There’s no one-size-fits-all career, especially in the world of cannabis. However, there’s one thing we’ve learned in our conversations with industry insiders and talented people building incredible companies: there’s a long way to go before the stigmas around stoner culture, slacking off, and being lazy are gone for good.
Jay Jackson, aka Laganja Estranja, is living an unconventional career in cannabis – and is as far from a slacker as you could imagine. Laganja is a world-renowned female illusionist, choreographer, musician, cannabis advocate, and LGBTQ+ icon. You may have seen her on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Heidi Klum’s Queen of Drag Race, and So You Think You Can Dance. She also graced the cover of New York Magazine’s The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America issue, and has performed at events and festivals all over the world.
Today, you’ll hear the story of how an injury and successful treatment convinced Laganja to make cannabis her platform, what brands are doing right (and wrong) in trying to reach wider audiences, and what she’s doing to advocate for both cannabis and the LGBTQ+ community in an utterly unique way.
- How a serious injury sustained as a dancer led Laganja to medical cannabis.
- How Laganja built a platform designed to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What it means to Laganja to be drag’s reigning cannabis ambassador – and why she still sees the mainstream cannabis industry as not open to the queer community.
- Why it’s everyone’s responsibility to be critical when it comes to their spending – and what cannabis companies can do to nurture an authentic, inclusive culture and message.
- Why Laganja sees full legalization as at least four or five years away, no matter what happens this election.
“Activism can be as small as just living your truth every day for people.” – Laganja Estranja
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Rick Kiley: Hello, everyone, and welcome to The Green Repeal. I am, of course, one of your co-hosts, Rick Kylie. I am joined by my other partner in crime Jeffrey Boedges. Hello, Jeffrey.
Jeff Boedges: Hi, gang. I’m freshly back from the Great White North. Well, Maine, close enough.
Rick Kiley: Maine.
Jeff Boedges: Yes.
Rick Kiley: That’s the Great White North now?
Jeff Boedges: Kind of. It’s a lot cooler in Maine.
Rick Kiley: For America, it’s the Great White North. That’s pretty good.
Jeff Boedges: Well, it’s cooler in Maine than it is in California.
Rick Kiley: Right. And you’re in Jersey and I’m in Brooklyn. It’s muggy here today. I took my kids outside and they said it’s Florida weather so that’ll give you an understanding what the humidity is. Anyway, we are super excited. We are thrilled to be joined by world-renowned female illusionist, choreographer, music artist, cannabis advocate, LGBTQ+ icon, Jay Jackson aka Laganja Estranja.
Laganja Estranja: Hey, guys.
Rick Kiley: Hey. Welcome to The Green Repeal. Jay’s a wearer of many hats, numerous TV film credits including appearance on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Heidi Klum’s Queen of Drag Race, and So You Think You Can Dance among others. She’s graced the cover of New York Magazine’s June 2019 issue that was titled The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America. She performs in events and festivals regularly throughout the world. Maybe not in the last couple of months. But again, Jay, Laganja, welcome to The Green Repeal.
Laganja Estranja: Well, thank you guys so much for having me and giving me that lovely lengthy bio. I was not expecting that which is why I said hey in the middle but thank you. I appreciate you acknowledging all of the work I’ve been doing over the last six or seven years [indiscernible 1:48].
Rick Kiley: No, you have been doing great work as far as I can tell and we’re really excited to have you on the show.
Jeff Boedges: I think the “hey” it actually gave us a nice break. It was really long.
Rick Kiley: I know. I get long-winded sometimes. I try to get on quicker but we’ll get to the point. I think what we really wanted to jump into here is just starting with how your relationship with cannabis began. I read that it began as a medical patient and was particularly helpful because you have a career as a dancer and it was helping you in navigating some of that. Is that correct?
Laganja Estranja: Yes, that’s absolutely correct. I was dropped on my pelvic bone in college, my junior year of college, and then unfortunately, unaligned if that’s a word. I don’t think it is. What’s the word?
Jeff Boedges: Dis-aligned?
Laganja Estranja: There we go. It dis-aligned my spine. So, I was seeing a chiropractor who was basically popping it back into place which, as you can imagine, it’s very painful. They were the ones to suggest I get my medical license out of here in California at the time under Proposition 215. So, that’s when I really started looking at cannabis as medicine. I had used it before this moment, of course, but it was definitely under the lens as a way to be more creative. So, even though I was using probably by the time I was 18 is when I first started experimenting with cannabis. It was always under the lens to help me. So, I never really saw it as like a party substance. It was always something that I had taken seriously if you will. I just didn’t realize the medical benefits that I was getting from it besides the creativity factor. So, once I discovered that, I really chose to go full force.
Jeff Boedges: That’s more common, I think, of the slightly younger generation than myself because like we didn’t look at it like medicine but it is a more intelligent approach.
Laganja Estranja: Well, and it’s the truth, right? I mean, it is medicine. It really is and that’s been something that I’ve been so passionate about talking about because I feel like the only way we’re really going to move forward in the cannabis industry is to break the stigma that is still lingering. I mean, so many people still consider me a drug addict because I’m so open about my cannabis usage. So, there’s a lot of work to be done.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Well, that’s what we’re on the show to do.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. We’re trying to help pave the way towards federal legalization. And it’s funny, we keep having these conversations. Every guest on here is very similar true line about destigmatizing the category, getting rid of stoner stigma and all those images that are associated with poor behavior and, I don’t know, slacker.
Laganja Estranja: Right.
Rick Kiley: The sort of slacker sort of image. And I think people who were able to make a career help unlock creativity, help them manage pain, like these are all real things that the plant can deliver and I think it’s great that you’ve found it. I’m curious when you first were injured, God that sounds awful, were other things prescribed? Did you try other things first, traditional painkillers, other methodologies? And could you talk about like how you got navigated to the cannabis plant?
Laganja Estranja: Well, at this point, I had already discovered that pharmaceuticals were not my friend. I grew up on a plethora of them for trying to regulate my sleeping cycles, anti-anxiety, and depression, all of that. So, I had already discovered by the time I was around 18, that that didn’t really work for me. I mean, even having Vicodin made me sick. So, I knew I had to explore alternative medicines. And I’d actually never seen a chiropractor before that and have never seen one since that and I hope not to just because it is a very abrasive medicine. But for something like that injury, there really is no other way to realign your spine. So, by seeing him, it already got me out of my comfort zone and that’s why when he mentioned getting the medical license, I was that much more willing to try because at that point I had already, like I said, I’d gone out of my comfort zone to trust him. I just felt like he wouldn’t be giving me this advice if he didn’t really think. And I’d already had some prior usage of cannabis. So, I was like, okay, let’s see. And sure enough, within a week, my pain management was incredibly reduced and I felt so much better.
Jeff Boedges: The chiropractor always has seemed to me to be a little bit more open-minded as far as like holistic type of medicines and approaches and more about a lifestyle and not necessarily just treating the symptom. So, it’s interesting to hear your experience. I had an injury as a teenager as well. And there was no legal marijuana in the US when I was a teen so they didn’t make that recommendation. Now, I think my dad probably would kick me on the spot but, again, it doesn’t surprise me to hear that. I think that’s great. I think it’s good that we’re embracing it.
