Being in the cannabis industry is a political statement, whether you see it as one or not. My work forces me to be informed in a multitude of avenues of life and government that intersect with cannabis and what a blessing that is! Weed people are well-read and woke!
As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Burgstahler, Creative, Actress, Founder of Budding Mind.
Brooke Burgstahler is a writer, producer, host, and actress in television, online media, and film. A specialist in high quality educational and entertaining content she calls “edutainment,” Brooke is the star of BigMike + Advanced Nutrients’ show Marijuana Morning News which she develops, produces, and hosts daily. An in-demand creator in cannabis, Brooke scours for stories and conceptualizes unique topics to explore, covering everything from pop culture to politics, history, hot new brands, celebrity interviews, and progress in social justice reform. On the acting side, Brooke’s appeared on MTV (Greatest Party Story Ever), ABC (General Hospital, Black-ish), TBS (TBS Shorts), AMC (Mad Men), the Oxygen Network (Speak For The Dead), Covergirl, and more. In cannabis media she’s the creative visionary behind numerous campaigns with several premiere media outlets. In 2018, Brooke was awarded a Golden Telly for her Docu-Series Prisoners of Prohibition produced for Merry Jane Media. To date, Brooke’s online content has reached millions of viewers. Brooke is also a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and holds a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Theater from The University of Miami. Brooke’s cannabis and wellness startup Budding Mind is designed to expand the mind and heart through the exploration of plant medicine, alternative healing, science, and spirituality. The multi-channel online platform features podcasts, video, long form education content and e-commerce for Brooke’s favorite products and brands.
To learn more about Brooke Burgstahler and Budding Mind, visit online at Brooke Burgstahler
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
Since the first time I smoked weed, I knew we were going to be great friends. But, I had NO idea that I would end up having a career in cannabis. For much of my relationship with her, she was very much illegal, so I never even dreamed of working with weed for a profession.
However, about four years ago I began working as a cannabis journalist, writing and talking about my love for the plant. At first, I was met with pushback from my parents, and even my own self at times, worried that I was doing something “bad.”
But after realizing the effects the stigmatization of a plant had on even ME — I let go. I made an agreement with Mary Jane that I would represent her in the best possible light I could if she guided me on my way, and I truly believe she has.
I have worked with several cannabis media companies such as Merry Jane, and Civilized. I created a docu-series, Prisoners of Prohibition, about real stories of the men and women serving life sentences for nonviolent cannabis convictions. Two years ago I was able to co-host The Next Marijuana Millionaire, a cannabis business reality show. Now I am writing, producing, and hosting my own daily cannabis news show for @BigMike called Marijuana Morning News, to an Instagram audience of 2.7 million. And through it all, I’ve been running my company Budding Mind, a cannabis and wellness content creation platform, designed to expand the heart and soul.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The most interesting thing that has happened to me since working in cannabis was my trepidation in “coming out of the cannabis closet.” When I was first working in the industry, I had a fear that if people knew what I was doing it would potentially damage other opportunities for me. I was nervous to put my truth out into the world for fear of shame. BUT I had to get over that, didn’t I? So, I had a sit with cannabis, putting some beautiful buds on my altar, and I talked to her. Humbled, I asked her to show me a sign if I was on the right path, and if she wanted me to work with her — and wouldn’t you know it, the next day I booked The Next Marijuana Millionaire.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the funniest things that has happened more times than I’d like to admit is people getting too high on productions. I was covering an event one time when my camera man got too high from the free weed and forgot to check if our audio was recording — all of our footage for the night was a wash. I’ve also had interviewees get too high before shooting and then are unable to answer questions…. like, so often. LOL. I actually don’t smoke before going on camera, or on stage, so that I can make sure everything is running smoothly and everyone is speaking coherently.
