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The Cannabis Community Embraces “Cannabess”



[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]C[/dropcap]annabis photographer, world traveler and boss business lady, Cannabess (real name Bess Byers) is a woman who wears many hats. One hat that fell on her head by chance, and now fits like a crown, is cannabis influencer. The Seattle, Washington-based cannabis industry celebrity has a robust social media following, and works with cannabis brands in Washington state and beyond. CULTURE caught up with Cannabess to see how this glorious persona came to be.

How did you get started as a cannabis influencer?

It was kind of by accident. I’d been working on a grow for about eight months up in Arlington [Washington]. Doing everything from cloning, to selling, to social media. And I started doing more lifestyle editorial type stuff. When I shared it on my personal account, I noticed that it performed really well and that the community was really receptive to that kind of concept. So I’d been trying to figure out how to not bombard my personal account with weed pictures. So I needed to come up with a second page but what do I call it?


I was thinking about it thinking about it, and I was in LA on a Tinder date and I ended up swiping right on this guy because he was in the industry and I thought he might be a good connection. Within the first maybe 20 minutes, he was like “Do people call you Cannabess?” And I was like “Errr, no, but they’re about to!” From there I started my page and it just took off pretty quick. The community was so welcoming. High Times reposted me within the first month of having my account. And it kind of went from there.

How did you go about cultivating your social media following?

I wouldn’t even call it cultivating, it was more just me doing what I love and incorporating weed into it. If you go to my personal account, for years I’ve been shooting photos of travel, and fashion, and that kind of stuff. I used to do street style for refinery29, I lived in Beijing, China and did landscape, fashion, hiking, exploring and all kinds of that stuff; I love it. Really my personal page is me just doing me and smoking weed. Other ways that I’ve helped grow my profile are connecting with other people in the community. Influencers, photographers, brands, even companies that are outside of the weed industry, but are brands that I love. I will just reach out and ask “Hey, help me normalize cannabis.” People have been receptive to it.

How has your work as a cannabis influencer affected your professional endeavors?

Before I was in the cannabis industry I was really passionate about the economy in the national debt, political issues and fiscal issues. I never imagined that someday I’d be working for myself full-time doing social media, photography, marketing, and digital for legal cannabis companies. It’s been awesome to see it all just come together. Quitting my job to start my own company was kind of nerve-wracking, it was a real leap of faith. To have all these people wanting to work together on projects. Whether it’s campaigns on my own channel or through my agency Blaise Creative, it’s amazing.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work as a cannabis advocate and influencer?

I would like to turn my influence more into action. I want to see that as legalization spreads that it benefits the patients and small farmers and it’s not just about corporate money and big pharma coming in and taking over. I want to see legalization, but I want to see it happened in a good way. I see people on comment thread say things like who cares about what the legislation says we just need to get it passed, and I’m like “No, no, no!” We need to look at things like taxation and where the revenue is going, and that we are allowing good medicine and product to enter the market. So I hope to turn my influence into action in that way.





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