All of us here at Skunk Magazine are huge fans of the Grateful Dead and their incredible contribution to music and to humanity. They brought together the worlds of music, fun, consciousness, cannabis, and psychedelics, and their legacy will live on forever. Recently Jerry Garcia’s daughter, Trixie Garcia, launched a cannabis brand in honor of her dad with the values and guiding ethos that he would have approved of. Garcia Hand Picked is devoted to helping to continue to foster the groundwork laid out by her father and the band. As Jerry said,
“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. For me, the lame part of the Sixties was the political part, the social part. The real part was the spiritual part. If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously. Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.”
Jerry was truly a renaissance man, and Trixie and her Mother Carolyn are renaissance women. I was so thankful when I had the opportunity to sit down with Trixie to dive deeper into her work and mission. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Julie Chiariello: Hi Trixie, great to meet you.
Trixie Garcia: Great to meet you too and congratulations on the publication.
Julie Chiariello: Thank you so much for taking the interview. I was just saying that I’m so honored to be able to feature your work. I love uplifting women in business. I have been at the magazine for the last eight years but officially took up as Editor in Chief in the last couple of years. Since that time, I’ve been working really hard to bring us into a new era and really fight for all the things that we believe in. To continue to fight against over-taxation and over-regulation and to continue to do the work necessary to foster organic, regenerative farming practices, with farm to table, know your farmer ethics, to foster more science and scientific understanding, and to fight for true equity, true representation for women and minorities, true equality and ultimately the decriminalization of cannabis and the release of drug war prisoners.
Trixie Garcia: I’m happy to be here.
Julie Chiariello: Okay, great. Awesome, this is just the start. So let’s go ahead and dive in….
You are quoted as saying, “I sincerely believe that the more people that we can expose to Jerry’s playing and the kind of person that he was, the better we can make the world. That’s what motivates me to continue to do licensing. I say that after talking to so many Deadheads, who have testified to me that the Grateful Dead changed their lives.” You launched Garcia Hand Picked last year; how long had you been thinking about beginning a cannabis brand? Can you tell us more about the guiding ethos of the company and what things have really been important to you in its creation and focus?
Trixie Garcia: Yes, so we had been reviewing potential cannabis opportunities for nearly eight years by the time we found our partners at Holistic Industries. I like to say we kissed a lot of frogs in the process. Starting a cannabis brand to honor my dad has not been an easy task. It just seemed like the right thing to do for the Jerry legacy and a new kind of realm of influence that is still intrinsically a part of who he was and his lifestyle. Everyone right now is tuned into the cannabis movement and industry, and I wanted to have a voice there, and that voice is one that is reminiscent of what I think people got out of the Grateful Dead. It’s the feeling of inclusion. It’s the feeling of a higher purpose, of humans coming together and doing good things on the planet. We have a bright future, and we have a lot of responsibility. With the brand, there were so many things that we had to consider. Number one, don’t disrespect the fans and what my dad means to them. So that right there sets the bar high for the quality and integrity that we embody. We wouldn’t want to just put out any weed with my dad’s name on it and try to sell it because we have the most loyal fans on the planet; it has to be more nuanced and special than that. It really is trying to just address the niche in the marketplace where the culture of cannabis was pretty oblivious for a while within the green rush, and I think we have done a good job of brightening up the space and remembering the roots.
Julie Chiariello: And it’s incredible that you have thoughtfully created a business that honors your father, protects his legacy, and helps to create right livelihood for yourself and your family, as a woman in business and also as a daughter wanting to ensure that her father would be proud. What has been one of the most challenging things about this journey to birth Garcia Hand Picked and what has been one of the most deeply inspiring things?
Trixie Garcia: The most challenging thing can be the “Why?” you know, “Why am I exploiting my father?”, and it is true he always hated having his face on stuff, but it truly is for a greater purpose and to make a positive impact, and I know he would approve for that reason. I can feel him with me, feel his guiding eye, and it has been very cathartic. I have gotten to know him in new ways and definitely have come to him for guidance when it all feels pretty overwhelming. He was always such a joyful and optimistic guy, and he would ask, “Are you having fun? Because if you aren’t having fun, then you are not doing it right.” It really is supposed to be a wonderful journey for me and for everyone who works with the Garcia Hand Picked brand and then ultimately our cannabis consumers, too, to really enjoy themselves when they imbibe our offerings. We have a reason to celebrate, and the reason to celebrate is life itself. It’s the beautiful plants we work with; it’s our wonderful ecosystem. There is a lot to say about what we can celebrate, but I’ll stop there.
