Mama Sailene Talks Delivery, Medicine and Radical Self-Love
Marley Natural sat down with industry legend Mama Sailene at her home in Venice Beach. She rolled joints with our STUDIO line and loaded bowls in our new Smoked Glass. During it all, Mama talked cannabis as medicine, ganja getaways and the importance of practicing radical self-love.
Thank you so much for taking time to participate in Marley Natural’s blog. You are an inspiration to the cannabis community — from Abbot’s Habit and your delivery service to now the Ganja Goddess Getaways. Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you get into the cannabis industry?
‘Cause it’s my life. I’m a California girl. Because I always gravitated towards it. It brings me great joy to show up for this plant. It started with a love for cannabis. I never dug alcohol.
As a young adult, I was in a very serious car accident. I broke a lot of bones — my second vertebrae, my neck, ribs, a compound fracture in my leg... It’s a miracle I’m not a quadriplegic. I was on a respirator and couldn’t breathe because there was fluid between my lung and ribcage. I couldn’t move because I had this thing holding up my head. A nurse around every few hours to help me cough so I wouldn’t get pneumonia. Eventually after getting off the respirator, one nurse came around and he mentioned cannabis. He said, “Did you know cannabis does the same type of thing to your lungs? It’s a bronchial dilator. The drug I’m pumping into your lungs is a bronchial dilator.” From that point on I realized I had a choice. I never took another pain pill. I just used cannabis for the next eleven months to recover. I always loved cannabis, but now I had an even more personal connection to the plant.
We’ve heard stories about Abbot’s Habit, the original, pre-gentrification Abbot Kinney coffee shop. For those who don’t know, can you explain Abbot’s Habit? Was it a coffee shop? Cannabis dispensary? Both?
My good friend started it 24 years ago and needed help. He asked me to manage the coffee house for six months. I was doing massage therapy and just got back after studying in Thailand. I wanted to give back to the community. I agreed to six months and stayed for four years. I fell in love with an amazing artist community at Abbot’s Habit. A time that is long gone. This is a time before everyone had a personal computer. They came to the shop to grab the newspaper. They were never known for their coffee, they were known for the community. I really got to know this amazing community.
So how did you transition to cannabis? You founded LA’s oldest and most iconic delivery service. How did that start?
It was the year 2000 and I left Abott’s Habit. A friend of mine was moving out of town and all his friends needed weed, so that’s how I started my delivery service. It was just me with a pager, seven days a week. I couldn’t keep up with all the orders. My team grew to four girls and we split profits evenly. It became more like a private club, with a password to access. Eventually a woman I had a catering company with got upset and reported me to Santa Monica Police. They came in, raided us and took everything. I went to court and had to go through the legal system. Today I have an amazing lawyer who helped us file for a delivery license in California so we can transition to the recreational market.
Dilated Peoples even mentioned you when they sang about going to see “the girls in Venice.” What’s the story behind being called “the girls?”
Dilated Peoples used to come into Abbot’s Habit, they talked about going to see “the girls” in Venice. That is my girls because they had the best weed. They would meet them everywhere.
Where did the name Mama Sailene come from?
“Smoke in the Kitchen” with Merry Jane. After I was taken down, I got back up. One of our amazing patients is a producer and asked me to come on with Merry Jane. They wanted a food and cannabis experience. Because of my catering experience, and I’m a foodie, they came to my house and shot in my kitchen. They gave me the name Mama Sailene. I’m like your mom, you can come to me. I’m a mother to all. I encapsulate that feeling, you can come to me.
You’ve also co-founded the Ganja Goddess Getaways. What are these getaways?
The idea started with Miss Bliss, a very successful edible line in the Bay Area. She just had a baby and was going through some depression. Her edible line was doing really well, but she felt a disconnect from the cannabis community and what she was going through as a mother. A lot of women hold stigma and shame around cannabis use, so she wanted to build a community around that. Miss Bliss connected with an administrator at Oaksterdam. They reached out and asked me to not only attend a Ganja Goddess retreat, but also speak on a panel. I arrived to the most beautiful property. It’s like summer camp — a girls’ summer camp with weed! Women from all over the world have started to see this. We’re calling this medicine but we’re still afraid to pull out a vape pen in front of our kids instead of a cocktail. Let’s change that.
Does cannabis help you connect spiritually? If so, how?
Knowing this plant, that’s a female plant from the earth, gives me a way to get back to my center. I’ve also always sought a very active, wondrous, explorative, expansive path to deepening my spiritual growth. I’ve traveled many places solo and I have an incredible, deep meditation practice. I surround myself with a lot of truth, and getting into the flow of the universe.
I’ve seen you promote Sister Sesh Sunday. What is this? Can anyone do a Sister Sesh Sunday?
Yes! Sister Sesh Sunday is a movement 100% connected to Ganja Goddess Getaway. It’s a way you can virtually connect to one another, especially after you’ve experienced a Ganja Goddess retreat. We’ve been through something wonderful together. We’ve made time to practice radical self-love. Not many people know what that feels like. Those skills are honed in for me. On Sunday, take a selfie and post it at 4:20. Tag #SisterSeshSunday and @ganjagoddessgetaway. That’s it. We’re virtually connecting to say we’re practicing radical self-love this week. We’re putting our intentions out to be our best self this week. We’ve got a whole tribe who can support you.
If you could give one piece of advice to women aspiring to work in the cannabis industry, what would you tell them?
Make sure it’s really what you want to do. Are you impassioned by it? Do you love this plant? Do you have a connection to this plant? Be authentic.
Where do you hope to see the industry 10, 15 or 25 years from now?
As an industry as a whole, I hope it’s regulated and the people in the industry are educated. They can give sound advice so they can help people find the product to help raise the quality of life. That means being aware of what each plant does. I’m also a firm believer that no matter what it is, even if it’s recreational, it’s still medicine.