The soul of Mother Ganja is a black woman. She is the muse behind D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar” and the bliss heard in Rick James’ classic hit “Mary Jane”. Trish Demesmin, the 35-year-old from Oakland, California, is Mother Ganja personified. In 2016 she started the Women, Weed N Wellness Retreat, an elevated three-day weekend in Coachella Valley, Ca., to create a space for women to let go and let the goddess within them be free. She has hosted over 2,000 women from around the world, and soon she will be celebrating her tenth retreat during Memorial Day Weekend.
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Demesmin moved to Oakland when she was 12-years-old. Her parents divorced when she was eight, but a few years later her mother remarried and her new husband whisked the family across the country for a job in San Jose, California.
“At that time, I absolutely hated the thought of leaving Boston,” Demesmin told High Times. “I cried and cried and cried. Everything [in Oakland] was so different from Boston.”
Six months after moving to the West Coast, Demesmin had her first encounter with cannabis at a local Boys and Girls Club.
“Before my first personal encounter with cannabis, I knew absolutely nothing about it. My mother was very strict and did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. She kept me very sheltered throughout my childhood,” said Demesmin.
Her best friend, who she also considers a big brother, Andre Jackson, was the person who sparked Demesmin’s love for cannabis. “He handed me the blunt and said ‘Hit this’. I didn’t know what it was, but as soon as I took my first hit I knew I had found my new ‘thing’,” Demesmin exclaimed.
“Cannabis has been such a big part of my life since I was 12,” says Demesmin. “It helped me through my depression while being a stay-at-home mom in a new city.”
In 2010 Demesmin moved to Flint, Michigan to have her daughter. Prior to moving, she was running Oaksterdam University in the Bay Area.
“Being a stay-at-home mom for five years in a city where I did not have any friends or blood family was very tough,” Demesmin told High Times. “When I moved back to California in 2015, I was looking for a way to bring women together for a stoner girls slumber party. I was just really missing the connection to other women, and being around other women that smoked as much as I did.”
Demesmin knew that cannabis played a major role in other peoples’ lives, so she went forward with her plans to start the Women, Weed N Wellness Retreat. “I wanted a safe space for women to know that it is ok for you to indulge, relax, and connect with other women [through spirituality, self-love, and self-care]. There were not many places that I knew of where women could smoke, come together, and bond,” she shared.
The cannabis industry has an issue providing space for minorities and women because, as MJBizDaily reports, 81% of the cannabis industry is made up of white owners and founders which makes it increasingly hard for minorities to start businesses, get jobs, and avoid being persecuted. Demesmin understands how important it is for Women of Color to find a community within the cannabis industry, especially with so many stigmas around consumption and being a functional smoker prohibiting them from connecting with the plant, creating sustainable businesses, and economic freedom.
Regardless of the barriers placed on Women of Color in cannabis, Demesmin is proud that she was given a platform to do the work that she loves and create space for other women. “I am exactly where I need to be right now, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Cannabis has always shown me that this is my way to help people. Cannabis is how I save the world,” says Demesmin.
Jackson says that he never thought Demesmin’s first kiss with cannabis would elevate her life in so many ways. “I’m happy I was the first one [to introduce her to marijuana],” shared Jackson. He even jokes that if he was a woman he would definitely be attending the Women, Weed, N Wellness Retreat.
Demesmin’s journey with cannabis has encouraged her to be intentional about self-love because she knows her daughter is watching her every move.
“I knew that I did not want to instill in her the same insecurities and self-doubt that I struggled with all of my life. I knew that I had to shift my energy,” shared Demesmin. “I need her to be greater than me. I had to start doing things that made me feel good and made me happy. In this journey, I have found that the things that make me happy are positive affirmations, time for myself, cannabis, practicing faith, and helping to inspire other women looking to shift their energy and become the best versions of themselves.”
Demesmin’s trust in cannabis illustrates what happens when you awaken to the muse within. Through her relationship with Mother Ganja, she has learned to appreciate the rhythm, magic, bliss, and wisdom that dwells within herself.