Nana is quickly gaining momentum as an influencer in the cannabis space, as she draws attention to an underrepresented group of CBD and Cannabis consumers. Ironically enough, the demographic that she represents were the original advocates of the plant in the 1970’s.
Don’t let the term ‘senior citizen’ fool you—the word ‘senior’ only applies to Nana in reference to her wit, wisdom, and experience with cannabis.
Senior citizens of today are seeing a rise (or in their case, resurgence) of cannabis consumption and advocacy. Liberation of the plant was a driving force of the 70’s movement, similar to what we’re seeing in today’s green rush; however, today the landscape is entirely different.
Rosebud’s staff writer Kat Frey spent some time with Nana to learn more about her experience with cannabis, and chat about her experience judging for this year’s Cultivation Classic in Portland, Oregon.
KF: So when did you first start using Cannabis? Who introduced you to it, and what was that experience like?
Nana: Oh wow—well, the first time I smoked I was in my mid-20’s, and I’ve pretty much been smoking since then. Not so much on a regular basis, I did have children to raise, but it was recreational for me because I didn’t drink.
My husband introduced me to it, I think he had only smoked it once or twice himself, and he asked me if I wanted to try it—I was like ‘oh, I don’t know, okay!’
We lived in Cincinnati, and he was going to school at UC (University of Cincinnati). We were also remodeling a bedroom upstairs, to make it into a baby room—so, we went up there in that room, sat in the corner with the lights out, and smoked a joint.
It was the weirdest thing when I think about it now—we kind of hid in that room, in the corner, and didn’t want anyone to know we were smoking. It was the thought of doing something that was illegal, I thought, ‘Oh my god, if we were to light a joint downstairs, the cops would knock on our door immediately!’.
KF: What year was that?
Nana: Probably 1970.
KF: So since this was the 70’s, a time when everyone was just starting to experiment with cannabis, did you find that your friends were doing the same and having similar experiences?
Nana: Yes, absolutely—and the smoke then compared to now was way, way different.
If there was a way to show you what it looked like in the 70’s, compared to how it looks now, you’d see how different it is. I think it was less strong, and it had a wet taste and smell to it—or skunk I should say, a definite skunk.
I myself don’t like the stronger strains, or to be that high. It happens sometimes—not intentionally, but it does happen sometimes. You know, you sit around talking with a friend, passing a joint, and before you know it, you’ve taken 3 or 4 hits of something that you know you probably shouldn’t have taken more than 2 hits of.
KF: I get what you mean, and I definitely relate! Moving onto The Cultivation Classic, can you tell us a bit about the judging process, and what exactly were you sent in terms of product and instructions?
Nana: I received a little travel bag, with 8 grams of flower—1 gram in each jar—and I also received a survey to fill out for each one.
First, they asked us on the survey to identify each strain, because each jar had an identification number. The very next thing they asked was what did the flower smell like, and they sent a sheet with different flavor profiles to choose from like diesel, ammonia, basel, blueberry, lavender, pine, etc.
When I first got the kit, I went through and smelled all of the buds. Then, I wrote on the inside of each lid what I thought it smelled like.
Then I had a couple other people, later down the line—whoever was at my house visiting—I’d say, ‘hey what does this smell like to you?’ and 9 out 10 times, they said exactly what I had written down!
KF: Were they any that stood out to you, or did you have a favorite?
Nana: There was one in particular that stood out to me, because it smelled like cheesy peas! Cheese was one of the flavor profiles listed on the survey, but peas were definitely not on there!
I also had one that smelled just like sangria, it had that wine with a woody, fruity flavor to it—that was one of my favorites too.
But some of the flowers that smelled more like ammonia, diesel, or fuel, I noticed I didn’t like smoking those as much as the others.
KF: So how do people react when you tell them that you’re acting as a judge in this year’s Cultivation Classic?
Nana: Well, you know I have a ton of grandkids, there’s like 19 of them. Most of them sent me thumbs up, saying ‘this is so cool, Nana!’ and I got a really positive response from everyone in my family!
But this is a funny story—My neighbor that lives across the street, his mother was in the hospital in Puerto Rico, and he asked if I would pick up his mail. I said sure, but let him know that I wouldn’t be back from Portland until a day after he left.
Finally, when he came back, he asked me what I was doing in Portland, and I just said, “Oh, I’m a judge!” and he asked me, “You’re a judge?! Wow!” and I just let it go at that, I thought it was funny.
KF: So since you had experimented with cannabis, and had a positive experience, did you have an open dialogue with your kids about it in the household?
Nana: Well, no, we were not open with it—not until they came of age. At that time, it was so illegal, everywhere.
My kids were going to D.A.R.E and I’m thinking, “oh man, I can’t tell my kids I smoke pot, they’ll turn me in!”
It has changed since it’s been legalized and accepted in different circles. Take Alexis for instance! I think Alexis didn’t think I was cool when she was a teenager, and in her early twenties because she didn’t smoke at the time.
All of my grandkids knew I smoked—I don’t know when they found out—but they all knew. So, it wasn’t a really big surprise. One of my grandchildren, Allie, who didn’t smoke would shake her head and say, “that’s not good, that’s illegal” all throughout highschool and college, until finally her sister said to her, “You need to chill out, try smoking a joint.”
KF: So how have you seen the Cannabis industry shift since you first were introduced in the 70’s, to now where you’re acting as an official judge of cannabis products?
Nana: It’s way different.
First of all, you couldn’t buy pot legally, whereas now, I went to a dispensary in Oregon with Alexis, and I was like, ‘oh my god, this place is like a jewelry store!’ so that part is way different. Also, the quality now is much better than what it once was.
After testing all of the weed for the cultivation classic, I kind of came to the conclusion that weed is just weed, and the more you smoke, the higher you get.
I’m just being honest! It’s weed—some of it’s stronger, some of it’s not. It’s based on preference, depending on how high you want to get, and how much you want to pay to get that high. That part of it, I think is kind of crazy—Nana cut herself off saying, “Hold on, my neighbor is here bringing me some veggies, ‘Come on in, honey!’”
KF: So what was the process like if you wanted to buy weed in the 70’s? Also, do you remember how much it cost?
Nana: Oh, I sure do!
So, if you got a nickel bag, which now is a quarter, it cost you $5. I think an ounce only cost $25, it was crazy cheap.
If we wanted to buy it, we knew plenty of people that either grew it themselves, or knew someone who did.
KF: So, after this experience of judging for the Cultivation Classic, would you be open to partnering with other Cannabis brands and events like this in the future?
Nana: Oh yeah! Why not? May as well widen my horizons!
Due to COVID-19, The Cultivation Classic, originally slated to take place in March, has been rescheduled to a later date. Keep up with all things Cultivation Classic here, and be sure to tune into the results from this year’s judges, Nana being a star among them!
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!