COLORADO: Women are rewriting the social rules regarding marijuana use, and driving innovation in the emerging legal cannabis industry. To celebrate and pay tribute to them, Denver-based 4 & 20 Blackbird Productions and organizers Cannabis Maven Susan Squibb and Christie Lunsford will play host to the 3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea, a networking event for women and mothers in cannabis.
MJNewsNetwork asked Susan Squibb about the event, and much more.
Q: What is Mother’s High Tea?
Mother’s High Tea is a tea party around Mother’s Day for the inspirational pioneering women and mothers of cannabis legalization and our fast growing community. It’s based in Denver, Colorado. The first Mother’s High Tea, in 2011 began as a community event. The original event inspiration was my mother who was active in the nonprofit community serving women and children’s needs. When she passed away from ovarian cancer, I created this event within my own community in homage to her positive influence and gather the busy cannabis business women together for an inspiring tea party around Mother’s Day. The next Mother’s High Tea doubled as the launch of Women’s CannaBusiness Network, a project of National Cannabis Industry Association. This women’s group, 2 years later developed into Women Grow. Mother’s High Tea is a trailblazing cannabis event!
Q: Who will be speaking?
Cannabis business women, AC Braddock CEO of Washington based Eden Labs and Kristi Kelly, Principal of Good Meds Network in Metro Denver are speaking at this year’s event. Our keynote speaker is Republican Senator Beth Martinez Humenik from Adams County, Colorado. Diane Fornbacher, publisher of Ladybud Magazine will inspire with poetry and cannabis educator and consultant, Christie Lunsford, is sharing MC duties with me. It’s an exciting lineup of accomplished women, I’m eager to hear what Senator Humenik will say!
Q: Who should attend?
This event is for women and mothers in cannabis business and legal reform. It’s a networking event with a speaker program and event activities. Mothers can bring their children, if they like. Due to compliance issues for public cannabis events, we have a limited capacity for minors, so children need to be preregistered to attend. Those arrangements can be made when tickets are purchased. Men are welcome to attend too!
Q: The event was produced by 4 & 20 Blackbirds Productions —your event production company — tell us about that.
Mother’s High Tea, as a non-consumption event, has been the only 4 & 20 Blackbirds event so far. I have plans to organize other cannabis events, more on the cultural side, but the laws in Denver are strict and not conducive to public events with allowed consumption. Here in the Denver area, people in marijuana “speakeasies” can get tickets for public consumption by police, and events have been cancelled or moved under pressure from officials. It’s unstable and still largely underground right now. The private use only aspect of the Colorado legalization law is not based on actual behavior. Cannabis culture is social and needs to also be legalized. Ideally, I want to be able to get a marijuana event permit, just like a permit is needed to sell alcohol at an event.
Q: You wear a lot of hats — Cannabis Maven, Operations Director of Steep Hill Labs, SAFER activist, event planner — how do you manage to balance it all?
I don’t wear all my hats at the same time! But life can get hectic, juggling it all. Meditation is an important balance. I can do a lot because I am deeply motivated to make positive change for this plant. This is my inspiration for my legal reform work. I feel really blessed to have many opportunities to describe and impact cannabis laws, expand the legal marketplace and increase consumer safety. I think of great ideas to manifest, look for good projects to work on, and support worthwhile businesses that add value to the scene and develop business and social infrastructure.
Q: The event is open to well-dressed men and well-behaved children…what is your thinking?
Yes, this is primarily a lady’s event. We don’t exclude men, especially men that recognize the importance of the event and want to lend support to the women of this community! We do ask the men to dress nice! Cannabis business is usually a casually dressed environment, lots of t shirt and jeans. We want to everyone looking sharp for the ladies! Mothers can bring their children the Mother’s High Tea. We design the event with kids in mind. We have a letter writing table for encouraging political engagement, a craft table to decorate teapot ornaments, tea time word searches, and a fun photo booth. Many cannabis businesses in Colorado are run by families. This public event is an opportunity for them to bring their children, or parents, to a cannabis event that is appropriate and safe and stylish.
Q: Who are your sponsors?
We have over 35 business sponsors for the event representing a wide range of businesses within the cannabis industry. MJBA Women’s Alliance has been an enthusiastic sponsor of Mother’s High Tea and special thanks to our lunch, photo booth and platinum sponsors: Mary Medicinal’s, Julie’s Natural Edibles, MiNDFUL, Steep Hill, The Farm, Ideal 420 Soil, and Northern Lights Cannabis Co.
Here’s all the sponsors! Mary Medicinals, Julie’s Natural Edibles, MiNDFUL, Steep Hill, The Farm, Ideal 420 Soil, Northern Lights, McAllister Law Office, Dixie, Good Meds Network, Canyon Cultivation, Miller Soil, Live Green, CannaMart, Surna, MJ Freeway, Denver Relief, Lauren Davis Law, The ArcView Group, The Clinic, Better Baked, Vicente/Sederberg, CMT Laboratories, Cloverleaf University, 420 Investor, SSDP and DPA, BMB Builders, 3D Cannabis Center, The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, Ladybud Magazine, Buds and Blossoms, Cannabis Camera, 4 & 20 Blackbirds, Women Grow, MJBA Women’s Alliance, Wildwood Apothecary, and Sara C’s it Social Media.
Q: Women Grow, MJBA Women’s Alliance, Ladybud, why do you think women in the cannabis have taken such a visible leadership role in shaping a post-prohibition world.
Women have been involved in cannabis reform for a long time. The change in the laws has made it a more comfortable space for women to openly come forward as advocates for legal reform, and executives in cannabis business. Also, women are important thought leaders for the future we are creating right now. We have a social norm we believe that moms look out for our safety and if mom says something is ok to do, then it’s safe and ok. The opinions of moms and women will shape what appropriate social use is like in a society of legalized marijuana. Women play an important role in removing stigmas that surround marijuana. Also, the needs of women consumers will have a big impact on market development, so businesses need to be forecasting for women consumers.
Q: Feel free to add anything else you feel would be relevant to MJ News Network readers.
Anyone who believes cannabis laws should change can have a big impact by simply talking about your support within your social circles. Fear of what others think or fear of being stereotyped as a lazy pothead, unfit mother whatever has stifled public conversations supporting legalization. These everyday conversations aren’t about personal consumption or someone wanting to get high. There are many convincing arguments for legalization- medical research and patient access, social justice issues and the racial disparity of prisoners serving time for nonviolent marijuana offenses, or the missed tax revenue for what currently is the biggest cash crop in the US. We can all contribute to the groundswell of support for legal reform by telling our neighbors and community members our support and in doing so, we reflect the normalcy of the people wanting legal reform in the US. There is a lot of work that still needs to happen, let’s use this current momentum to have a big impact on restoring this useful plant into modern life.