Q – I’m feeling kinda tired/stoned and don’t want to read any of your long-ass stories. Can you just explain your whole deal in a short video?
Q – Do you use cannabis?
Absolutely. Joints most evenings. Edibles when I’m in a no-smoking situation. Blunts when I can find someone dexterous enough to roll me one. Topicals on my sore muscles and joints. Vape pens when there isn’t any other option.
Q – How did you start writing about cannabis?
I was the right person in the right place at the right time. Meaning: I smoke weed, I live in the biggest cannabis market in the world (Los Angeles), and I was getting my start in journalism right around the time that pot became legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, such that more people were suddenly interested in the subject. At first, I didn’t take the whole thing very seriously, but now I am obsessed, fascinated, and committed to helping legalization proceed as ethically as possible.
Q – I want to use cannabis but it’s been a while / I never have before. Got any advice?
Q – Whoa, you tracked down the guy who stole Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape out of their house? How!?
Q – I want to hire you to write about my company. How can I do that?
I don’t do PR, but thanks for your interest!
Q – I want to give you some free weed / I want your help with my cannabis business. How can I do that?
I don’t consult for cannabis businesses, and I don’t take free products. I work in the public interest, and so it’s not okay for me to receive money or gifts or drinks or pot from companies. It’s not personal — it’s how I operate.
Q – How can I pitch you / send you a tip / complain about how terrible you are?
Send me an email.
Q – You never wrote back to my email!
I’m a busy person / you were rude / your new vape pen concept didn’t interest me.
Q – You used to be my teacher / my child’s teacher / that teacher at my school that always wore weird outfits! WTF??
I know, crazy, right? I actually think about journalism a lot like I thought about teaching: make it fun, so people pay attention and learn. The topics I choose to cover are complicated and serious, but the stories I write are plot-driven and accessible, so I can engage and educate as many readers as possible. Remember when we dissected the lyrics to Kanye’s “New Slaves” and watched Axe commercials in class to understand literary analysis? Yeah. Like that. I’m also still holding myself and everyone around me to a rather high standard, as you might recall from your report card. Anyway, I’m still in touch with a lot of former students, so if we haven’t spoken in a while and you want some advice on your career / your life / anything, please reach out! And yes, you can still call me Ms. Lewis.
Q – You’re white, and you write about race. WTF??
I believe that we are all responsible for resolving the racial inequities and biased attitudes that persist in our country. It’s totally ridiculous to ask people of color to shoulder the burden of pointing out instances of racism and racially disparate treatment. Whiteness has allowed me to use cannabis rather openly, without legal consequences, since I was a teenager. Writing about pot without taking seriously the disproportionate consequences of the war on drugs would be pretty disgusting. I intend to use my skills, education, and privilege in service of a better and more just society. I don’t always get it right, but I’m doing what I can.