Julie Chiariello: Absolutely, so the second part of that question, Is there any advice you can offer to other businesswomen hoping to make a meaningful contribution?
Trixie Garcia: Yeah. Know that your voice is important, and it’s the lack of women’s voices that has gotten humanity into this situation. We need to stand up and have our voices heard, and in so doing, we can help make the world a better place for all of us. Our traditional skills as women, in creating sacred spaces and being compassionate, many of our qualities, have been historically missing in the modern world and especially the corporate world. Yet more women are being empowered to speak up and share their voices, and together with the quality of the product and the vibes we are creating with these businesses, it’s going to be impactful, and we can change the tide.
Julie Chiariello: Ahhhh, I love you. Hahaha. Okay, Garcia Hand Picked denotes that you are working with farmers to choose the best and most delicious cannabis you could find. Why do you think it is crucial to work with the farmer and to protect the farmer?
Trixie Garcia: I know cannabis from the ground up. So many people that I know have found their livelihood and financial freedom through cannabis. The farmers in California have really paved the way and they have been out there testing and developing methods and practices. All with that great mindful way of life that is classically hippie, you know, they were the naturalists, the conservationists who moved up to the Emerald Triangle. These are the things that I want to help protect as cannabis explodes globally. I want to make sure that these respectful and thoughtful regenerative practices are part of the machine. We need to make sure that all of this knowledge that these people have been developing for 50 years is brought into the industry because it’s valuable and people need to know it, and people will seek it out once they realize the difference with someone who takes the time to do integrative pest management, instead of pesticides, for instance, all the way to some growers who are following the Moon cycles and watering their gardens with moon infused water. It’s beautiful, and California is the kind of place I believe that showcases all the types of growers we have and the nuanced beauty of artisanal small batch, organic craft cannabis. Not to mention sun-grown, I haven’t even mentioned the wonders of organic sun-grown cannabis, so yeah just wanting to showcase how amazing California truly is. In the Cannabis world, it’s the great laboratory where all these things have been worked out. Not to mention that a good portion of the growers that have moved to the hills to earn their livelihood are Dead Heads. These are the people who I meet at the shows. They come up, and they tell me their story about being turned on by the Grateful Dead, and then they reach into their pocket and pull out a big bud, and they are all smiles and want to share their passion with me. So it is such a meaningful thing in our whole community. I really love these people, and thankfully through the brand, I am able to just hang out with some of these cool growers and see their farms. And that is part of our vision is to include as many of these cool-ass growers on the boat with us.
Julie Chiariello: Absolutely, and you made a good point. This is so intrinsically intertwined with the Back to Earth Movement, the Solar movement, and the modern cannabis industry as we know it. It’s all intimately intertwined, and thank you for honoring and protecting that, and I think we all need to.
Trixie Garcia: I mean, it’s heartbreaking to hear about how some grows are just dumping pesticides into the creek.
Julie Chiariello: Oh yeah. It’s such an aberration, the green rush, and that’s why, years ago, I coined the term green renaissance because I was so disheartened. As a certified herbalist, I believe that the Earth is propagating consciousness with her plants, and we are meant to evolve how we are doing business on the planet. It’s not just about money-making. As usual, that is the disease of the green rush. It has done such disservice in our community; cannabis and hemp are here to help heal the planet and the people. I feel like we are really aligned in those values, but not to digress. So I have heard that you are a classical cannabis stoner yourself. Can you tell us a bit more about when you first fell in love with cannabis and what it has meant to you? What are some of your favorite strains?
