Please welcome Weed Queen, Maggie Connors! Maggie Connors is the CEO and founder of besito, a is womxn-founded and queer-led, with a mission to make premium weed products and a space for women, BIPOC, and the LGBTQIA+ community within the industry. We are super excited and grateful Maggie took the time to talk about her journey as a successful woman in the weed world, her efforts in giving back to the community and for sharing great advice.
Check out the interview below, subscribe to our newsletter and share this with someone who might learn a thing or two from this interview with Weed Queen, Maggie Connors of besito.
- How would you describe yourself and what you do?
High! I’m a cannabis entrepreneur in LA passionate about plant medicine. I’ve been in the industry for almost 5 years and believe it’s a huge privilege to follow the activists before us in shaping this legal industry. Beyond running besito, I love to be in nature, hiking, swimming, skiing, and also am always working on keeping my victory garden alive.
- What is besito LA about? What do you guys do?
We’re a small team building the company and weed products of our dreams. We’re all consumers and passionate about quality weed that fits into our lives at a good price point. We’re also dedicated to educating on the racist history of prohibition, and supporting equity in the cannabis industry.
- What makes besito LA unique?
I love that our brand is a direct reflection of who we are, and our products are what we love to smoke. Our 10 lil pre-rolls are packed into a tiny tin that’s perfect for grabbing on your out. We also reinvest 1% of our sales into helping repair the harms caused by the War on Drugs, sponsor and volunteer at National Expungement Week, and showcased some of these stories through our campaign, A Record Shouldn’t Last a Lifetime.
- What’s your favorite part about your job?
Seeing my team take our vision from initial concept to commercialized, METRC tagged product is very gratifying. They’re building products we want to see and the brand is what we stand for. I love seeing our pre-rolls on shelf and knowing that people all over California are enjoying a lil buzz, plus it’s great to have our own supply. Lastly, I’ve always been a believer in infusing purpose and impact into brands and am especially motivated to do that given the history of cannabis prohibition.
- Did you ever expect a career in the cannabis space?
No way! Maybe it was growing up on the east coast, but cannabis was hard to access, magical for me, but sort of ephemeral in my life. It was an inconsistent experience that I never felt agency over. And it was illegal, so definitely never crossed my mind as a career path. It took moving to California in 2014 where it’s so ingrained in culture to realize what could be.It’s incredible how it’s become normalized for me over the last five years here. I love the buying experience and retail innovation, especially thinking about how hard it used to be for me to access cannabis under prohibition. I also came from a product design and consumer products background so was excited to bring a new aesthetic and voice that I felt was missing in the space.
- What has your personal experience with cannabis been?
Great lol. It was introduced to me in party scenes, and was always my preference vs. drinking alcohol. My late twenties was the first time I had reliable and safe access to weed, and therefore the first time I felt like I had agency over my consumption. This allowed me to explore the settings, doses, and times I consumed. Over time my consumption became part of my wellness practice, helping soothe my eczema, my anxiety and dig deeper into my consciousness. But I still love it just to unwind too!
- What inspired you to start your company and when and how did you get started?
Love for the plant, motivation for the mission, and the regulatory inflection point inspired me to build my own company. In 2014 I started by learning as much as I could about the existing business landscape, laws, and medical research. Sounds ridiculous but I tried all the products, got to know the existing brands, and understood the retail side by visiting dispensaries. I also made an effort to meet other folks in the space, especially other womxn. It’s been very special to see how the industry has grown and what people have been able to accomplish the last few years.
- What is your vision and mission for besito LA?
Our vision is to design high quality cannabis products that provide a controlled and fun high to empower our consumers when they’re smoking weed. Our mini pre-rolls are perfect for a quick smoke while sitting in the park or walking your dog. Some folks prefer a few pre-rolls over the evening, but are glad they don’t have to relight an already smoked joint. Our mission is to do our part to build an equitable cannabis industry through our business model and practices.
- Were your family and friends supportive of your venture?
My parents were definitely shocked. They had no idea I enjoyed cannabis, and did not expect me to graduate and work in weed. They’ve come around as they learned more about the plant and the industry, and now I think they like telling their friends about it. At the end of the day my friends and family have been super supportive, including making early investments in my company which is the ultimate honor and one of my biggest drivers.
- Did you ever feel like you weren’t taken seriously because you are a woman?
