Meet Lyneisha Watson: Rising Cannabis Journalist

Lyneisha Watson (@vivrantxsoul) is a rising cannabis journalist best known for her column High Folks, which was a biweekly feature with @hightimesmagazine.

She is the first and only African-American woman to have her own column with the legendary publication. In 2018, she attended Yale’s THREAD Storytelling workshop to learn and develop her skills as a true storyteller. Her time at Yale inspired her to develop High Folks into a series of profiles that explore the many reasons why people fall in love with cannabis.

Through her work as a cannabis journalist she has been able to interview artists including K CAMP and Lucky Daye. Her writing has also been featured in @missgrass, @theemeraldmagazine, @skunkmagazine, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Shine Text Advice.

Her company, VIVRANT WORLD, is focused on helping brands rethink how they feel about weed and pleasure. Through her work, she is able to work with brands on social campaigns and offer public relations services to rising cannabis brands and influencers.

How did you enter the cannabis industry?

“It all started in the summer of 2018 when I was whisked away to Connecticut to attend The THREAD at Yale Storytelling Institute.

It was amazing because I met so many different artists, writers, producers, filmmakers, illustrators, and the list goes on—all of these different people were so passionate about storytelling!

I had been writing, I had a degree in English, but this was my first introduction to journalism and the art form of storytelling. It was a really amazing experience, and my mentor for the week was Amanda Chicago Lewis, an investigative journalist who works on the cannabis beat. She was showing us her work, talking about the different things that she does, while also giving us advice on how to become a journalist in that field.

I was at a point in my life where I had tried writing about different topics, but I wasn’t really passionate about any of them. 

Well, fast forward to the end of July—I’m back in Sanford. High as hell. Scrolling through IG. I’m thinking about the fact that black people have to hide their cannabis use. I mean, my family doesn’t know this, but I was an extreme pothead in college. My last few semesters at FAMU, I was floating in the clouds. My relationship with weed has always been my most genuine. A few months later, I pitched my idea for a column to High Times and they loved it.”

Tell us about what you do in the industry

“First and foremost, I am a storyteller.I started writing about the relationship that people have with the cannabis plant.

At the end of 2018, I profiled people by diving deep into their personal lives, and then using that information to understand why they started smoking weed, or using cannabis in the first place. I dabble, fail, and succeed at other things like public relations and event planning—but storytelling is at the heart of me. I am a cannabis journalist.”

How does your work help the industry? 

“It is a well known fact that storytelling brings people closer together. 

It helps us get rid of our biases, and allows us to actively practice understanding. Through my work of asking people why they have a different relationship with cannabis, I’ve been able to show, as I like to call it, the many faces of Mary Jane and how she is doing the work of transforming people’s lives—which is so beautiful.

My work is for everybody: patients, consumers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, etc. Everybody has a relationship with this plant, which is beautiful. Right now, I’m focused on profiling drug dealers because I feel like they’ve been outcast in the industry.”

What’s it like to see people who look like you in the cannabis industry?

“My new motto is ‘we need weed’, and when I say ‘we’, I mean African-Americans.

It is so necessary that we have access to this plant. I think it is so beautiful to see more black people claiming and owning their relationship with cannabis, and then taking the initiative to lead this industry.

Talk about alchemy—it’s the ultimate form of alchemy to know that we were once slaves harvesting hemp.”

What’s your ultimate goal in the cannabis space?

“My favorite part of using cannabis, is that it allows me to let go of the layers of anxiety that I usually feel and be my most authentic self. When I am truly being my most genuine, I am understanding and I am vulnerable. Those two things allow me to create beautiful work. 

Ultimately, I would love to use my relationship with Mama Ganja to be the best artist that I can be. Being able to have my own column was such a sweet moment for me, because I was able to be a vessel for others. Ultimately, I want to use this space to destroy my creative limitations, while showing African-Americans that cannabis is an amazing tool for self-care and creativity.”

Who are 3 black people, organizations, or brands in the industry you look to for inspiration and follow? Why?

La Kia Gooch (@illzog)—I literally manifested La Kia into my life. She was the first person I interviewed for my High Folks column. She invited me to Atlanta for a cannabis-infused dinner where I had such a transformation experience. After meeting La Kia, my life changed so much and my relationship with cannabis became more intentional. She is constantly reminding me that I am literally a walking goddess, and I should treat myself as such. 

Deon Hawkins (@itswavybae)—She is so creative, and we have a super genuine connection centered in creativity. I love meeting other Black Women who just want to create content that is fun, but also informative. I know that if I’m thinking about something, then Deon is the best person to share my idea with and receive honest feedback. The relationship she has with cannabis reminds me of my own, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to become friends with her.  

FAMU Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative—I am a graduate of the illustrious Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. To know that my university is leading the way for other HBCUs in the cannabis space is super inspiring. The program is run by four black women, who are so focused on making sure every minority across the state of Florida is educated about the cannabis plant. They are working hard, and it is so beautiful.”

How can the Rosebud community support you, your organization, and the brand mission?

“The Rosebud Community can help support me by simply engaging with my work. 

Send me messages, introduce me to cool people with cool cannabis stories, share the stories I tell with your community. I just want the world to feel good about weed, so just share my content. If you have high-ideas that you want to develop more, then reach out to me and I can help you do that!”

It’s been our pleasure to learn more about Lyneisha’s work—be sure to keep up with her column over at High Times Magazine, and check her out on social at @vivrantxsoul!

Check out our other Black History month takeover recaps: Meet Sandra Guynes: Registered Cannabis Nurse, Meet Solonje Burnett: Cannavist and Co-Founder of Humble Bloom.

Kat Frey is a Brooklyn based writer, who originally hails from The Wing. Kat has historically worked with women-lead brands, and her writing spans from culture and cannabis, to overall health and wellness. When she’s not busy writing for Rosebud CBD, she spends her time thumbing through The Cut, Man Repeller, and T Magazine, or listening to Las Culturistas. Her favorite form of self care is adding our 350mg tincture to homemade face and hair masks!

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