Lelehnia DuBois said: “We need each other like our beloved plant needs water.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
Kind, intense, compassionate, and diverse. I love to find the best solutions to difficult problems. Right now, I am focused in a few areas.
One, as a co-founder of Hey Mary, I’m helping expand the use of artificial intelligence to optimize and personalize cannabis dosing.
Two, as a co-founder of Lele+Bianca, I’m building a universal cannabis brand to empower women.
Three, as the publisher of Sensi Magazine, I’m breaking through stigmas by educating on “The New Normal” and helping our cannabis legacy communities have a voice.
Four, through my first company, Humboldt Grace, I’m expanding how the values of cannabis culture can positively impact the world. Simply, I LOVE being a part of creating things that heal and generate more love in the world.
When did you get started working with cannabis?
I have been in the heart of the notorious Emerald Triangle since 1977. I didn’t like cannabis and rebelled against the NorCal culture. I was embarrassed that mother used it for her broken back. I had to hide the community we were a part of from my friends. The black market created a space in our culture for all sorts of very ugly things, which impacted me greatly as a child. I wanted to be “normal,” not some hippie kid with no power.
Everything changed in 1999, when I lost my L4 L5 vertebrae and frayed my spinal cord. “Normal” or “safe” meds almost killed me. After I was knocked unconscious for six hours from Demerol toxicity, a drug the doctors pumped into me during a hospitalization, one of my baby sisters begged me to use cannabis. That started my journey of discovery. I started learning how cannabis really worked on a medical and spiritual level.
By 2005, I was able to start growing my own medicine, and in 2010 I started providing cannabis for a female-owned dispensary. Soon I started advocating for that dispensary, which quickly led into dabbling in politics.
In 2014, I found myself the Chair and President of a group called California Cannabis Voice Humboldt. This allowed me to play a key role in getting my community to start engaging in legalization. It taught me that I wasn’t going to really help my community, and share this plant’s diverse education through politics. I learned that if I wanted to make a difference I had to lead in business. I made Humboldt Grace official in the summer of 2015 and started on the adventure of startups and entrepreneurialism.
What is your vision for your professional cannabis endeavors?
My vision is that all these new canna-businesses are built “with heart.” That’s what Sensi Magazine CEO Ron Kolb likes to say, and I wholeheartedly agree with him.
We can create a new corporate or cooperate structure that follows the laws of nature, giving and receiving. This silly competitive form of extinction we humans seems to love so much is getting us nowhere. There is zero sustainability with only one person standing. We need each other like our beloved plant needs water.
My mission is to develop brands that not only live up to my vision but also support people in finding their own power and beauty. I truly believe we need to start seeing the beauty in ourselves and in each other in order to heal humanity and our planet. Every product we create should do just that. All of our businesses in cannabis should be teaching the wisdom of the plant. Our logos, our flower, our genetics, our creams, edibles, technologies…all of it. We can disrupt the “normal” markets and force them to elevate with plant. That’s how I believe we change the world through cannabis.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
My birth. I was pinching weed for the neighborhood teenagers when I was barely walking. More seriously, my own personal relationship with the plant came from having to learn to heal myself when I was 30-years-old.
What is your Superpower?
Attracting and emitting universal love, which allows me to see the beauty in the scary things.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
Breaking through stigmas of cannabis and feminine power while re-educating the black market mentality at the same time has been a huge professional and personal journey. I navigate through it daily by having faith in myself, the support of people who believe in me, and by sticking to my roots of integrity and grace.
On a more personal level, watching my community break apart as we transition from a loosely regulated community to a fully regulated community is incredibly painful. There are a lot of really good people not getting through because of the enormous challenges permitting and licensing policies have created. I only see hope through heart-based economic development and serious social welfare reform around the drug war.
“I learned that if I wanted to make a difference I had to lead in business.”
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
I see this industry as a perfect opportunity for women to build businesses that honor our natural talents. We have always built industries based on masculine ideologies. This plant is giving us a chance to bust through those proverbial glass ceilings by creating our own business structures and disrupting the traditional ways of doing things. The ripple effect of this can truly move us into a more compassionate world that makes choices based on love not fear.
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