This week b.Blunt sits down with #girlboss Michelle Patton, founder of Mary Jane Soirees, a event planning company that executes elegant and swanky weed parties for both cannasseurs and the cannacurious.
Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us about yourself, what’s your story?
HI! I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, where great food, unique experiences and entertainment are the norm. I worked events at a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills for 15 years but craved something new and progressive. I founded Mary Jane Soirees in 2018, when California legalized recreational marijuana. I wanted to use my gift for entertaining to do something creative and cutting edge that would make a difference, and the cannabis movement seemed like a natural fit.
How long have you been in the cannabis game?
I began using medical marijuana in 2013. After years of debilitating pain, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic arthritis in my knee and wrist, resulting from injuries I sustained from a severe car accident in college. I didn’t want to go on opioids, and prescription strength ibuprofen was tearing up my stomach.
I started with cbd tinctures and noticed an immediate difference in the swelling and pain. Over time, I noticed other positive effects, like a reduction in my anxiety. It was then that I started studying the benefits of the entire plant.
I find that many people are misinformed about cannabis use. There is a lot of innovation, especially technologically. Even the beloved Willie Nelson has moved to vaporizing. The fact is, you don’t have to smell like a doobie and giggle uncontrollably while using cannabis. However, that is fun too.
As I began being honest about my use with family and friends, I noticed there was a lot of canna-curiosity, and I wanted to help educate and erase the stigma associated with cannabis use. I started doing little garden soirees for my friends, where I would share the basics, and we would try a variety of products and methods of consumption.
Mary Jane 101 is a huge component of our events. Passionate brand ambassadors and other industry leaders enjoy educating people about the benefits and responsible use of cannabis; therefore, it’s my job to know the audience and to tailor MJ101 to each group’s unique needs.
How did you come up with the idea for your brand Mary Jane Soirees and what attracted you to the cannabis industry?
I was intrigued by the cannabis movement and wanted to bring people together in entertaining and informative ways. I think a well thought out event can be a one of a kind experience when you incorporate cannabis. When consumed responsibly, it allows people to be more authentic, creative and open. I also wanted to help normalize cannabis use by making it classy, without being pretentious.
How would you describe your brand and services to someone who’s new to cannabis?
I think there is a huge portion of the population who is canna-curious. I am enthusiastic about sharing what I’ve learned with others. It’s safer and healthier than alcohol and can be tailored for any situation. We incorporate both psychoactive and non-psychoactive products into our soirees so there is something for everyone.
At our Signature Soirees guests can expect to mingle with attendees and sponsors at our low odor canna bar, before being seated. We have Budtenders, experts and brand ambassadors on hand to educate and monitor dosage, as each individual guest will have their own unique tolerance to cannabis. We have musicians and artists we work with who reflect the theme of each event, and we include a community art piece. Our Soirees are intimate, and everyone will eventually be seated at a long family style table. We generally work with a limited menu instead of a course dinner, which is served family style. Ambassadors will discuss their products and pairings with food and mocktails. I find that this style allows for more interactions among the guests than a course dinner. After dinner, there is a dessert bar and after dinner, mocktails. At this point, I unleash the stupid yard games. I think it’s important for people to connect these days, and nothing does it better than a game of lawn bowling, cornholing or croquet.
It’s my job to make sure people walk away feeling inspired by their experience. I have succeeded if everyone leaves feeling empowered by creative and forward-thinking strangers that they now consider friends.
In your opinion what is the biggest challenge in the cannabis industry right now, specifically for women? What motivates you to keep going?
The biggest challenge is the stigma associated with cannabis use. There is a beautiful women’s movement within the cannabis community, but I believe there is more bias toward women who consume cannabis.
Our mission is to facilitate the normalization of cannabis use through both entertaining and educational events. There are so many vendors creating amazing products that they are passionate about sharing.
It would benefit the canna-community greatly to think outside the cannabis movement. We are dedicated to reaching out to businesses and organizations outside the cannabis community. It’s much harder to reach out to outside businesses and organizations. We are also dedicated to community outreach programs, particularly for senior citizens and veterans.
What can someone expect during one of your events, why would someone utilize this type service?
I would like everyone to feel as if they were attending a quaint soiree at a close friend’s house. It’s an intimate and engaging experience with like-minded and authentic people.
How did you get introduced to cannabis, and is it a part of your everyday life?
I think a friend’s sister gave me a puff off her joint at 15. I smoked some in college, but not regularly. I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life. I thought it was normal, until I discovered medical cannabis as an adult, in 2013.
I begin my day with a cbd tincture (Sweet Jane 20:1). Later in the day, I might take a hit off a vape pen. Right now, I have Brass Knuckles Abracadabra loaded, but I also like Bloom Brand. At night I like a strain called PR80; it has about 5% CBD. Lately I ‘ve vaped Decca 8 and a 1:1 ratio CBD/THC concentrate at night, and I am sleeping like a baby. There are times when I don’t use at all. I don’t like building up too much of a tolerance, and some research shows that heavy cannabis use can influence your hormones. I have attended several amazing events and find that I’m a bit of a light weight.
How would you characterize your use of marijuana, recreational or medicinal?
I began as a medicinal user, but I have enjoyed using it recreationally as well. I love creating experiences for recreational users. Recreational use is the sharing of marijuana experiences, and that’s what we are promoting.
Where are you located? What’s the weed scene like there?
We are in Los Angeles. I’ve attended many events throughout the city. Each one has found their unique niche…meaning something that evolved through a passion. There is White Rabbit High Tea, -*which does the most amazing, Alice and Wonderland themed, high tea. Weed Bar LA has an amazing Shabbat they do every year, and Grassfed LA does a burlesque show about the prohibition of cannabis. Responsible use is great with friends or strangers.
Do you have a favorite cannabis related story or memory?
I was nervous about how my family in Texas would react to my cannabis use. I found that they were more curious than judgmental. Several people in my family deal with chronic pain issue, so I hope Texas will find its way to legalization. My hope is to eventually bring Mary Jane Soirees to Texas.
How can you be reached?
We can be reached through our website www.maryjanesoirees.com.