by Hanna Nicholls
On August 30, about 20 women gathered in the backroom of the bright and airy curated thrift shop in Halifax’s north end, Makenew, for an event dedicated to three things: women, wellness and weed.
The event was co-hosted by Mimi Audellyn, educators Annie MacEachern and Vee, and featured guest speakers Antuanette Gomez and Kate Varsava of Your Local Midwitch. Throughout the evening, the women talked about the importance of educating women about cannabis use, destigmatizing the plant, the use of plant-based medicines, and advocating for women and people of colour in the cannabis industry.
Audellynn, who has previously attended and hosted similar workshops, spoke to me about the importance of such events.
“There’s a lot of false information out there, and there’s a plethora of information, but you have to weed through it and know what you’re looking for.”
Where material is so readily available, finding accurate information about cannabis and what works for each individual can be an overwhelming process. By giving women the opportunity to come together to learn in a safe and intimate space, educators are helping women navigate the many ways cannabis is consumed and helps to heal, which is key in a world where the plant and its consumers continue to face stigma associated with stoner-stereotypes of what cannabis is, and who its consumers are.
“That’s the great thing that’s going on in cannabis right now, reducing the stigma, just talking about it, and normalizing it, and not in a way where it’s like ‘everyone let’s get blazed and ripped,’ you know? If you want to do that, that’s cool, too, but just talking about it in a way that normalizes it is really important.”
Part of this conversation is how marginalized communities and people of colour have been disproportionately penalized and incarcerated for non-violent actions related to cannabis. For Audellynn and the other women running the event, it’s critical that moving forward, the cannabis industry works toward “rebuilding communities and reparations,” which also means giving women and people of colour their deserved place in the industry, too.
“It’s really interesting to see this breakout of women and people of colour finally getting their place in it, because for so long, it’s been such a taboo issue, and it’s affected marginalized communities the most. So to see that is really inspiring.”
As a final word of advice, Audellynn remarks that “cannabis isn’t for everyone,” but educating yourself is key to discovering if it’s something that could benefit you, either recreationally or medicinally.
And even if it’s not for you,
“Listen to podcasts, sign up for newsletters, go to events, even it’s not necessarily something that’s in your wheelhouse, I think it’s just good to do because you’ll meet people, and you’ll expand your knowledge.”