The legal cannabis industry is filled with exciting professionals and women in plant medicine from all sectors. One such person is a master educator, industry veteran, children’s book author and accidental cannabis advocate, Mskindness Ramirez, M.Ed.
We sat down with Mskindness Ramirez, the executive director for Club Kindness, Inc., a non-profit organization created to support patients, brands and dispensaries with holistic cannabis education, and CEO for Elixirs by Kindness, a CBD-infused apothecary line, to discuss cannabis education, her new children’s book “A Very Special Garden,” and how hosting conversations about privilege and inequality with the ladies from Tokeativity and Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEiC) is long overdue.
What’s your personal mission or the driving force behind all your work in the women in plant medicine space?
This personal mission statement is framed in my office:
“I create the life I want. I know I can have it. I am excited to wake up in peace. I start my day with the sun and breathe in gratitude. I know I can live my dream. I wish for it and work for it. I tell myself to embrace the chaos. I am using all my talents. I am best when I feel loved and supported. Kindness brings out the best in me. I love working in a zen space close to home, where family and friends can visit frequently. I am truly inspired by diversity. I make new choices every day. I live in a humble home where food grows in abundance and there is a lush greenhouse for growing medicinal herbs to share. I enjoy bringing like-minded individuals together and cultivating new relationships. I am most thankful for the freedom to pursue the work I love and the flexibility to spend valuable time with my Sangha.” by: Mskindness
Who’s one of your heroes? Why?
Might be cliche, but definitely my mother. She’s a powerful woman. The first Black woman in so many events, three kids by 23, another 12 years later, brain tumor survivor and now a loving grandmother. She’s so strong without saying it. And she’s absolutely beautiful too. Hopefully I inherited some of those genes.
What was the inspiration for your non-profit membership organization focused on holistic cannabis education, Club Kindness? Other than your birth name, Mskindness Ramirez?
In 2012, I had a bad slip and fall during my second pregnancy. The fall caused a condition in my pelvis and left me riddled with pain. In opposition to the opioids recommended by doctors, I sought alternative, more natural methods for pain relief. Having been completely ignorant to the true medicinal aspects of cannabis, I was surprised by the depth of the rabbit hole I discovered when I looked. There were so many lies being told, so much propaganda being spread, and the social justice implications were too big to ignore.
After a candid talk with my doctor about my cannabis use and the legal risks, I knew I had to share what I had learned with others. Especially women and mothers. I knew I could use the skills I had as a professional educator to help new consumers, and in 2015, Club Kindness was born! Now we’re teaching people all over how to practice “Cannabis Inclusive Wellness.”
Tell us about your new cannabis children’s book, “A Very Special Garden.” What was the inspiration? Who is this book for? Where can it be purchased?
My newest baby, “A Very Special Garden.” I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book, but I needed to be inspired by the right topic. What better way to make the basics about cannabis digestible than in a book written for kids? Readers will go on a journey with the Root Family, as they grow a garden with all the things they need for achieving homeostasis in their bodies. It’s colorful and fun, and there’s even a glossary at the end to help parents further explain the more advanced words like “cannabinoid” and “terpene”.
Folks can purchase it on my website at www.mskindness.com and save 10% while we’re in pre-sale with the code: CannaCon10. Pre-sale copies begin shipping later this month, and I’ll be signing all of those.
After that, it will be available on Amazon and lots of other outlets. Then…I’ll sit down to finish the next Root Family adventure.
You just hosted the first series of “Bridges: A Conversational Event Series About Race, Equity and Inclusion” in collaboration with Tokeativity. How was it? What surprised you most about (or during) the event?
YES! It was truly magical. It was a superb example of the types of difficult, mind-opening conversations we need to be having all the time. When we decided to combine the forces of Club Kindness and Tokeativity, we only had the pure intention of helping to bring ladies together around these critical topics with a goal of developing tools for each of us to access and use going forward.
The event ended up being so much more. I wasn’t really surprised at the outcome, but I am still overwhelmed by the community’s response. It was necessary! And women are still reaching out to say so. Lisa, Sam and I are working hard on the next one, and we’re looking forward to what this series can bring to the cannabis community and the world.
Do you have a favorite quote from a panelist?
“I don’t know who came up with these rules, but that’s not how I operate.” -Chef Andrea Drummer.
