SHOW ME 4: Under the Influence

SHOW ME 4: Under the Influence
As part of our exploration of the rise of cannabis in the last issue of SHOW ME, we've interviewd Jennie Roy (a.k.a. Lonely Stoney). Jennie is a Cannabis Influencer from Canada, and in this interview she shares her thoughts on this fast growing industry, and what cannabis means to her personally. We hope you enjoy the read.

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You are a Cannabis Influencer from Québec, with over 83k followers on Instagram. What made you venture into the cannabis industry and pursue a career in content creation?

Honestly, it happened without any expectation. I don’t really consider myself an Influencer, and I never thought I would be in the cannabis industry one day. When I started my page, I had no idea what I was doing, but the reason behind it was that my family felt very strongly against cannabis. Because none of them were on Instagram, I started to use the platform to share my own views. Soon my page started to grow in popularity, and that made me realise the true power of social media.

What role do you think Internet Influencers are playing in the development of the cannabis industry?

Nowadays, most people own a smartphone, so Influencers are playing a massive role. It’s the new way to advertise, as it lets brands to reach more people whilst spending less than they would with traditional media. And although educating people was never my objective when I started my page, I did a lot of sponsored posts like this before. However, I will launch my own business in the industry soon, so I’m no longer willing to fill up my page with promotion for other brands.

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How do you think cannabis fits with other lifestyle elements that you promote in your Instagram page such as wellness and spirituality?

That’s a though one. I would say that it depends on different factors, like the strain, dosage, and even the person. In my case, cannabis has helped me to find peace of mind. I smoke to do anything. It’s my natural state of being. Cannabis helps me to feel a deeper connection with my inner-self. It entices my sensibility to better understand what my body and mind are saying. It’s like I learn more about myself through smoking.

What are the biggest misconceptions around cannabis consumption that brands will need to overcome if they are to go mainstream as alcohol or tobacco brands?

One of the most common misconceptions is that cannabis is harmful. Yes, it can irritate the lungs, but it will not lead to cancer. The other one being that cannabis will open the door to harder drugs. This has been the main struggle with my own family, as they always thought I was going to move on to something stronger, which I never did. Cannabis is my medicine, and we really need brands to be more vocal about the benefits of this plant. I don’t even drink alcohol. It doesn’t make me feel very sociable, and I don’t like the environment and how people behave when they drink. I feel healthier if I smoke weed, and I don’t get any of the downsides like feeling too full, or hangovers.

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What do you believe cannabis brands should to do to expand their appeal beyond and recruit the mainstream public?

The biggest opportunity is online. In most of Canada, online shopping is thriving, so for cannabis brands, the internet represents the best way to expand their businesses. The exception is Quebec, where you buy cannabis from the government, like a commodity. Here, the government also wants to sell cannabis in the same places where people buy alcohol. This to me doesn’t make any sense at all; they are completely different things. I believe quality, variety and price will also play a role in winning over new consumers.