It’s 2016, folks. Why are white heterosexual cis men still allowed to grow weed? I mean, come on.
That’s just a few steps away from the opinion of Zooey Zachrow, a male-to-female transgender and marijuana farmer discovered by Mitchell Sunderland of Vice. Zachrow told Sunderland that cisgender men who ran weed dispensaries “didn’t treat the plant with respect” — hence the decision to start her own business.
“[Weed] saved my life,” she says. “I absolutely wouldn’t have survived the years [after the army] without cannabis.” Because of her religious upbringing, she feared telling her mom about her new friend. One day, she sat her mom down to tell her she was coming out of the “cannabis closet.” Zachow says her mom started crying. “Whatever you’re doing, it works,” Zachow recalls her mom saying. She had seen pot calm Zachow, and she was happy she had found something to help treat the PTSD.
Weed also helped Zachow go through her gender and sexual awakening. “Cannabis is a countercultural thing,” she says. First, she came out as bisexual. She struggled to afford cannabis, so she started volunteering at dispensaries to get the drug for free. But she hated the “cis white men” who ran the businesses. “They didn’t show the plant respect,” she says.
Zachrow and her boyfriend, Michael Buchert (who says he hates how “rich white people” have “told the cannabis story”), now hope to turn their burgeoning pot business into a political and social project:
They have promised to invest their profits into workshops about “anti-violence, anti-oppression, and anti-racist work” aimed at Washington state residents who have probably heard about these issues. “It will bring the urban and rural experience,” Zachow says. Visitors will smoke, practice yoga, and meditate. “We make art. We move,” Buchert says. “Cannabis is a tool to get free.”
“Cannabis is a social justice issue for us,” Zachow says.