In Conversation with DeJanae Evins
EVERY THURSDAY AT 8PM ET, HEAD OVER TO THE AFROPUNK IG LIVE CHANNEL FOR THESE WEEKLY CONVERSATIONS CURATED BY HUMBLE BLOOM'S SOLONJE BURNETT WITH THOUGHT LEADERS AND ENTREPRENEURS IN MUSIC, AGRICULTURE, BEAUTY, MINDFULNESS, NUTRITION, SUSTAINABILITY, SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT AND MORE.
DeJanae is a cannabis educator, researcher, and urban cultivator who began her cannabis career in a medical dispensary in 2018. In addition to being the director of education and creative at Green Goddess Glow, she delivers both corporate responsibility and budtender education trainings in the greater Los Angeles area, and speaks regularly on this emerging industry with regard to creating access to health, cultural competence in education, and social equity and inclusivity in the cannabis space. She has participated in the federal push for legalization lobbying on Capitol Hill with organizations like the National Cannabis Industry Association and Minority Cannabis Business Association. On the local level, she works with Green Believers, a community-focused, faith-based cannabis incubator working to provide the resources needed to work towards equitable economic, political, and social structures in the cannabis industry by fighting on behalf of the stigmatized and disenfranchised.
What's your current theme song? If you have a reason, please share.
I Keep by Jill Scott.
What are you working on?
Green Goddess Glow is an educational platform sparking culture-shifting conversations around cannabis and self-care, consciousness and sustainability. This goes hand-in-hand with a cannabis-friendly community grow initiative encouraging communities of color to learn about and participate in regenerative farming practices. Green Goddess Glow emphasizes mindfulness, conscious consumption, and spiritual activism to empower women, and especially women of color, with the education they need to explore cannabis as a tool for healing and reclamation of ancestral knowledge.
Tell me about your journey to now. What impactful moments led you to your work?
After working in entertainment and media for a few years post-college, I decided it was not conducive to the quality of life I wanted to have. And I found myself working at a dispensary while freelancing as a wellness writer. Months prior I was reviewing CBD products on YouTube and started to take interest in learning more about the healing properties of cannabis. But it wasn't until I was actually behind the counter that I really started to understand more deeply the questions and concerns that people had. The differences between hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD, what cannabis products were good for insomnia, and the concept of microdosing were all new to me. I'd had grown up around cannabis, thinking it was my dad's cologne, I made weed brownies in my dorm in college, and I discovered cannabis could also be used as a preventative approach to health and wellness. I continuously evolve with it.
Who and/or what motivates your passion each day?
Although I had been a longtime consumer I had no idea we had an endocannabinoid system or that we had been evolving alongside this plant for thousands and thousands of years. So, I became certified as an educator through an online cannabis course. In my experience, I realized there was a need for a more culturally comprehension approach when it comes to how we are educated about cannabis, one that‚Äôs not only rooted in scientific data but acknowledges how cannabis has been used throughout history, one that informs the idea of using cannabis for self-care, and the socioeconomic as well as eco-spiritual implications of that. I'm motivated by the stories both old and new that allow us to shift our perspective and challenge us to create better systems and environments, both individually and collectively, that sustain life.
How do you define Radical Self Care?
I define radical self-care as being deeply rooted in being connected to each other and the world around you. Your beliefs, values and how you support your convictions with right action is one of the most radical things you can do as a cannabis consumer, or a human being in general. To seek out understanding, to be able to challenge your own perceptions and prioritize yourself in whatever way brings you joy and supports your growth is radical.
What rituals do you have to help maintain homeostasis of mind, body, and spirit?
Cooking, mostly. Otherwise, infused self-care products and sun-grown flower.
How do you incorporate plants into your well being routine? How is the cannabis (THC, CBD, CBN, etc) a part of your plant ritual?
I love my house plants and outdoor plants, they just make my space feel so alive. I've gotten so emotional about them because they are the most temperamental things! If you overwater they'll wilt, they can be sunburnt, and sometimes they have to be repotted in order to grow. There's so many metaphors that can be found in caring for plants. I've started to use cannabis more regularly in my wellness routine, I'm attempting to grow my own plants at home and the feeling I get when using THC sometimes makes me feel even more connected to my plant-care practice.
Who would you like to experience an altered state (dream elevation + discussion) with and how would you achieve this flow state?
Erykah Badu, or Whoopi Goldberg, or Dave Chappelle. A joint and shroom cacao concoction.
Love the phrase "slow down to speed up", what does that mean to you personally and within the present global pause?
This to me emphasizes the importance of balance. I often refer to the ebb and flow we experience as we journey through life, and the times we're in now require us to slow down, to be more meditative, to center, to deepen into our intentions, to recalibrate, to plant seeds. In doing so, we spring forward and grow in alignment.
What is the gift you bring to community?
A legacy of good health and service for family and extended family. A physical space to be in community, because that is how we sustain healing. And a platform where trustworthy information is made accessible, our stories are told and we can be seen and heard.
What has been the most challenging for you during this time?
The mass hysteria and conspiracy theories. I'm very fortunate to be in good health and close to family. I don't take health or peace of mind for granted.
What made you become an advocate in the space and for the plant?
I went to school in D.C. and while in college I got to witness the legalization of cannabis happen. I knew then I wanted to a part of the conversation around prison reform and social justice initiatives rooted in community reinvestment.