Trixie Garcia: Oh, totally I’m all about the productive strains because I also feel this is a part of continuing to destigmatize cannabis, for people to know that pot smokers aren’t just sitting on the couch all day, but they are out there getting law degrees and doing stuff. It’s important; those sativas really get the job done. Obviously, I was raised with cannabis being present as an aperitif around mealtimes. It was kind of always around if you know what I mean. Then when high school began, I realized that I didn’t fit in with anybody. I ended up finding myself at the school bleachers with the other kids that felt like they didn’t fit in, and then we were all smoking weed, and that was fun. It was that first feeling of cannabis being a great connector, and cannabis has been present in my life ever since. In college, I certainly tried my hands at drinking, and it just makes me feel terrible, so I don’t drink much. Cannabis is my medicine of choice. I was also invited to judge some cannabis cups, which was super cool. I actually picked the winner the first time they invited me to judge, the Emerald Cup, so they all thought I was gifted. I’m not; it was just luck, but it was super fun. I love cannabis so much. I love all the terpenes and all the different forms and sparkles about it. Yeah, and I grow my own personal stash. I just harvested my six plants, actually, since the rains came recently. I had three OG Cookies strains that I grew from seed and two that were Hazes, like landrace Hazes. They were some giant sativas that were like 12 ft tall.
Julie Chiariello: I love hazes.
Trixie Garcia: Oh my god, they are the best. They’re so different. Yeah. So that’s my preference too, those low-key, rare equatorial type strains, and I use a bong as my preferred method. I tried to do the dab thing, but it’s a bit too much. So I just prefer a nice, clean bong hit, torching it very lightly at the beginning, just burning off the crystals. I’ve learned a lot from friends in New York who have really good bong etiquette. Last year, besides Garcia Hand Picked, I pretty much smoked my own stash all year.
Julie Chiariello: And growing your own is the best, the process of growing your own medicine and healing yourself. Isn’t it?
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, and it’s a great way to really be connected with the planet.
Julie Chiariello: Totally.
Trixie Garcia: I love the whole experience. It’s so wonderful, and people need to get out and vote for that, you know. That’s a wonderful perk of legalization right there, is being able to grow your own plants for your medicine without fear.
Julie Chiariello: Yeah 100% that is the goal. That’s the silver lining to the over-taxation and over-regulation that we’re facing under legalization. I believe that people growing their own food and medicine is the renaissance, and this is what the Back to Earther’s believed. I feel like we are 125 years into the renaissance, and we need to pick up where the hippies left off. And it’s through business, I feel, that’s why I’m covering you because I feel like we have just got to keep showing examples of people who are doing new style business and doing it right.
So Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia, has mentioned that she is very proud of you and the work that you are doing in this space. I thought that was really beautiful when I read about how she is really supporting you in what you are doing. Can you tell me more about your mother and the ways that she had inspired you when you were growing up to one day begin this endeavor? She also has her own product line as well.
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, okay. My mom has been growing in her backyard for years. I think before I was even born, so she was always knowledgeable. She was always knowledgeable about plants, and I have witnessed people bringing her their buds, and she would review them and stuff like that. And I think that another huge reason why we are both so touched by this plant is that my mom’s family is like several generations of botanists, and her grandfather was cataloging plants in the foothills of the Himalayas in the 1920s, so she was raised in a household where both of her parents were natural plantists, everyone knew the Latin names for the plants, it was a very scholarly thing. So she was raised in a kind of environment where plant knowledge and knowledge of the natural world was respected and upheld in the household. This continues on to my generation, where our best moments are enjoying nature together, taking a walk or identifying plants, or spotting a bird or whatever. These are just such grounding moments, and the care, knowing the life of a plant and all of its needs and stuff like that is something I’m privileged to know, but I think more people need to be in touch with that kind of stuff. And my mother’s father was working in a college in Iowa, working with the corn viruses. So he was deep in agriculture, trying to help farmers have better yields. And then personality wise my mom was a powerhouse. She was unapologetically opinionated and outspoken, and I think that being a woman, that is the part that is most treacherous.
