Entrepreneur and native New Yorker, Jessica Cadmus, is no stranger to hard work. Her journey with the plant began in her youth and has continued to stay with her to this day. Putting the high in highlife, Cadmus launched Rogue Paq (pronounced “pack”), a design-forward brand of cannabis carriers, tools, and accessories for those who value aesthetics and ritual in equal measure. The company stands by the belief that good design is not only instrumental in breaking down the social stigma around cannabis, but it also enhances and elevates the user’s experience.
Through this set of beliefs, Rogue Paq is committed to designing, creating, and sourcing premium quality, thoughtfully designed, and beautiful products to raise your ritual.
Rogue Paq RollingTray Set. Photo by Joseph Saraceno
Emerald Media (EM): How did you first find cannabis?
Jessica Cadmus (JC): I met cannabis pretty early, at age 13, but it was super casual. I didn’t start enjoying it actively until college when I was juggling two jobs and three majors and needed a way to calm myself down after work. I tended bar most nights which meant rarely getting home before 3 a.m. Then I’d wake up early to work at a nearby bagel store before classes began. I wouldn’t have called my usage medicinal back then, but in retrospect I completely view it that way. It was what helped me stay centered and calm, allowed me to sleep, and to keep everything together.
EM: Tell us about the first time you smoked or used cannabis?
JC: The first time I smoked I was 13 and riding around in a car with some older friends. At that point it was simply something to do. I’m a very curious person and, for better or for worse, will try almost anything once. Initially cannabis made me super drowsy, though, and so I didn’t try it again for another few years.
EM: Do you have any favorite strains?
JC: I love to experiment. I’ve learned to lead with my nose and typically gravitate towards citrus scents and berry scents. Lemon OG is a strain I revisit often.
EM: Where did you get the idea for Rogue Paq cannabis carriers?
JC: In addition to running Rogue Paq, I’m also a wardrobe stylist and have been styling professionally for the past 14 years. When I noticed that my very sophisticated clients had some very unsophisticated ways of traveling with and storing their cannabis, I set out to create something luxurious, functional, and chic. Rogue Paq started with the Ritual Case and I’ve expanded it to include tools, accessories, and even aromatherapy. Our tagline is “Raise Your Ritual” and so my intention is to supply all the items necessary to do so.
EM: What do you believe are the benefits of cannabis and/or hemp?
JC: I believe that cannabis is medicine – whether the participant knows it or not. I know it’s not for everyone but for those whose chemistry it compliments, the benefits are endless. It can treat symptoms like tension, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and insomnia just to name a few. In many cases it can replace pharmaceuticals for a more natural approach to healing. I know that often healing is a blend of both types of medicines. But my personal approach is to always seek and try a natural remedy first. You asked about hemp as well — hemp is endlessly useful and incredibly durable and a wonderful sustainable option for so many things including textiles, paper, biodegradable plastics, and health food. It can also be smoked for very high bioavailability of its wonderful properties including CBD.
EM: What stigmas are you having to fight against?
JC: My biggest adversary is the “stoner” stigma which is often reinforced through bad or lazy design. It amazes me but there’s still a widespread misconception that if you use cannabis, you can’t be productive. I like to offer myself up a refutation of that notion. I run two separate successful businesses as a solopreneur, and manage a household with two small children who are currently learning from home. Cannabis gives me the space to relax, reflect, and be mindful at the end of a busy day.
EM: What are the core values of Rogue Paq?
JC: Inclusivity, respect, social awareness, and openness.
EM: What does the term social equity mean to you?
JC: It means an active commitment to fairness, justice, and equality for EVERYONE — full stop.
EM: What does restorative justice look like?
JC: We at Rogue Paq understand that the cannabis industry continues to grow and flourish while many suffer in prison for non-violent cannabis-related crimes. We also understand how the Black community is disproportionately and adversely affected. [The company supports] organizations like Last Prisoner Project and National Bailout in their dedicated approach to intervention, advocacy, and awareness. We offer support on an on-going basis specifically through our Rogue Paq Gives Back Bundle initiative for which 100% of the proceeds are donated.
EM: Do you have a mentor?
JC: Part of my passion is building community throughout the cannabis space — particularly with women. I constantly tap the women in my network for advice, guidance, and mentorship. As for a specific example, one of my first mentors in the cannabis space and someone who has become a dear friend is Ariel Zimman of Stonedware Company. From day one she’s been a supporter and advocate and an invaluable resource for matters both practical and emotional. I’m so lucky to have such a strong woman and entrepreneur in my corner.
EM: Do you mentor?
JC: I mentor as often and as openly as possible. In my quest to build a strong community, I actively put myself out there as a resource for others. I believe that no matter who is in the “mentor seat” and who is in the “mentee seat,” we can all learn from one another if we make the space to listen. Furthermore, making connections and building relationships is a critical part of building a brand.
EM: What is a day like in your position for Rogue Paq?
JC: Like any solopreneur, it’s an exercise in keeping all the balls in the air. I also run a wardrobing business and have two small kids. So it is very important for me to be mindful of priority and what and whom need my attention at any given moment. Often that means releasing a host of other to-do items in favor of doing one item well by being fully present for it to unfold.
EM: Tell us about your business, product line and development?
JC: Rogue Paq is a line of design-forward cannabis accessories. We believe that good design is not only instrumental in breaking down the social stigma around cannabis but it also enhances and elevates the individual user’s experience. In the same way an oenophile wants to sip from refined and beautiful hand-cut glass, I believe cannabis enthusiasts desire and deserve beautiful tools, trays, and carriers with which to enjoy their favorite plant.
EM: What is your standpoint or views on women in the cannabis industry?
JC: I believe that women are the key to the transformation of the cannabis industry and will help lead the plant to greater acceptance. We are not only the fastest growing segment of consumers, we also, on the whole, are giving the industry the “glow up” it needs and deserves. Beauty is absolutely a way to make cannabis more approachable for the uninitiated. Women are standing at the forefront of that movement.
EM: How do you feel society views women in the cannabis business?
JC: I think it’s an industry where strong women are really getting a chance to showcase their skills. Because so much of what we are doing is pioneering at this point, there is absolutely room for everyone. And, in my view, women are stepping up and dominating on the retail/marketing/PR side.
EM: What is your standpoint on the legal system and cannabis-related cases (War on Drugs)?
JC: I’m incredulous that cannabis remains illegal federally and is still categorized as a Schedule I substance, which states that it has no medicinal value. This stance obviously generates confusion given that 36 states allow its usage in a medical context. Furthermore, during this pandemic it has been deemed “essential” and yet many people live in states where it is not legal and are therefore kept from safe ways to acquire their medicine. Incarcerating people for non-violent cannabis related offenses is detrimental and disastrous — it ruins lives and the personal level as well as the societal level and keeps the plant lurking in the shadows. It is also a gross misuse of billions of tax dollars per year to police cannabis.
EM: Thoughts on the future of the cannabis/hemp industry?
JC: I feel if we can attain federal legalization, with that will come education. Education is the core of what is necessary to move the plant’s status forward in society. When people understand the benefits of cannabis and they do not fear punishment for its use and distribution, we will be able to reach a multitude of folks who could benefit from the healing that cannabis can provide.
EM: Where do you see Rogue Paq in five years?
JC: Continuing to expand and innovate internally, and externally continuing to work within the community to elevate those suffering from unjust treatment related to cannabis.
EM: How can people find Rogue Paq?
JC: Rogue Paq can be found online at roguepaq.com also @roguepaq on IG, FB and Twitter and in luxury retail stores like Fred Segal and Higher Standards.