The future of cannabis is female! December is DOPE Magazine’s Women’s Issue, and we wanted to continue to highlight women across the industry on all of our platforms. We sent a questionnaire to outstanding women in cannabis—some familiar to us, some new—and will be showcasing their answers in individual blogs this month. Today’s story highlights Leslie Andrachuk of Alpha Woman.
DOPE Magazine: Who are some of your greatest role models?
Leslie Andrachuk: Malala Yousafzai, Ruth Bader Ginzburg, Ripley and Barack Obama.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Developing a sense of my own self-worth, power and resilience. It’s taken me a while to understand myself and lean into what motivates me. I’ve always chosen the path less travelled, which is never easy so I’ve learned that I’m super brave, but that I also need to be prudent when diving into the unknown. Time is the only real currency we have in life. I’m focusing on using mine wisely.
What’s something someone would never guess about you?
My happiest moments are when I’m on my skis, in the mountains. Snowstorm outside? You’ll find my son and I taking a glorious walk, the more dramatic the snowfall the better.
Favorite “guilty pleasure”?
Aren’t all pleasures good? Ok, some less than others. Potato chips, red wine, bacon, camembert cheese, baguette and Netflix are my guilty pleasures. I consider cannabis a necessary pleasure, never a guilty one, lol.
What’s your go-to self-care routine?
I try to eat fresh food, drink lots of water and limit alcohol intake so I stay healthy and clear-headed. I suffer from persistent insomnia so my bedroom needs to be my sanctuary. My place of total peace and relaxation and beatitude is in my bed where I snuggle up in my bed with my two kitties. My bed is sumptuous, with a tufted linen headboard, lots of soft pillows and a down duvet that you can get lost under. I plan on installing a fireplace and then I’ll never leave…[she writes smiling].
Where do you see your career/business headed in five years? Twenty?
In five years I see myself at the helm of an international business that has helped uplift women around the globe and that is proud and happy to see other women succeed. I see myself sitting on company boards where I can make a difference by bringing diverse thinking and approaches to the table. In 20 years I will be living in a ski town, skiing every day in the winter, and hiking every day in the summer, and generally living a healthy life of sporting retirement.
How do you feel about the industry-wide assertion that cannabis is a female-friendly space?
I see a lot of women in the space, but very few in leadership positions. We need to bust out and stop being the people who support the leaders. If we are going to create an industry that is truly diverse, that actualizes what we all know to be true (that diversity just makes business sense) then we must find that little place of power inside ourselves and force the issue. Company boards must be half women. Women need to be part of leadership teams. We’re nowhere close to this today.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An archaeologist. A ballet dancer.
If you could talk to yourself five years ago, what advice would you give?
Never doubt your power, resilience and creativity. Speak your mind. There is nothing to be afraid of.
What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cannabis space?
Exactly what I wrote above for the advice I would have given myself five years ago.
Recommend a book, album, and movie you think everyone should read/listen to/watch while stoned!
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” – but not the headphones! “Pretty Little Liars,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” or another classic, “Alien”.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
When my father taught me to drive, the most important lesson he ever gave me was to never trust that the person who is signalling that they’re turning left is actually going to turn left. The same goes for every other aspect of my life. It took me a while to actually internalize that lesson. I used to trust very easily, but now I can count the number of people I truly trust on only the fingers of one hand.
What’s the one thing you would bring if you were stranded on a desert island?
A fishing rod.
What’s your favorite cannabis product?
Right now it’s the full-spectrum CBD tincture called The Blend that I take every day.
What do you hope for the future of the cannabis industry?
That more and more research is done to uncover the benefits of all the compounds in the cannabis plant. Research will inform us all and will help break the stigma and normalize its use. I’m also really excited to see what happens now that hemp is legal. Hemp is the world’s super food, and can also provide us with many products produced sustainably such as CBD oil, hemp seeds, clothing, paper, etc. I’m very excited to see how cannabis will help so many people to [both] live better and longer.
Fill in the blank:
I could never live without: Knowing my son is safe, happy and healthy.
What do you think needs to happen before we achieve federal legalization of cannabis?
Well, we’ve already gone down that road up here in Canada. I feel that educating people on the benefits of the plant will be key in [removing] stigmatization and therefore (hopefully) legalization. That, and much more scientific research needs to be done, studies released and doctors prescribing cannabis as a medicine will go a long way in ending the stigma and normalizing cannabis. I hope people will no longer buy into the hyperbole around any form of cannabis – hemp or marijuana – as they understand how it interacts with their bodies, and manifest for an end to prohibition in the US.