To be loud and have an opinion and it’s scary, but it works when you speak up, and if people don’t listen in the beginning, you learn how to speak in ways that get stuff done. So she may not be the most soft-spoken. Actually, neither of us are the most soft-spoken people, but we value the information that we are exchanging. I think that is important to share with the world the information that you have been able to gather, and that’s the spirit of sharing, no man or woman left behind. Let’s just make sure everyone knows as much as they can about this thing, it’s the age of information, and all goes into the brand. We want informed consumers who know it’s better to buy a pesticide-free product. It’s better to buy a fair trade product, and these are the baby steps we can take to change the world.
Julie Chiariello: That’s absolutely right, and 10,000 years of patriarchy is ending as well. It’s so important right now for all of us to find ways to just be ourselves and to express ourselves authentically and honestly. I feel such a kinship with you in this interview, Trixie because I am an herbalist and I take people on herbal walks and show them all the plants. It is so nourishing for everyone. It is the most beautiful thing to be able to wild harvest and wild forage. It’s something, as you said, that is so grounding, deeply grounding, and deeply human. And yet very simple and available to everyone.
Let’s come back into California. Currently, California Cannabis is being impacted negatively under the over-regulation and over-taxation of prop 64. Being a native Californian myself, it has been heartbreaking to go through these extremely challenging elements as we push to evolve and one day come to a place where cannabis is fully decriminalized and regulated properly. Can you share with us more about your thoughts on California craft cannabis and the pathway forward?
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, it’s such a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation for a lot of the growers. The whole out of the shadows into the light moment, I thought it was great, and you know we were encouraging people to get on the list and get permitted. And they’re like, “No no, oh no, we have been traumatized and criminalized for decades, and I’m going to be on a list!” Then later, when they do take the leap of faith, they get on the list, and they get permitted, and then the man comes in and takes half and then changes the rules, which is just devastating to these small growers who were really trying to have faith in the system. That is why we need to continue to push for federal descheduling.
California has been such a great leader in so many different things that it’s really a shame that this taxation came out so high, and the regulations are so oppressive for small, independent operations. I hope that we can lead the way, you know more about it than I do, in improving things. I don’t know if we would be better off if the state changes or if it’s better to push the federal descheduling first, but forcing people to deal in cash only, it’s just cruel and unforgivable. We need to empower the growers and help however we can to make it fair for the little guy.
Julie Chiariello: Truly, yeah. I feel like the future is looking at cooperatives and collectives to basically counteract their injustice because they are really doing things that are criminal. To tax so heavily like this, you have to ask, what the fuck are they doing? What are they going to do? They’re going to tax dead bodies, dead companies. What are they doing? They need to wake up. The only people who are making money are the government right now and the system.
Trixie Garcia: So that’s why people like us, and companies like Holistic Industries, are important because we’re putting the heart and purpose back into it, getting the whole thing grounded and helping to plot the future and helping people to get on board with it. Co-Op’s are also a good way to go, and I know there are a lot of services out there for the growers like the Sonoma County Growers Alliance is the local one around here.
Julie Chiariello: Yes, and the farmers’ markets are coming. I feel like that is another thing that we should encourage. I love what they are doing. They just did the first Laytonville farmer’s market, and I feel like that is the way we want to go to see farmer’s markets across the states.
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, the open-air farmers’ markets are a great deal. All the hippies should be fucking raking in the dough, and instead, they are all stressed out and bankrupt. There’s a lot of work to be done there. I hope that financial freedom is returned to the people who took the risk.
Julie Chiariello: Me too. That’s what I am fighting for as well, and the fight continues. So another aspect that has been encouraging is that over the last five years, the psychedelic revolution has picked up heat, and it seems that everyone and their mother is microdosing these days. The Aquarian age has truly begun, and the Earth is seeding consciousness with her sacred plants. A renaissance is underway, and the Merry Pranksters were a key part of people waking up their consciousness decades ago. Growing up in a community of psychonauts, with Wavy Gravy as your babysitter, how have you felt about this amazing evolution now taking place, and what are you hoping for humanity?
Trixie Garcia: Wow yeah. Psychedelics are so benevolent. It really is an invitation to go and look at yourself more deeply. It’s so interesting to come from the psychedelic world and try to describe what is so special about it. I think the mystery of life and the mystery of why we are here, our purpose. The fact that that is still there as something to inspire and unify us is important. The raising of consciousness with psychedelics has had a great effect on humanity, you know.
