There’s a new holiday for stoners and cannabis enthusiasts alike! Canna4Climate Day is right after 4/20 (National Cannabis Day) and right before Earth Day that combines the themes of the two holidays. Arend Richard, co-founder and CEO of cannabis-themed video platform The WeedTube, is one of the engineers behind this noble initiative. He took the time to share with us his journey from YouTube star to cannabis entrepreneur and why those who love the plant also need to care for the planet.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: You became a recognized YouTuber with a substantial follower base. How did that lead you to the cannabis industry?
AREND RICHARD: I’ll give you the six-year frame. I started as a YouTube content creator. I was known very well around YouTube as The Gay Stoner for a long time. Unfortunately, my channel was deleted in February of 2018 with 190,000 subscribers. I was deleted along with hundreds of other cannabis-related channels and was very lucky to be friends with a lot of the people who were deleted. So we all came together to create WeedTube, which is just a cannabis-safe platform for content creators to post their content. And ever since then, I’ve just kind of been running that and… trying to be a thought leader in [the] cannabis [community].
How did you get involved with the Canna4Climate initiative?
I was very lucky to be in the room of people when the idea was birthed. It was created because of a few different people — for sure — but I was one of those people who was there [helping to create] the original idea for it. It came out of a necessity to create a new outlet for the part of the cannabis community that I [felt] was not being represented in online social media very well.
Which parts of the community did or do you feel were not being well represented?
Online [and on] social media, it can be really cool and popular to promote overconsumption, to smoke as much weed as possible, consume as much weed as possible. That’s what gets likes. That’s what gets clicks. That’s what gets attention. I was very much part of that world for a long time, so I can’t blame that world at all. But I also just know that there’s a larger world of cannabis parents, cannabis advocates, [and] people who are truly medicating with cannabis that need the rest of the world to see cannabis in a more medicinal and healthy light than it’s viewed because of those other aspects of social media. There is a very wholesome cannabis community, but online and on social media, the presence of [the alternative to] what a stoner [can be] is lacking.
What is the Canna4Climate initiative and its goals?
Canna4Climate is basically supposed to be an extension of a stoner holiday, but also to give all of us cannabis consumers an extra day to celebrate from a different lens of what 4/20 is. We smoke up all the weed in the whole planet and hotbox the earth for 4/20. 4/21, we clean up the planet. 4/22 — which is Earth Day — we enjoy Earth. That’s the basic concept. For the goals of it, we started [out] to change the worldwide perception of what a stoner is. If you are in a place that has illegal cannabis, this is what you’d be enabling by legalizing cannabis. This is why you should view cannabis in a better light. That was the original main goal: to change the perception of what a stoner is. Additionally, we have two new goals, which are to bring awareness to how this new industry can be more [conscientious] about its own pollution and the way that we provide products and services in a conscious way. There’s no reason [why] we should be creating more plastic waste in a brand new industry when we know everything we know. The other new point is to bring awareness to how much hemp can truly change the world for the better.
Why should people participate? What do you feel the most important reason to be a part of this initiative is?
I could do a little bit of my own personal story. Yesterday, I went out and cleaned a section of the Platte River [in Denver] with a couple of family members and friends. We kept it very small because of COVID-19. We’re still doing lockdown-style stuff where I live. We kept it very responsible and we cleaned an area of the Platte River here… All I kept thinking the whole time was “if all of the other Denver stoners were out here cleaning up other sections of the Platte River, this whole river would be spotless.” So why should people participate? Because [there] is strength in numbers to do something incredible for the rest of the world. Stoners could go out there and really make an actual change.
What’s the best way for people — cannabis and non-cannabis consumers alike — to participate in and support this initiative?
Definitely just posting on social media — any platform with #Canna4Climate — doing their activity of whatever it is. It can be community-related [such as] cleaning up areas of their community. If you can’t leave your house and actually take part, we are doing a fundraiser for the Arbor Day Foundation, a dollar for every tree planted.
How is The WeedTube supporting this initiative?
Our big goal at The WeedTube is to be a place for the whole cannabis community and industry to be unbiased and to really just be a place where the community can come together and can enable a larger scale action for the whole community. The WeedTube’s place in this is to say, “Here’s the place that can hold this community together.”
What are your hopes for the future of Canna4Climate Day? How do you want to see this project grow?
My hopes are that it truly becomes a new annual holiday. Every year after 4/20, you just literally see stoners going out there in their local areas and picking up and cleaning up; raising awareness about how hemp can change the world, and holding the industry — that we all love and are part of — accountable and making sure that they remain sustainable as well. My hope is that it truly becomes just as significant of a holiday as 4/20 for a great reason.
To add on, this is not meant to be a dig at any other part of the cannabis industry. It’s meant to be an addition [that] shows other aspects. I believe that we can all be those fun stoners that want to strap on a gas mask and get as high as possible, that’s me sometimes too. But most cannabis consumers I know are lovely human beings who just want to do better for the world.
Any cannabis businesses should feel free to use Canna4Climate day in any way they see fit. It’s not meant to benefit any one person, it’s meant for everyone to use just like 4/20 just through a different lens.