Rick Kiley: It sounds like you found like the recipe that worked for your pain management pretty quickly. Was it quite simple? Did somebody help you kind of identify the right intake, dosage, etcetera? Can you talk about that a little bit?
Laganja Estranja: Yes. I’m very fortunate that when this happened, I was out here in California and it is so easy, especially now but even back then, gosh, I don’t want to date myself but I think this was in 2010. So, over 10 years ago, people were still very educated in the dispensaries. And yes, there were some more sketchy dispensaries, which I did go to, of course, because they’re lower prices and things of that way but when I first got into it, I went to the chiropractor’s recommended dispensary. He told me who to speak with. I mean, they were incredibly helpful. They gave me tinctures, told me how much to take, and that’s when I realized like, “Oh, I have no idea what cannabis is.” I’ve been smoking one little joint like there’s so much more that’s involved and, of course, I’d found that Sativa, specifically now, I know limonene terps are what really helped me heal, whether it be for depression or whether it be for a physical pain. So, yeah, I found exactly what I needed very quickly. And that’s why it was such a big eye-opener to me and why I’ve chosen to make it my platform because in that one week, it was like I felt better in my life than I ever had. So, I felt like this was an unknown secret that people needed to know.
Rick Kiley: That’s great. So, obviously, I mean, I want to talk about how your performance name, how Laganja came to be. That sort of experience lead directly into it. Was there a circuitous route? Did you have another performance name that you tried out first? Or was it just magically appeared before you?
Laganja Estranja: Well, I’ll be honest, I don’t really know because I just don’t really know. So, I have stories that I tell that I think could be the truth but I will be honest.
Rick Kiley: What’s the best similar stories? Let’s hear it.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. Let’s hear two different versions.
Laganja Estranja: Okay. Well, so one of them is I had a friend in college named Marcus and his drag name was Markita Velveeta and I really liked how his name rhymed, and I really liked how his name Marcus and Markita was kind of like a pun on his name. So, I took those two ideas of a rhyme scheme and a pun for something else. And that’s how I got like Laganja Estranja. My sister, she says that I got the word Laganja from her. She used to drive a Daewoo car which had a very similar name. I’m not for sure. I think it was pronounced Leganza. It was very similar.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: And she called it her Laganja. So, maybe I had heard that term from her. And then Estranja I think could have also come from the underground bow and ballroom community. There’s a term they say, [estrange 10:01], when people are on the runway and that means they are lengthening out their body and working it, [estrange 10:06]. And so, I think I could have turned that. So, who knows? I mean, the magical thing about cannabis is it doesn’t always allow you to remember things quite clearly. So, that’s just the truth when it comes to my name. She was made up in a magical cloud of smoke.
Jeff Boedges: We get that. Rick and I have solved most of the world’s problems after a few scotches over the years. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: But, I mean, there’s something to that idea of unlocking creativity and it’s interesting that you said that, that you found it as a, well, it’s a process enhancer, if not a performance enhancer. And I think that a lot of people have said that before and I think that’s great that that’s worked for you. So, I realized so we have a thread that connects us. Our agency produces events. You’ve, obviously, artistically involved with a bunch of productions from stage to screen. I’m wondering the world of live events is going through a little bit of a hiccup here. It’s been dramatically impacted by COVID. And I’m just curious how much you’ve had to adjust your life, what you’ve done, and how your work has changed. And how are you engaging with fans today in this environment?
Laganja Estranja: Well, I’ll be very honest and say that I am extremely lucky. The platform that I have created for myself over the last seven, six years as a drag queen really provided me the stability I needed during this pandemic. So, I actually love quarantine. In fact, if we never go back, I’m cool with that. Making art in my backyard has been the best gift that anyone could have given me. I love meeting people. I love teaching dance. But there is something really special about being given time as an artist to be creative, to be resourceful, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I mean, I’m producing online content weekly now. I have three shows that are currently running and I’m about to add a fourth and that would have never been possible. I used to travel so much and it would have never been possible for me to have something regular. And I love it. I mean, it’s a lot of work. I’m currently filming, editing, starring, and all of it but it’s taught me these skills and I think it’s expanded my artistic vocabulary and toolbox if you will. So, I’ve loved that. I think being challenged as an artist is the best.
I’ve always loved the teachers who are a little bit mean and pushed me and I like that kind of do you have the will to survive and that test and I definitely have found during this time I do. So, I’m very lucky that my supporters have tuned into my shows and continued to tip me through virtual dollars and that brands are hiring me to promote them. And again, this is unbelievable to me as a pot drag queen that I am one of the people who’s working because so many of my friends who whether they’re older, younger, lawyers to just regular workers at a store that now couldn’t afford to stay up and have lost their jobs completely. So, to be thriving and happy, it’s a blessing and I feel very privileged.
Rick Kiley: That’s great.
Jeff Boedges: Are there parts that you miss about pre-COVID?
Laganja Estranja: I really don’t. I mean, I missed the movie theater. I loved going to the movie theater but I just think this time has brought me a lot closer to the person I want to be. And I’ve discovered that I don’t need all the things that I had in my life. I loved them. I loved traveling on planes but also ultimately, like I said, if we’re stuck like this for five years, I’m going to be okay. I like this way of living. I found what I can to be grateful for and thankful for and I think that’s just a more healthy way of living as opposed to like, well, I miss this and I missed that and staying in these woes of, well, I just let that go and say, “When it comes back, that’ll be great,” but until then like what can I find exciting about life around me? So, that I’m not missing something from the past.
Jeff Boedges: Agreed.
Rick Kiley: It’s a great attitude.
Jeff Boedges: I do. I think from practicing yoga and taking different meditation techniques, and we talk a lot about that, and it’s really about being cool with what you’ve got. And I think you’re right on the money.
Laganja Estranja: Yes, I am a yoga lover, although I will admit to you, I literally just took my first yoga class since quarantine two days ago. So, I know, unbelievable. I used to go to two to three times a week. I’m obsessed with yoga. When I was going through my alcoholism phase, that’s how I got sober and stayed sober for three years. It’s such an incredible practice but I think because I am so regimented and strict on myself, when quarantine hit, I was like, I’m going to eat pizza. I’m not going to do yoga, and I’m going to finally allow myself a little time to just be because I am such a perfectionist and I do have to fit into small costumes all the time. So, that’s been nice to just kind of like let go but ultimately, I discovered as of recent when I was getting more and more stressed, I need to go back to yoga. So, I started back and of course the first day I was like, “Why this is so hard?” I start crying in class. Day two, it went really well and I was like, “Okay. You’re going to do this. Get back up on the horse.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeff Boedges: If it makes you feel better, I’m coming up on my one year anniversary and I still cry in class. “This sucks.”
Laganja Estranja: So, you do it every day?
Jeff Boedges: No. I do it a couple of times a week. I try to get my exercise on the peloton.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. You could see the peloton behind him.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. But the yoga has been a new thing and it was really about what you’re talking about, which is this idea, again, of meditation and finding peace because otherwise, stress relief was really kind of coming primarily from hooch. And that was just not a great place to be.
