TRAILBLAZERS – Talking Cannabis & Politics with Bess Byers

With over 71k followers on Instagram alone, Bess Byers aka @imcannabess is steadily rising to the top as one of America’s biggest cannabis influencers, always with a positive spring in her step and a smile on her face. After meeting for the first time in LA this summer, we couldn’t wait to catch up again and find out her plans for 2018.

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First of all – you seem to have the coolest job in the world! What does a typical day look like for you?

I definitely feel that way, I can’t believe I am a full-time cannabis creative! Even my typical days are a blast. I start my day with social media posts for optimum engagement. Depending on the day, I’m either writing social copy or blogs, coordinating shoots, on shoots, editing photos, at events or following up on emails. I feel like content never stops, and neither do I!

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Congratulations on your Dope Awards nomination! Social media is such a vast landscape – how do you stay grounded?

Thank you! Honestly, I just remember it could go away at any time. Facebook owned Instagram is inconsistent and uncommunicative with their cannabis rules. They’ve deleted major accounts without any explanation. Sure I have my website, but social media platforms have been integral for my ability to connect with the community *knocks on wood*!

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You’ve worked with some incredible brands – what are some of your favorite cannabis products?

It’s tough to pick a favorite! Standouts for me are:

  • Falcanna’s Orange Blossom or Kush Madrona flower for their strong flavor profiles
  • Western Cultured’s Super Lemon Haze wax processed by X-tracted is perfect for a pre-workout boost
  • Goodship’s Sour Cherry Pastilles melt in your mouth to micro or macro dose
  • Mondo’s powder is perfect in smoothies or coffee

 

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What’s one thing that people say about cannabis that you’re sick of hearing?

“It should be taxed.” Even legislation that specifically designates $X million goes to schools, roads, homeless, etc., raises concerns for me. In Washington State, where I live, our laws divvy out revenue to various government agencies, before depositing the remaining funds into accounts that matter — healthcare and the community. Additionally, taxes increase the cost of doing business. Those costs are then passed on to the consumer, which only perpetuates the black market. Let’s acknowledge the cannabis industry creates jobs, which in turn fuels the economy, and let a truly free market thrive.

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We’re seeing immense positive changes in the industry, but there’s still a lot of problems and legal grey areas that businesses are struggling with, that regular people just aren’t aware of. How can people educate themselves more, and help influence their local communities and politicians?

Read your state and local legislation. It’s difficult and confusing, but the more you read the easier it gets. Think about ways to simplify your findings and communicate them with peers. Also make your voice heard. Call your politicians. Post on their social pages. Utilize your freedom of speech.

Speaking of politics, what are some topics that you feel passionate about?

In the cannabis realm I’m passionate about repealing the IRS’s 280E and allowing gun rights for medical patients. Outside of cannabis, I’m passionate about freedom, liberty and limited government. Our country is $20 trillion in debt. We’ve been at war for 16 years. Social Security is projected to be depleted by 2034. The American system is broken and I’m sick of paying into it. My political philosophy is “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”

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You’ve visited some beautiful places – what are some things you always bring with you when exploring nature?

My Nikon D810 is always in tow. I usually carry my Osprey backpack loaded with RAW cones, tons of flower (usually Falcanna or Lazy Bee Gardens), a grinder, several lighters and at least a couple outfit changes. Water, a flashlight, trail mix and mace are essential when you’ve got the munchies or hike back after dusk.

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2017 looked like an awesome year for you – what are some of your favorite moments?

I can’t believe how much happened in 2017! In January the video smoking with my dad went viral. In April I turned 30 and by May I’d started a new job. I photographed Bethany smoking weed with a falcon and interviewed the first service member on active duty to receive a medical marijuana recommendation. I attended my first Emerald Exchange and MJ Biz Con! 2017 might be winding down but 2018 is already picking up.

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What are your plans for next year? Any plans to visit Europe?!

I don’t want to say too much, but will hint video, e-commerce and international travel are in my plans for next year!

Click here to vote for Bess to win Dope Magazine’s Cannabis Social Media Influencer of the Year!

Images courtesy of Bess Byers | Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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