Karin Lazarus | Founder, Sweet Mary Jane
In 2009, Karin Lazarus took home the grand prize in the TuttiFoodie-Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest for her Chocolate-Filled Pandan Dumplings and used the prize money to start Sweet Mary Jane. Her approach to cooking with medical marijuana emphasizes the benefits of cannabis combined with delicious tasting treats. She’s dedicated to using natural, whole foods and fresh, vibrant, adventurous ingredients to create recipes that are good for you and a pleasure to eat.
Sweet Mary Jane has been featured in Newsweek, National Geographic, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Yellowscene Magazine, Bust Magazine, and The Braiser.
Karin writes, “My passion for cooking using the healing properties of cannabis has been an exciting adventure. I feel very lucky to have been able to channel what I love into a career.”
When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?
What I have found through working in the cannabis industry is that women tend to keep ego out of the equation. The women at Sweet Mary Jane are ethical, want to do good work and create products that they are proud of. They’re not looking for a shout out every time they make something beautiful. Although our crew is made up of mostly women, I do want to say that the men working here also apply that same code of ethics to their jobs.
“Legal Marijuana Could Be The First Billion-Dollar Industry Led By Women” is a quote we are seeing over and over again.
What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?
One of the best things that could happen for the industry would be for cannabis to become federally legal. This would allow us to able to bank legally and not worry about handling and transporting cash. This would also allow us to have tax deductions and free those in prison for non-violent acts involving cannabis. Not only would this make things better for those already in the industry and those affected by non violent drug charges, it would also significantly increase people’s knowledge surrounding the medicinal properties of cannabis. Research could finally be government funded and conducted, those seeking cannabis for pediatric use could access the plant anywhere, instead of risking legal fallout or becoming political refugees, and the Surgeon General could remove cannabis from its current Schedule 1, (methamphetamine is schedule 2) , making it more widely used, understood and accepted for its medicinal value.
Why are environmentally sustainable business practices essential to the future of the cannabis industry?
This is important in every industry, however we are pioneers and the world is watching what we are doing, so we need to do it right. We want a clean planet. How we produce our cannabis reflects the state of the environment. An important piece of this is growing sustainably and using pesticide-free plants when making medicinal tinctures, edibles and anything else a consumer will use.
We were brave enough to step into a new industry, so let’s make it so those watching us are proud to follow in our footsteps.
How do you incorporate gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability into your work and the growth of your business/organization?
As far as gender parity, it feels good to be able to employee a diverse group of women who are passionate about what they do.
Creature Comfort is part of our tincture line, it is un-activated THC, we make this product specifically for pets. 100% of the profits are donated to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. We also create custom blends and edibles for patients who need a specific product that may not already be on our menu.
Boulder’s Zero Waste Ordinance is something all of us at the bakery are enthusiastic about. This will require all businesses in Boulder County to participate in recycling and composting programs. We work in a very environmentally-conscious city. At Sweet Mary Jane, we work hard to do our part to be part of that community. We source what we can locally, and we will soon have an outdoor garden where we grow plants that attract bees to build up their population as well as ingredients we can use in our edibles.
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