Laganja Estranja: Absolutely. I totally can relate to that. When I first got off Drag Race, I went through a huge depression because my reception here in America was not the best. People found me to be annoying and fake. Although, of course, the UK and everyone across the pond loved it because they loved how eccentric and over-the-top I was but I wasn’t traveling over there yet. So, I went through a big depression where I definitely used alcohol to fill the void.
Jeff Boedges: Well, don’t include New York and the rest of the country because we thought you were very intense. Maybe from here to California.
Rick Kiley: Big international community.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, it’s a huge community.
Laganja Estranja: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. I think over the years, my growth in the public eye has turned many people’s opinion on me and I’m just very grateful that I did discover yoga and that I have discovered cannabis because both of those have been integral medicines in my health.
Rick Kiley: Interesting.
Jeff Boedges: I’m right with you. Yep. Sorry. I kind of took this off the track here.
Rick Kiley: No, man. This interview it goes wherever we want to. That’s what happens here. So, curious, I’ll just bring it back here for a little bit. There was an article I read that called you drag’s reigning cannabis ambassador and I was curious how you felt about that. It sounded like when Uncle Ben says to Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So, I’m just curious what you feel about that title.
Laganja Estranja: I feel like I’ve worked really hard for that title and I’m very proud of it and I continue to live out the legacy that my queer brothers and sisters who came before me and created Proposition 215, the Compassionate Act, and I feel very grateful that I have opportunities like today to just continue talking about this plant, changing people’s minds, and showing people how this really has helped me in my life and could help others.
Rick Kiley: That’s great. So, when you’re wearing this hat of cannabis advocate, cannabis ambassador, I mean, you do interviews like this but other than that, what are you called upon to do? What are you doing? Are you representing brands? Are you talking to media publications? What does the advocacy look like?
Laganja Estranja: Well, I try to do it all. So, absolutely, I do rep brands, of course, but I think activism can be as small as just living your truth every day for people. I, of course, try to put it online, on Instagram stories, and show people my day but I really think when people meet me when they get to know me, when they see how I do smoke constantly but it doesn’t affect the way I talk or act or do anything, it really is the best like way to be an activist to really live it and show it. But I’ve spoken at colleges. They flew me out to Ireland. I spoke at the Trinity College there. I’ve done things with Impulse in San Francisco. I’ve made the products of my own. So, I’m always trying to explore how to keep the activism alive but I’ll admit that it’s definitely been difficult because I feel overall that the industry, specifically here in California, is homophobic. They are not as open to the queer community, especially if they’re dressed like I dress as Laganja, who is a very sexy woman, and I think that, unfortunately, has made it very difficult for me to really get my voice out there like I think it deserves to be. I’ve never been on the High Times cover. I’ve been inside their online articles but I’ve never been printed on the magazine. And I think that says a lot about the community and our fear of really accepting all.
Rick Kiley: I think that’s great. And that’s part of the reason we wanted to have you on. I think we’ve had a few episodes where we’ve talked about, you know, Jay?
Laganja Estranja: I thought you might hear my dog barking so I just moved.
Rick Kiley: We did but that’s lovely. You can invite the dog. That’s okay.
Jeff Boedges: It’s a watchdog it sounded like.
Rick Kiley: We have spoken a lot about sort of I think the need for criminal justice reform, a lot on this and how minority communities, in particular, have been adversely affected by the war on drugs but we haven’t had a chance to talk about the discrimination as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community. So, I’m glad we’re going to talk about it. I read in another article, I think, that suggested your desire for active advocacy began after like I’ll just call it a less than ideal performance experience at the Cannabis Cup. Is that true?
Laganja Estranja: Yes.
Rick Kiley: Could you talk about that a little bit if you don’t mind?
Laganja Estranja: Sure. So, this was in the beginning of my drag career when I was very green to the scene if you will and I got booked at my first Cannabis Cup and was to perform as Laganja as well as have my own booth. And basically, it started off, okay, I had my own booth. I was in full drag. I had several I don’t want to say many but I had several fans who came to see me specifically there which was amazing and I felt really good about that but when it came time to perform, I was not received in the same kind of way. And that is ultimately like I said, to return to the fact that Laganja is a promiscuous, dare I say, slutty entertainer, and I am known for strip teasing and for revealing my body and I did exactly just that. I took off my clothes, I got down to a sequined marijuana, pasty, and bra situation. And unfortunately, the crowd and the other performers did not think it was so awesome. And they weren’t mean. They didn’t boo me. They didn’t throw tomatoes at me. So, we have improved. We have improved. But it was very clear that my kind, if you will, was not welcome. And that that was not something we were trying to do at this Cannabis Cup and we need to get this thing off stage and get the real performer on. So, that really, I mean, it broke my heart. I’d never experienced that before as a performer. All of my life, I’ve been a performer and I’d never had a reaction like that from a crowd.
Jeff Boedges: Don’t you find it odd too though that the community that is basically used to being sort of shunned and maybe treated less than respectfully would then, in my mind, commit that type of hypocrisy and not be open-minded?
Laganja Estranja: Well, I think it was a lot of young bros who are new to the scene. I don’t really think that it was educated individuals who have been using cannabis as medicine for years because let’s face it, those people don’t want to go to an outdoor festival and stand on the heat all day. They want to smoke pot at home where they’re comfortable. I mean, I’m one of those people. So, I get it. I totally get it. But it was in that moment that I realized, okay, being an activist is going to be hard work. And luckily my manager at the time, Kristen, she basically broke it down for me and she said, “Look, you have the choice here. You don’t have to do this. We can go back to the gay clubs. You can continue to perform and get all the love you deserve. Or you can really face this and really try to change people’s minds and actually create a positive space for people in this community.” And I, of course, chose that.
Rick Kiley: I think you’re doing really important work. And I’m glad you’re doing it. And so, I want to follow up on that this idea here. So, someone who is very experienced in this space and who is an ad activist. I’m curious who you think really bears the responsibility for an environment of inclusivity like I think, sorry, I’m going to try to get to the question but I think our government can obviously enact laws, it creates an even playing field, but I’m kind of more thinking about the private companies. You mentioned this like, bro-y culture. I’m wondering if someone is producing a cannabis product or is trying to build a brand, what do you think that brand or that company’s responsibility is to foster greater acceptance? I mean, I don’t think I know enough about it to speak upon it but I feel like you might have an idea here.
Laganja Estranja: Sure. Well, I did want to answer one of your questions that I think you’re starting to ask but then stop, which is whose responsibility is it?