It’s not that I’m not taken seriously–I come into work situations meaning business and I think that comes off pretty clearly. Instead what I’ve noticed is that I’m often the only woman in a room, and that can change the dynamic. Sometimes I can sense a bit of discomfort in that–do we stop talking about racing horses now? Should I shake her hand or hug her? Is she cool if we smoke? I usually take this upon myself to set the tone, show there’s more in common than not, and get to whatever task is at hand. I see it as an opportunity when it’s so clear that there’s a minority voice in the room, which is something to be respected.
- How/do you think your involvement in this industry is going to positively impact your community?
I’m living my mission of destigmatizing and normalizing cannabis through what I do and who I am. On a bigger level, we’ve built purpose into the besito business by reinvesting in our communities by supporting Black led organizations leading the important work of restorative justice. I also hope my path encourages other POC and womxn to join the industry and shape it with values.
- What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry to date – and how have you overcome it?
It’s a weird thing where everything is both changing quickly and often moving slowly. I’ve seen the journey from pre-legalization through to now, and it’s been difficult to operate above the line as the line was being written. Being part of a huge medical industry that had to adjust to new laws and licenses was often difficult and filled with growing pains, but a privilege to be part of. Patience, grit, and managing my mindset have been the most meaningful ways for me to manage these obstacles. Things in cannabis are changing quickly, but this is a long game, so executing every day while also keeping our vision for the future is the balance we have to strike.
- What’s the biggest change you want to see in the cannabis industry?
Immediate decriminalization to help end the extreme injustice of some folks being sent to prison for cannabis while others are sent to the bank. More companies genuinely committed to revinesting in our communities and in particular creating pathways for Black and brown folks to have equity in the industry. More funding going towards women and POC so that new markets can be served and intergenerational wealth can be created. I’m also excited for overdue robust research on understanding the true medicinal benefits of this plant so that we can finally deschedule THC.
- As a woman, what challenges did you encounter (if any) building your business in a male-dominated industry and how do you plan to create change and inclusiveness for future WOC joining the industry?
My team and our advisors are mostly womxn, so internally it’s a very different vibe. Otherwise I’ve had many great guys’ support across all aspects of my business. Building and maintaining these relationships regardless of gender has made for some great mentors and friends in the industry. By advocating for women and POC in these spaces I hope to break down barriers and open opportunities for more diverse voices to have a seat at the table.
- What would be your best piece of advice for fellow women looking to pursue the cannabis industry?
Jump right in! Cannabis is still a nascent industry and needs more womxn and BIPOC folks shaping it. It’s already a big industry and it’s still growing quickly. There is a place for every woman, no matter the skill set they’re coming in with. Figure out what you’re excited about and meet everyone you can. I love that the industry is still pretty close-knit and am always coaching and connecting new people who want to come on board.
- There’s still a perception or stigma attached to the people involved in the cannabis industry or just consumers that partake in recreational or medical use, as being stoners- if you have encountered this kind of close minded perspective, what would your argument be to shift the conversation to one of the importance of the weed market and why it should be celebrated/normalized?
I am mostly surrounded by cannabis enthusiasts, and it’s such an ingrained part of my life and culture in LA now. I believe it’s on those of us working and participating in the legal industry to provide the facts and truth. There’s been 100 years of propaganda and false information on cannabis in the US. Educating people on the therapeutics benefits, our Endocannabinoid Systems, and medicinal and spiritual side of this plant is how I help destigmatize and encourage folks to reconsider cannabis.
- Do you have any suggestions on how we can help normalize cannabis?
From a macro level I recommend supporting advocacy groups, legislation, and research. But equally important is the individual level, ie having one-on-one conversations where you can share the facts on the plant, the twisted history of prohibition, and the therapeutic benefits cannabis can provide.
- Where can we reach you? IG? Twitter?
- Name 4 of your favorite women in weed that you’d like to give a shout out too.
Key Takeaways from Maggie Connors:
- Make an effort to meet other folks in the space
- Jump right in! Cannabis is still a nascent industry and needs more womxn and BIPOC folks shaping it
- Figure out what you’re excited about and meet everyone you can
- Support advocacy groups, legislation, and research
- Have one-on-one conversations where you can share the facts on the plant, the twisted history of prohibition, and the therapeutic benefits cannabis can provide
Weed Queens wants to thank Maggie Connors, for taking the time to motivate us and for sharing her story, advice and experiences. You can learn more about Maggie Connors and besito LA here and please check out and support their awesome campaign, A Record Shouldn’t Last a Lifetime.
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