Things change – a lot, especially when it comes to cannabis (marijuana) and influencers like Jessica Golich.
Back in the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover set up the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, nowadays known as the Drug Enforcement Agency. Harry Anslinger was the head honcho at the Bureau. He supported a bill called the Marihuana Tax Act (the government insisted on spelling ‘marihuana’ rather than ‘marijuana’), which required hemp farmers to purchase a Marihuana Tax Stamp from the federal government, but the tax was prohibitively expensive.
Still, marijuana use wasn’t prevalent and most people paid little attention to what they believed was, essentially, a trivial matter.
In 1948, things changed. Hollywood movie star Robert Mitchum and his girlfriend, Lila Leeds, were arrested for using marijuana. Mitchum was sentenced to 50 days in jail, Lila to 60 days in jail. Mitchum’s unapologetic stance imbued him with a bad-boy image that Hollywood adored. Robert Mitchum was cool, which made using marijuana cool.
When medical researchers concluded marijuana was non-addictive, conservative politicians frowned. Harry Anslinger neutralized the researchers by claiming marijuana was a “gateway drug.” In other words, marijuana users ended up addicted to heroin or cocaine, or both.
The politicians hopped aboard the “gateway drug” train and passed the Boggs Act in 1952, which made the sale and possession of marijuana a felony attended by mandatory sentencing. In 1956, the Narcotics Control Act imposed even more draconian penalties.
In the 1960s, college students, hippies, and flower-children consumed marijuana, followed by a 1971 report from The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse that recommended marijuana be legalized.
President Ricard Nixon disagreed vehemently. He embarked on the War on Drugs, spending billions of dollars trying to stem the flow of drugs into the U.S. The war proved to be a dismal failure. According to the RAND Corporation, Nixon’s War on Drugs served one useful function: it drove up drug prices, enriching the drug lords.
Beginning in 1973, things changed again. Oregon and Texas decriminalized cannabis possession. The legalization of medical cannabis began in 1996, followed by the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2012, in certain states. As of January 1, 2020, recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, while medical cannabis is legal in 33 states.
Even though cannabis possession is legal in some states, according to the DEA, cannabis remains on the Schedule 1 list of illegal drugs. Technically, possession of cannabis violates federal law. Ostensibly, the “House of Representatives will vote on a comprehensive federal cannabis legalization bill in September,” called The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.
All that to introduce Jessica Golich, who recently partnered with Skymint, a Michigan-based cannabis company. Jessica in today’s parlance is a social media influencer. She is a content creator, an opinion guru, and an expert in her field, a third party in the chain of supply, providing niche marketing to targeted groups for the marketer and, very importantly, is perceived as trustworthy by consumers.
While many consider social influencers a recent innovation, market influencers have been around since the 1920s. Examples include Santa Claus and Tony the Tiger, followed by celebrity influencers such as Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields, followed by value marketing delivered by today’s influencers, which may be classified as either influencers or star influencers. The latter category includes celebrities, while the former includes individuals like Jessica, who are reliable and honest, and not selling their souls to Mammon.
Multi-talented, Jessica is not only a cannabis influencer, but one of the world’s foremost concert photographers, interviewers, and music reviewers. She’s articulate, intelligent, and comfortably charismatic.
GritDaily caught up with Jessica Golich to chat about how her career began, her recent interview by Montel Williams, and the ins-and-outs of being a social influencer.
What’s your backstory? How and where did your career begin?
My journey began in 2016 when I answered a Craigslist pitch seeking Michigan contributors for a major publication. Being that I had no experience yet but my music knowledge is encyclopedic, I was given the opportunity and was able to transform the entire publication into a music-centric site that led to a 2-3 year cycle of interviewing, covering and photographing musicians from every genre around the world. In 2018, I was invited to Coachella as a member of the media That was the pivotal turning point of my career. From there, I took the summer off to build my own publication, Life Beyond The Music, and built out my career through the pre-existing relationships that I had built. Around that time, I was contacted by a third-party who was investing in Content Creators for a new app, at the time, by the name of TikTok which provided a huge space for me to grow my brand. I began using TikTok daily, obsessively, and now have well over 30 million views on my page.
