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About The Cannabis Maven – Cannabis Maven

Susan, The Cannabis Maven, has accrued her knowledge, expertise and network over the past twenty years and has become an integral part of the hemp and marijuana business and advocacy communities in Colorado.

As a business consultant, Susan works with clients and companies who need product, service and market business development or operational and efficiency management in manufacturing facilities. Forecasting and scheduling, creating and refining Standard Operating Procedure manuals, instituting Quality Assurance program, and Quality Control checkpoints to ensure consistent production of products or services are among her skill sets.

Applying her cannabis knowledge and social science perspective, Susan writes the marijuana advice column, Ask The Cannabist for  the online marijuana website, The Cannabist, for Denver Post. She discusses and solves readers’ problems on marijuana related issues and assists the societal transformation from illicit use to appropriate use through expert recommendations and current data. Susan also details the people and social events of the cannabis industry in the column, High Society.

Since 2011, through event production company, 4 & 20 Blackbirds, Susan produces the community event, Mother’s High Tea, an inspiring social celebrating the business women and advocates of the cannabis community. Mother’s High Tea welcomes the mothers, children and supportive men for an upscale and feminine event.

As an advocate for the reform of marijuana and hemp laws, Susan has worked on all stages of the Colorado initiative campaigns, either paid or volunteer, from Amendment 20, medical marijuana amendment in 2000, through three years of city of Denver and state wide SAFER initiatives in 2005-2007, to Amendment 64 in 2012. The two Denver initiatives that passed legalized adult possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and made marijuana the lowest police priority.

In 2001, Susan also served as caregiver to the first patient on Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry.

As the industry currently expands, Susan is most passionate about developing the wellness market with high quality and non-psychoactive cannabinoid products.  She wants to see cannabis wellness products available in health food stores at affordable prices.

Susan has been interviewed by Vice, The Globe and Mail, Boulder Business Journal, AOL, and in marijuana media outlets, Ladybud,  MJ Network News, The Cannabusiness Report with Ryan Nerz, Craft Mary Jane, The Hemp Connoisseur Radio Show, SexPot Radio, Sex, Drugs and Civil Liberties and The Bloch and Budd Show. Susan is a returning guest on podcasts, The Cannabist Show and The Adam Dunn Show. In Spring 2016, Susan guest lectured in the University of Colorado at Denver class, Cannabis Culture and participates in related projects directed by Anthropology Professor Marty Otanez.

Select Interviews:

June 2016: The Cannabist Show

April and May  2016: Getting High on Anthropology studio interview, episode 10 and Red Rocks interview episode 7

November 2015: The Cannabist Show 

May 2015: Margaret Wente for The Globe And Mail, Deep In The Weeds, How Colorado is dealing with legalized marijuana

April 2015 Lady Business profile in Ladybud Magazine.

January 2014, David Bienenstock for VICE, I Just Bought Legal Weed














































































































I’m the Cannabis Maven. I’m well-versed in the uses, applications and markets for cannabis products, including industrial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. My professional goals are to expand markets for the best products in the cannabis marketplace, foster growth for companies that specialize in marijuana-infused products, and produce cannabis events.

I write a weekly marijuana advice column for The Denver Post called Ask The Cannabist, which appears in the much-lauded

I’m a kitchen consultant for infused-product manufacturers. I utilize my manufacturing and production experience to help infused-product businesses thrive. At Kitchen Development Services, I use my kitchen production, manufacturing and management experience to help businesses maximize kitchen production efficiency. I solve consistency problems, eliminate stock-outs and prepare infused-product kitchens for more organized operations. Contact me for scheduling availability and consulting rates.

I’m a cannabis business developer, and I write product reviews. I establish, maintain and expand my cannabis network and technical knowledge by attending workshops, seminars, trade shows and events around the nation. I share the best products I find in my column, Consumer Confidential. I am interested in hemp food, hemp shoes and clothing, hemp paper, art and crafts, hemp body care, lifestyle clothing and accessories, premium marijuana strains, clever pipes, marijuana edibles, vaporizers and nonsmoking alternatives. My articles have appeared in The Hemp Connoisseur, Ladybud, AlterNet and Elephant Journal.

I produce cannabis-themed events. As a social scientist, I understand and appreciate the nuances of cannabis culture. As an entrepreneur, I understand the importance of product branding, target marketing and fostering business growth with event marketing. I create cannabis-themed events produced by 4 & 20 Blackbirds. Mother’s High Tea is my annual event.

What inspires me to be the Cannabis Maven: My use of the word “maven” comes from the Malcolm Gladwell social-theory book The Tipping Point. This book is an analysis of how trends tip from niche markets into mainstream markets. Gladwell identifies three pivotal business roles: mavens, connectors and salesmen, whose combined efforts determine whether a particular trend will cross over out of its niche and “tip” into wide-scale popularity. 

The successful tipping point for Airwalk shoes happened when the company brought together connectors, salesmen and a strategic maven. Together, in the 1990s, the culture maven and a clever advertising agency crafted a marketing campaign using subculture trends and humorous context to make shoe sales soar from a specialty-sport niche to “every teen must have a pair to be cool” mainstream popularity. I see the same potential in cannabis-related products, such as the explosion in popularity of vaping and edibles.

My background: I gravitated toward the cannabis industry via the hemp side beginning in 1996, when I began making and distributing hemp cookies in Boulder and Denver. Ultimately, distribution expanded to nine states. My business also grew to make and then specialize in hemp ice cream.

When the push began in Colorado to legalize medical marijuana, I became an activist for the campaign to pass Amendment 20, which in 1999 legalized the use of cannabis to treat several medical conditions. I also became the caregiver to Colorado’s first medical-marijuana patient. Since then, I have worked on numerous campaigns promoting the liberty of cannabis users, including the SAFER campaign that ultimately made Colorado the first state in the U.S. where cannabis could be sold publicly for recreational use.


  1. Charli


    I would like to grow a cannabis plant just for a conversation piece in my house under normal living conditions. It would never be smoked, perhaps a raw veg or two, but just to celibate the beauty and ground breaking industry in Colorado. Is this a worthwhile pursuit or will I just end up inviting a plant to my place to commit suicide?

  2. Shankar Ramakrishnan


    Hi Maven,
    I am looking for some consulting, advice for my business. I am a wireless engineer by profession and a CO resident. I am new to this and interested in getting in to growing side of the business. Looking for expert advice. Please let me know if you know anyone or recommend anyone. Appreciate your time.

  3. Aaron Alexander



    I would like to find out more about your charges for writing and consulting. I currently work in the digital marketing field, but will be expanding a “cooking/edible brand and feel you would be the perfect lady to align myself with. I can work in a variety of ways from direct payment to other possible arrangements like SEO consulting for Marijuana Industry consulting. You seem like a lovely lady and I would love to learn more! I’m excited to hear back from you and wish you a wonderful day.

    Kind regards,

    Aaron Alexander

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