Le Ren Is a Canadian Cannabis Hero

Montreal songwriter Lauren Spear on supporting BIPOC-owned businesses, going seal watching and being a "green" consumer

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 24, 2020

Le Ren is Lauren Spear, the BC-raised/Montreal-based folk singer who also plays in the countrified Maybel and the pop-punk-inclined Skunk. On her new solo EP, Morning & Melancholia (July 31 on Royal Mountain Records/Secretly Canadian), the emerging Canadian artist grapples with personal grief on quietly powerful acoustic laments.

Although Spear isn't an experienced cannabis lover, she has begun using CBD during lockdown for pain management. Exclaim! caught up with the self-described "green" consumer about her cannabis preferences — which, in addition to using CBD for pain, include seal watching by the ocean and advocating for BIPOC members of the cannabis community (including those impacted by prohibition-era legal sentences).

What's your relationship with cannabis?

I would consider myself a fairly "green" consumer.

What do you smoke and how do you consume it?

CBD oil has been my quarantine companion! I started using it about two months ago for pain management. I'm still feeling out the relationship but so far we're getting along quite well.

What do you like to do when you smoke?

I like to find quiet spaces, ideally outside. I've been lucky to have been living by the sea so have gotten into the habit of having a couple of ml's and then going seal watching.

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

I think legalization has been positive in mitigating the stigma associated with the recreational use of cannabis products. I have found legalization has catalyzed my own learning around marijuana use, in particular the indigenous roots of the plant. I now find myself more conscious of its cultural significance as a consumer. Furthermore, I'm learning that this "normalization" or government-mediated consumption brings up the issue of criminalization of non-government weed. So many Canadians are currently in jail for prohibition-era convictions and their sentences have not been expunged. People are still getting criminal records for simple possession — something that disproportionately impacts racialized people.

Where in your city is great for cannabis?

My hammock!

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

Anything hidden in my songs will try their best to stay hidden.

Who are your cannabis heroes?

First is Mary Pryor, who co-founded Cannaclusive, an organization that saw the need for a database that highlights Black-, Asian-, Lantinx-, woman-, LGBTQIA-, Indian-, Pacific Islander-, Indigenous- and disability-owned cannabis businesses. She speaks on the importance of supporting these Black and POC-owned businesses as well as the power of the plant as it relates to wellness. If you don't already know her, I really recommend looking her up! Second is Menlay Golokeh Aggrey, an interdisciplinary cannabis entrepreneur and host on the podcast Broccoli Talk. The episode where she interviews Australian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist Fariha Róisín is so, so beautiful, I really suggest giving it a listen. They talk weed, queerness and proactive healing from trauma. All these people are so knowledgeable and are each leading the charge for cannabis equity.

Canadian Cannabis Heroes is a feature that explores the ways your favourite Canadian artists experience cannabis and how it impacts their art. Canadian Cannabis Heroes is presented by DaVinciTech.com.

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