Spotlight Series: Mary Jane Gibson
Actress, writer and former lifestyle, entertainment and culture editor at High Times, Mary Jane Gibson is a force in the emerging cannabis industry. Her projects and interviews have earned her the title “one of the 15 most powerful women in the weed industry” by Complex Magazine.
You can catch her and co-host Mike Glazer on the top rated Weed+Grub podcast sharing laughs and stories from their insane lives, and interviewing fascinating guests from all walks of life.
How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
I was working as a writer and performer in New York and met the managing editor of High Times magazine at a party. She offered me part-time work as a copy editor, and from there I worked my way up to writing assignments. I was offered a full-time editorial position at High Times in 2014, and moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to help open the West Coast office. I left HT in 2018 to pursue other opportunities, and now write for several outlets, plus I record and produce Weed+Grub, the podcast that I co-host with comedian Mike Glazer—it’s my absolute favorite thing.
Tell us a little bit about your product or service
My co-host Mike Glazer and I smoke, snack and swap tales about cannabis, comedy, sex, cooking, pop culture—basically everything you already love. Weed+Grub is a free-flowing conversation between two great friends sharing laughs and stories from our insane lives, with fascinating guests from all kinds of backgrounds. We’ve interviewed Jim Belushi, Tommy Chong, trans icon Buck Angel, cannabis activist Amy Margolis, NYTimes bestselling cookbook authors Thug Kitchen, System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian, and many more. We also have a Spotlight Series where we highlight brands and companies working to make the world a better place. Find Weed+Grub everywhere you get your podcasts—light a joint, grab a bite and come along!
What time does your day typically start and what does a normal day look like to you?
I’m a night owl, not an early-morning person, so I generally don’t get going until 9am. My cat Bobo usually howls at me to get up and feed him, so I don’t need to set an alarm. I make coffee and walk my dog Archie, and then I settle in at my desk for the day. Mike and I started a production company called Big Fat Content, and we have several projects in the works in addition to Weed+Grub. We drop two episodes of the podcast every week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, so we have a lot of recording and editing to do. And I’m usually working on at least two articles for publication—I write for several outlets including DOPE Magazine, Weedmaps, Leafly, Civilized and Rolling Stone.
I try to wind down computer work by 6:30 or so and get out to enjoy an evening walk with Archie. Then I’ll come home and cook dinner—Mike and I are developing recipes for a Weed+Grub cookbook right now, so I have a lot of fun getting pleasantly baked and figuring out new dishes, usually while listening to a favorite podcast like My Favorite Murder. I love hanging in the kitchen and then eating on my patio under the stars.
What is your vision for your company going forward?
At this time next year, I’d like our production company Big Fat Content to have three shows on the air and two in production, in addition to creating content for cannabis brands and companies. Weed+Grub will continue to grow—we’ll travel all over the US and Canada, to Spain and beyond, documenting cannabis, cuisine, and culture around the world.
What would an ideal post-prohibition society look like to you?
Safe and fair access to cannabis for all. All records for non-violent drug offenses expunged. Social equity programs offering assistance to people whose lives have been ruined by the War on Drugs. Cannabis research and clinical trials. Public school education programs teaching the next generation about cannabis. Corporations that profit from legal cannabis donating a large portion of their proceeds to arts funding. Interstate and international cannabis trade, just as we have with wine, so everyone around the world can taste glorious California weed. The right for everyone to grow their own. And lots of dinner parties with great friends enjoying the herb together.
What was your first experience with cannabis like?
It was hash, rolled in a spliff. Growing up in Newfoundland, we didn’t have much access to weed—if you could get a gram of hash, that was fantastic. I still love the smell of tobacco and hash, mixed with a little Nag Champa. That’s the scent of my teenage years. I remember getting stoned at a friend’s house during a snowstorm, listening to Copper Blue by Sugar, and watching the snow drift across the St. John’s harbor like swirls of plankton. It was magical.
Tell us about some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry
As the landscape shifts and evolves, there’s a lot of jockeying for position. The industry is uncertain, and wildly exciting—it’s still illegal under federal law but 11 states have passed adult-use consumption laws. How bizarre is that?! Companies can flourish and fail in a matter of months. I’m positioned as a chronicler of the industry, both as a writer and with Weed+Grub, so I haven’t been affected by ever-changing rules and regulations, but I certainly see friends and colleagues fighting to navigate this new frontier of legal cannabis.
What are some solutions you've found?
Weed+Grub is working to destigmatize and normalize cannabis—and we try to hold everyone accountable for the role they’re playing in this new landscape. Is it fair that former Speaker of the House John Boehner is profiting from legal cannabis while people are suffering in prison for non-violent drug offenses? No—and it’s everyone’s job to call out hypocrisy and ensure that this burgeoning industry is fair to everyone, not just wealthy white people. We talk a lot about that—and we also have a great time fighting about whether milk chocolate is better than dark (it is). It’s that combo of fun and real info that people tune in to hear.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about cannabis?
That, even if it’s not for you, it’s helped someone you know. Whether or not you consume cannabis, you should never judge anyone who does—you should be an ally for cannabis consumers to have safe and fair access, whether it’s as medicine or a safer alternative to a glass of wine at night. Don’t judge.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your product or service?
I hope that anyone checking us out for the first time listens to a few different episodes—because, while we get baked and silly, we also tell important stories and speak to fascinating people from all walks of life about heavy-hitting subjects. We have fun in order to reach the most people with our message: cannabis is normal and cool, however, you’re choosing to use it.
If you could go back in time and do it all over again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
I’d stand up faster and harder to the few people who questioned my ability to contribute to the cultural conversation. Don’t ever doubt your own worth. Otherwise, zero regrets—apart from not hitting that blunt when Wiz Khalifa handed it to me at a High Times cover shoot.
What is your favorite way to consume cannabis?
Tincture before a hike. Smoking a joint with friends. A low-dose edible before bed.
Concentrate or flower? Why?
Flower, because my tolerance is low and I only need a little bit to get that perfect lift. I did a dab at a dinner party on a ranch in Malibu once and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, but on the daily, I dig a sweet hybrid pre-roll from Lowell Farms or a little nug of homegrown in my Summerland apple pipe. I also really like the new cannabis oil vape from Lowell.
Do you think cannabis legalization will change the world for the better? Why?
I really want to say “no duh, of course it will,” but it’s serious. Yes, cannabis legalization will change the world for the better. When people are no longer going to jail, losing their families, when cannabis is available as much-needed medicine to anyone who needs it, when the world can breathe a collective sigh of relief because the plant is free, we’ll all be much better for it. If you don’t like cannabis, take another look at it and examine your prejudices. And at the very least, educate yourself on why it’s illegal in the first place—because of racism and fear. We need to liberate the leaf for a better world.
What advice would you offer to another woman who is looking to get into the industry?
Join NORML. Get involved with local meetups. Educate yourself on the history of the War on Drugs and why cannabis is illegal in the first place so you can be an effective advocate for legalization. Make friends who love cannabis as much as you do, and organize salons with them. Start from a place of education and inspiration, and the rest will flow.