I grounded my youngest son Kadim when he was in the tenth grade after finding his stash. We can laugh about it now, but my relationship with my son was severely damaged by my need to repress his pot-smoking.
I was terrified of the what-ifs that could happen to him, a barely 15-year old Black boy discovered with weed on his person. Being stopped by police is a common occurrence with four Black men at home. I can attest that they have all been stopped and questioned by police on several occasions.
I was livid just knowing he put himself in what I perceived to be high risk. Plus, I was concerned that my teenager was regularly smoking pot and its impact on his developing brain, which kicked off years of a cat-and-mouse relationship between us.
I’d find his stash and paraphernalia then give them away. He avoided me. I then avoided him. He got older, started making plans to move to New Zealand. My kid wanted to move to the other side of the world to get away from me.
I realized that Kadim was self-medicating with cannabis for years. He had recently been diagnosed with ADHD anxiety and depression, as had I. He was using pot. I used alcohol.
Now, Kadim is 23, and is the best trimming partner I’ve worked alongside while harvesting. I grow his cannabis now, actually for my three sons and myself. Believe me, I grow really, really good weed.
I didn’t arrive at this point in my life overnight. Wearing tights emblazoned with cannabis leaves, and t-shirts with “The Devil’s Harvest.” It took a lot of learning and unlearning for that to start.
As a sufferer of insomnia, I noticed an immediate difference when I started smoking before bed. I became able not only to fall asleep but also to wake up feeling relaxed, not groggy. With a well-rested body and mind, amazing things started to fall into place.
My artistic side also manifested. First, interior design in my home with my daughter’s room then moved on to furniture restoration. Tons of enthusiasm and plenty of ideas soon followed all at once.
I became more focused and felt more confident to begin tackling issues in my life that held me back.
With regular cannabis usage, my alcohol consumption also decreased. Previously my drinking was a growing concern. Wine Wednesdays had become wine every day; my last hangover back in November 2018 had taken me four days to recover. Pot even stopped smoking cigarettes. Also, the benefits to my already incredible sex life have been tremendous.
Beautiful things can happen when your mind can keep away encroaching thoughts at inopportune moments.
Growing cannabis has been one of the single most empowering things I’ve ever done. A little trial and error with seeds found in my weed have evolved to the determination to succeed. It’s the catalyst for me going to college for the first time at almost 50.
I also became interested in organic gardening and started growing food. I figure if I’m growing weed, might as well grow veggies too. I wanted our cannabis to be the cleanest possible because I’m producing for my family. I sought organic methods of getting my cannabis plants to have the best possible yield. I started going to craft events, met Irie Medz, followed him on Instagram and told him I needed a mentor; he never said no, so I took that as yes. He answered every question I threw at him.
While researching the industry, an email titled something like “Top 100 in Cannabis” caught my eye. It was majorly represented by white and male faces, which bothered me a lot.
Where was the Black representation? Or other racialized people?
I found a couple of female growers in Canada, even a few black female growers in the US, but none in Canada.
That discovery determined I needed to get into this industry, shake things up and change the cannabis industry’s face to represent some of the very people who helped build it.
Some involved in the cannabis industry before legalization are prohibited from entering the legal market today. I had a friend whose husband got deported in the early nineties. He immigrated as an infant with his entire family to Canada and was deported to a country he did not know as a man. His two sons were raised by their mother alone, being robbed the opportunity of a father by some pretty skewed laws, considering that now, pot is legal.
These revelations pushed me to reactivated my Facebook account after being off for almost two years. I messaged my friend, (now business partner) Khadisha Thornhill in a Black cannabis group. We were both looking for more. We wanted to socialize and commiserate with Black women about our discoveries, but couldn’t find what we were seeking.
So, we created Afro Cannada Budsistas.
Our budding group started as a small place where we met to share our love of weed but quickly became far more significant. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, others eventually started stumbling upon us.
We held our first Afro Cannada Budsistas High Tea for a group of 12 when Stage 2 was possible. What started as a small group on social media has grown to an online collective of over 2500.