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: And I just want to say it’s all of our responsibilities. That’s what I really believe. Of course, the people who are higher from power, they are the most powerful but I believe if the community came together and stood together and said, “We don’t accept this and this is how we’re going to be,” that those people would have to listen. I know for me, specifically during BLM, I’ve really made a critical attention to where I’m putting my dollars. And I’ve stopped eating at half of the fast food places that I used to eat at. I really have. I’ve really made it so that I can try to dismantle the systematic racism that we’re living in. And I think it’s the same thing with the cannabis industry. We all need to be a voice. We all need to say like, “Okay. What ignition? We’re sick of seeing all of these little girls in tiny bikinis and we’re not going to buy your weed anymore because we don’t believe in that.” Unfortunately, though, that’s not happening because little girls in bikinis sell cannabis. I mean, it’s a lifelong thing that have gone hand-in-hand. But I do think where people are putting their money is the number one thing that each individual can do.
Now, to answer your second part about what is their job and what can they be doing, I mean, I think they should have a diverse staff. I think they should be hiring influencers of color in the queer community in all spaces to be rep-ing the products. I think they can not only talk about and be about but like also actively do work. It’s one thing to slap a rainbow on your product but it’s another to then actually go to a gay organization and donate clothes. I just think a lot of it is very surface-level right now and we haven’t really tapped into what it means to be community
Jeff Boedges: Are there brands or dispensaries or anything, anybody, any companies that you can say that are doing it well and doing it right?
Laganja Estranja: Well, of course. I mean, yes, I feel like there are several companies out there that are doing it right.
Jeff Boedges: Shout them out.
Rick Kiley: Shout them out.
Laganja Estranja: I’ll be honest, most of the companies that I support are queer-run, operated, or they have like a lineage of queer because that’s how I get involved. Most brands aren’t asking me. I don’t have one dispensary in Los Angeles who sponsors me to promote them every month, which blows my mind. Not even in West Hollywood where there are queer dispensaries. It’s like that’s not a thing that’s happening. So, the brands I will shout out are Sonder Time, which is an incredible vape company that has now gone into edibles. They just launched Space Crystals, which is the first-ever patented cannabis pop rock. It’s amazing. Amazing.
Jeff Boedges: I was wondering when somebody was going to do that.
Laganja Estranja: Well, they’ve done it.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. There’s a restaurant I like out here called Mission Chinese and they only have one dessert and the dessert includes ice cream that’s got pop rocks on top of it.
Laganja Estranja: Awesome.
Rick Kiley: I feel like we have to somehow cannabis pop rock.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I could do ice cream with weed pop rocks on it.
Laganja Estranja: Right? I also love Fruit Slabs. They’re an incredible company that I partnered with last year, also an edible company. They make vegan, organic, gluten-free, kosher-certified fruit leathers. And what I love about this company, Roxanne’s the owner, woman-run. Let’s see, who else do I love the most? I love Maven. Maven is the one cannabis company in Kush Alley Dispensary out here that I do really love. Their product is amazing. Shane, who is the owner of a company is very kind. His employees are very diverse. So, really, I like their product and brand. I’ve also worked with Moose Labs, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with them. They’re the little mouthpieces that go on top of your water pipes and they have little screens inside of them. So, it protects you almost like a filter. And they are super, super LGBT friendly. So, I’ve actually found a lot of these companies during quarantine. I think because businesses were forced to look at different models of promotion, it’s forced people to look at me, and it’s been amazing to see the reception, I will say. So, I’m very helpful. I do feel like we’re moving in the right direction even though sometimes it feels like we’re in mud and it’s slow.
Jeff Boedges: 2020 is all mud.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I want to say one thing before I forget it but I feel like you have a TV show idea in there that’s somehow like a munchies series but only going to like the fast-food restaurants that are really like friendly and good to support. So, it’s like Laganja’s Late Night Black Lives Matter Munchie Series. Just a thought.
Jeff Boedges: That is good.
Laganja Estranja: Okay, I like it. It’s good. I got to jot that down.
Rick Kiley: We’re just coming up with ideas. Yeah. I love your quote about you can’t just slap a rainbow sticker on a product and I think that’s right. I think Jeff and I are working in alcohol beverage marketing for 20 years now, there’s a lot of history of brands. So, here, I wonder if this is happening and maybe the industry really hasn’t been around long enough but there’s a lot of history brands like making a play at supporting a minority community or a play at supporting the gay community. And they’ll come in and they’ll sponsor something for Pride Week or they’ll come in and they’ll do like a 90-day program but then what happens is the investment goes away. It’s like, “We’ve done this work. Now, it’s gone away. You love us now, right?” And it’s not sustained. And I’m wondering do you see that happening as well, where it’s like just, yeah, as Jeff said, paying lip service to it?
Laganja Estranja: Yeah. I think we’re talking about performative allyship here. And, yes, I see that a lot. Unfortunately, I do. But I always try to look at the positive side and the fact that companies are now noticing, “Hey, we should probably change our logo to a rainbow logo during this month,” does mean that there is some awareness. Even if it’s fake, even if it’s for business, they’re still understanding, okay, these queer people matter and we need to do something about it. So, I just tried to say, okay, it’s not great what they’re doing but it is a step in the right direction. We’re getting there. They’re recognizing. So, we just have to continue to show people what it means to be a real ally, which like you said, it’s sustaining the work, like I said, doing it every day.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I’m wondering if you think that there’s like, I mean, there are some obvious points where people can make connection like Pride Month, etcetera, but is there some whitespace that brands are missing, like things that nobody’s doing that would be meaningful to the LGBTQ+ community? I don’t know. I feel like there’s always sort of like there are voids out there that people are missing, if they haven’t hired from within, if they don’t have those people on their staff. I’m wondering if there are some places you feel like somebody could be doing X and they’re just not doing it.
Jeff Boedges: If you look at other categories that really kind of focus on lifestyle, and you can see it in wine and spirit for sure. There are brands that specifically target different aspects and I don’t know that I’ve seen, I don’t know how sophisticated yet the branding is in cannabis and I’m wondering if there’s another space to go out and really target. Can you create a brand-specific to the category without being offensive? I mean, I guess that’s really the question for me.
Laganja Estranja: Right. Well, I think yes, you can. Absolutely. I mean, I want to create a whole line of queer cannabis. So, yeah, I think you should, and you could, and you can. I mean, there are still historic black colleges that are predominantly black. I think those are incredible and amazing. So, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating a minority group and keeping that energy amongst that group alive but it’s about now representing all of those different groups. And I think that’s really where we’re not seeing a lot of movement. Like you said, there aren’t a lot of creative branding things that are happening but are doing outreach. We’ve worked on the actual branding. How does the product look? That part, great. The cannabis dispensaries, oh, we’ve got down too but now where are the activations? Where are the outreaches? Where is, like I said, the building of community? So, there are a lot of blind spots. I mean, I don’t think just in the queer community but I think in the people of color. There are so many blind spots we should be doing for those who are still in jail while we’re over here ordering weed to our door like pizza. So, that’s a huge blind spot in the industry that I also always try to remind people of.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. That subject’s come up many, many times.
Jeff Boedges: It’s one near and dear to our hearts.
Rick Kiley: And frankly, it’s something that needs to get figured out if federal legalization is ever going to happen. I mean, that’s just a fact. So, well, we’re a bunch of creative people. I’m curious if you had an idea of how to create an experience that would move beyond Pride Week, that would be fun, enjoyable, would expose people to cannabis and all the good qualities that you like about it, what does that look like? What would you do to showcase the best of what cannabis has to offer?
