Solonje Burnett-Loucas is a co-founder and cannavist at Humble Bloom. She believes that we can shatter stereotypes and poor business practices through culture curation and by providing the industry with more access to strategic branding, education, advocacy, and inclusive community experiences. As a culture consultant, she creates innovative workplace conferences, designs and implements D&I plans, and forges partnerships for agencies. In addition to her current work at Humble Bloom, Solonje is also a political activist and believes deeply in equality and human justice. She is a singer and performs with the Resistance Revival Chorus, which was born out of the Women’s March.
Oov: What did you do prior to moving into the cannabis industry?
I’ve always been an advocate and bridge builder. I’m dedicated to improving our culture through collaborative and equitable practices. Before Humble Bloom I was (and continue to do) consulting in diverse and inclusive community building, as well as event production and design. I help companies create their strategy around more innovative workplace culture and advise on D&I lifestyle and entertainment programming. I began my career in nonprofit fundraising, communications and nightlife. As an entrepreneur, I started Den Entertainment to work with a broad range of creatives in artist management and promotion — and to throw parties!
Oov: What was your motivation to get involved?
I was introduced to regular cannabis use, similar to drinking a glass of wine with dinner, by a boyfriend back in Boston. I inherited a bit of a stigmatized view of the plant due to the rules and culture of my childhood household. Although from the Caribbean, contrary to the stereotypes, my mother wasn’t a fan. My boyfriend and I would often finish the day smoking in bed. It really helped push me to realize that it was a beautiful way to decompress and open pathways to deep conversation and intimacy. At the same time, I’ve always been conscious of the imbalance in our criminal injustice system — especially around drug laws and how certain bodies are disproportionally damaged. I was motivated by the vibe within the industry; there is an energy in affecting change in a culture.
Oov: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the cannabis space?
Go for it. Whatever you do in other industries is translatable here.
Oov: How do you talk to your family or friends about it?
Intergenerational learning is real and necessary to move things forward. I am honest with everyone about my thoughts on why it has been prohibited and demonized. I use it as a bit of an educational opportunity, especially when I’m met with differing opinions. I love debating, as long as all parties come with open minds, respect, and a willingness to listen. Hiding and avoiding doesn’t make anything go away. It’s a plant that was met with strong opposition in the interest of corporate capitalism over human need.
Oov: What are some of your concerns as legalization continues to spread?
Toxic corporate business practices. Products and materials made across most industries from healthcare to tech are made to fall apart and even hurt us so that capitalism and consumerism win the day, while our home (the earth and our bodies) is polluted and destroyed. It’s such common sense to me to be protective of these things, but our culture of ego and competition makes it hard for some to see the benefits to being pro-human survival and growth.
Oov: Tell us about your first experience with cannabis.
I know was a late bloomer, but I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. I think it was the end of my teens while at Wellesley College. It was probably with a small circle of sisters in Tower Court or the Tau Zeta Epsilon House.
Oov: What are your favorite products/strains right now?
I carry TONIC everywhere I go. I’ve got Warrior TONIC in my bag for that joint pain (old former-athlete problems) and Chill TONIC in my travel bag to help me calm my mind before bed. Strain-wise, I’ve recently become partial to Blue Dream and in general I’m a Sativa Diva. ?✨?
HB Field Trip: Community Harvest with Tonic CB | Berkshire, NY
The weekend of October 12-14, they are bringing a thoughtfully curated group of 50 guests to Tonic’s CBD farm in Berkshire, NY.
Together you’ll walk into the fields of hemp, harvesting her flower, breathing in her highly-oxygenated air, and connecting more deeply with the plant, yourselves, the neighboring community, and the earth.
The excellent programming includes transportation, meals, music, workshops, and collaboration.
Imagine, a group of inclusive, heart-centered cannabis enthusiasts, educators, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, locals, and you harvesting completely legal CBD cannabis plants under the October sun.
Are you in? Get $75 off when you enter HBPARTNER at check out!
Learn more and purchase tickets: https://humblebloom.co/hb-field-trip