Questions with Tawana:
For our first-ever budtender spotlight, we’re introducing our friend Tawana Johnson a.k.a. Tawana Marijuana, a Canadian budtender from Winnipeg, Manitoba. We had a chance to sit down to learn about her journey and her hopes for the industry.
For people who don’t know, tell us what you currently do?
I currently work as a Supervisor and Social Media Coordinator for EDEN Winnipeg and I also work as a cannabis brand ambassador and content creator on the side with my social media platforms.
Where’s your favourite place to sesh?
To be honest I don’t have a specific favourite sesh spot. Every place is my favourite sesh spot.
If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?
I would travel to Jamaica because I’ve never been yet and my ethnicity is Jamaican. Funny story, I was set to go to Jamaica for the first time right before the pandemic. Unfortunately my trip got cancelled because of Covid-19.
When did you first discover the plant?
I can’t recall all the details of when I first discovered cannabis. I remember being in Grade 10 on Halloween Day, my friends and I hot-boxed an old unused van her dad had parked in her backyard. It was a very intense high. All I could speak was gibberish.
Do you prefer flower or concentrates? I’m a flower girl!
What’s your favourite way to consume (joints, bong, vape, edibles)?
My favourite way to consume is joints and dry herb vapes. I like joints for the ritual aspect of it and I like vapes because I have the ability to control the temperature and experience.
Who’s one of your favourite cannabis brands and why?
Sessions Goods is one of my favourite brand because they give back to the community and constantly advocate for BIPOC, Women in Weed, and they are the very first brand who took the chance to work with me, which put me on to work with other brands such as GPen, Burb, Toqi and more.
What is it that drew you to cannabis and still drives your interest today?
What drew me to cannabis is how it made me come out of my shell. At heart I think I’m an introvert and love to sit in silence without talking. Cannabis taught me how to become social.
When did you first become involved in the legal cannabis industry and why?
I entered the legal cannabis industry in 2019 because at the time, my fiance was working at Tokyo Smoke for a summer job. He was leaving and recommended that I apply, as there was an open position.
What made you want to do what you do?
I got laid off from Tokyo Smoke for a couple months when Covid-19 first arrived in my city. I took this as an opportunity to push out tons of content on Youtube and Instagram since I had all this free time. I started with my very first review on the Session Bong. Esther, the CEO, loved it and thanked me and sent me out all the Session Goods products. From there I reached out to all my top cannabis brands and most of them answered and wanted to work with me. Now I’m able to monetize my platforms and only work with premium products.
What do you like most about your position?
I love that I have full control of EDEN Winnipeg’s Instagram and Facebook page. I have a lot of freedom in what I post and my marketing style. I haven’t been in this position for a long time but so far my team loves it.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your role?
The biggest challenge is learning ways around the cannabis marketing regulations and the community guidelines of all the most popular and used social media apps.
What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the industry?
Be transparent and display your curiosity in regards to learning and educating others about cannabis.
How can the stigma attached to cannabis be diminished?
I think the stigma is still around because of the lack of education and lack of open mindedness. If folks against it are open to conversations about cannabis and recognizing facts from propaganda, the stigma can fully be diminished.
What are your hopes for our industry?
I hope that diversity and inclusion become mandatory in the industry. I hope to see an increase of people of colour in CEO, Executive, Manager roles. Right now there is an apparent lack of diversity and representation in the industry. This is completely unacceptable and tone deaf to those who were heavily impacted by prohibition.
Where can people connect and find you on social media?
People can find me on my Instagram, where I’m the most active. My influencer account is @teejohnss and my products only page @tokintee and Tawana Marijuana on Youtube!