Lindsay Heighes, also known as The Traveling Stoner, doesn’t come from a place where cannabis is outright legal. So it’s no wonder that the Florida native would want to espouse the wonders of cannabis on the road, instead of staying bound to a state where the plant is stigmatized—and until recently—outright criminalized. The Traveling Stoner is a blogger, photographer, and influencer, whose audience is constantly growing. She agreed to chat with CULTURE about her presence on social media.
How did you get started as a cannabis influencer?
In 2015 I was living in Florida going to college to get my English degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. I was hanging out with my now-boyfriend Chris, and we were discussing cannabis and the entire culture around it. He showed me that there were tons of people online who were advocating for cannabis and explaining about the medicinal benefits. We joked around about me starting my own page and educating people on this taboo subject. At first I was against the idea, but the more we chatted about unique ways for me to get involved in the industry I was hooked. That day TheTravelingStoner was born and I’d forever be a cannabis consumer in the public eye.
How did you go about cultivating your social media following?
At first I had no idea what I was doing. I had barely understood social media myself on a personal level. I spent months on end reading every article and journal on social media and analytics that I could find. When I began TheTravelingStoner, Instagram was a whole different applications; we had chronological order and the algorithm was so much simpler. I’ve used apps and websites over the years to help evolve my knowledge on the ever changing ways of the algorithm. I will tell you that I have put way more hours than I’d like to admit into this, however I am so proud of all that I have been able to accomplish because I’m self-taught.
How has your work as a cannabis influencer affected your professional life?
After starting the Instagram account I decided that after I finished college I would move to a legal state and try to get a more hands on experience in the industry. I moved to Colorado in December of 2015 and have been involved in the cannabis industry for almost three years now! Through TheTravelingStoner my professional life has become all about cannabis.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work as a cannabis advocate and influencer?
Honestly I really hope that people start to see the benefits that this plant can bring instead of focusing on the propaganda and outdated information about it. I was guilty of believing that weed was bad and shouldn’t be consumed. But after trying it and consuming it over a long period of time I can truly say that my life and health are better for it. I believe that everybody should have that same opportunity, to experience the medicinal benefits of this amazing plant.