Meet Mary Pryor, a Michigan-bred marketeer, co-founder of the Cannaclusive collective that advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion within the cannabis industry.
How did your relationship with cannabis begin?
I think like most people, I went to catholic school and started smoking it in the bathroom. I didn’t understand the whole fullness until 2014 outside of just consuming to consume, having fun and fitting in. I think different ways align with what I care about like edibles and beverages, that’s more my thing. Still, I think everyone’s relationships with cannabis need to be more accepting and seen as an everyday item than just being a cultured stoner thing.
Every modality that we embody or touch requires its balance and I think cannabis is part of it's balance- I do believe that you can use too much and that you can use too little. Everybody is different, and I just want everyone to have access and that means it shouldn’t be so expensive, and access means there shouldn’t be THC limits on our flower. Sustainability should be in mind with how you are growing and if it is organic. People shouldn’t be making it inaccessible to different communities, especially melanated folks.
My relationship is complex because I have a lot of access and information available as well as having a deep understanding. The more and more we have the world open, and the more and more we realise that cannabis can make such a difference, we will have more people drawn to it because they need some sort of relief or support. Industries should be more welcoming rather than just talking about the criminalised nature of it.
What have the vibes been like in New York since the recent change in legislation?
New York is the born and bred place of hip-hop and art scenes of various natures. There’s a cultural aspect that isn’t seen elsewhere so bouncing off different communities is a part of New York life, and cannabis comes with that. New York aims to be as inclusive without being a playground for cannabis.
How did you build your canna community?
There are your communications so for example, how often do you let people know what’s going on and how you relay your message. We also introduce people to each other to help build bridges within the community and build campaigns that matter and have some sort of outcome at some point.
Building community resources are also valuable for some people. Education is important. We do not always do or offer but pointing people in the right direction, and building trust is crucial. It’s a matter of consistency which is hard, it’s the bit that you don’t see on social media because people like to glamorise the process and always post the highlights reel and then there are days that you are frustrated, and that’s due to being extra ambitious and you want things to be done in a certain way, or it’s a matter of feeling like you are not doing enough. Hence, you experience a lot of emotions.
Being a woman at the epicentre of the growing cannabis industry, what are some of the struggles you see or experience?
The number of women involved is decreasing because women are just tired of being pushed out of their businesses and done over for equity which is messed up. Then there’s the whole sexual harassment topic that people don’t take seriously. It’s tough to be in a business that wants you to grow, grow and care about the plant. It’s a big game. I think for women, there are so many uses that we need to understand for our bodies so having active research is essential. The study of women’s bodies and how it works is under a man’s lens. There’s a lot of research that comes from other states and countries, but we are yet to unlock the full potential. There are still more studies that can be done.