These are a few of my favorite cannabis things for the Revel Community.  

Cannabis has always been my drug of choice. But I got into the capital-C Cannabis industry when I came face to face with a beloved family member enduring terminal cancer. At the time, I was in my mid-20s and also pursuing my fledgling belief in a worldview centered around hedonistic sustainability. Beyond enjoying cannabis for fun, I saw how it helped my family member be comfortable and lucent in his final days. However, the suddenly stressful need to procure the plant for medicine, when it was not yet legal, galvanized me to become an advocate for federal legalization and part of building the Cannabis industry. 

Legalizing the cannabis plant and its many amazing products means we must honor the HIV/AIDS patients and the caregivers who sparked the Compassionate Use Act and all those still fighting to change access laws by descheduling cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act; we must pay systemic reparations to BIPOC people and communities who have been disproportionately devastated by the War on Drugs Mostly Black and Brown People; and we must regulate the industry to ensure a triple bottom line of success for profits, people, and our planet. 

While my cannabis journey began as an advocate, at age 40, I pivoted my professional career marketing other status quo busting ideas and brands into growing the medical cannabis market in New York. In 2020, I co-founded my media agency — Pheno — specializing in advertising cannabinoid brands, businesses, and revolutions. Pheno is named for the phenotype, the part of the cannabis plant that displays her distinction, her unique phenotype, which is apt for advertising.

Pheno is the first minority- and women-owned, WBENC-certified ad agency specializing in cannabinoids. I’m proud to uplift some of the best and brightest in the space.

Here are a few of my favorites: 

In my home state of New York, I primarily go to Etain. The women-owned, mother-daughter led medical company produces high quality products and consistently invests in the cannabis communities. Their collab with the artist, poet Jasmine Man’s BUY WEED FROM WOMEN line is lit. New York recently legalized and it’s super exciting to see how the adult-use market is already evolving from Need Weed? stickers on Citibikes.  

Anything with CBN in it. Really. I’m obsessed with this cannabinoid for its sleep-aid properties. Look for it in products sold in your state. I find CBN more effective when combined with THC and in a slower release form like gummies or capsules; but, in whatever shape it takes, the cannabinoid helps me have a more restful and blissful sleep than melatonin or bourbon.

But do not sleep on the Chicago adult-use scene. Dispensary 33 and Sunnyside stores are delightful and abundantly stocked with varieties including 1906 Love Drops, cute Good News vape pens, and specialty premium flower from choice buds to pre-roll “dog-walker” joints.  

A few favorite hemp-derived CBD beauty and wellness products, all available online, are St. Jane, Frigg, Reimagine Wellness (Pheno client), and Xula

When I travel to California, the first order of business is to book a delivery from Kikoko (Pheno client). The women-led cannabis brand makes the most delicious infused Manuka / Kanuka honeyshots, botanical mints, and herbal teas. Sympa-Tea is my go-to for a high CBD, low THC tea to chill out but their XTabs get the West Coast party started. 

If you’re curious about cannabinoids or getting into the fastest growing industry on the planet, take a look at Oaksterdam University (Pheno client), Women Grow, Broccoli magazine, and the dopest series on YouTube, On the Revel’s Dope People, absolutely lives up to its name. 

This year has been a treasure hunt for silver linings amidst the rainout-your-whole-life clouds of 2020. At some point this spring, my partner, Melinda, and I swapped our rhetorical lament, What is going to happen next?, for an actual question: Wonder what we’re going to do?

What followed was a wonder quest for experiences uniquely enabled by these times. Here are a slew of moments that got me through this year in no particular order.

(Note: This is not a productivity list, at times, surviving was more than enough. I also acknowledge my work-from-everywhere privilege and ask, if you are also in the position to do so, please signal boost and/or donate to an organization committed to helping those in need get through this time and be resilient on the other side — and, of course, keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and socially distancing.)

Citibiked: Manhattan

Read: How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell

Picked: Cherries (spring), Peaches (summer), Apples (fall) at Rosehill Farms, and Jalapeños (near Seneca Lake)

Watched: Flamingos mate for life (Celestún, Mexico); gulls soar through Manhattan; turtles lay eggs; lambs be born; caterpillars eat bouquets of dill; bears roam; foxes fox; cottontails bound; wild turkeys fly; Mom’s new kittens play

Drank: Compaigne des Vins Surnaturels By the Lake and all over New York thanks to their spectacular home delivery

Made: Protest signs from a fully stocked children’s art supply closet

Listened: “If you waiting for life to go back to the way it was,” said my friend, Lulu, “you’re trying to live in a world that no longer exists.”

Practiced: Spanish 1:1 via Skype with SpeakShop tutors in Guatemala

Cut: Coffee (from 2 pots to 2 cups a day)

Read: A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit

Lit: ~100 fires

Picked up: 4 Charles Prime Rib


Read: Think Small, Wendell Berry

Cheered on: Every team in the WNBA (especially the Lynx) via League Pass

Ate: Rubirosa outdoors on Pride


Gathered: Queer night on the farm (Chaseholm Farm)

Conferenced in: From home (Chelsea, NYC); a creek (Catskills); a fireplace (Hudson Valley); the beach (Yucatán)

Drank: Chëpìka

Chopped: Wood, like whole trees, and local farm vegetables for Melinda to grill


Saw: Uxmal

Ordered: 1 kilo of handmade, heirloom corn tortillas from Pancho Maiz

Lived: Next door to a popsicle shop

Puzzled: Sometimes looking at the box, sometimes not, and one I didn’t finish (Smoke & Petals because I got high)

Cried: When Rough Draft bookstore re-opened in Kingston

Marveled: Farm Arts Collective‘s Dream on the Farm performance amongst hemp and fairytale eggplants

Wrote: Daily journal (as I have since childhood but, for real, just to journal, not to publish)

Ate: Fresh fish

Listened: Astrology readings – now on the new CHANI app✨

Counted down to a bright new year

What’s lightened your year? Share your silver linings…

Unabashedly gushing over artist Zilia Sánchez in Bust

Bust’s raison d’être is for feminists with something to get off their chests. So I wrote about experiencing Zilia Sánchez’s work for the first time in 2018 and being furious about it. See why: Artist Zilia Sánchez’s Soy Isla (I Am an Island) Retrospective Comes Ashore. 

ElMuseo ZiliaSanchez

Like two plumes of smoke rising on a bright day, Juana de Arco (Joan of Arc) (1987) features two painted panels billowing nearly to the ceiling. The immensity of the body brings to mind the historic magnitude of the title’s heroine, and as I look closely at the curves, crevices, lips, and nipples, the sensation of surveying the landscape around the open legs of a love with whom I want to forget time.

Soy Isla is scheduled to be on view at  El Museo Del Barrio November 20, 2019 – March 22, 2020. (El Museo is closed for public health concerns – stay tuned for more information.)

The exhibition catalog is viewable here: Embodied Spaces of Zilia Sánchez.

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