Musician and Cultivator- 1st Lady of The West Coast
by Veronica Castillo
1st Lady of the West Coast had dreams and aspirations early on about having her own line of strains. This happened when she discovered the magic that Cannabis placed in her body; “sis, it would be so dope if I had my own strain line, like my own, like it’s mine. They create it for me.”
Well, she is definitely like a lotus flower; roots that grew through the murky waters of the “war on drugs”, into a beautiful flower. Like the lotus flower, she is undeterred by an unfavored environment, and miraculously re-blooms every day, without residue on her spirit.
Born and raised in Oakland, one of America’s most impacted cities when discussing the war on drugs:
• 1998 to 2015, African-Americans were 90% of the arrests compared to the arrests of Caucasians, 3.91%.
• 452 people arrested for marijuana offenses in 2011 in Oakland, 74.5% were African American, 13% were Latino, 5% were Caucasian.
• 2015 statistics show that African Americans made up 30% of the population but 77% of cannabis arrests, compared to 4% for Caucasians.
Beating the odds, 1st Lady did something major in 2016- the birth of her first strain: Flotwckush (First Lady of The West Coast Kush). What followed- CANNA BOSS moves- a full line:, Black Girl Magic OG, December Nights OG, and Shirley Ross OG aka SRG.
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Interview slightly edited for clarity
You are the growing hands behind Herb of Life Cultivation, LLC, and have an exclusive line of strains- can you tell me about them?
“Yes, I am the growing hands, the Founder, and CEO of HERBOLC, but wear most hats- for 2 reasons. I believe that it’s important to learn all roles within your company and because HERBOLC has to have the right Cannabis family.
My strain lines are:
First Lady of The West Coast Kush aka FlotwcKush: She is a Sativa dominant Hybrid: 60% Sativa and 40% Indica- full of trichomes.
BlackGirlMagicOG: She is an Indica dominant hybrid: 70% Indica and 30% Sativa- her terpene profile is high in Myrcene, A-Pinene, Limonene, Caryophyllene.
Shirley Ross OG: is a new strain and we are currently working on testing (more to come). When I consume, she feels like an Indica dominant. She was created in the dedication of my grandmother who passed away July 25 2019.
DecemberNightsOG is a new strain also in the process of being tested (more to come). When consumed, I get Indica dominant, with a fruity loop smell and fruit taste. I’m very excited about this line that my Breeder gifted me with. and that my Godson named.
We currently working on the WittyOGKush line, BlackJoy line, and a couple of other new lines.”
You are the 1st woman/black woman to have a line of strains in this male-dominated industry- what was the walk like?
“Yes. It was brought to my attention back in 2017 when I flew out to Seattle, and met with Richard Dignum (Co-Founder of WeedBushLovers). He gave me tour around Washington state and we ended up at Dope Magazine. I wasn’t able to meet with David Tran due to his schedule but it was epic and an honor to meet his team at the time, Angel and Scott.
I got a tour around the headquarters office and then we sat down and talked about a feature for the magazine. The piece discussion was for a focus on my new strain lines, and educating people on the medical benefits of cannabis. As we were talking, it was brought to my attention that they never heard of a woman having her own strain line.
The most epic feeling was hearing Dope Magazine tell me that I am the first woman to have my own strain lines.
I remember later that night I went to do my research and no woman came up- I was shocked! I don’t think I’m better than anyone, just happy to show a way for other black women and women in general.
I was shocked because I didn’t get into the Cannabis Industry to be the first, but to save lives. I embrace it and I’m excited to show other women we have a place in this industry as growers and having are own strain lines.
I thank my breeder Dukeoferb for believing in me and helping me create reality and help save lives.”
What should people know about your company and the mission?
“Our mission is to promote the positive effects of Cannabis, with education and awareness. At Herb of Life Cultivation LLC, it’s our goal to strive to assist people understand the medical benefits of Cannabis and promote it as a natural remedy with many health benefits.
We are also huge on giving back and changing lives- one life at a time! We believe in paying it forward, helping homeless people, Veterans, children, teens, young adults, and families. We give back to help find cures, help with issues tied to humanity, climate change, and wildlife.
It’s important to be able to help change a life for the better.”