Until recently, marijuana had a stigma it couldn’t shake. It was the herb of choice for hippies, stoners and those who are dazed and confused. Largely associated with the stoned likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cheech & Chong and Snoop Dogg. But in the last decade, everything has changed. With the political climate regarding marijuana shifting and multiple states within the United States legalizing this drug, marijuana isn’t just for a group of old Woodstock hippies (though they still love it), it’s for all of us and it has a variety of uses. For some it’s used medically, easing anxieties, serving as an appetite stimulant and is even used in treating glaucoma. For others, it’s used socially, just like your favorite bourbon cocktail at your Friday night watering hole. That’s where Mama Sailene and Olivia Alexander come in. Two female entrepreneurs embedded deep in Venice, CA that are turning Cannabis from taboo, to a regular household item.
Like so many Angelenos do now, Sailene Ossman, otherwise known as Mama Sailene, spent her early days holding down multiple jobs. She was doing everything from managing restaurants to event planning, but she also had a not so hush-hush business on the side. Sailene was trailblazing a name for herself as the go-to person in the Los Angeles Marijuana scene. If you needed the green, she was the person you’d seek out. She had carved out a spot for herself at the top of the Westside’s weed delivery pyramid long before it was “legal.”
But it wasn’t just her delivery service that put Sailene’s name on the map. It was also her parties that she became notorious for putting together. Mama Sailene would wake up and spend her mornings managing baristas who were slinging coffee at Abbot Kinney’s famous Abbot’s Habit, then by night, she was throwing the most sought after parties in LA. A hodgepodge of guests who had only hoped to be invited, dine on decadent fare, while partaking in endless hand rolled joints. This was Sailene’s wheelhouse. She cooked, entertained and brought people together all with the help of marijuana. It was only a short time later she expanded this friendly, smoke filled passion into a television show, Smoke In The Kitchen with Mama Sailene
featured on Merry Jane on YouTube
. Now, guests no longer have to clamor for an invite to her parties as they can tune and see what Mama is up to and throw one of their own shindigs.
Doing just as much good for the cannabis world, but in a much different fashion is Olivia Alexander. Like Sailene, Alexander got her feet green long before weed was more widely accepted in today’s world. As a college student looking for cash, Alexander was introduced to marijuana and she instantly saw the potential to make a different kind of green. That’s when she began selling her homemade edibles out of a now extinct dispensary in Los Angeles.
A decade later Alexander is no longer dabbling in homemade baked goods, but has become the leading voice for Millennials in the cannabis world. Alexander began by creating her own brand, The Crystal Cult (featured in Cosmopolitan, LIVE! With Michael and Kelly, N.Y. Times) and specializing in vape pens that sparkle so much that they make the Royal Jewels jealous. That’s when Alexander parlayed her success into the digital world, co-founding The Third Eye Agency, formerly known as the Cult Creative. The Third Eye Agency is a cannabis digital agency that has one of the most influential links in the marijuana world. Connecting with millions of followers across social media, this also sets Alexander up to create a barrage of content for her channels on such platforms as BuzzFeed and YouTube.
Through all this business haze, Alexander also wants to make one thing clear: she’s not just here to make a buck, but to bring awareness to an industry that thus far has neglected Millennials. Although generations from the past once dominated the marijuana game, now the tables have turned and Millennials will soon be the ones who will take charge of this ever-changing industry. They are the ones that can take responsibility for evolving it into the digital age and under our current political fire, will be the ones to stand up for the rights of cannabis users everywhere.
It’s natural when thinking of marijuana to remember the days of old when your exposure to this natural herb were in the film Friday or via Dr. Dre’s latest rap video or even your stint in college when you took your first hit. But the game has changed. This is no longer child’s play. The Cannabis industry is taking over and it’s changing everything from the political world to the medical world. Two of the brightest spots leading this charge are a couple of unstoppable female entrepreneurs: Mama Sailene and Olivia Alexander.