Laganja Estranja: Well, I have lots of ideas for my future of how I would like to continue moving further in the industry, one of which is to own and operate my own dispensary. That would be run by drag queens, and there would be shows every two hours in the dispensary. So, that’s something I really dream of having one day. I also would love to continue doing more of my medicated dance classes. I find that a great way to…
Jeff Boedges: We call it Take A Drag. I’m just throwing out my idea.
Laganja Estranja: Oh, I love it. Take A Drag. That’s good. You guys have given me two tips today.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. These are free.
Rick Kiley: Wait, what? Please talk a little bit more about medicated dance classes. Like, I totally understand your first idea. Very clear. Makes perfect sense. It’s a gem but I don’t know what’s a medicated dance class.
Laganja Estranja: Okay. So, I have an international class known as Laganja’s Dance School. That is a confidence-building workshop and a heels technique class. So, basically what that means is, most of my supporters, which I call my buds, they come to class. They’ve never danced in their life. They’re really just wanting to meet me but they know if they want to meet me, they got to come take this class. And for the first like 30 minutes, I kick their butts in a warmup that’s like really hard and they’re like, “Oh my God, why did I come to this class?” and then we go and medicate and take a break after this crazy warm-up. And it’s just there’s something about integrating bodywork with cannabis that I find to be extremely healing, A, and, B, allows people to open up because you’re already working your body in a space and that’s just like yoga. You’re having to get comfortable with the idea of other bodies in space with you and it builds this sort of synergy if you will. Well, you take that synergy you’ve built in the warmup, you go upstairs or wherever it is, you get medicated, and then you come back down, you put your high heels on. And I teach a little combination that I’ve tried to make less hard over the years because I’ve learned I was a little ambitious and especially when people are stoned, it’s like, “Wait, what? You want me to do what now?”
But you have to understand for me when I get stoned, it’s like I’m hyper-focused. So, doing dance for me that’s the best way. I mean, that’s how I’ve always been creative. So, it’s just a learned methodology though, because I’m sure when I first started getting medicated and trying to dance, I was like, “Whoa, what’s going on?” But I have only done this twice so far, the medicated dance class, and they were extremely successful. My dance class as it is, is very successful but I really found adding the element of cannabis. Took it to the next level because I’ve already created a safe space with Laganja. So, to be able to introduce cannabis into that has been really interesting to see because there were people who came to the class and they chose not to smoke but they did want to somehow still be a part of that and maybe see the cannabis or be around it. And I think that’s a great way of getting people more comfortable with it.
Rick Kiley: Really?
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. It’s like going to a Dead Show. You don’t actually have to bring them. You just got to be near it.
Rick Kiley: It’s the contact high. Is that what you’re suggesting?
Jeff Boedges: Yeah, the contact thing.
Rick Kiley: So, when you’re doing this, like what percentage of people were not consuming?
Laganja Estranja: 10%.
Rick Kiley: 10%? Okay.
Laganja Estranja: Yeah. Most people know of Laganja’s Dance School so when I announced that I was finally doing a medicated version, it was like, “Game on. We’re ready.” So, most people were down to smoke but, yeah, I always encourage people to do what makes them feel comfortable. I truly believe with all my heart cannabis is a medicine and while I think it is for 90% of us, there is the 10% of people that it doesn’t work for. It’s just they’re not able to cope with it, they get too anxious, and so I never want to push cannabis on people. I never want to make people feel like they have to smoke around me to be cool. I think that’s another common thing I’ve seen a lot. It’s like people want to smoke a lot in front of me to look like they’re cool. And then they get too high. I hate that. I’m not about that life. I don’t promote over-usage. I don’t take gram dabs on the daily like I think, like I said, it’s a medicine and should be treated as such.
Rick Kiley: Oh, it’s a hard thing I think because when we’re sort of introduced to drinking and cannabis as a young person, a lot of times it’s about fitting in. It may not feel natural. And what I love about hearing you talk in your perspective is that it’s a part of who you are authentically. And we all strive in life I think to find who we are and be that person to the best possible way and the fact that you found that, you are fully yourself. I think that that’s great and I think it’s great that you would empower people to feel the same way. So, trying to get people, I’m in my 40s now and like the notion of someone trying to peer pressure me to do anything is pretty hysterical at this point. But when I was in my teens like it was all over the place and I’m sure you run into that a lot no matter where you are. I think I took us off the rails there. It wasn’t a question. It was just a…
Jeff Boedges: It’s an amusing anecdote, Rick.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, man. Thanks. Thanks, buddy. I got to get us back on track.
Jeff Boedges: I’m like Ed McMahon. I’m just here to crack up. And people don’t even know who that is anymore.
Rick Kiley: No, no, look, that Take A Drag, come on.
Laganja Estranja: Genius.
Rick Kiley: That’s why we’re here just for that.
Laganja Estranja: Yes.
Rick Kiley: So, because you mentioned these companies, I want to talk about a couple more things here that I want to make sure we get to. You’ve mentioned these companies and I wanted to talk about the fact that you were working on developing cannabis products and you mentioned something with the Fruit Slabs if I recall. Can you talk about some of these products and like your role in bringing them to life? I don’t know if you’re actually like getting in with the recipe, if you’re just like passing on an idea of what works for you. Can you talk to us about that process a little?
Laganja Estranja: Sure. So, I have had two products of my own, if you will. Fruit Slabs isn’t my own because it’s a collaboration, but the first product that was really, well, they were both collaborations now I’m thinking of it. So, still haven’t had my own yet but the collaborative projects that I have had, the first one was with Hepburns out of San Francisco, and we created a tin of joints that had five little joints in it, and they were made with ice water hash. So, it was just the best product and basically, I helped pick out the flower. I helped…
Rick Kiley: Wait a minute, you just assumed like ice water hash so it’s obviously the best product.
Laganja Estranja: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: So, I’ve never had ice water hash.
Laganja Estranja: You’ve never had ice water hash? Oh my god, I feel sorry for you, guys. You better go get some.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I feel sorry.
Jeff Boedges: When COVID’s over we’ll be out first thing to try.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Can you explain to the noobs ice water hash?
Laganja Estranja: Oh gosh, you want me to explain how they make it?
Rick Kiley: No.
Jeff Boedges: Just what is it.
Laganja Estranja: Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a hash made from ice and water. Yeah. So, I was about to like Google it. I’m like, “God, how did she make it?” but it’s basically like, yeah, I think they take the hash and the ice in the water and they shake it up until it gets to the thing and it’s a more natural way of creating wax, if you will. So, and then, yeah, it was like a Tangie flower because Tangie is my favorite strain and we helped design the packaging that went on top. We changed the name from Hepburns to LaHepburns to include Laganja brand. So, I mean, I was involved in every single step of the way except for the actual making of the product. I left that up to the expert alley. But that was an amazing, amazing project. I got to go to a dispensary in full drag and do a meet and greet when I launched the product. So, it was something that I saw from beginning to end. Unfortunately, when we went recreational, Hepburns did not survive as a small independent company. So, that product is no longer with us. And then my collab with Fruit Slabs, again, she makes all the product. She has the recipes but I’ve told her what I want, “Okay, this is the flavor profile. I know it has to be a mango base but I want to include passion fruit and I want it to be very citrusy with a lot of lemon and lime.”