Last year in 2019, my relationship with cannabis began to cultivate as I recognized that my skill-set and creative abilities were expanding rapidly through responsible daily cannabis use. Naturally, I began showcasing this on my IG which led to brand interest from pre-existing Michigan relationships. Over the past year, with the help of my amazing team, we have been able to take my mission globally as we work to end the stigma around cannabis while showcasing the personally life-changing benefits I have and continue to experience.
Why did you decide to become an influencer and, specifically, in the realm of cannabis?
Back in the beginning of 2019 is when I began my journey in the cannabis world. Fortunately, I was able to parlay my success in the music industry naturally as an opportunity to grow into the cannabis industry. I’m very grateful that I have been able to achieve such success in such a short amount of time.
What is the best thing about being an influencer?
Being able to connect with people around the world through the power of social media is a powerful tool to change the lives of both yourself and others. Being an influencer, to me, is so much more than collaborating with brands to sell products. As an influencer, I share my value in the form of my personality, energy and what I’ve amplified my audience to consume. Being an influencer is a lifestyle, this is who I am; I am a teacher of all of the self-knowledge and worldly knowledge that I have collected ever since I was a child. I couldn’t be happier.
What is the best collaboration that you have done with a brand?
I’ve had some really cool experiences over the last six months including working with Universal Entertainment on the release of The Gentlemen, a movie filmed by Guy Ritchie surrounded around cannabis, along with working with 311 on their CBD release. My absolute favorite collaboration has been with Skymint so far though. They go above and beyond to ensure that I’m taken care of and are just as bought in to elevating my brand as I am in elevating theirs.
Tell us something we don’t know about being an influencer. Exactly what does an influencer do?
You have to have solid business acumen to truly make it as an influencer. Negotiating contracts, deadlines, commissioning photographers/videographers to create content, time management, marketing; there’s a lot more involved than looking pretty in front of the camera which is a common misconception that I’m happy we addressed.
You recently hooked up with Skymint, a Michigan-based cannabis company. How did that come about?
I’ve been in touch with Skymint over the past 6-8 months. We officially partnered as of July and I couldn’t be happier supporting Skymint’s mission to create the world’s best cannabis company. Their philanthropic and communal brand approach aligns with my brand and who I am. Being that Skymint is partnered with advocates that I strongly believe in and support such as Last Prisoner Project and values such as embracing diversity and inclusion through supporting Pride year-round, Skymint has earned my loyalty. I truly love everything about Skymint’s brand. From their people-centered approach, their focus on growing quality life-changing plants and the way that Skymint treats their team while providing tools that help enhance their quality of life, it’s a total win-win. We are educating the world on the life-enhancing benefits of cannabis.
Do you envision starting your own line of cannabis products?
Absolutely. I am currently in the Pre-Startup, Ideation stage and look forward to developing therapeutic, meaningful and scalable products including my own Indica Cannabis Strain over the next 12-18 months.
You’re also one of the foremost concert photographers and have done interviews with a host of major music artists. What do you focus on when interviewing artists?
Thank you. As I interview musicians, I dive below the surface. I energize the artist’s thought processes through introspective questions that stimulate them to jump out of their common press routine and simply have a conversation with another human being. Rather than diving deep into their latest release, I focus on inquiring about the ingredients that they used in their last home-cooked meal and what wellness practices they incorporate into their daily lives. As I’ve interviewed and covered well over 1,000 musicians around the world, no matter who it is, I always find a way to bring them back to their center and remind them of their humanness.
You were recently interviewed by Montel Williams. What was it like being on the other side of an interview?
First and foremost, getting interviewed by Montel Williams is a feat that I carry with honor and pride; to merely be amongst Montel and have a powerful and inspiring conversation that was so synergetic was beautiful.
Being on the other side of an interview is enlightening in a way that reminds me that all of the work that I’ve put in over the past 5 years, every single day, has allowed me to accumulate experiences that have played a major role in creating a bright future for myself while playing a role in the future of cannabis, which is absolutely where my heart is.
What’s your take on the present administration’s potential ban of TikTok?
I immediately reached out to a lawyer when the news was published for further clarification and affirmed that our POTUS doesn’t have the constitutional authority to enact such an order. It would curb the First Amendment Rights of both the company that owns TikTok and all of the users who express themselves. There is no way that the USA could block IP’s from accessing TikTok because there is no network or infrastructure in the USA for the government to block access to TikTok.