BUILDING CONNECTIONS and EMPOWERMENT Through Cannabis
Angelica Tellez is on a mission to connect the power of cannabis with people. She is the founder of Backcross Public Relations, a firm that works exclusively with clients in the cannabis industry.
Though she is now an active force in many facets of the industry, it took her awhile to come out of the “green closet,” she explained.
“That first time that I smoked, I had the most liberating experience of my life! I laughed so much that I could not breathe.” The burger and ice cream she ate that night were the best meals she ever tasted. “I truly enjoyed it so much that the next day, I wondered how cannabis could be a bad thing to do.”
Like many, she feared being candid about cannabis because of what her family might think.
Tellez grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico and attended college in El Paso, Texas. As a child, her father instilled in her the idea “drugs could ruin your life,” she added, “my dad told me that [cannabis] was bad; he also told me a boy was going to break my heart. That happened, so it was the most logical thing to believe what [he] said about cannabis.”
After attending the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) for three years, Tellez moved to LA. Six days before she left, her best friend asked her to try cannabis for the first time.
Upon moving to California, Tellez explains, how cannabis came to play a role in her life. She used it at night to combat anxiety and stress. “It helped me to restore my thoughts and to sleep better. After some time using it, I became open of my use of cannabis but just [around] a specific range of people in my life, which [included] my closest friends and people that use it as well.”
Years passed and cannabis became increasingly important to her, however, Tellez said, “I could not wrap my mind around how my family back in Mexico was going to react to my use of cannabis. I was raised Catholic and my dad had a very negative perception of it.” So, Tellez continued to keep her cannabis use private.
In 2013, Tellez’s best friend was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was given two months to live. “[…] That day in November after telling the doctor that he was not going to do chemo, he said to me ‘cannabis is going to save me, baby’, and I said ‘yes, it will!’”
“It was cannabis who gave him four more months to live, and I was a witness of that,” she added, “Cannabis gave my best friend a decent quality of life for four months, how great is that?”
“We have found the way to keep our best friends for a longer time, to hug them and have fun with them,” Tellez said, “You would think I was spreading the message and telling people all about it, right?”
Admittedly, she continued to keep her cannabis use under wraps.
Then, her life took a new path. “I met fabulous people in the cannabis business that were creating a whole new world for the industry,” she said, “That’s how I realized I wasn’t alone here and there was a huge community that can support me on this new adventure in my life.”
Tellez recognized a responsibility to help others understand “the real power of cannabis and help them keep their best friends for longer.” It was then that she founded her Public Relations agency — Backcross PR — in January 2016 to specifically serve the cannabis industry and “spread the right message to the world about our amazing plant.”
Backcross PR collaborates with brands, businesses and people to break through misconceptions in order to promote the real message of cannabis, not just the “let’s get high” messages already given, she explained. “I believe we, the industry, have some work to do improving the message that goes around in the media, especially social media, so we can touch more people with a higher intention, literally.”
In addition to her PR firm, Tellez works with The IndustRE, a cannabis business advisory company. She utilizes her eight years of experience in the field of real estate to exclusively provide the cannabis industry with real estate and investment ventures.
“Our mission as a company is to collaborate with the industry in all possible ways and real estate is one of the most powerful businesses (if not the most) in the world,” she said, “Having the opportunity to merge, or [what I call] ‘backcross,’ two powerful industries together such as real estate and cannabis is a dream come true.”
The cannabis industry has given Tellez the opportunity to be part of a culture that’s strongly connected with female power. However, she said, “Is it all rainbows and flowers? No it’s not. We are still in a time where the pay range is not equal and women’s bodies are still being used to promote services with sexual subliminal messages. You can experience it constantly in this industry.”
However, she added, “This is the one industry I have worked in so far where women kind of call the shots. A lot of women in the industry understand this, want to embrace our power, are not afraid and are committed to changing the world.”
According to Marijuana Business Daily, women account for 36 percent of executives in the legal cannabis market. In other industries, women make up only 22 percent of senior management levels.
Tellez explains that approximately 50-60 percent of her co-workers (or those she collaborates with), are women. However, she said, only around 30 percent of her clients are female. Though, she remains positive that this number will continue to increase.
In fact, as both “Newsweek” and “The Atlantic” report, women are moving into the industry so fast, it has the potential to become one of the first female-led billion dollar industries.
“I love the connection that we, women, have with cannabis,” she added, “It is very touching to see women freeing themselves from society or perceptions and [instead] embracing each other’s power.”
“I strongly believe that our impact in the industry is not just huge, but necessary for this industry to maintain its natural core and soul,” Tellez said, “We all know cannabis is a female plant and who will be better to represent it than females?”
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