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
When I first got involved in the cannabis industry my parents didn’t approve. They were not keen on my new career and I didn’t share much of my work with them for a while! Flash forward to today, and now my parents ask me to share my edibles. And, when we’re in the same place together, not only do we smoke, but they can handle SO much more weed than me. Honestly, I’m not even mad about the past, smoking weed with my parents is such a full circle gift.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m super excited for the content that I am creating for Budding Mind! I’m launching a podcast January 2021 with an eclectic array of guests: scientists, shamans, cannabis convicts, wellness gurus, biohackers, UFOlogists, etc. My approach towards content is “edutainment.” I want people to learn while laughing and this podcast is going to be the perfect alignment of education and entertainment.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
Women make up half the global population and thus half the leadership roles of all industries should be held by women. Though the dust seems like it’s beginning to settle, women have been on the grind for decades proving their worth in the workfield. Despite the cannabis industry being a newly emerging industry with its whole own bag of troubles, we’ve still got to fight for our proper place in the system. Women are particularly valuable to the cannabis industry due to our progressive perspectives, strength in managing dozens of tasks at once, and our sensitive nature that mirrors the sweet softness of the cannabis plant.
I believe women who have found success in the cannabis industry mentoring and networking with less-experienced-hopefuls is an incredible force for progress and inspiration for women to stay the course in the cannabis field. I’m a part of an adorable organization called Cannaboss, which is a group of ladies in weed who meet monthly to smoke and discuss what’s going on in our work. It’s an extremely inviting community that has opened my eyes to the numerous pathways available to someone looking for a career in cannabis, as well as connecting dots for me when I’m looking for something or someone specific to help move my own mission forward.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
- The fact that the industry I work in is federally illegal is devastating, but also exciting because, surely in my lifetime, I will see an entire industry become legitimized, and the consciousness shift that comes with that will be invaluable, legendary, and historic!
- Being in the cannabis industry is a political statement, whether you see it as one or not. My work forces me to be informed in a multitude of avenues of life and government that intersect with cannabis and what a blessing that is! Weed people are well-read and woke!
- The continual stream of cannabis discoveries and studies are absolutely fascinating! Nearly every day a new cannabinoid, terpene, or mode of healing is found out about cannabis. And the more we learn about weed, the more we learn about our own ECS and our bodies’ functionality on a deeper level. Cannabis is a multi-faceted wonder and we are just at the tip of the iceberg in understanding her true potentiality for healing both people and the planet.
You are a “Cannabis Insider.” If you had to advise someone about 5 things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say?
1). The federal legalization of cannabis, and plant medicines, is critical to the evolution of humankind. To say that any plant is forbidden, much less one that has been revered since ancient times, is twisted and a hindrance to our species’ growth.
2). Cannabis is first, above all things, a medicine. Countless global studies have confirmed that cannabis and its chemical constituencies aid in the healing of diseases, health conditions, and mental issues.
3). Furthermore, cannabis and hemp are medicine for the planet — with the plant’s materials capable of creating sustainable fabric, building materials, and fuel with the potential to revolutionize these industries so desperately in need of an upgrade to meet the times.
4) Cannabis is a plant that is literally giving us what we need in so many different directions, and our legislators are afraid to allow its abundance to heal and metamorphosize our agriculture, energy, and recreational lifestyle industries, like alcohol and tobacco. But good things and true change are worth fighting for, which is why there are literally millions of people on Earth committed to forging the path for the legalization and legitimization of cannabis. It’s all happening and she’s guiding us on our way!
5). Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu is a favorite Sanskrit mantra of mine that translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free.” If I could instill any kind of shift in the human experience right now it would be for all plants, animals, and people to be liberated…. for true freedom of expression and exploration to be granted to all living things, and with that, respect for the living things around you. With this total liberation and genuine respect for the world around comes happiness, ease, and a natural way of being that is without conflict or comparison. We all deserve to return to the state of happiness which is our birthright — the true joy of living and reveling in our sensory experiences, free of limitation and judgment.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!