The moment I discovered Broccoli, a fresh new magazine created by women for women who enjoy pot, I was hooked. It’s always been challenging to find approachable female-focused content you can relate to; words and images that showcase the diversity of the international cannabis community through an artistic, cultural and stylistic lens. Broccoli does just that (and with distinctive flare, no less). We recently caught up with editor-in-chief Anja Charbonneau, formerly of Kinfolk, to learn more about her vision, women in weed and her first time smoking up.
What’s your story, Anja Charbonneau?
I grew up in British Columbia, Canada, but have been living in Portland for around 12 years. Recently my best friend came to visit, and we pulled out a big scrapbook we made in high school, collages of magazine clippings and photos, a total time capsule of the late 90’s with a million inside jokes. I used to cut out my favorite campaigns from Vogue, but I never imagined that one day I’d be making my own magazine, let alone a magazine about weed. I took the scenic route into creative work, I didn’t go to college and eventually was working as a photographer, then an art/creative director for another publication. After four years working for Kinfolk magazine, I left to start my own project: Broccoli!
What inspired you to dive into the cannabis industry and start your own publication?
I was inspired by some of the initial creativity happening in the new, legal cannabis industry here in Oregon, brands and dispensaries here really led the way in terms of design. I was excited to see so much unexplored territory, the huge potential there is for all these stories about weed, and adjacent to weed, to be told. I wanted to put women first, to prioritize marginalized voices, and to do it in a really thoughtful and unexpected way that the cannabis industry hadn’t seen yet.
Broccoli speaks directly to female tokers. What makes women identify with your content on such a profound level?
For a lot of our readers, they’re seeing their relationship to cannabis reflected in respectful and beautiful way, removing a lot of the stigma that we can’t help but be affected by, even once it’s legal. Women are absolutely judged more harshly for using cannabis. We have readers all over the world, including from countries where people might be risking their careers or relationships with friends and family by admitting that they use cannabis. By having a magazine like Broccoli, they have tangible proof that weed isn’t evil. Anyone can interact with a magazine, so it opens up a door to conversations that help normalize the plant overall.
Have you dealt with any backlash or criticism? If so, how do you navigate through these challenges?
I’ve received a few rude emails (all from men!), but I can ignore those. I’m totally open to constructive criticism from readers; like we recently received an email from someone pointing out a factual error in something scientific that we published in our first issue, and we gave that person a job as our science editor! Usually, I can tell when someone actually wants to engage in a dialogue about their thoughts versus coming at me with weird negativity. We’ve received so much support and kindness from the cannabis community, other entrepreneurs, readers, and it really is the thing that keeps me going amidst all the long, hard work that comes with starting a business. I could not do it without our extended community, and I’ll do everything I can to keep supporting them in return.
What does the future look like for women in weed?
My hope is that we start to see more women-owned companies, not just companies that are marketing their products to women. So far, we’ve seen that when cannabis becomes legal in certain markets, a traditional corporate and venture capital mindset descends on the industry, bringing a male-dominated structure and attitude along with it. I want to see women getting the resources to start their own businesses, to build this industry up in a new way and ditch the stale, sexist beliefs that we see ruling so many other industries.
What’s next for you and Broccoli?
Our third issue is coming soon, and we’re getting ready to launch a community platform in the digital space to help connect our readers with one another. I’d love to do a couple events this summer as well, and we have some exciting plans for Canada on the horizon!
Edibles. Yay or nay?
Yay! I like 2mg for a functional chill, and 5mg for more of a pleasant zone-out. My fave are mints and candies.
Your first experience using pot was…
Smoking a joint with my first roommates in Vancouver, while watching Adaptation. I pretended it wasn’t my first time.
Cannassentials you can’t live without:
My fave is the Quill, a super sleek and subtle vaporizer pen.
Solo or group sesh?
Solo works, or in intimate friend groups where if you get too stoned, you can just say it and your pals will make you feel better.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a fellow #womaninweed:
This isn’t advice exactly, but a great quote from a Japanese woman about her smoking experience. She described getting stoned as, “colors become brighter.”