So, she sent it to me and I’d say, “Okay, this is good but now the passion fruit is overpowering the lime so I think you need to take that down and up the lime and can we try chia seeds on top.” So, then she does that and then she’d send that to me and I’d be like, “Okay. I actually don’t like the seeds anymore. That texture is not good. But now we’ve got the right mix of flavor.” So, again, I was very integral in that. I helped redesign the packaging. I want to be as much included in my collaborations whether it’s cannabis, whether it’s dance, whether it’s drag. I very much like to be a part of the process as much as possible.
Rick Kiley: That’s great.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I would think, again, I think there’s a whole market out there looking for this type of thing. I can’t believe that more brands are engaging you to develop this.
Rick Kiley: And it’s crazy because like I have had several brands where it’s like, okay, I was working with one brand but we’re going to develop a rolling paper. I have this genius idea that I’m not going to share with anyone since it’s not real yet. But a genius idea. I mean, we did everything. We source the material, we found the artist, I got it drawn, and then, boom, it just fell through. Then I started working with another queer cannabis company. Okay, queers, same thing happened. I go and meet them. I go to the grow house. We talk about the flavor profiles, the terps I want, how the packaging is going to look, and then nothing happens. So, I don’t know what it is. I think like I said, there is a lack of follow-through and real community building. There is a moment of, “Ah, we need to help the gay,” or, “Oh, we’re gays so let’s bring in this other guy,” but then eventually it’s like business happens and things happen. And so, I just keep getting pushed back and pushed back. And so, that’s why it’s like that’s okay. When it happens, it will happen and I truly believe it’s going to be bigger and better because all these years I’ve been learning. And so basically, all I need is that right person, and when I finally meet them, I’m ready to go. I have my design. I have the name. I have it all. So, it’s just a matter of time and persistence.
Jeff Boedges: I wonder how difficult it would be because it’s like it’s not uncommon for wine and spirit brands, for instance, to basically create a collaboration at the request of a celebrity especially now. So, celebrities are not dumb, right? They look at, okay, Sean Combs got a chunk of Ciroc and he did quite well.
Laganja Estranja: I mean, I’m currently obsessed with Post Malone’s Maison No. 9 wine. So, hey, I get it.
Jeff Boedges: Yep. So, you get it but a lot of these spirits companies now are doing it almost on like assignment like, oh yeah, sure we’ll develop a brand for you. And I would wonder if like it’s how difficult that would be to apply that model in cannabis where you could go to a cannabis company and say, “I want to do this,” and I’ll put skin in the game and make it happen.
Laganja Estranja: Well, as someone who’s been trying for the last six years, it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult.
Rick Kiley: It’s interesting. I don’t know if it makes you feel any better but I feel like there’s a lack of I think lifestyle brands in the cannabis world to begin with right now. I think, Jeff, we have this conversation a lot where it’s like I feel like the category can’t decide whether or not it’s medicine or adult-use because right now it feels like adult use. It still looks like a Grateful Dead type brand for the most part. There are exceptions. So, I’m sure you can name many exceptions but then there’s the medical stuff kind of looks like stuff you’d find in a pharmacy. It’s like very, very sterile. So, I just wonder if, like, maybe just the category is having problems. I know, there are some collaborations, like I know Snoop Dogg’s out there. Got his name involved.
Laganja Estranja: Leafs by Snoop. I love Leafs By Snoop. Incredible.
Rick Kiley: But it doesn’t seem like it’s happening that much yet and maybe it’s just, again, the sort of federal illegality. There’s still a little concern about it that Ryan Reynolds isn’t going to put his name on the cannabis. He’s going to put his name on gin and then sell it to Diageo for $614 million. So, we all want to do that. I think that space will come, I think, if you continue to be persistent but as someone who’s an entrepreneur at heart, I recommend just trying to put the plan into action. I think the dispensary idea that you have is a great one and would be a wonderful proving ground and would help lay the groundwork to make those relationships and develop those other products that you want like it sounds…
Laganja Estranja: Do you have a million dollars that I can borrow?
Rick Kiley: No, not now. A million?
Jeff Boedges: A million?
Laganja Estranja: I think I probably need more than a million to open a dispensary nowadays.
Rick Kiley: But like I think I’m willing to bet that there are people out there like you’ve developed a great name for yourself. You have a lot of influence. You’re obviously very talented and very knowledgeable. So, I don’t know that it’s a slam dunk but it seems like you’re a pitching wedge away. I’m using sports allegories for some reason, pitching wedge away from I’m sure making it happen and I would keep at it.
Laganja Estranja: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
Rick Kiley: But you can’t talk about these new products yet. So, in my question, are you looking to continue to work with brands to develop new products? And then you said, “I got it but it’s secret.” So, you don’t have to…
Laganja Estranja: Well, right, just because I don’t want to give the idea out but definitely rolling papers is one of the things that I have worked very hard on. I have a great, great thing for the rolling papers. I definitely would love to have my own line of dab tools. I just love dabbing. It’s my favorite way to intake my medicines. So, I think that that would be very, like a good crossover there. And as far as the products go, I want them all but I love pre-rolls. I’m lazy. I don’t have time to roll it up. That’s why the first product I ever released was a pre-roll because that’s what I smoke the most when I’m not dabbing.
Rick Kiley: I feel like in the COVID era we need to have like, we had someone on who used a great… I forget what the name of it was. Dog Walker? Is that the name of it? So, it was a small pre-roll that was just for one person.
Jeff Boedges: Right. Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: Everyone’s doing that now. They’re calling them selfies.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: I’ve heard of that. Yeah. Those are cool, I guess.
Rick Kiley: Well, I think people aren’t sharing in COVID time so the pre-rolls are actually weight like they’re down but because people don’t want to pass a joint back and forth.
Jeff Boedges: Pass it back and forth.
Laganja Estranja: So, that’s why they need one of these, little Moose Labs. It goes right onto your joint and so, then you’re protected. And everyone just has their own Moose Labs. That’s what we do here. I’m not going to smoke a joint by myself. Are you kidding me? No way. I roll like baseball bats. I got to share that shit.
Jeff Boedges: Because the hole in that thing was pretty big. I was like, “Wow.”
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: Yeah. I roll fatties.
Jeff Boedges: It’s good to be the queen once in a while.
Laganja Estranja: That’s right.
Rick Kiley: Jeff, you’re just coming up with gems all over the place.
Laganja Estranja: I’m the sidekick, dude. I’m just here for fun.
Rick Kiley: Well, so I want to come back just to your artistic work that you’re doing right now. I only saw a couple of snippets of the Misters and Marys thing but I think it’s very funny and I already watched a couple of episodes of The Muse Me series that you have on YouTube. What’s the idea behind the Muse Me? It seems really, really interesting.