I feel like we are seeing now, what they call the dying throes of apathy. There’s a song about it from Camp Winnarainbow. It’s called The World is Coming to a Start. The chorus goes, “Well, it just may be, that what they see are the dying throes of apathy. The world ain’t coming to an end, my friend. The world is just coming to a start. I feel it in my heart.” And they were like indoctrinating, 100 kids a week with this song, and the optimism and the perspective about it is amazing. I see all these conservative people freaking out, but they are freaking out because they’re losing control. You are so right with the Aquarian age thing. I think it’s so wonderful that you are even bringing stuff like that up. It’s amazing. It’s the paradigm shift, and it’s real, and the more people that sense it and grab on to it, the stronger the wave will be. We are watching aspects of the world crumble around us. We have far too much information, and what, at the end of the day, is crucial is our bonds with each other and protecting all our relations here on the planet—protecting biodiversity and our humanity.
One of the best things that happened this week was William Shatner going to space. If you ask me what my future vision of the world is, it would be that Star Trek, where the whale comes out of the water by the Golden Gate bridge and everyone is all peaceful. Having someone like William Shatner go up to outer space and come back and tell us about it, I think that is a great moment, and I hope that he just goes on a huge media blitz about it and how fragile it all is. These are the kinds of moments, like the blue dot moment, the earth flag moment, all these things which really put things in perspective. That’s what people need more of, cherish the Earth.
Julie Chiariello: No, it was beautiful, and that’s what I believe too, that an intrinsic part of the renaissance is the recognition and realization that we are the Earth and the Earth is us. We are the universe, and the universe is us. And there is no more separateness. I think you are exactly right.
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, I mean what a great, healthy perspective than, oh god created me and then; therefore, I get to stomp on everything else.
Julie Chiariello: Exactly so the age of taking, using, and abusing the Earth, which is basically the sacred feminine principle, is basically over. In the renaissance, I believe that the sacred feminine is coming back, rising up to meet the sacred masculine in union once again. And it has nothing to do with gender. It’s a stopping of this desecration of what is sacred and a massive shifting to the honoring of what is sacred now like you said so beautifully that it’s simple. It’s about us getting up in the morning and being very thankful that we are living and that we have the gift of this life. And to honor and foster our sacred connection to the Earth. It’s as simple as that. Isn’t it?
Trixie Garcia: Yeah, yes it is. I love it. To know where we came from and to achieve some balance in our presence here and get stoned, hahaha. I’m so happy that someone like you is in charge of Skunk Magazine. Skunk has been around for a long time and had some more high timesy vibe to it in the past.
Julie Chiariello: Yeah. No totally. The origin of it is definitely like a Maxim hahaha, when it first started, it was all tits and ass and cannabis. When I came in as co-owner eight years ago, the thing that I really appreciated about it, is that it was organic. I was like, man. This needs to be protected. This is the only cannabis magazine in the world that actually fosters organics. And that was my big thing as an herbalist. I was like. We have got to protect this. And little did I know how hard it was going to be. You brought tears to my eyes, Trixie, so thank you. Because it has been a hard fight, but you’re right, it’s a 16-year-old brand, and the reason I fought for it was because I wanted to protect the parts of it that were pure and to see if we could protect those parts, the sacred parts and move them into the new era and let the vehicle be of service to the conversation that needs to happen.
Trixie Garcia: You’re seeping wisdom into an old form.
Julie Chiariello: Hahahahaha, yes, I didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I guess that’s a key part of it for me, too, is that we can’t deny the shadow. We’re meant to integrate the shadow. It isn’t some kind of Pollyanna, pie in the sky thing. This is very rooted and grounded, and it is filled with shadow. As you said, you said so beautifully that death is the part of birth, and we need the shadow. Actually, it’s sacred, and we can integrate it, and that’s what I have done on this journey. And I know you have done the same thing. It’s basically alchemy. It’s taking the best parts and moving them into the future so that others can benefit, and I feel that’s what you are doing as well.
Trixie Garcia: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
Julie Chiariello: Thank you so much for sharing this time with us, Trixie, and for all of the meaningful work that you do. It was truly wonderful to spend time with you today.