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Industry Spotlight: Jennifer Appel of Juniper

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Jennifer, the owner and founder of Juniper, has roots in the back-to-the-land movement  — and her passion runs deep. She operates her Southern Humboldt farm using organic and sustainable practices passed down to her by a generation of cultivators, who were the true pioneers of the modern cannabis movement.

Everything on the farm is handled with heart. What’s best for the land, people and wildlife is always a top priority. Appel’s high-elevation location benefits from a coastal influence. The unique terroir of the farm imparts a delicate, top-shelf aroma and flavor that can only be achieved in this unique microclimate.

Old family secrets in the cure lead to a superior, artisan product. All the AAA buds grown at the farm go into the pre-rolls, creating a decadent smoking experience. She is passionate about sharing her love and respect for the land with consumers and is proud to bring this one-of-a-kind product to cannasseurs and the canna-curious all across California.

What did you do prior to moving into the cannabis industry?

I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Orange County. I realized I wanted a different life than that. I just felt called to go north to find land and freedom. I got on the Greyhound bus destined for Humboldt County when I was 16 and never looked back. By the time I was 17, I was working on a cannabis farm, so really I have been involved in the industry my entire adult life.

What was your motivation to get involved?

I have seen firsthand over the years how cannabis has positively affected so many. I have such reverence for the wisdom of this plant. It is a gift from the earth that has the potential to heal and can — from a more recreational-use standpoint — enhance creativity and create feelings of wellbeing. It fascinates me that this one plant can do so much.

What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the cannabis space?

I would say do your homework thoroughly. This industry is constantly evolving and it’s not something you want to jump into without a lot of consideration. The margins are getting tighter in terms of small- or medium-sized businesses being able to make a profit. I would ask yourself the question: “Am I offering something of value that’s not already out there?”

As a parent, how do you talk to your children about cannabis?

My kids grew up on the family farm, so they have always been close to the plant. I was always very open about talking about it with them. There has been a lot of discussion at our house about the positive use of cannabis, but also about how some kids have fallen into a rut using it when they were too young or using too much, too often. I believe honest and open dialogue is the only way to go with kids, especially teenagers.  

What are some of your concerns as legalization continues to spread?

The way the fees, taxes and regulations are set up makes it really tough for the small farmers. These are the producers, who are supplying the top-shelf, artisan products that are really the hallmark of quality the entire industry aspires to. It would be sad to lose these producers. I hope this is an issue that’s addressed seriously as the industry matures and legalization spreads across the country.  

Tell us about your first experience with cannabis.

My first experience was with my cousins in Trinidad, California, when I was young. We would smoke homegrown and hang out in the redwood forest. It was a day that changed my life. It was a spiritually transcendent experience. At the time, I didn’t understand my feelings. After that experience, I knew I wanted to move to Humboldt County.

What are your favorite products/strains right now?

I am a big fan of Humboldt Apothecary tinctures, especially their Deep Sleep formula and the Sweet Jane CBD 20:1. They are a women-owned and operated company, which is something I love to support. The Deep Sleep is so effective when I’m too wound up to sleep. The Sweet Jane is perfect when you just want to take the edge off your anxiety and bring your stress level down a notch, but you still need to function at work.

As far as strains go, I would say I really love the Gelato 41 and Thin Mint GSC/Sunset Sherbet hybrid — it’s an ideal daytime smoke. With total cannabinoids of 15.18 percent, you’re able to keep rolling rather than being rolled out on the couch.

To learn more about Juniper, visit https://junipergrown.com 

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