Discover more from Pipe Dreams By The Weed Witch
Louisiana Weed Witches, Swamp Queens & The Spirit of the Bayou
A chat with Olivia Alexander of Kush Queen Co.
This is Pipe Dreams by The Weed Witch, a newsletter, podcast, idea sampler platter and content wildcard featuring stream-of-consciousness tales and divine wisdom from free-thinking societal outliers, a.k.a. the weed witches.
Just like NPR, content for this newsletter is viewer-supported thanks to folks like you, along with limited affiliate links from vetted partners to ensure quality, original content. Upgrade now to a paid subscription for the full experience.
Louisiana exists as a cultural dichotomy: not-so-subtly thriving between the extremes. A place as rich in culture as it is lacking in resources, the vibrancy of New Orleans often has the shinier face of tourism as the boozy temptress that lures with two distinctive culinary traditions (Creole and Cajun) seemingly suspended in time amidst the French Creole architecture, the Yat drawl, its storied and haunting history. The way it prevails through its colorful traditions as its interwoven landscape of backwoods and bayous is consistently in the throes of climatic chaos.
Yet, its future lies within its past: the deep roots of cannabis history embedded within the grit of American counterculture somehow escaping the contemporary conversations of reefer madness, including its ties to jazz, black culture, spirituality, witchcraft, and multi-generational plant medicine healers.
“My grandmother always said we were witches now, there's nothing to prove,” says Olivia Alexander, CEO of Kush Queen. “I was born in Louisiana, my family's from Louisiana. We're the only people in our family who have ever left. I love being from there. There's so much food and amazing culture and history and cannabis history.”
This week’s Pipe Dreams brings a different type of “South by Southwest” connectivity through a thriving Los Angeles wellness brand shining a light on her Louisiana roots.
Kush Queen first landed on my radar during a heavy self-care phase in early 2019. The CBD bath bomb brand had just lined up a pretty perfect collaboration with fashion powerhouse, Alice + Olivia. Balt salts and bath bombs weren’t new, but finding either with dispensary-worthy quality was something worth talking about.
Since then, the Los Angeles-based brand has grown substantially in both in its cannabis and wellness offerings, including THC and CBD topicals, edibles, elixirs, tinctures, and currently on board for the future of psychedelics. But that doesn’t mean the path to success was easy. Alexander’s business might be in California, but her heart is in Louisiana. That’s why she’s giving back.
Long before launching a multi-million dollar, multifaceted brand specializing in CBD and THC-infused products, Olivia spent her formative years in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley—an ecologically devastated stretch of land dubbed of its concentration of petrochemical facilities. It seems fated that Olivia’s cannabis brand would become a consumer-friendly, accessible link between the plant medicine currently on the forefront of scientific advancements helping cancer patients.
For Alexander, her latest line of Swamp Queen products, the Spirit of the Bayou is an ode to her Louisiana roots. From mixing essential oils with her mom to launching a national brand through a journey of healing. During the pandemic, Olivia Alexander took to social media to speak out about everything, really. Her experience living with bipolar, transitioning off pharmaceuticals, championing for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, being vocal and open about having an abortion, and other hard hitting topics.
“I've been on this crazy journey with psychedelics with cannabis, my own journey of healing. Yeah, I get high—of course I do. But it's about healing. It's about treating my bipolar disorder, a bunch of inner child work, therapy and trauma healing, and really thinking long and hard about what was driving me. Then, we made these experiential products that we hope transform people to their own place, from the inside out.”
As her success grew, carving her own path with an award-winning line of bath bombs, pain relief lotions, edibles, wellness supplements, and skincare took off meant dealing with the inevitable: industry drama and backbiting from friends-turned-haters. Instead of backing down, she decided to lean in and use it to her advantage.
“One of my childhood friends turned into one of my biggest haters sent a barrage of hateful messages to me. The day that I was on the cover of the weekend edition of the LA Times, she said, ‘You’re white trash and your brand should be called swamp queen.’ We were sitting around laughing and we we’re like, ‘It’s actually a brilliant idea. Let's fucking do it.’ And that's how it was born.”
And thus, a Louisiana Weed Witch becomes a bonafide Swamp Queen.
Here on this week’s podcast installation of Pipe Dreams, Olivia Alexander gets real about growing up in Louisiana and her modern connection to its powerful history, the magic behind her fast-selling Spirit of the Bayou brand with a bath bomb engineered to smell like fresh rainwater, finding life after pharmaceuticals in the world of cannabis, and her perfect vision for the ultimate Kush Queen canna-spa.
FAQ: "How Do I Make Weed More Equitable?”
Interested in helping to right the wrongs of the past towards a more equitable future for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ forerunners? Check out these organizations;
The Last Prisoner Project: Let’s get people out of jail for minor cannabis crimes and help reform the War on Drugs.
Cage Free Cannabis: Make sure your weed is doing some good to the environment, economy and repairing communities.
Cannaclusive: Calling for racial justice in corporate cannabis.
Women Grow: Creating safe, inclusive pathways for women in weed.
Welcome to the The Weed Witch coven. If you fell down the wrong rabbit hole, click here in order to unsubscribe. If you love it, consider upgrading to a paid subscription.