From a New York Police Department to hospital professionals, this Black cannabis nurse is on a mission to bring accessible CBD products and education to the masses.
Anyone familiar with cannabis is well aware of the long history of cannabis-related laws that drastically changed the public perception of the plant, particularly within the United States.
From the War on Drugs to the stoner culture of the 70s, this perception disproportionately targeted impoverished communities and communities of color.
As professionals in the cannabis industry, it’s easy to forget that, for most people, there is still a heavy stigma around the plant. When you take a step back, you’ll find that most people think of cannabis and CBD users alike – as the lazy stoners you see in movies.
When it comes to cannabis marketing, fighting this stigma and inequity is half the battle.
Plant-Based Mary Jane Fighting the Stigmas of Cannabis
Our client, Plant-Based Mary Jane, is facing this very challenge as they build their new CBD brand. We spoke with Tracy Wright, RN, a registered ER and cannabis nurse based in New York, and the founder and owner of Plant-Based Mary Jane.
Tracy is everything you expect from a nurse: warm, friendly, passionate, and equally steadfast, resilient, and ambitious.
As an ER nurse, Tracy worked four to five 12-hour shifts a week. From nursing school students to full-time nurses, anyone can tell you that these shifts quickly become as grueling as they are fulfilling.
It wasn’t long before the chronic pain began to give Tracy massive discomfort while she did her job. Many nurses learn to manage their pain or worse yet, simply get used to it.
Prescription pain medications are not an option for the healthcare heroes that take care of us as narcotics and many other drugs are known to impair individuals, making them unfit for professional duty.
Not wanting to feel stuck, Tracy began to seek out natural alternatives to help ease her pain while still being able to do what she loves.
Among the literature about herbal remedies and Eastern medicinal philosophies, Tracy found CBD. She said, “I want[ed] to know more about it, so I took a learning approach first with a focus on CBD.” In her quest for more knowledge, she decided to pivot in her career and become a cannabis nurse.
Experimenting with Cannabis and CBD as Medicine
She began to experiment with taking cannabis and CBD medicinally and felt much more at ease doing her job. However, the more she learned, the more she saw that the price for quality pain management through CBD was unattainable for most people. In fact, many were not even high-quality and instead, contained toxins or misleading amounts of CBD.
It is well known that diversity and inclusion is its own epidemic within the healthcare industry. With this in mind, Tracy started Plant-Based Mary Jane to bring awareness, affordability, and wellness to those in search of CBD for health.
Having an accessible and high-quality product is central to the mission and there’s no doubt it can be achieved with the thoughtful branding behind Plant-Based Mary Jane.
The Plant-Based Mary Jane Vision for CBD
For Tracy, the dream is to be the go-to brand of CBD products for those who know nothing about it:
“I hope that when they land on my company and find out I’m a cannabis nurse that they come to my website and say ‘Wow! She is really about understanding ME.’ I want people to know that I am someone who best understands them and their wellness journeys.”
With the onset of the pandemic, Plant-Based Mary Jane actually saw an uptick in business. Rather than seek out prescription medications, people began to search for natural alternatives to stress and anxiety.
Friends, friends of friends, family, you name it – people began to reach out to Tracy personally for more information about CBD for these uses. However, it became a challenge to get the brand out beyond Tracy’s personal network.
“Marketing was a major issue for me during COVID. Getting our name out there and educating people about the true effects of CBD: I wanted people to find that.”
CBD brands with a strong mission thrive on Instagram and other social media platforms. Meeting your audience where they are is a key principle of marketing and one that Tracy understands well. It’s why she came to the Cannabis Creative team looking for a partnership that was just as invested in her brand and her mission as she is.
She said, “I searched many companies and I like what CCG is doing with other brands. They have always been accommodating and bend over backward to help Plant-Based Mary Jane.”
And indeed, we wouldn’t have it any other way. The best brands to work with are those with strong brand stories behind them. As our team helps Tracy navigate the murky waters of social media paid advertising, we are constantly surprised by the passion and the bold path that Tracy continues to take every day as a cannabis nurse, a Black woman, and a business owner.
Being Black in Cannabis
Just like different strains of the cannabis plant, this industry is a diverse one. However, as we have seen in the past year, it is not always an equitable one. Tracy says, “It’s been difficult. There are not many Black-owned companies, period. Even less for Black women.” Owning a cannabis business comes with additional unexpected challenges.
For example, when she was just starting out, Tracy would often bring custom formulations of her initial product to get lab tested. In one instance, her product was confiscated by the police.
As she retold the story to our team, she was able to laugh, “Just imagine a Black woman walking into a New York police department to say, ‘Hey, that’s not marijuana.’”
In an interesting twist, the police were curious to learn more about the distinction between cannabis and CBD. Ultimately, the precinct called Tracy back, asking for education by Plant-Based Mary Jane. She returned to educate officers about the difference between CBD and cannabis, the different medicinal use cases of CBD, and more.
She faced similar encounters in her workplace. The stigma of ‘weed’ and stoner culture was heavily present in the health care professional community. As Tracy dove into her new endeavor, she found herself giving the same education to her colleagues and fellow healthcare professionals.
Tracy notes that as nurses “Our job is to educate the public. [Cannabis] is not just for play. People have real health issues and are turning to it for wellness. If our patients are using cannabis, we need to know.”
Cannabis Education is Key
The stereotypes in movies are hard to unlearn, but inclusive education is key to bring about a new culture and understanding of cannabis and CBD use.
Having a nursing background helps Tracy deliver this education to both her patients and her Plant-Based Mary Jane customers. With such a unique position, she is able to personally give informed and comprehensive recommendations about using CBD for overall wellness.
Moreover, the unique experience that Tracy brings to the table opens up the doors for a more inclusive approach to cannabis and CBD education: one centered around health and wellness while tackling healthcare inequities.