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Cannabis can be beneficial in many aspects of our lives, from diet and health, to fashion and beauty care (and even orgasms!).

We chatted with Zoe Brownstone, who has spent time working with Sensible Ontario, about the plant, women in cannabis, and the importance of small businesses in the distribution of cannabis in Canada.

Alpha Woman: How do we drive the conversation around cannabis? Is it the media or patients and those who consume cannabis who need to shine a light on the topic?

Zoe Brownstone: Young mothers with anxiety, or senior citizens who can’t sleep at night because they are in so much pain—they need to know about the possibilities of cannabis for their ailments. The media needs to help educate and get the message out. Who is the new consumer of cannabis? People who have never considered CBD oil to help with their headaches and other ailments. We don’t want cannabis to be a taboo thing that people are afraid of. More people need to be unafraid to talk about cannabis.

The answers are there: don’t serve to kids, educate consumers, not selling cannabis to just anyone. The goal is to show an established system where small, local businesses can thrive. Our hope is for regulations: Stores need to be lab tested, batch runs should happen every five months, staff needs to have a clear record. Whatever the regulations are, we just want the standards set. We will meet them. This is very similar to when a bar wants to get a liquor license. They pass those kinds of tests. We are trying to legitimize this industry, but it can only happen if we have strength in numbers.

AW: so what do you think about the recent CAMH recommendations that those who need to use cannabis should do so later in life?

ZB: This is common sense. We have all heard that cannabis can affect development, and that smoking it is worse than other methods of ingesting. It seems as though these types of studies are trying to push a message of abstinence, which I think is hilarious. Studies that say if you smoke or you use cannabis before getting into a vehicle you have anywhere from a 1.3 % to a 4.1% increased chance of having an accident under the influence of Cannabis– that’s common sense, right? Everyone knows that driving under the influence is not appropriate or legal, but that’s not a reason to completely abstain. We need to promote responsible use.

AW: How do you think we can better the image of the average woman who uses cannabis?

ZB: The way forward, in my opinion, is empowerment through knowledge and education. I really do believe in it—this isn’t just my hippie parents speaking through me. I really believe that that is the way to not only overcome the stigma and taboo of women in this industry, but to show that we can be leaders. But I will say, historically, men are more direct and we need to encourage our other fellow sisters to say, “No.” If you want to get something done, you get it done! You don’t ask for permission all the time. Just do it! I think there are too many people asking for permission and, yes, that’s important, but it’s time, especially in getting ready for legalization, that we just go for it.

AW: Agreed! So for all the cannabis-loving ladies out there we have to ask—what’s your favourite strain, and what’s your favourite way of consuming?

ZB: I love to smoke cannabis, but I don’t have time to get high like I used to. So I typically will smoke a high CBD strain. I’ve also become a huge fan of vaporizing cannabis, particularly the Alair vaporizer. Its a clean tasting oil with a fantastic, consistent high (my favourite strain is Pennywise with a 1:1 THC:CBD concentration) Other than that, I am old school and love rolling up a joint. That’s my happy place.

For more info on Alair Vaporizers check out alairvaporizers.com

Follow Zoe on IG @zoezoehaha and Twitter @zoebrownstone

Check out @sensibleon for information on Ontario’s Cannabis Retail plans

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