Jess Jones, or Jay, is a cannabis educator and advocate. Jess is passionate about social equity in the cannabis industry; working to combat the stigma against cannabis and foster a more inclusive future in the industry.
Based in Southern California, Jess is on the Board of Advisors for Taboo Talks, an educational speaker series that centers women and femmes. Jess also works with second generation farmer Wendy Kornberg of Sunnabis Farms & Conscious Body Decadence as a brand educator.
The future of cannabis, as Jess sees it, is equitable and inclusive. To bring that future into reality, Jess works to provide people with education and access to cannabis, while breaking the stigma surrounding the plant.
Jess expanded on her vision, “I would like to help create an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry that properly addresses the harm caused to BIPOC by the war on drugs while preserving the language and culture.”
Getting deeper into the cannabis industry, Jess says one of the main challenges was finding her people, adding “I see many folx who “flex for the gram” on topics that are important to me, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is it’s crickets.”
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Jess found a supportive and like-minded community with the Taboo Talks Team, who she says has been a great support to her in her vision.
“The biggest hurdles that we continue to face are racism and stigma. We have a lot of work to do,” says Jess about Taboo Talks’ journey.
The first series of Taboo Talks dove into how cannabis can be equitable and inclusive. The series provides a safe space for people to ask questions and receive a quality education about cannabis from highly passionate community leaders.
“I became involved with the Taboo Talks Series because we share the same vision for the Cannabis Industry. We work hard to break the stigmas surrounding cannabis and to provide safe spaces,” says Jess.
The supportive community that has grown around Taboo Talks has allowed the speaker series to take off at a pace that Jess hadn’t initially expected.
“I have met so many wonderful, hardworking and creative folx, it gives me great hope for the future of our industry,” says Jess.
Though Taboo Talks is cannabis focused, the educational speaker series is not a sesh in disguise.
“Our events are centered around providing education and creating community. While we do strive to provide quality medicine to our participants, this is not the focus, we are not just another sesh in disguise. We fully plan to put on events in non-legal states and we know they will be just as successful because the folx who attend our events come for the education and the community that we are creating,” Jess explains.
While many groups and organizations work to break the stigma around cannabis, Jess highlights that she sees white women using the platform of change to increase their own personal gain. The issue there is that white women are significantly less likely than communities of color to be ostracized for cannabis use or targeted by law enforcement.
“It’s difficult for me to see white mamas and white womxn posting pics that monetize their use of cannabis in the name of “breaking the stigma” while black and brown parents are locked up and separated from their children over use of the plant. The damage done to communities of color by the war on drugs is an issue that needs to be addressed and our team has plans to expand this aspect of our series as we move forward,” says Jess.
Jess, and Taboo Talks, are based in San Diego, California. Jess looks forward to bringing Taboo Talks on the road to educate nationwide.
Jess encourages any organizations that are working towards social equity in the cannabis industry to reach out to Taboo Talks, continuing, “This is an aspect of my network that I would like to grow. I want to be able to properly address the needs of the communities that were damaged by the war on drugs, but my privilege creates blind spots and I don’t want to assume needs. I am looking for community organizations to partner with so I can focus energy on providing what is actually needed by the BIPOC communities that have been harmed by the war on drugs, as opposed to what I or others think is needed. Let’s grow together!”
Featured photo by @cannamommyonthego.