Gianna Lauren Is a Canadian Cannabis Hero

The Halifax songwriter on her city's "designated smoking zones" and her experience growing "mystery seeds" this year

BY Alex HudsonPublished Dec 14, 2020

Halifax singer-songwriter Gianna Lauren has been releasing moody, atmospheric indie rock for more than a decade — most recently heard on this year's swooning Vanity Metrics EP — which is no time at all compared to the 22 years that she's been a regular cannabis smoker.

Exclaim! caught up with Lauren about Halifax's comical "designated smoking zones," the need for entrepreneurship in the cannabis business, and her experience growing "mystery seeds" this year.

What do you smoke and how do you consume it?

I enjoy both THC and CBD, depending on the context. Traditionally, I have leaned more toward THC joints, though lately I am smoking a lot of CBD — likely to calm the anxieties of living in a pandemic world. I also have a THC spray for certain occasions, but sometimes sprays can be a wild card since I don't always know how they will affect me. With a joint I know what I'm going to get. I like the mints but I can never find them anywhere. I grew my own weed for the first time this year with mystery seeds from a friend, and I got two solid THC plants and four decent CBD plants. I learned a lot and I know how to achieve better results next year.

What do you like to do when you smoke?

I stay pretty busy when I'm high as weed gives me energy. Sometimes I go for a hike with the dog or I have a project on the go at home. I love writing and rehearsing high, but I never perform stoned. I did once and it didn't feel good, though it felt like a great idea at the time because it was April 20 (4/20). I like being at other people's shows stoned. I don't like mixing food and weed, so I can't smoke before or after a meal.

What do you think about the recent changes in cannabis culture?

As someone who has been smoking weed consistently for 22 years, it has been so interesting to see the change in cannabis culture since it became legal three years ago, especially the hygge lifestyle branding approach, but ultimately anything that removes the stigma and moves away from the 'burnout' stereotype is fine with me. I'm still a bit shy about my relationship with weed, so even though it's legal now, I didn't automatically start telling the world. The more pressing issue for me with legalization involves ensuring people whose lives have been wrecked by criminal prosecution around marijuana get everything they need to recover from that and start over with a clean record. I also hope that provincial governments will wake up and allow private business in the cannabis sector because there are knowledgeable enthusiasts out there who deserve a platform for their entrepreneurial spirit. I would prefer a more competitive, balanced market in Nova Scotia, but I'm sure the government is loving their monopoly money.

Where in your city is great for cannabis?

All the alleys I can tell you about. Ha! Around Halifax, smokes at the lake and beach are the regular, as well as a smoke on Citadel Hill or behind the Marquee/Seahorse. The laughing stocks of Halifax, however, are the municipal government-approved "designated smoking zones" in nine places throughout the city, which include two parking stalls painted green located in the most random useless places. I would absolutely love a venue where people could smoke consensually indoors.

Are there hidden (or not-so-hidden) cannabis references in your music?

Everywhere. Fun fact — we were completely blitzed when we recorded "Spark," hence the title.

Who are your Canadian cannabis heroes?

Haviah Mighty! I don't know too many others, to be honest. Are you out there? I'd love to meet you.

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