“I believe the cannabis industry is ripe to become an industry run primarily by women,” says cannabis media maven Brooke Burgstahler. She’s right—thanks to an uptick in cannabis consumption among women, as well as more career opportunities than ever for women in cannabis companies.
Burgstahler is a writer, producer, host, and actress in television, online media, and film. A specialist in high quality educational and entertaining content she likes to call “edutainment,” Brooke is the star of BigMike and Advanced Nutrients’ show Marijuana Morning News, which she develops, produces, and hosts daily.
On the acting side, Burgstahler has appeared on MTV (Greatest Party Story Ever), ABC (General Hospital, Black-ish), TBS (TBS Shorts), AMC (Mad Men), the Oxygen Network (Speak For The Dead), Covergirl, and more. In 2018, she was awarded a Golden Telly for her Docu-Series Prisoners of Prohibition produced for Merry Jane Media. To date, Brooke’s online content, across a variety of media and social media platforms, has reached millions of viewers. She is also a 500-hour certified yoga instructor and holds a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Theater from The University of Miami.
Burgstahler has launched a cannabis and wellness startup, Budding Mind, which is designed to expand the mind and heart through the exploration of plant medicine, alternative healing, science, and spirituality. The multi-channel online platform features video, long form education content, and e-commerce for Brooke’s favorite products and brands. She is also about to launch a podcast on the platform.
Here is a conversation with Burgstahler ahead of the April 6 launch of her Budding Mind podcast.
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a cannabis advocate, activist, creative and authenticator — and an actress! I love this little plant with my whole being, and am endlessly grateful for the opportunities she has provided for me. I am a cannabis reporter and personality. I write, produce, and host cannabis content for media publications as well as my own platform, Budding Mind. To say I am lucky is an understatement. Cannabis has honest-to-goddess given me so much and now I spend my time giving back to her by representing her in the best possible light.
When did you start working with cannabis?
About four years ago I began reporting for Merry Jane News, which led me to create a docu-series titled Prisoners of Prohibition about those serving life sentences for cannabis convictions. This led me to produce cannabis content for different outlets like Civilized, and to host shows like The Next Marijuana Millionaire. Today, I bring it all together with my daily cannabis news show World of Weed, which I write, produce, and host — and has garnered over 3 million views around the globe. Through it all, I’ve been running my own company Budding Mind, a cannabis and wellness content creation platform designed to expand hearts, souls, and perceptions. My ultimate goal is to have a cannabis and wellness talk show on a major network to shatter stigma once and for all for anyone who’s still resistant to legalization. Try all you want to be anti-weed, but I’m gonna make Mary Jane so cute she can’t be denied.
How have your experiences working in film and TV informed your work in wellness and entertainment today?
I came out to Los Angeles to be an actress 7 years ago. I most certainly thought that I would be booked on some teen vampire soap opera almost immediately and my star would sky rocket to the heavens in a matter of months. The reality of my pursuit as an actress has been incredibly humbling. I hear “No” more often than “Yes,” but I like to believe that the uphill journey is getting me somewhere. At the very least, it’s taking me to a place where I have thick skin and complete confidence in myself. I look at everything in life as training for something we may not know the purpose of in the moment. And then there’s the fact that I love it! I love acting, I love performing, I love stand up comedy, I love making people laugh, smile, think, and feel. As long as I love it, and it feels good, I’ll keep trying to make it a part of my life.
What is the origin story for your personal cannabis journey?
After the first time I smoked weed in high school I wrote in my diary, “when I grow up I want to be a stoner” — I kid you not. I really manifested hard on that one. Perhaps I should have written billionaire! [Laughs]. I moved to Los Angeles after college, already a seasoned stoner, to pursue a career in acting and hosting. My oh my did my passions collide with my many opportunities to serve as a cannabis reporter!
What is your superpower?
My superpower is my sixth sense: my sense of humor. I am able to observe, digest, and handle so much more shit that life throws my way by looking at things through the lens of humor. It’s not a protection mechanism, it’s a perfection mechanism. Once you see the comedy of it all, anything that happens seems right or at least, ironic, and thus a magical and mystical part of the whole divine dance. Humor is an expression of intelligence, and the highest intelligence of the universe is constantly playing and joking with us…and wants us to be in on the joke!
What is your vision for women in this industry?
I believe the cannabis industry is ripe to become an industry run primarily by women. Of course there’s room for everyone at the table, but how frickin’ rad would it be if we tipped the scales every so slightly in our favor just this one time? I want women to feel comfortable, welcomed, and inspired by the cannabis industry and to negate any insecurities about “not doing things right.” No one in the cannabis space is doing things “right.” It’s the Wild West! It’s not even a federally legal substance that we’re involving ourselves with! So drop any excuses and shoot for the frickin’ stars. Everyone is figuring things out as they go, and because of that there is so much room for innovation, fresh perspectives and approaches, and trial and error. There’s no reason to be intimidated — if that’s a factor preventing women from diving in. Spark a doobie and join the club.
You consider yourself an “authenticator,” this is a novel approach. Tell me more. What does this mean to you — and what you look for when considering to work with a brand?
I want everyone on Earth to have a positive relationship with cannabis. If anyone is looking to me for guidance on what to try — be it edible, vape, flower, or bath bomb — it is my responsibility to promote only the best. Brands who are transparent about their growing process, their testing results, their ingredient sourcing, and more. When brands approach me to work with them, I like to consciously vet their vibe to make certain their ethos aligns with mine. I love to support genuinely awesome brands in the cannabis space that grow their plants with intention, develop their products sustainably, and care about social justice in the industry! I want to make sure that I only represent products that I think people will actually benefit from because a lot of my audience is still just dipping their toes in the cannabis waters, so it’s important that I only represent truly stellar brands.
Tell me about this podcast you’re launching.
My podcast Budding Mind will be out this April! The purpose of my pod is to expand perspectives. I talk to everyone from shamans to scientists, mediums to masterminds, including pediatric cannabis doctor Dr. Bonni Goldstein, and psychic medium Rebecca Rosen. You can check it out everywhere podcasts are available! It’s cheeky, informative, and a little bit off-beat.