Olivia Alexander, aka Weedbae, is a social media influencer and entrepreneur, as well as a bit of a modern-day ganja philosopher. Her line of Kush Queen products is in over 300 dispensaries in California. She also helms the Third Eye Agency, which specializes in marketing for cannabis companies. Olivia co-hosts The Budd with Rachel “Wolfie” Wolfson.
How did you get your start?
About six years ago, I walked into a vape shop in Silver Lake and bought my first vape. It was around the same time I saw my first cartridge in a dispensary, and I was just overwhelmingly shocked that I could smoke weed in public. I couldn’t believe someone finally created a way that I could consume cannabis and I wouldn’t get judged, or be paranoid that I was going to be arrested. So I bought the vape, and I crystallized it. I’ve always loved bling, I love everything that’s glam. I took the vape back into the shop and showed the owner, and he bought ten. I posted a photo on Instagram, and a bunch of people wanted to buy it. So I asked my dad if I could borrow 700 dollars. I built the website in a week, I launched the company and the Crystal Cult was born.
Social media was where I found my passion, being an entrepreneur. And I was a cannabis consumer. I felt like there was nothing representing me on Instagram or on YouTube, or Snapchat. I felt like there wasn’t anyone speaking to me. So I started my Instagram pages about cannabis. I had this whole network on Instagram until I was deleted. Wolfie and I met through social media. It’s how I’ve built my company, it’s how I built my tribe.
Your Instagram accounts were shut down?
It was June of last year when I lost a million and a half followers [in] one day. And I have since had almost every one of my clients deleted. My agency’s business basically doesn’t exist anymore. Creating my brand, Kush Queen, was my survival literally from this massive, awful thing that happened. I don’t know where my pages are. I don’t know anything. My clients have all been deleted. We still have certain pages, and we’re very lucky to still have our channel on YouTube.
Since I’ve been getting deactivated and reported from early 2013, I diversified right away. I wanted to be on a multitude of platforms. I thought, if I had a YouTube channel and they shut down my Instagram, people will still know me. That’s actually how I found refuge on Snapchat, which is the most cannabis-friendly platform that exists. They don’t censor you. They don’t delete you . . . in fact, they promote me and support me. And it’s where I’ve found my community again.
“I had this idea that if we posted weed every day, all day, constantly showing all of the different parts of our culture, that things would change.”
How do you use social media to normalize cannabis?
I think it’s all about consumption. When I started my pages, I noticed that there were a lot of memes but there weren’t products, and there weren’t people smoking. And that’s what I wanted to show. I had this idea that if we posted weed every day, all day, constantly showing all of the different parts of our culture, that things would change. I knew in my heart the biggest issue is that we’ve been trapped in a closet; we’ve been hidden from the world.
What does a day in your life look like?
Now my life is different because I run the Kush Queen brand, and I’m no longer promoting other people’s products. So I wake up—I always smoke, have coffee—and I go to my warehouse. I could be there from 12 hours to 15 hours, or some days I’m home by 7, it just depends, but I’m always posting.
I like to Snap in the morning—I love to wake up and have my coffee and go live from my couch with unbrushed teeth and hair. It makes me feel like I’m not perpetuating this one image of myself that’s very glamorous and smoking. I work every day all day right now on Kush Queen, and then film content, and do the podcast—and, actually, I’m trying to spend a lot of time off of social media, believe it or not. Trying to incorporate that into my life, to find a place where I don’t work all the time.
Do you feel a responsibility as a role model?
I do. I’m a super serious person, so serious, especially about weed, so I feel a responsibility to my audience. I feel a responsibility to the people who’ve come before me, and the people who’ve mentored me. I think this is the greatest time I could ever be alive. So I feel a huge responsibility.
I know this is a little dramatic, but whenever I get on crazy rants, my fans are always like, “Weedbae for president!” and I’m like, I’m not the first female president, but she is here. She is born, she’s someone’s daughter right now, and she is listening. And I feel like, for her, we have to be present, we have to be strong, and we have to be conscious. We have to question what is out there right now more than ever, and we have to join together as a community.
YouTube: The Budd