering with home-testing companies such as 23AndMe, MyHeritage, Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA, Strain Genie provides users with a test kit that will later on be processed to generate a personalised 19-page cannabis report. “Know which dosages and ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes you should prioritize on your informed cannabis journey,” reads Strain Genie’s website.
Some of you might be wary of what a DNA testing kit may represent, but once you manage to overlook this aspect, you might discover some important facts about your cannabis consumption and discover different strains of it. We knew 2019 was the year of DNA home-testing kits, but you might want to give it another go in 2020, if only for a better high.
Tech is constantly innovating, even in the weed industry with the help of cannabis tech apps. While most of them only work in specific locations—as they exist in accordance to whether smoking and buying weed is legal or not—they are still worth mentioning to get a sense of what the future of legalisation looks like.
Leafly, for instance, is an app that contains a detailed database of cannabis strains, cannabis-related latest news, and which gives users the possibility to choose a weed strain according to the different symptoms they want to cure.
EazeMD was an app that was only available in California that enabled face-to-face virtual consultations with doctors who could eventually send patients recommendations. As a medical marijuana recommendation is no longer required for most areas in California, the app shifted into Eaze, a delivery service for cannabis products. While ordering weed legally on an app sounds like a far away dream for non California residents, Eaze showcases a near future where medical marijuana is not only legalised, but easily accessible through digital technology.
For all the tech and weed enthusiasts out there who intend to level up the way in which they consume cannabis this 420, hi-tech vaporizers are the way forward. Characterised by cutting edge designs, these vaporizers are set to enhance your weed experience. In other words, you’re about to get high on another level.
Among them is the PAX 3, a portable vape that works with both flowers and concentrates. Its accompanying app also provides temperature control and management of vapour and flavour output to make sure users can balance it out according to their preferences.
If PAX 3 is a decent upgrade, Puffco Peak is the ultimate luxury vaporizer. For $379,99, this portable see-through electronic vaporizer eliminates the manual parts of the dabbing process, making it all smooth and clean.
I see you ordering your new vaporizer with next day delivery. Enjoy as responsibly as you can, and happy 420!