“ After George Floyd was murdered, the need for a safe space really became evident to us, because we started feeling that other Black women didn’t have a place they could be, to speak, to understand. To rage about their fear for their sons and not have to worry about an employer or co worker misconstruing their raw emotion, It began as a place to vent about what is going on around us, during covid, we were sharing knowledge, resources, coping strategies….” – Natalie Cox, co-founder, Afro Cannada Budsistas
Recently, Tracy Lamourie sat down with Natalie Cox and Khadisha Thornhill, power woman founders of an important organization founded in the Toronto area, Afro Cannada Budsistas.
“It started with us then three or four, then six of us, then 9 of us… we now have members in the East Coast, in Vancouver, across the country It’s a Canadian initiative from a strong Canadian perspective though we do have American members,” Thornhill explains.
Tracy : Can you each tell me what brought you both together to create this important space for women of color in the Canadian cannabis space?
Khadisha – My garage brought us together!
Natalie – what brought us together? Weed!
Khadisha – It was quite a coincidence we ran in one another after meeting a decade ago. We were in a black cannabis investors group and recognized each other, and moments later Natalie slid in my DM, “oh, you bun weed, too?”
Natalie – That led to us going to Vapor Central in Toronto ,to a craft cannabis fair, together.
Khadisha – I had never been, and when Natalie brought her dab rig out, I was like “wow what is that!?” I had never been near concentrates.. Nat popped my bong cherry that night too!
Natalie – My son and I were tutoring Khadisha on the bong on face time!
Khadisha – We were in the garage one day and Natalie said, there has to be more of us out there! And I said, there are absolutely, they just don’t know we are here! And Nat said, there needs to be a group out there for us. Then we said, “We are going to have to make it, aren’t we???” We knew there would be a big commitment, that a lot of work would go into it. And then Covid happened, and we became each others lifeline, literally in the group – and cannabis was the sole common denominator other than being Black Women. Interestingly since, women have joined looking for the fellowship who say, “I haven’t tried it yet!” Women were seeking the camaraderie.
Natalie : After George Floyd was murdered, the need for a safe space really became evident to us, because we started feeling that other Black women didn’t have a place they could be, to speak, to understand. To rage about their fear for their sons and not have to worry about an employer or co worker misconstruing their raw emotion, It began as a place to vent about what is going on around us, during covid, we were sharing knowledge, resources, coping strategies….” –
Khadisha : But the interconnectedness started with random sessions and internal chats within the group. Also – When you think of the propaganda done to vilify a plant, you will find some Caribbean people who will go out of their way to talk about how they have nothing to do with the plant, not because of their own experiences against it but the stigma and the stereotypes against it. We wanted to change that.
AFRO CANNADA BUDSISTAS is a safe space for African Canadian / African African American women on line.
MORE ABOUT THE FOUNDERS :
Khadisha Thornhill describes herself first as a strong “Black Canadian woman and single mom to a 14yr old Black future NHLer” , She has an impressive corporate background – a twenty year history in the insurance industry with a strong teaching component She’s a TV star, too! Khadisha appeared on Life/Slice Channel’s The Mom Show 4 times over two seasons and was a guest (she won!) on Brain Battle – something she says she did while she was bored on mat leave! Khadisha says, ” I developed an appreciation for cannabis approximately 4 years ago when I was dealing with some chronic shoulder pain issues…I have recently been prescribed medical cannabis and it’s made me more adamant to advocate for better insurance health benefits coverage for medical cannabis to ensure end-user patient access…I love everything about my community AND Black women. Every day I remain committed to standing up and speaking out to the ravages of systemic racism and white patriarchal societal systems. I need the world to be a better place not only for my son, but for me, for all of us, for NOW.”
Natalie Cox has been described as a powerwoman of Canadian cannabis. She first came to the plant for personal reasons – she realized she had been coping badly with untreated anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia. Cannabis, she says, helped – it gave her a better quality of life. With the federal legalization of cannabis in Canada, she felt empowered to start growing her own. She was good at it – and so, after a lifetime serving customers in retail, she determined to go back to college to study Horticulture. She also became an influential member of the Canadian cannabis community – and she realized her voice was needed – there was other advocacy work left to do. Noticing a jarring lack of representation by visible minorities, Cox went online in search of groups where she could find other Black women interested in cannabis, being vocal in the space. Over conversation with Khadisha Thornhil, the two lamented over the lack of spaces for Black women and committed to filling the gap and creating the space they craved, birthing Afro Cannada Budsistas. Together, their mission is to normalize cannabis use among Black Women by information, education, and exposure.
Join the collective at : Afro Cannada Budsistas
Professionally, Tracy Lamourie is the award winning CEO and Creative Director of Lamourie Media. Personally she is a long time activist and member of Canada's cannabis community. In her writing work she often combines her interest in cannabis and her interest in media, working to ensure a positive representation of cannabis consumers and cannabis business across North America and beyond.