Broccoli is simply “a magazine for cannabis lovers”. Created by women who love weed, Broccoli presents a new perspective on cannabis culture. Playful, informed, eclectic, and thoughtful, it encourages the discovery and intelligent appreciation of cannabis through explorations of art, culture, and fashion. We sit back, have a toke and chill with founder and editor-in-chief Anja Carbonneau.
What is the genesis of Broccoli? Was it always intended to be a magazine for cannabis lovers by women?
We wanted to create the magazine to represent all the creative and interesting women in the world who use cannabis, and also those who are just curious about the plant. We use the magazine as a platform for thoughtful engagement and creative storytelling, covering all kinds of arts and culture subjects that contribute to a holistic picture of the cannabis world.
There is a significant amount of advertising and, I assume, paid for endorsements in each issue – is your publication model working?
We’re two years in, and the business is sustaining nicely. Roughly, two-thirds of our revenue is from brand partnerships which take the form of traditional ads, product placement and event sponsorship, and the other third comes from magazine sales. Broccoli is in a unique position because there are not many avenues for cannabis or cannabis-adjacent brands to advertise. Cannabis advertising is severely restricted online, so it gives print a chance.
We have an incredibly passionate, dedicated readership and we actually get a lot of positive feedback on the ads in the magazine. The legal weed industry is still so new, so people are excited and impressed by thoughtful and well-designed brand campaigns. We’re working on a new podcast that will be a digital channel for advertising as well, called Broccoli Talk.
What is your editorial policy for commissioning features?
We publish three times a year, and start each cycle with an editorial meeting with myself and our two editors, Stephanie Madewell and Ellen Freeman. We build out most of the issue using our favorite internal ideas, and then send a pitch call to writers via our editorial newsletter. Anyone can sign up to receive this newsletter through our website, and we’ve found it’s a nice and direct way to reach interested writers all at once. We usually start with the text commissions and then I set to work pairing the stories with visual artists.
We have a few recurring features and formats, and always aim to have stories that cover music, history, science, art, and interviews or profiles. Not all of our content is directly about cannabis, so we have a lot of room to play. Now that we’re working on our eighth issue, the editorial process is feeling very comfortable and seamless. For spring, we’re transforming our back of book section with a fire theme, and are interviewing some fascinating women in their ’80’s about their experiences with growing weed.
Can you describe your earliest encounters with weed and your most magical moment getting high?
My first experiences were smoking with my housemates after moving away from home when I was around twenty years old. I wasn’t a teen smoker, for whatever reason my friends and I never got into it. My relationship to weed has evolved a lot over the years, having access to regulated products makes it a lot easier to dial in an experience.
Some of my favorite moments are being a little stoned in nature, or on a long walk wearing my headphones. Slowly swimming around in a lake, watching a bee in a flower, that’s the best.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in ten US states and medicinal marijuana in 33. What are the next battles you envisage towards further acceptance?
One of the big challenges is consistency for things like testing, product quality control, etc. In the US, each state has its own rules, and because this is all new every state is learning as they go. Everyone is making mistakes, but it can’t be avoided during this learning process.
Who is winning the ‘War on Drugs’?
As usual, the winners are rich white men. The war on drugs criminalizes black and brown people, reinforcing structural racism through our flawed criminal justice system. Right now, 60-80% of the people incarcerated for drugs are black or brown, and this is not because any race uses cannabis more than another. It’s racism. You’d think that a state with legal cannabis would see a reduction in arrests and abuse towards people of color, but I’ve read that it actually increases.
Meanwhile, white venture capitalists are getting rich by investing in vastly overvalued cannabis companies, and in turn these companies dominate the marketplace and we hear terrible things about the way they operate, everything from sexual harassment to shady financial dealings. And on the other side, entrepreneurs of color can’t get into the industry because the cost of entry is so high. This flawed reality will only shift if people with money and power start investing in reparations. One way that normal people or weed consumers can help is by paying attention to their local politics, and voting for people who genuinely care about these issues.
Can you discuss the CBD market which is booming among hemp-derivatives?
CBD is taking over! As a quick explainer, CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound in the cannabis plant that shows potential for a lot of positive effects on the body, like anti-inflammatory properties. However, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it won’t make you feel high. In 2018 in America, hemp became federally legal, and hemp is defined as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. Currently, CBD is legal but not regulated by our national food and drug administration, so brands are making all kinds of crazy claims that can’t be backed up by medical science. While proposals for regulation are ongoing, it puts a lot of pressure on the consumer to be educated, and to find brands they can trust. Can CBD really help me sleep? Remove muscle pain? Reduce anxiety? Because every human’s body is different, everyone will react differently to CBD, and it can be challenging to get the dosage right. Too much CBD won’t work, and too little won’t work either.
The lucky thing is that quality CBD is safe to consume, you’re not going to get high, so it’s easy to experiment. If it works for you, that’s awesome. If it didn’t work, consider trying a CBD product that also contains a little bit of THC. Don’t be afraid of THC! These things exist together in the plant for a reason. Avoid brands who say, “studies show” and promise a result without giving you the details of the studies they cite, because most of these studies with CBD are very early, inconclusive, and have only been done on rats. Look for brands who use full-spectrum extract instead of an isolate (think: eating a whole orange instead of taking a Vitamin C pill), who are transparent about where they source their CBD (think: a nice local farm VS mystery extract from China), and who prioritize consumer education so that they’re with you for your cannabis journey. You’re going to have questions, and it’s nice to have a place to ask.
What are you favourite strains at the moment?
Unfortunately, strain names are fairly irrelevant (“Blue Dream” weed from two different farms will likely be a totally different plant), so I like to look at the CBD to THC ratios. In a legal market, all products have this information on the packaging. CBD has a mellowing effect on THC, so it means that I can ingest a little more with less risk of getting too stoned.
Lately I have been enjoying edibles from a California brand called Rose Delights, they are like tiny Turkish delight candies. I like to cut them in half for a 2.5 mg dosage, which is a pretty lose dose, but works for me, I use them a lot in the evenings to help me sleep. If I’m buying flower (dried, smokeable weed), I like to follow my nose, because every variety has a unique chemical makeup with naturally-occurring aromas and flavors called terpenes. There are theories that different terpenes can influence the feeling of the high, so if the bud smells weird to you, maybe that’s your body telling you that it’s not the right choice.
Any magazines inspiriting you at the moment? Instagram accounts we should follow? Music to enjoy whilst having a toke?
I just bought a copy of the new issue of Milky, a food magazine made by women. I’m trying to find a copy of the reissue of Nova book, which is all about the British magazine (Nova) from 1965-75, known for being the “thinking woman’s magazine.” We don’t have as strong of a magazine culture in North America, so it can be tricky to find these titles. My favorite weed Instagram accounts @purebeautypurebeauty and @sundaeschool. Music of the moment is Raveena’s album Lucid, we interviewed her for our winter issue and it’s a soft, emotional trip.
Issue No. 6 is now available. Broccoli ships three times a year in April, August and December. Annual subscription is $26.40