Laganja Estranja: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you supporting that and asking me this question. No one does so I always have to bring it in which I would have done anyway but…
Rick Kiley: No. I want to hear about it.
Laganja Estranja: Basically, Muse Me is one of the artistic series I told you that I’ve created during quarantine. That’s a regular content. Every Monday at 4:20 it drops on my YouTube channel and it is a deep look into the collaboration between my best friend and I, Robert Hayman. He is an incredible makeup artist, stylist, photographer, editor. He also is an actor, a director. So, kind of like my bio in the beginning. He’s like, “You better list what you are.” I’m like, “Right. I should.” We are all these things and we have worked hard for that. So, basically, the series follows us and in every episode it’s a new photoshoot, where he’s going to do my makeup, my hair, the whole nine yards from the beginning to the end. So, he sits me down, he tells me his idea, he shows me his reference photos, you know, what’s inspiring him, then you see him do the makeup, then you see him style me, then you see him do the photos. And then, of course, each episode ends with the photography.
So, I think it’s a really unique series because it obviously features me, a nonbinary individual in 2020, which I think is definitely a hot topic right now, this idea of being not genderless but in between, and I think a lot of the photography and artwork that we are doing definitely relates to that. We had one episode, in particular, that was inspired by a friend of mine, Flavia, who has a song called “Them”. It’s all about being nonbinary. And so, we did a live art piece for her and then turn that into an episode and that’s when we realized like, okay, yeah, this is a neat series here. So, we’re actually about to close it out. We’re coming up to the season finale. We have two more episodes. And we’re not quite for sure if we’re going to bring you a season two yet or if we’re going to really try to keep pitching this to networks because, yeah, we would love for this to be a fully produced series. Everything we do is on our own budget. So, while that has been interesting, seeing how we turn trash bags into couture gowns, we would like some couture gowns.
So, we’re really trying to pitch that and push that but it’s been amazing for me. Like I said, as someone who was so focused on making money into the gay clubs and performing my athletic dance moves night after night, it has been such a breath of fresh air to be with my best friend to create this art, to really touch on these topics, like being nonbinary, like BLM, and really be an artist because that’s what we are. So, thank you for checking that out. That really means a lot to me.
Rick Kiley: I just want to get like the part – I’m a process guy. So, when I went to school, I studied theater. I also studied some academic stuff as well but like I’ve enjoyed creating stuff and Jeff and I, we haven’t…
Jeff Boedges: He went to art college.
Rick Kiley: Well, we didn’t have a football team but people like to smoke weed there. The part I like the best is really the beginning because you sit there. You listen like you’re nodding to me now like you listen so intently to like Robert’s ideas and you’re just like, “I can see the trust,” and I feel like he could be saying anything and I can’t quite tell if you’re like into it or not. He’d be like, “I’m going to dip your arm in honey, and we’re going to get the bees. And then what I’m going to do is we’re going to get a bear and some bees and they’re going to fight over your arm.” And you would just be like, “Cool. Let’s talk about the makeup.” And you’re just like right into it. Like you’re just listening and I feel like it really just showcases your attitude that you’re game for anything. And I think that seems to be something I see that has served you well, that attitude of willing to take the risk and I’m wondering I think that just to bring it back like, is that a behavior of yours? Is that something that you learned over time? Or was that always present like that? Like, as someone who started as a dancer and performer, I know taking the stage always comes with overcoming a little bit of stage fright or whatever.
Jeff Boedges: When did you become brave? I think is the question.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Well, brave but also just like willing to take just big risks. So, like, it just seemed so natural and effortless for you.
Laganja Estranja: Well, it’s not so thank you for thinking that but it definitely takes a lot of work to be this brave. I do believe I was born with an innate ability to believe in myself. I think belief in oneself is how confidence, bravery, any of those are created. So, there is something special that I have. That’s a gift from God or whatever but I also think a lot of it is the way I was raised. My parents raised me to believe in anything, anything I wanted. I was totally raised with that American dream of if you want it, don’t dream it, be it. And so, I’ve always had this kind of like gung ho let’s go for it attitude. And you’re right, even as you were describing this photoshoot, I’m like, I probably would do that. But I don’t know if you know this but…
Rick Kiley: Not even like, “Let’s see the bear.”
Laganja Estranja: No. I don’t know if you know this but I actually swam with sharks in full drag without a cage in that same exact day.
Jeff Boedges: Who hasn’t? I mean, really. Come one.
Laganja Estranja: And then that same exact day in drag, I went and jumped out of an airplane. So, yeah, I’m very adventurous. I’m very open to life. I believe fear is only as large as you make it and while I do get nervous or anxious about maybe the giant bear coming in, I somehow believe in my mind like, “Whatever art we’re creating is more important and this bear isn’t going to eat me and like let’s just get the shot, Robert. Get it.” Like I’m just very, I don’t know, I just believe.
Rick Kiley: It says a lot about I think your trust in him though, and that like, honestly, I didn’t know you were best friends. Right? I just learned that right now but like watching that I can tell like this is someone who’s got some trust going on here. Because that part’s really nice to see. The photography is beautiful. You look great but like, just for me, like that’s just the sort of most interesting part that I like to see happen.
Laganja Estranja: Well, thank you. That means a lot and he will be thrilled as well. So, we appreciate your support.
Rick Kiley: That’s great.
Jeff Boedges: Real quick, I just want to give you the proper shout outs here. So, anyone who wants to basically donate or have the couture showed off on the show, you should make that happen because we’re going to show it in the best possible way.
Laganja Estranja: Absolutely. Thank you for that.
Rick Kiley: And just like the Misters and Marys thing, I don’t know if you want to talk about that for a second. The only clip I really saw was something on your Instagram so I didn’t see a lot of it but your friend asking you questions about the LGBTQ+ community, and you answer him in a way that just felt like he could ask you anything, you would answer anything, and it’s all okay. Like I feel like that dialogue super like important because especially as it applies to Black Lives Matter and all these, we’re having this like emergence of conscientiousness, I think, if you will, and it’s great that the people like yourself are involved in those discussions. Is that the point? Like, is that the point of the show? I don’t know a lot about it so forgive me.
Laganja Estranja: No worries. So, yes, that is the point of Misters and Marys so the idea is that it’s all about bringing the gay and straight community together with cannabis. So, my dear friend Adam Ill who is a huge cannabis influencer, talking about having his own lifestyle brand. He’s actually working on another one. So, he is well adept in the industry as I am in the queer industry. So, together we come on Twitch, Top Tree Twitch every Monday night at 6 pm. And we do a two-hour live stream show where we shoot the shit, smoke the weed. We have several segments. One is called Bro Fabulary, which is where he gives a word from his community, I give a word from my community, and then we have to use those words in each other’s ways. So, like I give him a queer word, explain it, and then he has to use it how straight people would use that. And then I have to do the same thing. So, that’s a fun segment. Then, of course, we have our TikTok and Tope, which is always the closing segment of our show, which is where I teach Adam to do a TikTok dance.
