Spotlight Series: Writer Ashley Keenan

Ashley Keenan is a writer, media consultant, and vocal patient advocate. Her bylines include The National Post, The Growth Op, Leafly, and of course, The The Herb Lifestyle.
view icon

Views
54

like icon
Likes
0
comments icon

Table of Contents

Today’s spotlight is being shone on someone we all know and love. You’ve read her work here, whether it was the interview with Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post discussing modern cannabis etiquette or perhaps you’ve enjoyed one of her recipes or delved into an explainer such as How to Use the Whole Plant After Harvest.

Ashley Keenan is a writer, media consultant, and vocal patient advocate. Her bylines include The National Post, The Growth Op, Leafly, and of course, The The Herb Lifestyle. Ashley has a passion for community improvement, environmental activism, and ending the stigma around cannabis use and she tweets the most relatable and hilarious gifs on her Twitter feed regularly.

IMG 20191206 111859 2 cannabis image

How Did You Get Involved in the Cannabis Industry?

I was at a crossroads in 2018, the non-profit I worked at for the last 3 years had been absorbed by a larger corporation and I was laid off. I had been struggling with health issues and decided it was the perfect opportunity to start from scratch. I was determined to find a way to get my health under control while supporting myself – cannabis ticked both of those boxes for me. After a life-long aversion to entrepreneurship, no one was more surprised than me that I chose the boss life. 

After a LOT of overthinking, I combined what I was good at, with what I was passionate about, and CannaQueen Consulting was born. Working in cannabis for that past year and a half has given me the opportunity to truly care for my disability, support myself financially, and meet/collaborate with some of the most compassionate and inspiring humans I have ever met.

Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Product or Service

I do ‘the things so you don’t have to! CannaQueen Consulting offers communications and marketing services exclusively for the cannabis industry. My specialty is the written word, offering content creation, copywriting, and journalism (yep they are all different things!). 

I also offer social media management services, brand & marketing strategy, and cannabis education resources. My ‘one-woman show’ allows me to be super flexible, charge lower rates, and offer customized help based on business needs. 

My online blog and presence @askcannaqueen is an honest look into the life of a girl with chronic illnesses with a love of all things cannabis. You don’t have to need a consultant to take part in, or learn from, my journey!

WHAT TIME DOES YOUR DAY TYPICALLY START AND WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU? 

A typical day starts for me at 8:30 am with gentle stretching, coffee, and cannabis. It takes about an hour and a half for me to get myself moving, coherent, and ready for my day. Like most humans, I just stare at a screen for 8-9 hours. I do my writing first, then social media, and then pitching. In 2020, I am dedicating one day a week to making time for business development to polish up some new skills.

What Is Your Vision for Your Company Going Forward?

I’m not sure and I’m totally ok with admitting that! This industry is constantly evolving and the needs aren’t always the same. One of the great things about CannaQueen Consulting is it can grow and adapt to whatever those needs may be. I would like to take on bigger projects in 2020 and dust off my management skills more – the sky is the limit.

What Was Your First Experience With Cannabis Like?

It was terrifying!!! I had a puff or two at a party when I was a young teenager, it was the early 2000’s and cannabis was still very illegal. The police busted up the party for teenage drinking and I was so scared they would tell my mother that I considered running into the night. I remember feeling like a deer in headlights when they shone the light in my eyes and asked if I was ok (I was ghost white with fear – don’t run, you’re high, don’t run…). I just kept repeatedly nodding with ‘just act normal’ on repeat in my stoned brain.

Tell Us About Some of the Challenges You Face Working in the Cannabis Industry

The most challenging part is not being able to show up to events, conferences, etc, as easily as some of my peers. I’m disabled, it isn’t just part of my brand – it’s who I am. When you routinely miss these styles of events you also miss out on the networking and smoke-pit deals that happen there. Every single time I have been to a big cannabis conference, I walked away with new clients. The problem is I can’t always show up – it isn’t anyone’s fault but it definitely makes things harder.

What Are Some Solutions You’ve Found?

Being honest and open! Sharing my limitations isn’t a weakness or a pity party, it enables the cannabis community to meet me halfway. Once I stopped being shy or ashamed and just started openly communicating, I noticed a surge of ease and accommodation. Sure, it’s still difficult but people in the industry have gone out of their way to carpool with me, share taxis, use video calling, etc to help me be included in the conversation.

What Is One Thing You Wish Everyone Knew About Cannabis?

Don’t believe everything you read – good or bad! In my opinion, cannabis isn’t immoral or scary and it also isn’t a cure-all. Sometimes the information out there plays to one narrative or the other and I don’t think that bias helps either side.

What Is One Thing You Wish Everyone Knew About Your Product or Service?

You don’t have to do everything yourself – I meet so many brilliant, busy people that need an item or two off their to-do list. Using someone in the industry like myself helps improve life/work balance while still having the benefit of industry knowledge. I think some entrepreneurs and companies feel like they have to have big bucks projects in order to bring in extra help. Been wanting to do something forever but never have the time? Hit me up!

What Is Your Favorite Way to Consume Cannabis?

All of the ways! As a patient, I use oil and capsules daily as well as topicals & dried flowers. I still use cannabis for a party buzz too, I don’t really like alcohol – that’s where the extracts, edibles, and kief concoctions come out to play. I think one of the coolest things about cannabis is you use it in so many ways.

DO YOU THINK CANNABIS LEGALIZATION WILL CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER? WHY? 

Absolutely, in many ways it already has. The patient stories you hear in this business are profound, many people have gotten their life back with cannabis. While medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for over a decade, legalization has done a lot to destigmatize the plant making it more accessible.

We still have a long way to go though, legalization will only truly be transformative if it is inclusive. Medical cannabis isn’t covered by social assistance or most employee insurance programs. It is also taxed twice, a federal tax and provincial tax – no other medicine in Canada is taxed in this way. There aren’t enough clinical studies and the barriers to starting one are significant. Legalization was built on the backs of patients (among others) yet they were largely left out of the new regime.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO ANOTHER WOMAN WHO IS LOOKING TO GET INTO THE INDUSTRY? 

This industry isn’t new – pay your dues and show some respect! If you are looking to break into the industry just remember that there are people who have been doing this for literal decades. The OG’s are probably some of the best humans you will ever meet – be humble, motivated, and ready to show them what you got. Take your shot!

Share Your Thoughts: Join the Discussion Below
About Author
Author PhotoThe Herb Lifestyle

Hi there! The Herb Lifestyle is a team of people who have come together because we love weed and want to help everyone feel that. We have lots of different... Read More

You May Also Like
About Author
Author PhotoThe Herb Lifestyle

Hi there! The Herb Lifestyle is a team of people who have come together because we love weed and want to help everyone feel that. We have lots of different... Read More

subscribesection
Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more updates
Follow us on
Scroll to Top