The Epitome Of Ganjaprenuership: Mama Sailene
For those of you who don't know, Mama Sailene is a force to be reckoned with in the cannabis community. As an industry veteran, Sailene's name rings bells amongst many on the social media scene as being a beautiful middle-aged woman who enjoys medicating and spreading positive vibes. However, her reputation and involvement in the cannabis community goes back as many as three decades. Sailene knows the top notch farmers to get the best of the best cannabis, she throws cannabis parties like no other and she advocates for marijuana day in and day out.
Taking it back, Sailene recalls a cousin of hers introducing her to cannabis. "As early on as those formative years [12-13 years old], I remember my cousin coming over to my house and saying 'Hey, do you wanna try this?' Very early on, I had a great resonance to it. Anytime the herb was around, that's where I wanted to be." As a young adult, she realized that cannabis balanced her focus, relaxed her, and also helped her become more interactive. She admits to mostly steering of alcohol during her younger years.
At 19 years old, Sailene was involved in a nearly fatal car accident in which she broke almost every bone in her body. "I was driving, it was before the seat belt law. And I was in like a very small Honda Civic, it was really tiny." But through tragedy, she felt graced with blessings of not having to have her foot amputated and not becoming a paraplegic for the rest of her life, both of which her doctors foresaw happening. Along with the love of her family and friends to help her through such a detrimental time in her life, she also was reassured about her cannabis use and inspired to continue. "Learning from that respiratory therapist in that hospital that the cannabis I was using at home was just as much medicine as the stuff that he was pumping into my lungs... Afterwards, in my recovery, I never took any pain pills. I never took any Tylenol or Advil, I only smoked my cannabis." And to this day, Mama Sailene is still anti-pharmaceutical.
As time progressed, she became so enticed with cannabis that her love for having it around became more than she could afford. "I would be able to afford the 'schwag' [low grade] weed. The 'ca ca-boo boo' that's brown and has lots of seeds and stuff." She laughs at how terrible the quality was but realistically states that during that time, that "crap" was Ok for her friends and their tolerance level. "And I could buy it in bulk so that they would get a good deal and I would still make money. Enough to buy the really good, 'just brought down from Humboldt' weed." Her newfound business granted her with many friends who became clients (and visa versa) and the beginning of relationships with growers.
Fast forward to the 90's, Sailene found herself running her friend's coffee shop in Venice Beach after graduating from college with a degree in marketing. "What was supposed to be 6 months turned into 4 years, and i loved it! I became the kind of unofficial mayor of Venice Beach, which means I knew everyone. So every Friday, when they needed their herbs, their medicine, they came to me." Sailene continued making product being the cities prime pot provider but as a true ganjaprenuer, she wanted to segway from working inside of the coffee shop. She opened her own catering business as well as a delivery service.
One call at a time, she soon had her pager blowing up! She employed four girls to help with her deliveries and unbeknowst to her, Sailene and her Hot Wheels Delivery Service became the first all female cannabis delivery company on the West Side of Los Angeles in the early 2000's. In the midst of growing both her delivery service and catering business, she also started a turn-key business where her employees basically stole money and of course, had to be held accountable. To lessen their punishment, the snitches ratted out Sailene's delivery service.
A police sting operation began and the focus was Sailene and her four delivery drivers. So obviously, Sailene sought out the for legal aid and she was eventually lead to her attorney, Eric Shevin. She decribes Shevin to be a great man with an extreme passion for the cannabis plant who told her, "You are the Florence Nightingale of cannabis. You are out there spreading love all day long. This is your mission, what you truly believe. You shouldn't be penalized for what you believe." She said he told her, "So guess what, you're in California. You're not in Alabama. If you comply to the rules and do it this way, you can have your own collective, manage your own patients/friends, and everyone's gonna be fine."
While her lawyers words of advice inspired and drove her to continue including cannabis in her career, she hit a bit of a dilemma having to serve community service and pay fines. When she was ready to get back to business, her delivery drivers were unwilling to participate and she was losing clients due to the amount of storefront dispensaries that were popping up all over Los Angeles County. But, the delays were just that - one by one, her clients came back and she hired new drivers. Nine years later, she now operates under a different company name and serves clients seven days a week from noon until 8PM.
Shortly after she began complying with California state laws, Sailene decided to sell her half of her catering business to her chef business. "I said you know what, you take this. I don't wanna do catering anymore. I just wanna focus purely on cannabis. Now that I can do this legally, I'm gonna take it to another level." With no more catering business and her drivers in control of deliveries, she was able to do more advocating for the cannabis plant.
