Honeysuckle is proud to present Trailblazers’ Authentic Voices: Pride ‘22 “Sweet Sixteen” series! Now through the end of June, we’ll be sharing profiles of sixteen LGBTQIA+ leaders in the cannabis industry who inspire us.
A Pride Month Message From Trailblazers Co-Founder Tyler Wakstein
Trailblazers is a curated community of cannabis and psychedelic business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who work together to advance the industry. We are unified by a shared ethos and vision of the future of plant medicine and other alternative healing modalities. We are a group of leaders and visionaries from across the entire ecosystem - from brands, to operators, to investment banks, MSOs, policy and law makers, scientists and researchers. We believe in creating a new paradigm of doing business - where collaboration, authentic connections and an abundance mindset drives the industry. We believe equality, social equity, and justice are not just something to pay lip service to, but rather the cost of entry into cannabis or hemp at large. We are honored to celebrate PRIDE Month with Honeysuckle Magazine and want to help empower the next generation of change-makers and emerging leaders in cannabis through access to the Trailblazers platform. Diversity drives innovation within a community like ours and we recommend applying to our fellowship program if anyone is interested in getting involved. trailblazerspresents.com/trailblazers-fellowship
Interested in finding out more about Trailblazers NYC, coming July 27, 2022? For details, click here.
Meet Alexander Farnsworth, Founder And CEO Of Farnsworth Fine Cannabis
Alexander Farnsworth is the founder and CEO of the Farnsworth Fine Cannabis Company, a luxury cannabis brand, product manufacturer and retailer based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He comes from a long family legacy of innovators - his great-uncle Philo Farnsworth is known for inventing television technology - and he’s clearly making his mark within the cannabis industry. In a relatively short amount of time, Farnsworth Fine Cannabis has become a hot brand, a favorite of industry thought leaders in the know, and renowned for offering perfectly balanced cannabis cigarettes blended to produce distinct effects.
TRAILBLAZERS: What is something unique that you bring to your work and the greater cannabis industry overall from your previous work or life experience?
ALEXANDER FARNSWORTH: Having grown up in Mormonville, Utah and then escaping my homeland for NYC, I understand both Middle America and luxury markets. There is a sense of liberation that permeates all my work… This translates to an immersive cannabis experience both through Farnsworth product and retail experiences. For example, I recently completed a neon artwork by Let There Be Neon, who is the crème de la crème of neon makers (which is a dying art, btw). The piece is a gold neon hummingbird that is mounted in an infinity mirror, so when you’re walking down the hallway to our Showroom it’s like you’re walking into a giant, fluttering infinity of hummingbirds (our logo). To me it’s a sense of confident playfulness that is liberating.
Why are you passionate about being part of the cannabis industry?
I was attracted to cannabis for a myriad of reasons. First because the notion that cannabis should be illegal is blasphemous to me. Like love (AKA gay marriage), I never understood why cannabis was illegal and I wasn’t afraid of entering an industry that the feds don’t currently support. Secondly, cannabis is a plant that grows in the ground. I’m fascinated by the propaganda that surrounds cannabis, but I’m more interested in the future of plant-based medicine and recreation.
What does Pride mean to you personally? How are you celebrating or championing Pride through your company, the communities you do business in, or the industry overall?
Pride to me is about representation and is an important time to have conversations, especially in 2022 when we’ve seen more anti-LGQBTIA+ (and human rights, in general) being attacked through proposed legislation and the tightening of societal action. At Farnsworth we celebrate Pride through décor; guests are welcomed by a 10’ balloon rainbow in our Lobby. We have a rainbow hummingbird campaign plastered on the streets of NYC, Hudson, Albany. It’s meant to be cheeky and reads: (Don’t Say) Queer Cannabis Club.
How are you supporting the advancement of LGBTQIA+ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts?
Farnsworth has a commitment to hiring 65 percent diverse individuals. We launched the QCC (Queer Cannabis Club) earlier this year to bring awareness to the need for queer representation within the cannabis industry. What’s been incredible is that the launch article was picked up and translated in Israel, Mexico, and beyond. There is clearly a global appetite for cannabis, and inclusive cannabis.
What is one of your favorite LGBTQIA+ organizations to support?
The Trevor Project is a national suicide-prevention hotline and organization that is near to my heart. Utah has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the nation—the need for support is clear to me. The QCC’s model is to support local organizations in the areas that it hosts events in. In Aspen we supported AspenOUT. This Pride month, we sponsored Naumkeag’s (the finest example of Shingle style architecture in America) first Pride event through Berkshire Pride.
What’s your favorite LGBTQIA+-produced cannabis product that isn’t from your brand?
CANN social tonics are a super sip-able cannabis-infused beverage with CBD. I LOVE the flavors… Lemon Lavender is my favorite. The relaxing, easy effect kicks in fifteen minutes or so after your first sip. Delicious!
Cannabis is all about community. What partnership opportunities with other companies have allowed you to create something even better than imagined due to your combined efforts?
When Farnsworth officially launched the QCC in January during Aspen Gay Ski Week, CANN joined us as a launch partner, as did Different Leaf magazine as our media partner. Together we had a larger platform and more monetary resources to share our message and give back to the local community. Plus, it’s nice to have friends, and brands, in the industry whom I admire.
What advice would you give to others looking to join the cannabis industry and follow in your footsteps?
I encourage you to understand, or try to comprehend, the forces working against you in the cannabis industry. From the federal government to Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Big Alcohol, to the MSOs (multistate operators). It’s tough to be a small boat in a sea of big ships. I’m fortunate to have built a team around the business who excel in areas I don’t: finance, compliance, HR, operations. It takes a village in any industry, but the cannabis industry has its unique set of challenges.
What are you most excited to see more of in cannabis next year?
We’re leaning toward the majority of the country having access to legal cannabis. Cannabis has always been used by inventors, artists, designers, architects, coders, policy makers, bankers—you name it—but I’m excited to see the kind of culture, and society, we can create when cannabis can be shared openly. It’s nice in New York where you can legally smoke on the streets. The country needs more cannabis consumption lounges.
Learn more about Trailblazers by visiting trailblazerspresents.com. You can find out more about Farnsworth Fine Cannabis at farnsworthfinecannabis.com. To learn how to support The Trevor Project, visit thetrevorproject.org.
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Featured image: Alexander Farnsworth (C) Farnsworth Fine Cannabis