by Melody Bathaee, TPL Production Assistant
Photo by Ariana Drehsler for San Diego Magazine
Before cannabis became legal for medical use in 39 states and the District of Columbia and for adult non-medical use in 21 states, the plant was surrounded by stigma. Times are changing, as is often discussed here at Cannabitch, but a persistent narrative has remained attached to some people in the same way its smell lingers on clothing. Participating in recreational use, however much or little, has earned patrons some pretty lame nicknames, like “stoner,” “pothead,” and “druggie,” and inspired annoying tropes, like being compared to Cheech and Chong.
Still, with an ever-growing number of cannabis farms, distributors, and consumers across the country, the use of the once-taboo product is becoming more mainstream. Some even claim weed inspires them and helps them achieve their goals.
This is exactly how San Diego local Ricky Williams, founder of cannabis company Highsman, shaped his brand’s message prior to its launch in 2021. In the debut episode of The Plant Lady, San Diego Magazine managing editor and long-time cannabis reporter Jackie Bryant sits down with the former NFL running back to chat about the newest developments with Highsman–a clever play on words intermingling sports lingo with the names of his cannabis products. It’s also a quick flex on his Heisman trophy win while playing for the Texas Longhorns.
The Plant Lady features guests who touch on various aspects of cannabis culture and business at a pivotal time in the history of legalization. A cannabis consumer herself, Jackie also seeks to dismantle the prevailing stigma surrounding marijuana use by opening up the conversation to those who feel similarly.
Williams is emphatic about the positive impact cannabis had on his day-to-day throughout the past two decades, which led him to create Highsman. In this episode, he says the brand stands more for the message of appreciating greatness over anything else. His introduction to the herb as part of his wellness routine eventually paved the way for the brand’s mission today: to grow the best weed and help people catch a vibe.
Williams also credits having completed the Ganjier program, which is basically a sommelier-type certification for cannabis, with enlightening him to better cultivation practices, like with living soil, which he believes results in better quality cannabis, a better smoke, and, therefore, better overall wellness.
“I’m obsessed with my mental health,” Williams says on the show. “Because I know no matter how much success I’m having in my job, in my work, if I’m not right with myself, I can’t enjoy any of it … In the same way if my whole life is falling apart, but I’m OK with myself, I can enjoy the adventure.”
Riding the lows became a little bit easier once Williams realized being in touch with himself is the number one way to ensure his own sense of inner stability. He realized this “magic moment” when he first discovered cannabis during college. He thought it could be additive to his life. He talks about how he knew from then on out that weed would supplement his journey to personal growth, as it continues to do so today.
A longtime consumer, Williams possesses a seasoned knowledge of what cannabis offers as a “tool” to connect people to the parts of themselves otherwise unreached. In addition to his work on Highsman, he’s also a professional astrologer, providing readings via his app, LILA. He mentions that cannabis and astrology exist in a feedback loop for him, with the introspection provided by one feeding his understanding of the other.
After existing only in California for the last year, Highsman recently launched in Arizona with Abundant Organics and Trulieve. To stay up-to-date on product launches, events, and developments, follow @highsman on Instagram and @Highsman34 on Twitter. You can find Jackie at @jacqbry on Instagram, @jacqbryant on Twitter, and also at @sandiegomag.