Most of you are familiar with Mama Sailene from her segment on MerryJane.com, Smoke In The Kitchen with Mama Sailene. This was just one example of her advocacy for the cannabis plant. She was presented with the opportunity through a patient of hers who was working in production with Merry Jane as it was in its initial stages. "He said, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa are producing this new online show and they really wanna help raise the consciousness of the cannabis culture and bring another platform to it, not just a stoner platform." And who could say no to that? Next thing she knew, she was the host of the cooking segment that focused on pairing cannabis with food but also educate people about strains and how they can influence our day to day actions." She ended up shooting a year's worth a material with Merry Jane, met some amazing individuals and this is where she was dubbed Mama Sailene.
Her concern about becoming more present in the cannabis community was always a concern. Sailene stayed away from creating an online presence up until this point to avoid any unnecessary attention that she already had to deal with in absences of the social media fame. In speaking with her lawyer, Sailene questioned and explained, "How can I use that presence, that platform, my voice, to be an advocate for this gorgeous plant? It's a year before we're going to actually vote and make it legal. I have been in this prohibition my entire life, I don't wanna be shameful about this anymore, I'm trying to change that stigma." Her expressed concerns coincided with another one of her lawyer's clients, Olivia Alexander, Ariel Clark, and their friend Leah.
Soon after meeting, the four ladies formed Elevate LA with intentions of bringing the cannabis community together, raise the experience of cannabis and be a more organic, fun environment to network and build relationships. Their first event was put together without ever having physically met each other but somehow, successfully hosted 600 people. "And we pulled it off," she said with a smile. "And we had people saying 'this is the best cannabis party we've ever been to!' People from Colorado and Washington and Oregon and Nevada. We were like wow!"
After the first Elevate LA party and just before the first Smoke In The Kitchen episode aired, Mama Sailene realized she needed that social media presence she had been avoiding this entire time. Her first choice: Olivia Alexander. She didn't have a clue what she was doing when it came to social media but Sailene knew that Olivia was an expert. With Olivia in control of her social media, Sailene is just under 45K followers in just one year of being on Instagram.
Let's do a quick recap: She started off as a cannabis patient herself, using marijuana to rehabilitate her injuries after a nearly fatal car accident. She then became somewhat of a black market drug dealer turned legit ganjaprenuer with a legal cannabis delivery service. She was the face of a popular segment on Merry Jane and she is the co-owner of Elevate LA. Is there anything this woman can't do?
"I don't have to do this," Sailene tells us, "I want to do this. This is something that I wake up every morning totally inspired to show up for this plant." In August 2016, Sailene was asked to speak on a women's panel called the Ganja Goddess Getaway about women, their role in cannabis and how they want to participate in the industry. In the same day, Merry Jane called to inform her of a request to have her host a cannabis party for a very well known music mogul. The day she hosted that party, she drove up the central coast of California to speak at the Ganja Goddess Getaway women's retreat. As a result of speaking on the panel, experiencing the two day-one night getaway and vibing with the women, Sailene became the SoCal representative and co-owner of the Ganja Goddess Getaway. She is responsible for bringing the southern California vibes to the event which is hosted primarily by women from NorCal.
These two opportunities helped her realize, "There is a niche, when [Prop] 64 is passed, within people and my clientele," she explained. "I have really high end patients. That's why they have me. They can't be seen going into a storefront dispensary. They can't be compromised, whoever they are: a doctor, a CEO, a celebrity, a lawyer, a pharmacist, a teacher. They can't be seen going into a dispensary, sorry, they could lose their job. Until we change that stigma!" Hence, the birth of Privée Social Club. Both Sailene and Olivia Alexander provide this social club for those high end clientele who want to throw parties with a cannabis presence but who also want to learn more about what they're consuming. "Now it's not illegal, lets talk about it," she says. "I want to teach them, I want to take the time, I want to build a relationship with our members. They have 24 hour access to our knowledge of finding that sweet spot for you." Privée Social Club differs from dispensaries because not only do they provide top of the line, lab tested products but they take the time to learn about you as well as educate you about all of the aspects of cannabis. "Let me talk to you about low dosing, let me teach you about topicals, let me tell you about nanotechnology," she explains. Purve Social Club provides the ultimate cannabis experience.
With all of her endeavors, we were pleased to learn that her drive has not stopped yet! Sailene has dreams of one day owning her own wellness center. "My very biggest dream," she said, "is to have my own resort/spa/wellness center where people can come from all over the world who want to be supported in alternative cannabis therapies." One thing she hasn't done, though, is be a chef. To many of our surprises, Mama Sailene was never a chef, just a lover of food. Her gig on Merry Jane did call for her to be an on screen chef, however, she affirmed us that she was just a host, never a chef.
If Mama Sailene's passion for the cannabis plant isn't evident, you must be hiding under a rock. This woman has lived through the prohibition of marijuana like we all have but she has taken the lemons and made lemon kush while walking on eggshells to abide by state and federal laws. She was brought to tears of joy explaining, "I want to show people that they can live their dream, their dream life, loud and proud and not be ashamed of how they live their life. You're still getting out there, you're still so productive, and you're consuming as you go all day long. And that brings me to my greatest joy that I can be bringing inspiration by just being authentically me."