To commemorate Black History Month this year, Rosebud partnered with social justice advocate, Kassia Graham to spotlight women of color making waves in the cannabis industry.
Sandra, also known as The Kush Nurse, wears many hats as an accomplished entrepreneur, a retired navy wife, MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing), RN (Registered Nurse), founder of the Cannabis Nurses of Color Connect (CNOC), and an active member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and the Cannabis Nurses Network—just to name a few.
You can head over to Rosebud’s highlights and tune in to Sandra’s takeover, or you can feast your eyes on our interview with her recapped below:
How did you enter the cannabis industry?
“I entered the cannabis industry as a patient seeking relief from postpartum depression and chronic pain. In working to find the right medicine, I realized there was so much to learn and the overwhelming amount of information can be a barrier for some looking to experiment with cannabis.
After finding relief with cannabis, and being able to quit my ADD medication, antidepressants and other pain medications, I knew I needed to help others get to this place. My first patient was my husband—he retired from the military with a host of conditions, and I knew for MY family there was no way I could let my husband fail. He was open to trying cannabis for his PTSD, night terrors, chronic pain and anxiety
His experience is his own, but I’d say he’s found his zen. He’s thriving at his business, and he’s more present at home than ever. Now, our hope is to teach others how to do the same.”
Tell us about what you do in the industry
“I help educate, advocate, and guide clients on their cannabis journey.
From learning what cannabis can help them with, which options would be best for their symptoms based on evidence-based research, and even teaching them how to consume it.”
How does your work help the industry? More specifically, who does this help on the consumer, or patient side, and how?
“I help the cannabis industry by creating conscious consumers who will understand what is legal, safe and how it can best help them get relief.
What that does for the industry as a whole is help guide regulations, quality control, and advocacy. If we have consumers wanting the best quality products, and we’re teaching them what to look for by reading labels and labs, the industry will have to level up to provide it.
It also helps patients learn how to advocate for themselves in hospitals, schools, and workplace settings. Knowledge is power.”
What’s it like to see people who look like you in the cannabis industry?
“Seeing people who look like me is so empowering. It’s also exciting. I just want to do my Bronx head nod to all those who I see working their plan. It’s hard out here, but I see you.
My first experience being in a room with black cannabis nurses…I cried. It might have been 8 of us. But that powerful feeling of Sis we are here and we are doing it…or trying!—nothing like it.
It’s what led us to form the Cannabis Nurses of Color #CNOC, so we could keep these conversations going and collaborate. Having a safe space where we can say….’people lost their lives, and continue to lose years of their life in jail because of this, so how can we honor them and make an impact in this industry?’”
What’s your ultimate goal in the cannabis space?
“My ultimate goal in the cannabis space is to create a safe space for families to explore cannabis.
Parenting is challenging. Black folks are out here dying daily from mental health issues, drug overdoses, alcoholism, and chronic health issues. We need to create a lifestyle of wellness and health that transcends this generation and the next.
Our DNA is made up of a fabric of oppression, slavery, abuse and patterns that no longer serve us. We have so much information at our fingertips, yet we can’t sit down and be present. Cannabis is such a great tool to get us back to health, reduce stress and anxiety, and be present for ourselves, and ultimately our families.”
Who are 3 black people, organizations, or brands in the industry you look to for inspiration and follow? Why?
“@drchanda_macias—she is so down to earth, and her struggles are so real. But yet, she’s killing it from opening her dispensary in DC, to partnering with Southern University on their first CBD products, it’s game changing for us.
@theapothecarry—she has amazing products for storing cannabis that really appeal to me as a mom who likes to keep things safe, legal, and above bar. She’s also a mom, and I know the challenges of #cannabismoms—there’s not a day where I don’t feel judged. There’s not a day that I don’t worry about someone challenging my #motherhood.
Ivory Rosenthal-Davis, #LaCannaNurseNavigator—as a fellow nurse and colleague, she’s been so impactful in teaching me to understand laws and how it relates to nurses in the cannabis industry. There is space for all of us in the cannabis industry, and I love that I can focus on the areas of nursing I enjoy, while powerful minds like Ivory help support and shape the industry for nurses in this profession. She is always finding ways to get a seat at the table in order to learn how nurses can make the biggest impact, and also protect their licenses.”
How can the Rosebud community support you, your organization, and the brand mission?
“The best way to support @thekushnurse is to support mothers and vets—these are two groups that have my heart.
Share with them the benefits of cannabis as medicine. Support them with your love and non-judgement.”
We loved learning more about the work that Sandra is contributing to the industry, and highly recommend that you keep up with her too—you can check out her podcast series, or book a consultation with The Kush Nurse herself to find out if cannabis is the right medicine for you.
Check out our other Black History month features: Meet Solonje Burnett: Cannavist and Co-Founder of Humble Bloom, Meet Sandra Guynes: Registered Cannabis Nurse, Meet Lyneisha Watson: Rising Cannabis Journalist.
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!