And it’s been hysterical because Adam, he’s a straight cannabis smoker. He’s not a dancer at all but he is so open-minded and so willing to trust me when it comes to choreography and dancing. But I will admit, last week, it’s our fourth episode only, he actually choreographed the dance. So, I think he’s doing extremely well when it comes to that and it’s just amazing. Yeah. We talk about all kinds of things just really trying to open up the conversation and pronouns and what’s proper and can you ask people this. And it is, it’s very real because it’s another dear friend of mine. If you can’t tell, I only make content with people I want to be around that much.
Rick Kiley: Well, that’s the dream.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. We get that.
Laganja Estranja: Yeah. Exactly. So, I think it’s a really cool show. I mean, it’s definitely on its way. It’s new. It’s definitely new. And I’ve never done Twitch before. So, that’s been a whole new ballgame for me. But I really feel like the show is very important, like you said, to have these conversations and I just love how Adam has my back and even when people go on his Instagram after posting the TikTok dance and say stuff like, “Yo, bro, like, are you really doing this?” or make the light comments, Adam is always just like, “Absolutely, it’s just a dance. Absolutely, that’s my friend.” And to see him have my back like that as a straight person, it just gives me so much hope. And I just know that there’s more men like him who are comfortable in their sexuality, who give have two fucks about if I’m sitting in a dress, if I want to be called she. It doesn’t affect them and I just think if we could have more people like him showing people in the community, we’re going to change a lot of minds.
Rick Kiley: I think it’s great.
Jeff Boedges: I love that. How did you guys come up with the idea for the show? I mean, were you guys sitting down going, “You know what we need is this?”
Laganja Estranja: Well, we did one as a test for Top Tree. They had us on to do a show just a live stream and Adam was like, “Do you want to like be my guest?” and we’ll just like shoot the shit and see how it goes. And in the first episode like I cried. I mean he asked me about my first cannabis event and I went into it in much more detail than I did with you guys and I got very emotional and it was just like a really beautiful live stream. And I think we both just realized in that moment like, “Wow. This isn’t just like a silly little show. This is something and we should title it and we should make it something and we should really commit to this because these are important conversations.” As silly as it started, it was just like I said, we didn’t even have a title. We were just going to hang out on Twitch and get high. But being that he’s my friend and that we’re so close, it allowed me to be open and honest about my experiences as a gay person in the industry, and then his experiences and how he’s helped me as a straight person because Adam really was the first guy to like throw his arm around me and take me into the cannabis world.
And like when people would look at me, and then they would see him with his arm around me, they change their perspective. So, I’m just very thankful for that. And I’m glad now we’re turning it into a show because it’s been real for so long. He’s been doing this for so many years but now we’re giving it a voice and a platform.
Jeff Boedges: Cool. I love it.
Rick Kiley: That’s awesome. Well, best of luck continuing. I think if it’s something you enjoy doing, which obviously you do, I think you should keep doing it. I think it’s really important conversations that you’re having. I think it’s really great.
Laganja Estranja: Thanks.
Rick Kiley: So, Jeff, you got anything else because we’re kind of coming towards our crystal ball here.
Jeff Boedges: I’ve been asking them as they pop into my head. I mean, it’s been great. I mean, I’ve learned so much and, well, I mean, it’s been fun and funny.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Laganja Estranja: I love it.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, I love fun and funny. So, we call this podcast The Green Repeal because we’re trying to sort of chart the course towards Federal legalization for cannabis. And we kind of finish up by asking everyone the same question is whether you feel that cannabis will definitely, maybe not, will not be federally legal at any point soon. And if you do, like we do, when you think that might happen, and what you think needs to happen in order for it to happen? So, just curious if you want to, and we are going to do this. Like he says every time, we’re going to put like a baby pool up and we’re going to start putting a day and put some wagers together. I think we’re going to do like a…
Jeff Boedges: We’re going to go collect $5 from everybody’s on the show. I think the pool is going to be up to about $100 now.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, maybe we could get like DraftKings to sponsor it or something like that.
Jeff Boedges: Right. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: Okay. So, just curious how you would, you know, what you think that trajectory is and just your thoughts on it?
Laganja Estranja: Sure. Well, I am extremely hopeful for the future, as I said before, so I do believe we will reach that federal recognition status but for how long I think it’s going to take? Well, I think that really depends on the selection how things go down. I also think it depends on people’s willingness to be a collective, to be a community. Like I said, if we do not demand that it be federally recognized, it’s never going to happen. These big businesses are going to come in, they’re going to use their money, and they’re going to turn it recreational and people are going to start abusing it. And the next thing you know, it’s going to be just like alcohol. And that’s why I’ve been so against making it recreational. I think that it should be federally recognized as medicine before anyone can recreationalize. And it is my fear that if the election doesn’t go as I would like that we won’t be seeing that day for four or five years. So, I guess that’s my trajectory. It just depends. I mean, Biden has said that he’s going to decriminalize, which I think is like a start. I mean, it’s not much but it’s a start. So, maybe if he’s president, we could see it but I do think it’s going to take another four or five years.
Jeff Boedges: I’d like to see some social justice come out of that at least.
Laganja Estranja: I would like to see that first. Yeah.
Jeff Boedges: Exactly. I’m 100% on that.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I think, well, there are some bills making their way through it about expungement like currently. So, if Biden’s President, I think he will go down that road but historically, the Obama administration was not pro-legalization and I don’t know that Biden will do it but I think if enough states get on board, it will but right now we have medical programs.
Jeff Boedges: I kind of feel like Kamala might be championing it, I feel like.
Rick Kiley: I mean, she was a former DA but she was a California person.
Jeff Boedges: But she’s a California person.
Rick Kiley: Maybe, but I think if New York and New Jersey go legal and you got a lot more energy in the States, I think, trying to make that happen.
Laganja Estranja: That’s what I mean. We need to come together and make this happen as a collective and not so focused on our own state now, “Will we have it?” It’s like no, we need to help other states now.
Jeff Boedges: Yeah. I think there’s a lot of issues that suffer with that right now.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. So, cool. Well, Jay, Laganja, we are at the end of our time. You have been a super fun guest.
Laganja Estranja: Well, thank you so much.
Rick Kiley: We were thrilled to having you on the show. Hopefully, you can come back sometime when you launch your new brand. You launch your dispensary. And we’ll have you back and talk about it another time.
Laganja Estranja: I love it.
Jeff Boedges: Before we sign off too though, let everybody know real quick where they can find your content.
Laganja Estranja: Sure. So, you can find my weekly shows Monday and Thursday on YouTube at 4:20. You can find me on Twitch every Monday night at 6 pm and then I am Laganja Estranja on all of my social media except for TikTok, which is The Only Laganja Estranja.
Jeff Boedges: Awesome. Wow. You have more than one. That’s funny.
Laganja Estranja: Yeah. They tried it with the doll but I was late to that platform because I was like, “Oh, that’ll never be a thing.” Not to quarantine. That’s how I’m surviving and pay rent.
Jeff Boedges: I predicted the end of texting. Yeah. It didn’t work out.
Rick Kiley: Well, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
Laganja Estranja: Thank you, guys. I hope you have a great day.
Rick Kiley: You too.
Jeff Boedges: Thank you so much, man.