We never pass up an opportunity to party, especially for a good cause. That’s why we were so excited when Women Abuv Ground (WAG) had me at their pre-Grammy party and first annual CannaCool Lounge. WAG is a professional cannabis networking organization that promotes diversity and inclusion among women in the industry. The organization is led by Bonita “Bo” Money, the creator of The Glass Jar, an organic, herbal cannabis-infused cream that treats a variety of ailments including sun burns, eczema and psoriasis, arthritis, fibromyalgia and some forms of skin cancer. Money is one of few women of color in what’s become a billion dollar industry, a statistic she hopes to change with WAG.
With delectable cannabis-infused spreads, celebrities, and a CannaCatwalk runway show, the CannaCool Lounge definitely did not disappoint. The event was hosted by Super Bowl champ Marvin Washington. Chef Andrea Drummond of Elevation VIP and Chef Millie Fernandez aka Rock StarChefz elevated cannabis cuisine with expertly plated bites fit for a five-star restaurant. Award-winning edible brand Incredibles was on hand to satisfy our sweet tooth, and signature drinks were provided by Melissa Etheridge’s wine label Know Label Wine. The food and drink alone deserve their own review.
The highlight of our evening was getting the chance to chat with Montel Williams, who was honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for his advocacy of medical cannabis. As a medicinal cannabis patient who’s used the plant to manage his multiple sclerosis (MS), Williams has a personal stake in cannabis reform. He’s helped pass medical cannabis legislation in key states and lobbied on behalf of military veterans to access medical cannabis without the threat of losing benefits. In 2016, Williams founded Lenitiv Scientific, a company dedicated to delivering high-quality products to patients who rely on medicinal cannabis.
Considering the event’s emphasis on empowering cannapreneurs of color, we thought it only appropriate to ask Williams what white allies can do to help level the playing field in the cannabis industry.
“The best thing they can do is fight alongside us,” he told us. “They can fight, and they can stick up for their peers.”
We also asked him about his first time cannabis experience and he admitted he “accidentally” smoked when he was only 13.