Those words are so simple and pointed. And even without context, convey the importance of knowing oneself. One big takeaway (because there were so many) from the first Bridges is how critical it is that we spend time getting to know who we are, what stimulates us and how to set boundaries that foster our personal success. The rules don’t matter when you know what’s right!
What can we expect to experience throughout the cannabis children’s book series?
The future of the series is still being discussed, but we have some topics coming up that include: Racism, White Privilege, Black American history and Generational Wealth, Intersectionality and more. The first event will be available on both the Tokeativity and Club Kindness Platform for our members, while we develop the plans for greater outreach.
Readers and those interested in helping us bring more relevant topics to the series can fill out our poll here: http://bit.ly/CKbridgespoll. We value the input.
How does being an educator assist you in reaching the close-minded or anti-cannabis?
Effective educators know that in order to reach a student, you have to meet them where they are. It is through this practice that I can reach just about anyone willing to engage in a dialogue about cannabis. I start with questions to assess their baseline and then I go from there. Good discussions are compassionate and non-judgmental. I try to example that in my pedagogy.
What do you see as the biggest roadblock to BIPOC, women in plant medicine and the LGBTQ community members entering the cannabis industry?
Cannabis is a microcosm reflecting the same issues that impact BIPOC, women and the LGBTQ communities everywhere. Because we simply do not have equitable seats at the table in a world dominated by white men. But, a part of my wellness practice is to focus on what I want. I starve the thoughts that do not serve me for attention. The disparities are a reality, and we need to change that.
- We can continue to combat this by spreading our message loudly and forming coalitions with other marginalized groups.
- We need white women to stand up with everyone.
- We can clear the roadblocks with the strength of many so we need to focus on the collective goal…Equity.
What about consumers? What do you see as the biggest obstacle facing medicinal cannabis consumers?
Consumers definitely face the difficulty of sourcing credible information about cannabis. From within the space, we know who’s who and what’s what. But the average consumer has no clue how to decipher the myriad of messages coming at them. It’s one of the reasons we created Club Kindness. We aim to fill some small part of that gap with our Kind Papers and Responsible Brands Registry by giving our members easy to digest information about cannabis, products, laws and the culture.
For the entire industry, it is increasingly difficult to present credible information without the full backing of our government. That is why decriminalization, on the pathway way to full legalization, is crucial. We need it now, and we should require it from our representatives.
Any other dope projects or women in plant medicine collaborations you’d like to share with us?
I’m very excited about the new Club Kindness website. (For now, you can still find us at www.clubkindness.org) We are currently under construction behind the scenes. It’s finally going to incorporate all of the program features we’ve been developing over the years. It’s been a long time coming that gets reflected in our online presence.
And 2021 is all about expanding our program reach and Friendly Healthcare Network. We’re also adding THC delivery to the site via our partnership with Webjoint, and I’m actively recruiting new Board Members for the c(4).
Look out for our EBK Apothecary Holiday packages. We’ll be offering bundles and gift packs for all your CBD needs. Shop EBK at www.ebk-cbd.com.
I’ve just taken on the role as moderator for the new Women Empowered in Cannabis: WOC group. I’m looking forward to the conversations we’ll have and the sisterhood we’ll create. If you are a Woman of Color in Cannabis, please join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/weicwoc!
And my Littles would never forgive me if I didn’t mention their new business adventure: Maitri Kids. They wanted to be in business like mom and they wanted to help people, so our newest project is a kids (and moms) clothing line that encourages activism. Shirts feature conscious sayings and 8% goes back to an aligning charity each quarter. You can shop and help underserved communities. Visit www.shopmaitri.com for more.
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We’re grateful to chat with one of the influential women in plant medicine MsKindness Ramirez, mother, educator, industry veteran, cannabis children’s book author and serial entrepreneur to discuss her many incredible productions in the works. Thanks, Mskindness.
Are you interested in learning from more cannabis experts and professionals like Mskindness Ramirez? Attend CannaCon Midwest in Chicago Feb. 12-13, 2021. Join the women in plant medicine, cannabis children’s book authors, exhibitors, speakers and attendees relentlessly pushing the boundaries of the cannabis industry. Talk with like-minded entrepreneurs, farmers, distributors, equipment specialists and more at CannaCon Midwest in Chicago. See you there!