Becoming the Jersey Plant Babe
She was born in Portugal and raised in the Ironbound section of Newark. Rita has had to fight against the stigma of being a recreational cannabis consumer in her tight-knit community.
When a loved one became ill, she saw the power of the plant beyond getting high, and her relationship with cannabis changed.
No longer would she be a secret stoner. Rita shifted her perspective on cannabis and how consumption played a role in her life. Stuck in an unsatisfying career, she took action. Rita made it her mission to help people engage in mindful cannabis consumption. Thus, she became a New Jersey cannabis entrepreneur.
The first step of her journey to becoming the Jersey Plant Babe was to complete training through the Cannabis Coaching Institute and become a certified coach.
Since then, as a New Jersey cannabis entrepreneur, she has launched a steadily growing coaching business, partnered with the Rowan University SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) to provide education around mindful cannabis consumption, and hosted sold-out educational workshops. Rita has likely inspired other cannabis entrepreneurs in New Jersey.
Also she has joined the management team at the soon-to-open Natural Apothecary dispensary in Belleville in Essex County.
She is breaking down barriers, deleting stigmas, increasing awareness around the positive impacts of cannabis, and helping shape the face of cannabis in New Jersey.
What role does cannabis play in your life?
Cannabis is my go-to in my life toolkit, always ready to lend a helping leaf *hehe* in various situations. When the blues hit hard, it’s there, keeping the lows at bay and ensuring I can navigate the rollercoaster of life. In moments of boredom and monotony, cannabis turns them into full-blown adventures, transforming the mundane into the magnificent.
During celebrations, it turns the vibes up a notch. In the darkest hours, when life seems like it’s throwing its worst at me, cannabis steps in as a stress reliever. Physically, when my body feels like it’s turning against me, cannabis brings a sense of ease, making me feel like my own ally again.
Let’s not forget the parenting journey because being a mom isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Cannabis injects patience and fun into those moments when wrangling little ones feels more like a circus act.
When motivation wanes, and tasks seem too hard, cannabis becomes the motivational coach I never knew I needed. It’s a pat on the back, a whispered, “You got this,” encouraging me to tackle the challenging aspects of life. Cannabis is there to celebrate the victories, big or small.
In its versatility, cannabis has played a multifaceted role in my life. It’s not just a plant. It’s a companion, a mood-shifter, and a source of support in the diverse seasons of my existence. Cheers to cannabis, the ultimate tool in this adventure called life!
How do you want to affect the cannabis narrative?
I’m aiming to give this fantastic plant the reputation it deserves through the power of education and responsible consumption. Navigating the cannabis landscape without a user manual is often where the stigma comes from. But adapting and being more mindful can change the perceptions of others about cannabis. By making responsible choices and sharing that knowledge, we can turn this into a positive and wellness-focused narrative.
Why is cannabis worth it?
It has this incredible ability to be a life-changer. I’ve seen it work wonders in my own life, my family’s journey, and among my clients. It’s genuinely beautiful to witness how a plant, something so organic and unassuming, can be a catalyst for positive change.
The fact that the journey to better well-being can be as simple as rolling a joint or enjoying an edible is like nature’s way of saying, “Hey, life can be hard AF, but I’ve got your back.”
What do you think is the most common misconception about cannabis?
The most common misconception about cannabis is often tied to the assumption that its primary purpose is to get high. While, yes, cannabis does have that capability if that’s what you’re after, it’s far more versatile than believed.
The key lies in mindfulness—being intentional about your consumption. Cannabis is like a multi-tool with a variety of effects. You have the power to tailor your experience based on your desired outcome. Want relaxation? Check. Seeking focus? Absolutely. Hoping for a creative boost? You got it.
To unlock this versatility, though, !education is vital. Understanding the different strains, their cannabinoid profiles, and the impact of various consumption methods empowers you to curate an experience that aligns with your intentions.
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, my proudest professional accomplishment revolves around the success of selling out workshops and webinars. It’s more than just a numerical achievement. It’s a powerful validation of the impact and relevance of my work.
The fact that these events reach capacity isn’t just about numbers; it’s a testament to a growing community of individuals actively seeking a deeper, more mindful connection with their cannabis use. It tells me that there’s a genuine hunger for understanding, a desire to engage in a more intentional and informed way.
What’s the secret to success as a New Jersey cannabis entrepreneur?
Being genuine. Do everything with intention and for the greater good of the community. Stay true to yourself, your message, and your path, even when it’s not popular.
When did you realize that working with cannabis as Jersey Plant Babe was the right career choice for you?
When I knew that I could make an impact, people began reaching out to me to feel heard and understood on their cannabis journey. The things I speak about are not always discussed by cannabis advocates looking to destigmatize this incredible plant.
While breaking down the stigma that surrounds cannabis is crucial, we must also acknowledge the challenges and complexities that some individuals face in their relationship with the plant.
There’s a significant void in the conversation for those actively working to understand the role of cannabis in their lives. These individuals are committed to using cannabis in a way that enhances their daily lives, striving to become the best version of themselves.
Recognizing that there are people on this journey seeking community and support, I realized that this is my calling. To foster a space where individuals can share, learn, and grow together.
What could help someone feel more comfortable on their first dispensary trip?
Do your research and check the inventory online! Check out the dispensary’s website to review their inventory, make notes and a list of products you think you might enjoy. Knowing what’s on the menu beforehand can help you sidestep the stress of feeling rushed or making impulse decisions.
What’s the most effective way to destigmatize cannabis?
Education! The more you know the facts, the more you use cannabis in a way that truly enhances all aspects of your life, the more it changes the stigma around cannabis.
If you consume, what’s your preferred method?
I was a flower girl for a long time. But lately, I prefer edibles. They are just so easy and convenient. I’m especially excited for the release of ButACake strips! I’ve never had something like that and I’m super looking forward to their release.
By Shannon Lyon