Cannabis might be commonly known as Mary Jane, but even as marijuana becomes more socially — and legally — acceptable, women continue to be left out of the conversation.
This weekend, a traveling cannabis lecture series geared toward women hopes to change that fact. The Vagina Cannalouges will gather local cannabis experts and entrepreneurs together for a night of networking, followed by a short speakers' panel at the Liberty Health Sciences dispensary on Bird Road.
Event creators say they hope to foster a community among Miami women who believe other cannabis events have overlooked their demographic.
"We thought it would be amazing to have an event by women for women because there aren't a lot of events geared toward women and the LGBT community," says event planner Angie Willoughby, who hosts the Green Baker Podcast.
Willoughby teamed up with friend and coach Brit Francis of the Canna Academy to bring the idea to fruition. Willoughby started the Green Baker Podcast and edibles business after her family struggled to treat illnesses with traditional medicine, she says.
"I've been in the culinary industry for over 20 years, and I've been able to easily translate that into medicine," Willoughby says.
Speakers at the event will talk about their personal experiences with cannabis and the stigmas they've faced as women who use it for medicinal and recreational purposes.
"We want them to see that it's not just about business or being able to get high, but it's really about, as women, educating ourselves and how this plant can make such a wonderful difference," Willoughby says.
She says plans are in the works to take the event to cities throughout Florida and to present local experts and enthusiasts at each stop.
"We're in the beginning planning stages of going to Orlando, Tampa, and, hopefully after Tampa, some other wonderful cities in the state," she says. "We want each event to look different to each city."
Other speakers set to appear at Miami's event include Dr. Michelle Weiner, chair of the Florida Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee; Josie Matos of the Winter Park Pain Management Center; April Rodriguez, head of the cannabis division at the Keyes Company; and moderator Stacia Smith of Liberty Health Sciences.
Admission is free, but Willoughby says a $10 donation is encouraged and that proceeds will benefit a local women's charity.
Vagina Cannalouges. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, February 29, at Liberty Health Sciences, 6827 Bird Rd., Miami. Admission is free; RSVP via eventbrite.com.
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