Cannabis Feminism: the New Movement That Has High Hopes for the Future
After 10 years in the nascent natural beauty industry, Jessica Assaf, 26, went to Harvard Business School thinking she’d come out with a next-level beauty idea—instead she graduated with a plan for revolutionizing the cannabis product industry, with women at the helm.
We talked to Los Angeles-based Assaf about the billion-dollar “greenrush” of new cannabis-based products coming to market, how she and thousands of other entrepreneurs are making over the plant as a wellness ingredient, and for (ridiculously fascinating) intel on the movement and business she’s coined Cannabis Feminist.
You were in the beauty industry before you went to Harvard Business School [HBS]. How did you land on cannabis as your calling?
Before cannabis, I was a beauty activist for over ten years advocating for safer products. I started the blog, Beauty Lies Truth, with Alexis Krauss [of the band Sleigh Bells] and I have had the privilege to work for some of the best and cleanest beauty brands, including S.W. Basics, EO Products, and OSEA. While at HBS I launched my own line of single-ingredient facial oils called RAW IS EVERYTHING and was on track to continue working in the clean beauty space. I guess I realized that the beauty industry doesn’t need me anymore because my favorite brands are thriving on their own.
The cannabis industry is where the natural beauty industry was 10 years ago—underdeveloped and misunderstood.
The cannabis industry is where the natural beauty industry was 10 years ago—underdeveloped and misunderstood. I want to help cannabis become a mainstream, beautifully designed wellness product.
Cannabis has been a big part of my life—I am proud to say that I was the biggest cannabis supporter at Harvard Business School. I believe cannabis helped me get accepted to Harvard Business School, and it certainly helped me graduate and figure out what is next. When I finished business school, I looked in the mirror and realized it was finally time to come out of the cannabis closet.
Photo: Jessica Assaf with Hmblt/Cannabis Feminist
I have been a cannabis user and advocate for almost ten years. It has been my therapy in many ways, keeping me grounded and calm through the highs and lows of my professional and personal experiences. Though 29 states have legalized cannabis either medically or recreationally, there’s still a social stigma holding cannabis back. Why is it so easy for so many women to get a prescription drug for pain or sleeping issues, yet it is still so difficult to explore the medicinal potential of this plant? Why is it that I am still embarrassed to be the only person eating edibles at a party? I realized that my new mission is to educate women about the health benefits of cannabis and create safe spaces for women to try healthy cannabis products for the first time.
Cannabis is quickly entering the health and wellness space—it’s a 2017 wellness trend that’s here to stay.
How do you see cannabis products fitting into the health and wellness space?
When you walk into any dispensary in California or Colorado, there are dozens of products that have been clearly developed to improve health and wellness. Both cannabis entrepreneurs and patients are creating higher standards for the potential of cannabis. Products like Mary’s Medicinals’ transdermal patch and Whoopi and Maya’s bath soak, for example, are designed specifically to treat pain and heal us. Cannibidiol (CBD) products allow us to experience the healing benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.)
Cannabis Feminist founder Jessica Assaf explains why cannabis lifestyle products are the new frontier in wellness in our latest Good Vibes video.