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Anna Duckworth on raising Miss Grass 

By co-founding "the Goop of cannabis," the Nova Scotia entrepreneur is redefining how the world thinks about weed.

click to enlarge Anna Duckworth (left) and Kate Miller’s Miss Grass aims to embrace and demystify cannabis. - SUBMITTED
  • Anna Duckworth (left) and Kate Miller’s Miss Grass aims to embrace and demystify cannabis.
  • SUBMITTED

A nna Duckworth hails from Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. Her neighbours growing up remember her as an imaginative and intelligent free spirit beneath an array of fabulous costumes, showing sure signs of integrity and journalistic curiosity. A King's Journalism grad and former Coast writer, in 2016 Duckworth left her place in Canadian publishing—living in Toronto, working as managing editor at The Alpine Review magazine—and ventured into California's legalized cannabis sector. She became head of content for weed wellness brand Dosist, before meeting Kate Miller and co-founding Miss Grass, which fashion mag W flagged for greatness by calling it "the Goop of cannabis."

Part online educational magazine, part meticulously curated online shop and part community engagement brand, Miss Grass aims to normalize, modernize and expand people's perceptions of cannabis consumption. The magazine's underlying goal is to empower their target audience, the "modern woman consumer," which drives the brand's e-commerce division. Along with beginner's guides to getting stoned, CBD, topicals and tinctures, Miss Grass is rife with pieces about masturbation, miscarriage and the Feminist Sexual Revolution.

From articles holding canna-corporations accountable for their effects on the planet, to "How To Use Cannabis Like A Witch," to "How To Help Keep Trans People Alive + Thriving," their freelancers break down a kaleidoscope of cannabis topics with social justice and self-love and empowerment woven throughout. (And don't forget the monthly horoscopes pairing pot products with zodiac signs). Lyneisha Watson's "It's Time To Stop Ignoring The Problem With Cannabis" is a must-read article unpacking how cannabis "reflects the true ugliness of America" because of how it "benefits from the disenfranchisement of minority voices."

Duckworth spoke with The Reef from Los Angeles—specifically from her backyard in Venice—hours after her Miss Grass piece "Why I'm Not Talking About Cannabis While Pregnant" was published.

CBD super star

"Broadly speaking about the mainstream weed conversation, CBD is the star of every conversation—but it's not at all the star of the Miss Grass conversation or the conversation I'm having with my friends. Or how I consume cannabis. There are benefits of consuming other aspects of the plant: Mainly THC, but there's also so many different cannabinoids, terpene and different profiles. CBD is not a spot-treatment. It's like, at the end of the day when you're trying to just take a load off and shift gears, or you're having a hard time settling down, taking CBD is fine—but the thing that you really need to do is take CBD and THC.

"My goal is not to sanitize weed beyond recognition. I believe that people should be getting high, even just mildly so. I think that's how you can manage symptoms in a much more effective manner. It's definitely been my experience, and I feel like anyone who smokes weed agrees with that."

Weed & mental health

"Looking at the literature on, and reporters' comfort levels around talking about this topic, we don't see a lot in mainstream conversation. But as soon as you peel back a couple of layers and go to more cannabis-focused publications, or hanging around very weed-focused cultures like the one in California, that conversation is happening all the time. It's just most of these conversations are not based in science or research. What we know anecdotally is that a lot of people use cannabis to manage various types of emotional anxiety and depression. They use it to manage things that directly affect how people are feeling vis- a-vis anxiety and depression—so sleep, or pain or generally trying to control the balance in the body. Which based on research that we do have, is through the endocannabinoid system.

"The kind of stuff that really resonates in the community is the first-person story, which obviously is not based in science in large parts, they're based on somebody's experience consuming cannabis for whatever issue they might be trying to manage. We get a lot of people looking for products and recommendations, and anxiety and depression are really high on the list next to sleep and pain.

"In the mental health and wellness conversation, obviously we have to take extra precaution in the types of recommendation that Miss Grass makes, so our approach is: let's provide people with the information we have; let's distinguish between what we know scientifically and what we have no idea about, but we might have anecdotal evidence on; and then let's tell people that they're kind of on their own to figure the rest out. Telling one person's experience will hopefully empower you to explore what an experience might look like for you. But without any concrete recommendations, because that's the kind of thing that would get us in a lot of trouble"

Executive mom

"Miss Grass is a team of nine women. It's an incredibly supportive, nurturing environment. This will be the first baby any of the team have had, so it's an important moment to mark and set a precedent for what parenting can look like at the company.

"I've been run off my feet planning for a non-existent mat leave, trying to figure out what that looks like. I'm due early November, and have no idea what to expect recovery-wise, or feelings-wise. I'm in a special situation, because even if I wanted to take a leave, when it's your own business you can't disappear for a long time. You have to figure out what that balance will be.

"On one hand I feel pressure to get back to work because our investors are gonna be looking at the clock, but at the same time I want to make sure our team sees we value this experience and make sure everybody understands that with mat leave, it's really important to take what you can.

"When it's your company, in a new industry, there's a lot of precedents being invented anyway. Truly we can do whatever we want. Have a baby, and when you're ready to come back, the baby is back at the office with you full time. I imagine the vibe will be bringing my baby to work. I'm kind of excited for that. That'll be cool."

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